At the beginning of Sunday night’s game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, Boston saluted Mariano Rivera, the great closer of the Yankees who will be retiring at the end of this year. Unless both teams face each other in the postseason, which appears unlikely, that was Rivera’s last appearance at Fenway.
It was somewhat of a strange ceremony. Boston seemed to be more reveling in the fact that the Red Sox had beaten him in 2004 rather than celebrating the great talent and accomplishments of this man. Dave Roberts, Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller all spoke about facing Rivera.
Obviously, Boston is New York’s arch-rivals and it certainly shouldn’t necessarily be a warm and fuzzy event, but it just seems that it should have been more of a toast and less of a roast. This is a player who got a standing ovation in 2005 during Opening Day at Fenway Park because he blew two saves against Boston during the ALCS. To show the grace and class of this gentleman, he laughed, tipped his cap and waved to the crowd. That was when he really won me over and may have made some Boston fans feel way, way, way deep down that in a small way, he was one of us.
The gifts that he got from Boston were very nice, considering that in the different ballparks that he has been at during his farewell tour, he got some strange items. The check he received for his charity work in Panama was a nice touch. It also was very appropriate to have David Ortiz present him with a gift, considering Ortiz is the only player still left from the 2004 team.
It was a nice ceremony, but it just seemed a little too Boston-oriented, at times. A classy player like Rivera deserves a classy sendoff. Just an opinion. Thanks Mo, for taking it all in stride. We won’t see the likes of you again.