Mariano Rivera had a heckin’ good time at his first Yankees Old Timers’ Day

first_imgRivera was assisted by a bit of shoddy center field defense from relief pitcher Jeff Nelson. And now, a hilarious tweet:From Enter Sandman to Exit Velocity Sandman. #Yankees— Joe (@JoeRiveraSN) June 23, 2019Rivera, baseball’s first unanimous Hall of Famer, gets to live another dream out of his in July, when he’s inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sunday’s edition, the 73rd annual, featured a number of firsts for Rivera, someone who has accomplished so much in his career: his first appearance at an Old Timers’ Day, his first career base hit, his first career home run and his first appearance playing center field. You might not find those on his Baseball-Reference page, though. “I always looked forward to this day,” Rivera said. “All those years, those 19 seasons that I played, I always [wondered] when Old Timers’ Day was gonna be. I was here, early, for all those games. You share with those guys. You listen to their stories. It was amazing.”MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNIt’s been nearly six years since Rivera threw his last cutter for the Yankees, but he apparently is still no stranger to the big stage of Yankee Stadium, and it was apparent on Sunday.So here are a few things that the man called “Mo” accomplished in his first Old Timers’ Day.He clowned Paul O’NeillOld Timers’ Day matchups can always make for hilarious moments.The always entertaining YES Network color man Paul O’Neill was incredulous when Rivera took the mound in the first inning, partially in fear of facing one of the greatest relievers of all time.Sandman’s still got it.Mariano Rivera takes the mound & delivers his signature cutter! 🐐 pic.twitter.com/MEM2nM1rnA— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 23, 2019O’Neill, Rivera’s teammate between 1995 and 2001, earned praise from the closer. “I remember all those years, that’s the guy that we want at the plate during crucial times,” Rivera said. “One of the most passionate hitters that I’ve ever played with.”But Rivera got the last laugh.”I threw a cookie there, he just missed it.”He played center fieldOn May 3, 2012, the Yankees lost to the Royals 4-3 in Kauffman Stadium, but the Yankees arguably took a bigger loss before the game.Rivera was known for patroling the outfield during batting practice, shagging fly balls as a way to stay loose and in shape. He landed awkwardly on a catch and tore his ACL and meniscus, sidelining him for the rest of the season.Well, in his first Old Timers’ Day, Rivera earned a modicum of redemption and closure.”I always told Joe Torre, ‘You should put me in center field,'” Rivera said. “I told Joe, ‘You can put me in the eighth inning, I’ll get the last out in center field, then I’ll come back and pitch the ninth,’ but he didn’t want to do it.”Mariano Rivera patrolling centerfield.Wait, what?! pic.twitter.com/dA4E8aTkyQ— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 23, 2019He hit an inside-the-park home runIn Rivera’s career, he allowed 76 home runs in 1,283 2/3 innings. On Sunday, he added a round tripper of his own.Mo with an inside-the-park home run!🐐 Mariano Rivera DOES IT ALL 🐐 pic.twitter.com/9hPjMjkN1l— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 23, 2019When was his last inside-the-park home run, you might ask?”Are you kidding me?” Rivera said after his. “Not even in softball.” NEW YORK — Mariano Rivera showed some emotion.Granted, it was a smile and a lot of laughs, but the stoic Rivera, apparently, had a great time at his first Old Timers’ Day. last_img read more