By Joe Rini
On Saturday October 6, New York Yankees star relief pitcher Mariano Rivera graciously signed autographs for scores of happy Yankee fans and a few Mets fans, too.
Some fans camped outside the mall as early as 3:30 a.m. to meet Rivera, the late innings hero of so many Yankees games, and he did not disappoint them. Rivera greeted everyone cordially and was very engaging with the fans.
Young Alex Kaplan, his father David, and his grandfather Joe Galarneau of Rockland County enjoyed a typical encounter with the future Hall of Famer. They said meeting Rivera was an “awesome” experience, and they were happy to hear he is recovering well from his season ending knee injury. Like many fans, Galarneau marveled at the care Rivera took signing his signature, but noted that’s also the way he pitches.
One of the most intriguing items signed by Rivera was a piece of the bullpen door from the old Yankee Stadium owned by Cory Van Hassent of New Jersey. Mr. Van Hassent, who attended the event with family and friends, remarked at how personable Rivera was and the pride and care he displayed in his signature.
On Sunday, there were no quarterback controversies at Dick’s as former New York Jet quarterback Vinny Testaverde greeted fans and signed more than 225 autographs. Then on Monday, former New York Ranger and Stanley Cup winning goalie Mike Richter capped the weekend’s festivities and signing more than 250 autographs.
The West Nyack outlet of Dick’s Sporting Goods opened its doors on September 19 with a grand opening weekend that included an appearance by former Yankees great Bernie Williams.
Speaking this weekend, Brian Hagerman, Community Marketing Manager of Dick’s Sporting Goods said, “We are very excited to partner with such legendary athletes to continue the celebration of Dick’s 500th store here in West Nyack. It is a great weekend for our customers and employees, and we look forward to serving Rockland County’s sporting goods needs for many years to come.”