It was just over one year ago, May 3, 2012 to be exact, that Mariano Rivera sustained a torn right ACL while shagging flyballs at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
On Friday, Rivera returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak, for the first time since suffering the career-altering injury that required complete knee reconstruction and ended up costing him the final five months of the 2012 regular season — including a return trip to Kansas City for the all-star game — plus the postseason.
Naturally, this was going to be one of the bigger stories of the night considering Rivera's stature, the nature of the injury and the remarkable comeback he's made over the past 12 months, but some of his Yankees teammates decided to make the moment a little more light-hearted by playing a classic prank on the legendary closer.
When Rivera took to the outfield to continue his shagging routine — that's right, the injury hasn't deterred him one bit — waiting for him was a chalk outline of the spot he laid crumpled up after his knee gave way on him. There's also a sign declaring the space a "No 'Mo' Zone" with some accompanying caution tape and a stop sign.
Great stuff. We don't know yet who exactly was behind the well thought out prank, but we certainly take our hat off to them.
As evidenced by the photo, Rivera was happy to laugh it off as well, but quickly returned to business as usual.
Mariano Rivera just wandered out to the chalk outline of a body on the warning track. He laughed and returned to shagging fly balls.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) May 10, 2013
That's so Mariano Rivera. Always focused. Always determined. He hasn't changed one bit in the two decades that we've known him, and we're very thankful for that.