He didn't get to pitch, but last night still belonged to Mariano Rivera
In one of the most bizarre and surreal moments I'll ever see, the Boston Red Sox took some time before the game to honor a man who has been one of their biggest rivals for almost two decades.
For anyone else, it would seem like a travesty to pay such an elaborate tribute to an opposing player. But for a great player and great man like Mariano Rivera, it seems like anything less just wouldn't be fitting.
The Red Sox gave him several gifts, including a painting of him at Fenway being introduced at Fenway in 2005, the year after the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years, thanks in part to Rivera's blown save in game 4 of the ALCS. They also gave him a number 42 placard from the Fenway Park scoreboard, where he's the last player ever to wear that number.
The next gift was an authentic Fenway Park seat from 1934, also bearing the number 42. After that, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara presented him with the pitching rubber from the visitor's bullpen at Fenway Park.
Last but not least, the Sox presented him with a donation from the Red Sox Foundation to go towards Rivera's school and church that he funds in Panama.
I can't imagine the Red Sox (or any other team) ever doing this for anyone else. There's really no one in the game who garners the same level of respect as Mariano Rivera. Between his incredible dominance on the field to his amazing demeanor off the field, Rivera has been the player and person that everyone else wishes they could be.
Congratulations to Mariano Rivera, one of the greatest players of our era, and without doubt the greatest closer the game of baseball has ever seen.
Check out the entire ceremony here: