Rockies shouldn’t have honored Rivera

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

Say this about the Rockies.

They are a classy organization.

They treat their employees well, and they hire guys who don’t embarrass the organization.

They also did something unthinkable by honoring Mariano Rivera before their game against the Yankees on Wednesday night. He was honored for his great career after announcing he would retire at the end of the season.

This was so strange in so many levels.

First off, the Yankees and Rockies rarely play each other in interleague play.

Second of all, opposing players rarely get honored by teams in other leagues.

Finally, Rivera never made history in Colorado.

There is no reason for the Rockies to honor the Yankees closer for his great career. He can be honored at Yankee Stadium when his team will honor him in his final home game as a Yankee. That should be good enough.

It’s stupid for a team to honor players from another team that beat that same team. It’s just strange.

This practice started when other teams honored Cal Ripken Jr.  in 2001 after he announced his retirement.

Now, other great players get honored when they come to town. Chipper Jones had a nice farewell tour last year.

It’s ridiculous. It’s a sideshow to honor great players that beat a team. It’s like someone honoring a bully for beating them up all these years.

Sure, a team wants to show how classy they are. But it does not make sense.

Rivera is a great guy from all accounts. He is a dedicated Christian. He does charity work. He is a mentor to young pitchers. He has made it a point to thank clubhouse employees and groundskeepers in his final tour of the ballparks he pitched this year.

Rivera is the best closer in the history of baseball, and he is one of the top 10 players ever to play the game.

The Yankees closer is a lock to go to the Hall of Fame when he is eligible to go. He will be in at first ballot.

With that said, Rivera is not a Nobel Peace Prize winner. It’s not like he saved lives.

He shouldn’t be honored for beating the other team, especially when he never really faced a team like the Rockies in his Hall of Fame career.

Teams from other leagues don’t do this.

No NFL team would honor Tom Brady after he torched them for so many touchdowns all these years.

It’s hard to believe the Nuggets would honor Kobe Bryant, who has been a thorn in their side.

No pro hockey team honors other players that beat them.

It’s remarkable why baseball teams honor other players that beat them.

If fans want to give that player a standing ovation for what he has done all these years, that’s fine. It showed he did a good job of entertaining them all these years. There would be a genuine respect out of that ovation. Plus, it would show how spontaneous their reaction is.

For a home team to honor the other player, it does not seem right. It’s insulting to other players that play on the same home team who are trying to win all these years.

This should never happen.

Rivera will not have any fond memories in Colorado. It’s hard to create one when he never had a moment there.

Sure, he had five saves in five career appearances against the Rockies, but so what? Five saves does not make a history.

It’s hard to believe any Rockies fan will ever remember what Rivera did against them.

Most Rockies fans will remember what Barry Bonds and Tony Gwynn did against them by hitting Rockies’ pitching for a long time.

Bonds and Gwynn accomplish a lot, but they never were honored.

Why should Rivera and other baseball players be different?

Rivera leaves Colorado with fond memories. He basically made the Rockies look out of their league in his two appearances against them this week.

It makes one wonder why honor a guy that made a fool out of them in a game.

One can only react with bemusement.

Times have certainly changed when other players are honored by a team after they beat them all these years.

That’s not a great thing.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

6 comments

  1. HariSeldon

    “he never really faced a team like the Rockies in his Hall of Fame career.”
    Seriously? The Rockies are somehow different than the teams Mo beat for five world championships? Different than the 12 All Star teams on which Mo played?

    You honor Mariano because HE is different. He’s the best ever at what he does, and there will never be another like him – he did it with one pitch. Interleague? He is by far the interleague saves leader with 72. If Lou Gehrig, or Ty Cobb, or Babe Ruth were alive today, would you oppose the Rockies sparing a few minutes to honor history? Kids at Coors will be able to say they saw Troy, but they will also be able to say they saw Mariano Rivera. Cuddyer singled against Mariano in the second game. Want to bet he’ll tell his grandchildren that?

