I’m still thinking about his exit at Yankee Stadium earlier this week. Who didn’t get emotional seeing that? For such a great, classy professional, this was the most perfect sendoff for him. And to see Mariano Rivera cry also, shows how much he cares about the game and is appreciative for everything we’ve given him.
Even though I despise the Yankees, there was always an exception to a few players on the team that I did like. Hideki Matsui was one that I felt didn’t fit in with the “Evil Empire” identity of the team. Derek Jeter was also another one I admired and respected — especially after that flip to Posada to tag Jeremy Giambi. But Mariano Rivera was the one I could not hate.
As it has been documented over the years, and a lot more this week, Rivera was the perfect baseball player. He took advantage of an opportunity, excelled at something nobody else could do and ended up on the top. On the way up to the top, he didn’t look down at the people below. Instead, he brought them up with him. Whether it was teaching them how to throw the cutter or just encouraging them, Rivera was the kind of player that baseball needed. He gave us, the baseball world, a gem to hold onto.
This exit from Yankee Stadium was perfect for a man that was the perfect player and teammate.