He’s done it what seems like a thousand times before.

Number 42, Mariano Rivera shagging balls during batting practice just like kids do during little league, like he did as a kid.

Rivera’s never been a prima donna.

Then BOOM!  

It happens… he goes down writhing in pain.

By the look of his New York Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez, everyone is thinking the worst and then it was confirmed... an ACL tear.

The 42-year-old had already hinted at retirement, but to go out like this?

The odds of him coming back the season are low and the odds of him getting ready just to say goodbye must be small as well.

And that’s how the one of the last few icons of yesteryear leaves the sport… not with a goodbye tour, not with a celebration but with pain induced yell at batting practice.

If anyone didn’t deserve it was Rivera.  He, along with Yankees captain Derek Jeter, have spent their careers playing team first baseball, representing an iconic brand with class and dignity.

In the era where players like the Indianapolis’ football star Peyton Manning has to end his career in Denver, or Albert Pujols left St. Louis for Anaheim, there are no more John Elway’s in football, Johnny Bench’s, or Cal Ripken Jr.’s.

It’s all over with Chipper Jones at the end of this season, and finally with Jeter when he walks away.

The days of iconic team players are over and Rivera’s loss signals the eventual end.

Too bad Rivera won’t get to leave like he deserved to.

At the very least the man should have walked off the mound after one more bottom inning save attempt, coming out to Metallica’s Enter Sandman blaring, the crowd cheering, walking off the dirt mound to a round of applause and tipping his hat to the crowd.

That’s what he deserved.

Follow Victor Garcia on twitter @MrVicGarcia

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