    My son has seen Mo about seven times live, and knows the date of each one. I saw Sandy Koufax at his prime. My dad saw Lou Gehrig at his prime. We’re baseball fans. You think we care what team they played for? Respect history a bit, like baseball fans do.

    • lesliemonteiromlblogs

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Hari. Great comment.

      Different strokes for different folks, and that’s fine.

      I don’t believe other team’s players should be honored by other teams. If
      fans want to give a great player from another team a standing ovation, fine, but
      why should a team honor another team’s player. It does not make sense for me. Plus,
      I hate the Yankees.

      That’s just my opinion. I am old-school in this.

      As for what you said, I get what you are saying, and I respect it.

  2. V

    I understand that you hate the Yankees. Many people do. Many people hate the Patriots, the Lakers, and so forth. The thing is, they were not honoring the Yankees, they were honoring Rivera. What you seem to miss here are some of the oddball ends of players and their relationships with the fans. When you talk about Barry Bonds as a comparison, I take that as a bit of a slight against Rivera, because Rivera is not Barry Bonds. There is no scandal. There is no contentious relationship with the fans and the media. Rivera is as much honoring each stadium he goes to, as they are to him, meeting with regular people, getting to know more of the fans behind the game, and spending time where those other players, while also great, did not. The Rockies, in turn, paid tribute.

    You say you’re old school. Old school players (from the 60’s) were not sheltered multimillion dollar primadonnas. They were regular people, like anyone else, and while they did enjoy their celebrity status, and most of the time, moderately above average incomes, they practiced on fairgrounds, for the fans, not isolated away in some random city. They were out on the town in the same regular joints that anyone else would go to.

    Green Bay fans hate the Lions. But for some reason, they cheered for Barry Sanders. Separate the player from the team, and look at the player alone, and what they stood for, and you’ll get a better idea why ALL teams, not just your rockies, are taking a little time here and there to pay some tribute to Rivera as a human being. If you still cannot see past the comparisons of a Barry Bonds, then I would suggest that there is NOTHING old school about your approach.

    • lesliemonteiromlblogs

      Great comments, V. Thanks for reading and responding.

      Did Rivera really talked to the fans? All I thought he did was do his job and that was it. He never struck
      me as a guy that talked to the fans. Plus, Mariano only went to Colorado few times. It’s that worthy of a tribute?

      Barry Bonds and Tony Gwynn were great players, but how come no team had a ceremony for them when they made
      their last appearance at a certain city? Why it’s different than Mariano?

      There is no right or wrong answer. I get your perspective, and all. I am just not one of those folks
      that believe in honoring opposing team’s players, especially when they beat them often.

  3. V

    Rivera has been spending time at every stadium he goes to this year to honor some of the fans and workers for the team. He has, historically, been one of the most available players out there when it comes to not being sheltered and in private all the time. In Cleveland, he honored the fan who is known for beating the war drum, in Boston, he invited the family of a reporter (including her dying father) to the stadium to meet the team and have dinner with the team, to the point that the father actually wrote him a private letter. He, as an individual, has been the epitome of class and generosity throughout the latter portion of his career, and there is a reason that he is revered among other players on opposing teams. This goes beyond the Yankees, or even baseball. He is an old school ballplayer. Not a modern day primadonna party animal. No drugs. No affairs. Has been the very best at what he does.

    Tony Gwynn is also an outstanding individual, but what I think may have separated Rivera apart is that he is the very best at his position in the history of the game. Tony Gwynn was a surefire hall of famer, and also a good person as well, but Gwynn also suffered for having played during the last parts of the last era of baseball, when there were a lot more players like him, being good human beings in addition to being great ballplayers. Bonds, on the other hand, has a large steroid controversy, his contention relationship with fans and the media, and the fact that he is not a player that has the respect of the public, even if he was a great ballplayer. It is a lot rarer thing nowadays for an athlete to also be a publicly generous and available person, like they were in yesteryear. IMHO that is why he is being honored as he is.

    That is why I equated his situation to more of the Barry Sanders type. Humble, and revered by both peers and opposing teams fans.

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