By Robert Dominguez
Mariano Rivera lived a Dickensian drama on this day in béisbol, May 28 — in games 13 years apart.
It was the best of times for the future Hall of Famer on that date in 2000, as Rivera recorded his career 300th save after just three-and-a-half years as the Yankees’ full-time closer.
The milestone came in a 7-5 win against Tampa Bay, and made him the 17th pitcher — and first Yankee — to reach that milestone.
Exactly 13 years later, Rivera lived through one of the worst of times in his otherwise brilliant career.
The Panama-born righty, who had already announced he was retiring at the end of the 2013 season, was honored by the Mets before an interleague game at Citi Field.
The Yankees’ crosstown rivals gave the gesture a nice touch, with Rivera throwing out the ceremonial first to the Mets’ own all-time saves leader, John Franco.
But Rivera’s day went downhill from there. Called on in the bottom of the ninth to protect a 1-0 lead, he instead coughed up a lead-off double and two successive singles, handing the Mets a 2-1 walk-off win.
It was not only the first blown save of the year for Rivera, it marked the first time ever the best closer in history had failed to get an out in a save opportunity.
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”