It's finally over.
The dynasty. The Core Four. This season's Hail Mary heave for the playoffs. The air of October inevitability we've come to expect from the Yankees.
Everyone showed up Sunday at the Stadium to honor Mariano Rivera and to a somewhat lesser extent Andy Pettitte. But after a 2-1 loss to the Giants the day felt more like a teary goodbye the end of an era the last truly great moment of baseball's Roman Empire.
For most of the day it was a Yankee celebration like no other in recent memory kicked off by the dedication of a new bronze plaque for Jackie Robinson in Monument Park. Rivera's No. 42 -- the uniquely pinstriped version -- was retired beside Ron Guidry. There were appearances by Jorge Posada John Wetteland Bernie Williams Joe Torre and even Hideki Matsui.
Metallica played "Enter Sandman" from a stage in centerfield.
Yes this was special in a way that the 49197 fans will brag to their friends and family about. And by the time Pettitte got around to throwing his first pitch the one thing left was to do what the Yankees -- as we've come to know them -- usually do. Seize the moment rise to the occasion walk off a winner. Or in this case keep their flickering playoff hopes from going out.
But they couldn't do it. And by "they" we mean everyone other than Pettitte and Rivera.
How fitting that it was those two -- half of the famous Core Four -- who were able to turn back the clock and recapture just enough of that past glory.
Pettitte allowed one hit through the first seven innings but he had to get his farewell ovation with the score tied at 1 and the Giants threatening. Rivera delivered five outs and would have returned for the 10th if the Yankees had tied it.
But lose? On this day? No chance. "I really thought we'd have the magic to pull this one off" Pettitte said.
That magic was on full display during the pregame festivities and the crowd roared at the sight of the former Yankees who conjured up those memories. Each provided a flashback of World Series gone by -- all of them champions -- and let everyone forget for a while the gloomier task at hand as these current Yankees tried to stay in wild-card contention.
It's finally over.