Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 169: Red Sox Bid Fond Farewell to Mariano Rivera

The scene—Fenway Park. Sunday night baseball. Red Sox versus Yankees. What more could you ask for on a crisp, mid-September evening. The Red Sox were going for the three-game sweep, to continue to expand their division lead. The Yankees were just trying to save any chance of making the post season.

Normally a game like this would have a whole lot of meaning. The rivalry demands it. But this year, the Yankees, a team plagued by injuries, are struggling to stay in the wild card race. And the Red Sox have got the pedal to the metal, not letting up on their quest to win the AL East pennant for the first time since 2007.

Sunday night was also about saying farewell to an old friend. Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera, retires at the end of this season and has been on a sort of good-bye tour throughout MLB. Each team greeting him with the same class he has displayed over his 19-year career. Each team presenting him with a special momento... the Cleveland Indians gave him a gold record of Metallica's "Enter Sandman"—his entry song. He got a surfboard from the Oakland A's inscribed with the #42. The Minnesota Twins presented him with the "Chair of Broken Dreams"—a rocking chair made of broken bats.

The Red Sox display of gifts was one of the biggest so far. They began with a painting of Rivera's reaction that Opening Day in April of 2005 when he was greeted with a standing ovation from Boston fans as they raised the World Series flag. He also received the #42 green placard that would indicate he was pitching on the Green Monster—it was signed by every member of the Sox team and served as a reminder that no one will ever wear that number again.

But that's not all... he was given a Fenway Park seat from 1934 with the #42 on it. It was blue, of course. And a bullpen rubber inscribed with the following that appeared to make Mo a little misty: "We tip our cap to the great Rivera, a real gentleman, a fierce competitor and a most worthy opponent." The organization finished off the ceremony with a donation for Rivera's charity work in Panama from the Red Sox Foundation.

Sure, the Red Sox may have rubbed in the 2004 Yankees' collapse just a bit too much, but it was all in good fun and Mo didn't seem to mind, he was all smiles throughout the short ceremony. In case you missed it...


Good luck, Mo! By the way, you're going to need a whole new room in your house for all your new stuff!!

PS. The magic number is four!!

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