The Red Sox prior to last night's game paid tribute to Yankees P Mariano Rivera by "roasting" him for his blown save in the '04 ALCS, "perhaps the lowest moment in Rivera's career," and the BOSTON GLOBE's Nick Cafardo wonders if the presentation was "appropriate." A few Yankees officials and media members "right after the ceremony had some raised eyebrows." One Yankees writer said, "It looked like more of a tribute to the 2004 Red Sox than to Mariano." A Yankees official said, "Did you think they rubbed in 2004 a little bit too much?" Cafardo notes the Red Sox "certainly didn't mean any harm, but if it was even slightly perceived as being disrespectful it probably shouldn't have happened." This is the organization "one would think would have hit a home run with a Rivera tribute; instead one was left wondering whether the 2004 theme was the right one to choose." Certainly master of ceremonies Dave O'Brien "mentioned all the great things, but the videoboard showed all good Red Sox things at the expense of Rivera." O'Brien did "set it up at the start when he said this was 'less of a toast and more of a roast.'" But amid the "awkward theme there were such nice touches that Rivera appeared touched by." Rivera, when asked after the game if the theme was too much, said, "No, they deserved it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/16). In Massachusetts, Ron Chimelis writes the ceremony was done in an "odd and even questionable way." But Rivera took the presentation "with dignity and a smile." There were "flattering comments ... but still, saluting an icon with even a good-natured form of gloating is debatable for its taste" (Springfield REPUBLICAN, 9/16). Columnist Peter Gammons writes, "The ceremony was a heartfelt outpouring from his rival players, his former minor league manager Brian Butterfield and, most of all, the fans, although the video board presentation was really about the Red Sox and Game Four of the 2004 ALCS, rather than about Rivera himself" (GAMMONSDAILY.com, 9/16).
SAYING GOODBYE, AND THANKS: In Boston, Michael Silverman writes under the header "1st-Class Fenway Honors For Mariano Rivera" and notes it was a "light-hearted, classy ceremony." Among the gifts Rivera was given were a check "for his charity efforts in Panama," the pitching rubber from the visitors bullpen and the "42" placard "used for the scoreboard." The Boston Cello Quartet played Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Rivera's entrance music at Yankee Stadium. The "entire Red Sox team," as well as Owner John Henry, Chair Tom Werner, President & CEO Larry Lucchino and GM Ben Cherington "gathered in the infield" for the presentations (BOSTON HERALD, 9/16). In N.Y., Roger Rubin notes tributes for Rivera have been "routine for his final game at every ballpark during his last season but there was something more meaningful with it coming from the Yanks’ blood rival." Red Sox fans "showered warmth on Rivera, who spent the final innings signing autographs in the bullpen" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/16).
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL: In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy noted Red Sox Owner John Henry happens to be buying the Boston Globe "at the precise moment when the Red Sox are performing at a level that makes them almost above criticism." The "praise and gushing that comes with this is hard earned and well deserved, but it nevertheless will invite suspicion because of an unsolvable conflict of interest." Shaughnessy: "When good things happen, we write good things. When bad things happen, the coverage is not as favorable. Prepare for the deification of this ball club" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/15).