Mariano Rivera sat all alone at the end of the dugout late Thursday night. The game was over, the Rays were celebrating their victory on the field and the Yankees had already retreated to the clubhouse.
But Rivera stayed on the bench for a moment, his cap in his hands, staring off into the distance. He had just pitched for the final time at Yankee Stadium, and he was clearly trying to take in the moment.
Then, with much of the sellout crowd still in the Stadium and still on its feet, Rivera emerged, broke through a sea of photographers and walked to the mound. He toed the rubber, got down on one knee and grabbed some dirt.
Seconds later he walked off that mound, ending his illustrious career.
"It definitely was a magical moment," Rivera said after the Yankees' 4-0 loss to the Rays. "I've had an opportunity to play for 19 years and give the best of my talents and my ability to this organization. Tonight it paid off. The fans, they definitely appreciate that. My family, my wife, my kids, the fans -- it was amazing. A great night. We lost, so I don't know how I'm saying that, but it was a great night."
Rivera entered the game in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and one out and the Yankees trailing by four runs, but the situation hardly mattered.
Read more: Yankees give Mariano Rivera a magical sendoff | MLB.com: News