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.