The great ones get the stage to themselves.
Mariano Rivera was held in the bullpen out in right-center field until Neil Diamond had sung the final words of ''Sweet Caroline'' in the middle of the eighth inning during Tuesday night's All-Star game.
And then the opening notes of Metallica's ''Enter Sandman'' - his Yankee Stadium theme song but unfamiliar on the road - rang out over the public-address system as the greatest reliever of all-time jogged toward the mound. The record crowd of 45,186 gathered at Citi Field on this humid summer night rose and cheered, knowing this was a moment people will remember much more than the American League's 3-0 victory.
Quiet, reserved and understated during nearly a quarter-century in a sport that took him from Panama to the pantheon of pinstriped pitchers, Rivera was being honored with that rarest of baseball tributes - a solo bow.
As he reached the brown circle in the center of the green diamond, Rivera realized he was the only person on the...