A sports hero's heartfelt send-off

The dramatic screenshot at left epitomizes the emotions surrounding Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, who received a standing ovation last night when he left the mound for the last time. The Yankees official Twitter account shared this twitpic with the poignant hashtag #ExitSandman, referencing the Metallica song "Enter Sandman" that became Rivera's entrance music. "Inning for inning, the greatest pitcher of my lifetime," announced Lou Dubois at NBC News.

A video also circulated the Internet, capturing the atmosphere of that moment. USA Today executive editor David Colton shared it, adding, "OMG. If you missed this, here are #MarianoRivera's final tearful moments at Yankee Stadium." Hartford Courant's Vanessa de la Torre called it an "[i]conic sports moment." Lawrence Donegan at The Guardian dubbed it "just beautiful," then reflected, "Sometimes I love baseball so much." ESPN's Seth Wickersham christened it "an instant classic." "Teary & I'm a Mets fan," admitted Patricia Zengerle at Reuters.

Happy Retirement, Mariano. Thank you for keeping it classy from beginning to end.

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