In addition to being the most productive -- and most feared -- closer in the history of baseball, Yankees ninth-inning man Mariano Rivera has always been one of the game's class acts.
So it's no surprise that he's going out with grace in his final season in the bigs. As the 43-year-old embarks on his farewell tour in his final season in pinstripes, Rivera is making a point to stop during his final series in each enemy ballpark and meet unsung heroes who work behind the scenes for each team.
His latest drop-in came this week in Oakland, where Rivera surprised Julie Vasconcellos with a pizza for lunch. Vasconcellos has worked in the Athletics' mail room for 25 years -- and has a photo of the closer above her desk.
It was a small gesture, but one that was obviously meaningful for Vasconcellos, and it serves as further proof that, while it may be easy to hate the New York Yankees, it's awfully tough to dislike Mariano Rivera.