Bronx, N.Y. — From throwing balls of tape on the shores of Puerto Caimito, Panama to throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium with three-and-a-half months left until being inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame, Mariano Rivera describes it all as a blessing just moments after throwing a strike to Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez.
The seven-time LatinoMVP Award winner was given the honor of throwing out the first pitch in Thursday’s home opener. A humbled Rivera embraced the honor of stepping on the mound as fans roared and welcomed the Yankee legend back to the Bronx.
“There’s nothing like having Opening Day in the Bronx,” Rivera said, “To do it for a few years and every time to do it at home in front of our fans, amazing, no where to be but Yankee Stadium.”
Rivera will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July after being voted in unanimously by Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
“I consider myself a blessed man,” Rivera said when reflecting on his career. “It was a lot of work and a lot of guys that were in front of me, helping me, getting me to the point that I could do my job. So I can never say ‘I’ accomplished that, but ‘we,’ we as a team accomplished that.”
The Yankees won 7-2 against the Baltimore Orioles in their home opener, where Luke Voit and Greg Bird hit homers to start the season off on the right foot. “They’re hungry. I can see it in their eyes” Rivera said on the next generation of Yankees. 2019 marks 10 years since the Yankees won their last championship, “It’s coming (a championship), its coming soon. Its on the horizon. God willing it’ll be this year.”
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