Sergio Romo retired as he wanted as a San Francisco giant, pitching one last time for the team he helped win three World Series titles before calling it a career on Monday night.
In a moment more special than he could have imagined, the entertaining right-hander took on three Oakland batters in the seventh inning at Oracle Park, an exhibition final between the two clubs.
“Great to end what has been a storybook career for me,” he told reporters, pausing to catch his breath after Athletics’ 12-6 victory.
A few weeks ago the Giants reached out to Romo if he was considering pitching an inning. He looked at his arm and asked if he could give him a last hurray. He started playing golf.
“I understand how special this event is,” he said.
Bay Area baseball fans also had the pleasure of hearing Romo’s longtime riff “El Mechon” for the last time, cheering him on.
But before unleashing his wicked slider, Romo gets what he’ll miss in the new world of modern baseball: he’s immediately timed twice by the umpires, resulting in a pair of automatic balls.
First because he took too long to complete his warm-up throw. The second is that he took too long to launch the first time.
Facing one of his old teams against one of his old teams, with a 2-0 lead, Romo was quick to walk his first batter. He threw a wild pitch and gave up two singles before former teammate Hunter Pence walked to change grounds.
Romo, 40, was absorbed as he made his way to the dugout, donning his hat and hugging Giants manager Gabe Kapler and others in a touching farewell.
Romo takes the rappel, fighting back tears as he returns to the canoe.
Received a standing ovation as he headed to the bullpen to start his warm-up pitch, Romo received more cheers ahead of spring training games.
The A’s players watched and cheered from their dugout rails, and the Giants smiled as they watched baseball’s emotional farewell.
Romo, once popular with local supporters, wears a special hat. Throughout spring training, every time a kid asked for an autograph, he had them sign a hat.
“If this is the last hat I wear in the big leagues…
.I think it’s best not to go it alone,” he said.
Romo played 15 seasons for eight different organizations, including Athletics, and spent his first nine years with the Giants. The bench shared a farewell letter to San Francisco in the Players’ Tribune on Monday.
“Dear San Francisco, tonight I did one thing for the last time – one of the highest honors of my life: I put on the Giants team jersey.
Before I do, I just want to write this letter and share some thoughts with you all. Thanks for reading,” he said.
In Oakland on Sunday, Romo greeted fans and youngsters with a fist shake during his farewell tour. On his Instagram account, creative Romo posted a message on his first day of school.A photo of himself with a photo that looked like a student placard, but marked his last day of major.
Romo grew up in Brawley, California, about 200 km east of San Diego and Baja California, Mexico, about 50 km north of Mexicali.
He was an All-Star with the Giants in 2013 and has a career record of 42-36 with a 3.21 ERA and 137 saves in 821 games in 722 2/3 innings. In total, he pitched 23 games for Seattle and Toronto last year.
He also played for the Dodgers, Tampa Bay, Miami and Minnesota. A 28th-round pick by San Francisco from Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado, in 2005, Romo became a key addition to manager Bruce Bochy’s star bullpen shortly after making his major league debut in 2008.
Romo helped the Giants win back-to-back titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 — the 2010 team won the franchise’s first since 1954 and San Francisco’s first since moving west in 1958.