A rain delay pushed back the Orioles' ceremony honoring the retiring Rivera. But when the future Hall of Famer trotted out toward the mound before Thursday night's game — an odd sight for a player best known best for his presence at the end of games — he was met with a standing ovation.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter presented Rivera with a gift from the organization, a bronze sculpture of a bat and ball, before hugging him. The piece shows the ball hitting the bat underneath the barrel, with the bat beginning to break, an homage to the success Rivera has had jamming hitters over his 19-year career.
"We're toward the end of the schedule, so all the good gifts are gone," Showalter joked before the ceremony, in reference to each opponent honoring Rivera during his farewell tour. "If you know me, it's tough for me to go out and be a part of that, but I'm going to do it. ... What I'm most proud of, of a guy like him and Derek [Jeter] is just the way they've handled success."
Rivera entered the night with 79 saves and 135 games pitched against the Orioles, both the most he's had against any opponent.
Rivera said that pitching at Camden Yards wasn't any different than other ballparks, but he noted that facing a rival from the American League East often carried more importance.
"Especially teams in your division, you want to give that extra, you know?" Rivera said. "Sometimes it doesn't happen, though. I've been beat too, many times here."
Rivera actually only has one career loss in 69 appearances at Camden Yards, pitching to a 2.03 ERA in Baltimore. (He is 8-9 with a 3.06 ERA against the Orioles overall.)
Orioles right-hander Scott Feldman, who started Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Yankees, professed to being a fan of Rivera, and he even sent him a jersey to sign.
"The best closer of all-time, and to me, personally, he's one of my favorite players," Feldman said. "I think that nobody has said anything bad about him, which speaks a lot about him."
The sculpture the Orioles had commissioned was was created by Omri Amrany and his son, Itamar. Omri also created the 16-foot sculpture of Michael Jordan that sits outside the United Center in Chicago.