Retiring Yankees closer conducts Q&A session in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES -- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, baseball's all-time saves leader who's playing in his final season, lived up to his reputation as one of the game's great ambassadors by meeting with a select group of Dodgers employees before Wednesday night's series finale at Dodger Stadium.
The encounter was part of a farewell series in which the Yankees great has taken time out in his final regular-season trip to each road city to meet some of those who work behind the scenes.
"For me, it's a privilege," Rivera told the 18 Dodgers employees, which included Bill DeLury, who joined the organization 63 years ago in Brooklyn. "I never have a chance, unless you're on the field or in the clubhouse, to say thank you for what you do for baseball. It's an honor and privilege to share this time with you."
Rivera fielded questions from the group that ranged from the best club he played on (1998), to the significance of wearing the same number as Jackie Robinson, to success and failure.
"I consider myself blessed," he said. "My mother and father gave me the foundation. I came from a small fishing village. The Lord is my guidance. My beautiful wife supports me. I never consider myself great. I'm a blessed man. To me, it's all humbling. I didn't deserve it."
He said he is pleased to leave the game on his terms, on top, one year after suffering a torn right knee ligament.
"I didn't want to leave knowing that my team and organization couldn't wait until I leave," he said. "As a Christian, this year the Lord gave me the opportunity to play one more year and do it right."
Rivera said he anticipates working with Yankees Minor Leaguers as a consultant after he retires, but he is also dedicated to working with children in the community.
"That's my new career, my new challenge," he said. "I'm all for it and can't wait to help whoever needs help, with the help of the Lord."
Rivera capped perhaps his final game at Dodger Stadium with his 34th save of the season and 642nd of his career in a 3-0 Yankees win.