Part of the pleasure of honoring Yankees legend Mariano Rivera was sorting through all the memories.
With Rivera making his final appearance at Fenway Park this season, the Red Sox made the stroll down memory lane a playful one.
Starting with a video presentation, the Sox went back to one of the franchise’s biggest moments, Game 4 of the 2004 American League championship series with Kevin Millar and Dave Roberts narrating the sequence punchline by punchline.
But once the jokes were out of the way, the Sox and the Fenway crowd showed just how much they appreciated and respected their longtime rival, showering him with an ovation as he took the field for the pregame tribute.
With the all of the Red Sox on the field, Rivera shared hugs and handshakes with David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.
Ortiz and Pedroia greeted him with gifts. Ortiz unveiled a painting of Rivera from the standing ovation he received at Fenway Park on opening day in 2005. Pedroia gave him him the ’42’ used for Rivera on the Fenway Park scoreboard.
In one of the ceremony’s nicer touches, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara presented Rivera with a pitching rubber from the bullpen. The Red Sox also made a charitable contribution to the Mariano Rivera Foundation.
Over the speakers, Mariano’s signature intro theme, “Enter Sandman,” blared out. Honored, he left the field with a modest tip of his cap.