Watching Mariano Rivera on Saturday announce his plan to retire at the end of the season, after nearly two decades with the New York Yankees, David Quinones said that an era was drawing to a close — not just for Rivera or the sport he so thoroughly dominated — but also for Mr. Quinones’s life as a fan.
“When Jeter, Pettitte, Mariano and Posada all retire, I told my wife no more baseball for me,” said Mr. Quinones, a lifelong Yankee fan, as he watched the news conference on television while having breakfast with his wife, Evelin Quinones, at Billy’s Sport Bar and Lounge in the shadow of Yankee Stadium.
Mr. Quinones, 55, lives just blocks away on the Grand Concourse, and the roar of the stadium has long been the background music of his life.
He saw his first games as a boy, but after he moved to the Grand Concourse in the early 1980s, the ballpark became an extension of his home.
For years, he would buy bleacher tickets in the old stadium for less than $10, having a few beers at home and packing sandwiches — when it was still permitted to take food into the stadium — to save money and still savor the game. His two children, now 18 and 22, were reared in pinstripes.
“We are so lucky,” he said. “My kids got to grow up with that whole dynasty.” On their bedroom walls, starting in 1996, they would hang a banner each year the Yankees added another championship. By the time they were reaching adulthood, their walls were covered.
The family reveres Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada.
But no player symbolizes what Mr. Quinones loves about the game more than Rivera.
“He is so humble, so spiritual,” he said. “Look at the lifestyle he lives.”
And then there is what he does on the mound.
“He is always in control,” he said. “Hitters would know what pitch he was going to throw and still could not hit it. Can you imagine?”
Despite his deep abiding loyalty to the Yankees, Mr. Quinones said that when the old stadium closed in 2008, he felt a part of himself go with it.
Now, there is a park where the stadium once stood, and on Saturday some youths and young men hopped a locked chain-link fence to take a few swings of the bat on the snow-covered field.
But Mr. Quinones, echoing the complaints of other Bronx residents and baseball fans, said the team had done little for people like him.
He is a telephone repairman, and said that even before Verizon failed to renew his contract this year, the prices at the new stadium were out of reach.
The bleacher seats are no longer first come, first serve, and when they are available, they cost more. For his birthday, his wife went to buy him $5 seats that the team had promoted for those who live in the neighborhood.
“They were right behind this column, so you could not even see the field,” Ms. Quinones said. “I couldn’t bring myself to buy them.”
But he can still hear the roar of the crowd from his apartment, and for one more season, when he hears “Enter Sandman,” Rivera’s entrance song, echoing from the stadium, he can be rest assured that the Yankees are in good hands as Rivera goes to the mound.
And despite feeling taken for granted by the ball club he loves, Mr. Quinones grew nostalgic as he watched Rivera say this would be his final season.
“Soak in the moment,” he said. “You are not going to see a man like him again anytime soon.”
This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: March 9, 2013
An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of the New York Yankee Andy Pettitte as Petit.