I got of a taste of the flip side of the feel-good celebration of Mariano (Mo) Rivera’s career at Fenway Park which occurred in advance of last night’s final regular season Yankees-Red Sox when I saw a Facebook post by an irate Yankees honk. (I think it’s important to maintain friendly relationships with these otherwise irritating people in order to develop a better understanding of their neuroses and, I suppose, to offer assistance when I can.)
The geographically confused Rhode Islander who insists on rooting for the Yankees was at the game and fumed on Facebook about how the video presentation “disrespected” Mo, the great Yankees closer who is a certain Hall of Famer and arguably the best closer of his generation, if not ever. He vented about “arrogant”, “classless” Red Sox fans for spoiling the latest stop on the Rivera Retirement Train. That theme was picked up today as some unnamed Yankee execs suggested that the video’s focus on Mo’s meltdown in the 2004 ACLS was too much.
Take a look and judge for yourself. My take is this: after 27 World Championships, you’d think freakin’ Yankee fans would have developed some mental toughness. I mean they’re the first ones to talk about their franchise’s vast success, but when the someone has a little fun at their expense, they flip out—either soiling their Depends or griping about the fundamental unfairness of their team being treated with anything other than the hushed, reverential tones usually reserved for discussing the acts of sacrifice of military heroes or religious figures.
Mo is doing the retirement circuit, being honored in MLB parks across the country. Not just on his home turf, but on other team’s doorsteps. Each team feels compelled to put on a show of fealty and devotion to this long-time opponent. Fine.
Boston decided to put a different spin on the love-fest and why not? We’re not just any other team. We are the Yankee’s long-time rival. So is it an earth-shattering, precedent-destroying act of lunacy for the Sox front office to go the “honor him with a roast” route as opposed to simply “genuflecting at the altar of his greatness” route?
C’mon, Yankee fans. You’re better than this, even after a season that’s been as forgettably bad as ours was uncomfortably weird and awful last year? Stop your whining about Mo’s poor treatment at the hands of Boston. We gave him gifts and words of respect. And we tweaked him about walking Kevin Millar and losing a big game in October of 2004. So what?
Follow Mo’s example and take it like you had an ounce of character. Take it the way he took being cheered by the Fenway faithful at the Opening Game in 2005 for having screwed up so badly in his last game the year before.
Now that’s a Yankee you can root for. As long as he’s not itching against you. Which, by the way, he won’t be doing against the Red Sox ever again. Tip of the hat to you Mo a big Bronx Cheer to the Yankee faithful with no sense of humor. Remember guys, it could be worse. As bad as our rivalry can be, it’s not like we’re leaving dead animals in each other’s dugouts or anything…