To music fans, the opening chords of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” are synonymous with metal. For baseball fans, they’re all about Mariano Rivera. The legendary New York Yankees closer, who is retiring after this season and was honored today in the Bronx by the only pro team he’s ever played for, has used “Enter Sandman” as his entrance music for most of his illustrious 19-year career.
But today marked the first time Metallica has ever performed it live for Rivera, the unannounced one-song rock show coming during a lavish, hour-long “Exit Sandman” ceremony at Yankee Stadium.
“This one’s for you Mariano!” shouted James Hetfield, who wore a pinstriped white baseball jersey with Metallica scripted across the front. Hetfield also used a special, pinstriped guitar pick with Rivera’s number 42 on it.
Metallica were in New York for the debut of a new 3-D IMAX concert film, Metallica Through The Never, and played at the Apollo Theatre last night. Rumors about the band making an appearance at Rivera’s ceremony have been rampant since the Apollo gig was announced, but no one knew for sure if the band was going to play until this weekend. According to the Daily News, the Yankees announced on Friday that the stadium’s famed Monument Park would be closed to fans today, fueling speculation, and giant speakers were erected just outside the center field wall after yesterday’s game.
There’s not much video footage of the quick-hit gig floating around yet, but the YES Network instagram captured this vine below. We’ll post better video when it becomes available.