With the days left in the career of Mariano Rivera dwindling to a precious few, it was Boston’s turn to honor the New York Yankees closer, the man the Red Sox have conquered and been bedeviled by over the years.
On Sunday night in Fenway Park, the Red Sox paid tribute to baseball’s all-time saves leader with a pregame ceremony that featured a trove of gifts, a few pointed barbs and the Boston Cello Quartet playing Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
The gifts were nice, but the Red Sox couldn’t resist having fun with one little reminder. They flashed back to 2004, the year the Red Sox won the World Series and beat the Yankees in the playoffs — a point that wasn’t lost on Yankees officials. Even the Boston Globe felt the whole vibe was more roast than tribute. One, via the Globe, asked: “Did you think they rubbed in 2004 a little bit too much?” Rivera, though, wasn’t bothered by watching a replay of the Red Sox rally against him in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
“It’s not strange, it’s a good thing,” Rivera told reporters. “They have all the power to do that. They beat us that year. Why not? You have a great time, you have fun — they did. All the power to them.”
Rivera did leave a little something behind in Fenway. He signed the bullpen wall, with a nod to Jackie Robinson and his own number 42:
Last to wear #42
Thank you for everything.”