Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” has long been considered one of the band’s greatest hits and most popular songs, but the tune holds a far more unique place in the hearts of New York Yankees fans everywhere. Enter Sandman is synonymous with the end of yet another Yankee win. A sign that another opponent is about to be defeated. It’s time for Mariano Rivera. Mo, as his fans have come to know him.
When Enter Sandman plays – and Mo starts to jog through the bullpen gate towards the mound – the Yankees know what time it is.
Rivera is retiring following the season, as we’ve known since this past Spring, so the team had a host of things planned for their final home game to the regular season. With the Yankees looking unlikely to make the playoffs, Sunday’s affair was likely the last that the home town fans will get to see the greatest closer of all time again.
New York prepared what amounted to a 50 minute presentation prior to Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. Rivera received a watercolor painting from his final appearance at AT&T Park from the Giants, along with a guitar that the team worked with Metallica to design that was signed by Willie Mays. The band also autographed an amp, which they gave to the right-hander. The Yankees added a Waterford crystal replica of his glove, a rocking chair made from bats (similar to the one given to Rivera by the Minnesota Twins earlier this season), and made a $100,000 donation to Rivera’s charity.
Most significantly, Rivera’s #42 was formally retired by the team – an honor that often would have normally waited until next season – but Mo’s no ordinary player. The number had already been retired across baseball, honoring Jackie Robinson. Rivera had been the last active player to wear it.
Former teammates Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, David Cone, Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, and John Wetteland were all on hand for the ceremonies. Manager Joe Torre and former Head Trainer Gene Monahan were also in attendance. Following the video montage of Rivera’s career, Metallica took stage in center field and performed Enter Sandman one last time.