BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The Red Sox honored New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before Sunday night’s game against the longtime rivals. The contest was his last scheduled regular-season game at Fenway Park.
The Boston Cello Quartet played Rivera’s theme song, “Enter Sandman.” Then the Red Sox played highlights from one of the low points in Rivera’s career, his blown save in Game 4 of the 2004 AL championship series.
Rivera was called out to the diamond, where the entire Red Sox team waited for him. Boston slugger David Ortiz gave him a hug.
Rivera was given several gifts from the Red Sox: a painting of him smiling during the ceremony before the 2005 opener, a team-signed No. 42 that hung on the Green Monster scoreboard where the opposing pitcher is recognized, and the pitching rubber from the visitor’s bullpen.
“Great ceremony. Great. Well done,” Rivera said after Boston’s 9-2 win. “Humbling. At the same time, I definitely appreciate what the Red Sox organization did. I will never forget that.”
As the Yankees batted in the Top of the 9th, Rivera wrote a message on the visitor’s bullpen wall: “Mariano Rivera. Last to wear #42. Thanks for everything.”
“I was giving thanks,” he said. “That’s it. I was thanking the guys in the bullpen for everything.”
On Twitter, many fans and Major League Baseball players praised the Red Sox for showing their respect to the iconic Yankee, who is widely considered the best closer in MLB history. “The Red Sox did a really nice job with a fun and heartfelt ceremony for Mariano Rivera,” ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney tweeted.
Rivera has said he will retire after this season, his 19th with the Yankees.
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