When the Yankees come to the ballpark, it always has the vibe of the Beatles coming to town. They have the glitz, the glamor and, of course, the 27 World Series championships. According to Forbes magazine, the Yankees are worth $2.3 billion and in fourth place on the list of the world’s most valuable teams, trailing only Real Madrid ($3.3 billion), Manchester United ($3.1 billion) Barcelona ($2.6 billion). That also puts them ahead of the Dallas Cowboys who came in fifth place at $2.1 billion.
However, manager Joe Girardi's team that capped its four game series against the Rangers on a scorching Thursday afternoon had most of its big names missing in action. Derek Jeter? Hurt. Curtis Granderson? Injured. Former Rangers 1B Mark Teixeira? Out for the season after having surgery on his right wrist. Former Rangers shortstop/MVP Alex Rodriguez? There's enough drama in A-Rod's ordeal to fill a four-evening mini-series.
Only had a handful of names in New York's lineup were even recognizable to the most die hard of baseball fans, but that did not stop thousands of Yankees fans from arriving before the gates opened and making their way down the third base line in hopes of getting autographs from their idols.
"If I can get Mariano's autograph, I'd give it to my dad," said Sarah, a 28 year-old lifelong Yankees fan from Dallas who was clad in Rivera's No. 42 jersey. "My parents are from New York and have always loved the Yankees."
Fresh off his All-Star Game MVP performance, Rivera stayed out in the Texas summer heat longer than any of the other players who stopped to sign for the fans. The look of pure awe on the faces of his fans young and old was truly special and Sarah was able to get his signature for her father.
While there were plenty of Yankees fans in the ballpark, it was nothing like in the past before the Rangers recent three-year playoff run when it was almost as if New York had a home field advantage on certain nights. The biggest news coming out of the series for the Yankees turned out to be reacquiring Alfonso Soriano -- they originally traded Soriano to the Rangers in 2003 as part of the A-Rod trade.
The teams split the four-game series that saw the Rangers newly acquired starter Matt Garza shine in his first outing and Rivera close out the Yankees two victories to give him a record 641 saves. Prior to Thursday's game, as part of Rivera's farewell tour, the Rangers honored the Yankees closer with a presentation that included a cowboy hat, boots and a $5,000 check to benefit his foundation.
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