Exit Sandman: Red Sox honor Rivera

The Guru
Contributing Writer

The Red Sox honored a Yankee last night. Has this ever happened in Red Sox history? We're quite sure Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio never got a sendoff like Yankees closer Mariano Rivera received Sunday night.

Along with the usual gifts and tributes for the Yankees' retiring closer was a video presentation that focused on one of his rare postseason failures: his blown save in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.

As the video played comments from former Sox Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts and Bill Muellar and the fans cheered the Game 4 win that propelled the Sox to their first World Series championship in 86 years, Rivera stood in the visitors dugout.

Yankees manager Joe Giradi, asked if he thought it was "tasteless" for the Red Sox to feature a Rivera blown save, said only: "They gave him some nice gifts."

Yankee captain Derek Jeter said, "I'm sure Mo could remind them of a few things if he wanted to."

The Boston Globe reported that more than a few Yankees officials and media members had some raised eyebrows after the "tribute."

“It looked like more of a tribute to the 2004 Red Sox than to Mariano,” said one Yankee writer.

But Rivera, always a class act, said, "Great ceremony. Great. Well done. Humbling to myself. I don't deserve that. But at the same time, definitely appreciate what the Red Sox organization did. I will never forget that."

The Red Sox presented Rivera a painting of the moment in April 2005 when he was greeted with a standing ovation from the fans during pregame introductions on the day the 2004 World Series flag was raised at Fenway.

The Red Sox also presented Rivera the panel from the Green Monster scoreboard that had his number "42" on it. It was signed by every current Boston player.

Rivera also received a Fenway Park seat number "42" of course from 1934, a pitching rubber from the visiting bullpen and an undisclosed donation for his charitable foundation from Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner.

As the Boston Cello Quartet played "Enter Sandman", the Fenway Faithful showed their appreciation for a great competitor. Rivera spent the final innings signing autographs and then also wrote a message on the wall of the visitors’ bullpen that simply said: “Last to wear #42, thank you for everything.”

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