Mets invite Mariano Rivera to throw ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field
Mariano Rivera’s job is usually to put the finishing touches on the night, but the all-time saves leader will be called upon to throw the ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday’s game at Citi Field.
Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon extended the invitation to the 43-year-old during a press conference held at Citi Field, paying tribute to Rivera’s illustrious career.
“I am honored to do that. It is my pleasure,” Rivera said.
Rivera will likely be traveling back to the borough for the All-Star Game in July, but he already has made many memories in Queens, where he threw the final pitch of the 2000 World Series and later recorded his 500th career save and only career RBI in the same 2009 game.
“Mariano, we’ve watched you for so many years,” Wilpon said. “It’s a great honor to have you here for the last time. I wish we could see you in the World Series, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen.”
Rivera laughed, “You never know.”
“We could get on a run. The fact is, it’s been great to watch you,” Wilpon said. “We just really want to celebrate your last year. We’re going to miss you.”
As Rivera prepares to retire after the 2013 season, he has received gifts from rival clubs during the Yankees’ road stops. The Mets’ offerings to Rivera came with a New York flavor, honoring Rivera’s legacy as “the greatest fireman of all time.”
Wilpon and New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano presented Rivera with a mounted hose nozzle from a FDNY truck, as well as an authentic FDNY call box.
“That’s the real stuff, guys,” Rivera said, grinning as he hoisted the heavy metal nozzle. “I just want to say thank you very much for all this. I don’t expect this, but thank you. I definitely really appreciate it. This will be in a good place in my house.
“It will be my last game here. It has been a great career and I have enjoyed every game that I have played here. It has been great games; I’ve saved some games and blown some games here. Overall, it has been wonderful.”