This weekend's homestand marks the final three games of the 2013 season as the Astros host the New York Yankees and the legendary Mariano Rivera for the final regular season games of his illustrious career on Friday, September 27 through Sunday, September 29.
After a 19-year playing career that began in 1995, Mariano Rivera will go down as the greatest closer in Major League history. His 652 career saves are the most all-time in Major League history while his 2.21 career ERA ranks second all-time. He is the only pitcher to ever make more than 1,000 appearances with one club, and his 44 saves this year mark the most for a player in their final MLB season. He will be the last MLB player to wear the number 42 after it was retired 16 years ago in honor of Jackie Robinson, and could take the mound for the final time of his career this last weekend at Minute Maid Park, pending the Yankees playoff hopes.
To honor one of the most respected and lauded closers in MLB history, the Astros will hold a special pregame ceremony on Sunday, September 29 with scheduled appearances by former Yankees teammate and current Astros Special Assistant to the General Manager Roger Clemens, former manager and current Executive VP of Baseball Operations for MLB Joe Torre, Astros President Reid Ryan, and emceed by Astros Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton. The Astros will also present Rivera with a special gift commemorating his career.
Sunday is also Fan Appreciation Day at Minute Maid Park. The Astros will give away prizes between innings to several lucky fans in attendance, and 10,000 fans will receive the 2013 Astros Team Poster courtesy of the Houston Chronicle.
The Astros will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on Saturday, September 28 at the ballpark with several fan attractions. The day kicks off with the pregame Hispanic Heritage Street Festival presented by State Farm from 2:00-6:00pm on the Plaza on Crawford Street outside of Minute Maid Park before a 6:10 p.m. game time. The festival is free and open to the public. Events include live salsa music with La Orquesta Salmerum, a salsa and merengue dancing show and lesson, an autograph session with Astros legend Jose Cruz, Astros pitcher Jarred Cosart and Astros Spanish radio broadcasters Alex Trevino and Francisco Romero as well as an on-stage Q&A with current Astros players. Food from eight local Houston food trucks including Sabor Venezolano, Chilantro, Bernie's Burger Bus, Good Dog and Sweets by Belen will be available for purchase as well as beverages from the Houston Astros Hospitality Group.
A special pregame ceremony will feature the Astros' Latin-American players and the flags from each of their native countries, including Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Saturday's first pitch will be thrown by syndicated Univision Radio personality Raul Brindis, and throughout the game, PA announcements will be made in both English by Bob Ford and in Spanish by Renzo Heredia from Univision Radio.
On Friday, September 27, the Astros will honor Bob Ford, the stadium voice of the Houston Astros, with a special pregame ceremony to commemorate his 20th season as the Astros PA announcer. He will also be presented with a crystal microphone.
Additionally, Friday marks the final Big and Bright Friday Night of the 2013 season, featuring a postgame fireworks show, presented by Marathon Oil Corporation, following Friday night's series opener vs. the Yankees. This week's final show features the hits and chart-toppers from 2013.
ProFX, the company responsible for the Minute Maid Park fireworks displays, received four nods from Yahoo! Sports on their "Best Fireworks in Sports" list this year.