Mariano Rivera made the final out on Thursday October 26, Game 5 of the 2000 World Series, getting Mike Piazza to pop up to Bernie Williams in center field. One of his signature saves took place in Shea Stadium, as Mets fans had to watch as the Yankees celebrated on Mets hallowed ground.
Fourteen years later, Rivera entered the All-Star Game at the Mets new home of Citifield. On a weekend that turned into a celebration of the Mets franchise, Rivera, the rivaled but respected Yankee, was going to have His Moment. All the fans knew it was coming, a tribute to his career by his peers. He was about to be celebrated, and celebrate, on the Mets new hallowed grounds.
And how did the fans react: They cheered. They gave nearly as loud an ovation as they gave Seaver during the ceremonial first pitch. Nearly as loud as David Wright received when he was announced before and throughout the game. As loud as Carlos Beltran, without the small smattering boos from the few trying to make him the Mets version of Bill Buckner.
Anyone who thinks the ovation came primarily from the minority of Yankee fans in attendance needs to listen to the reaction for Robinson Cano during the pre-game introductions to know that the sound emanating from Citifield could not have come from so few number.
At a time when Mets fans would have been in their right to boo a rival, they didn’t. Booing would not have really made the moment that much worse, cause Rivera and the viewing audience would recognize it’s due to rivalry.
Mets fans showed the entire MLB audience they can be just as classy as the more “reputed” fan base. The more socially active members of MLB already know about the intensity and passion of the diehard Mets fans. There may be a Red Sox Nation, but only the NY National League squad own social media, i.e. #Metstwitter.
The fan base was cast a bit of a black eye by the national media, constantly pestering Carlos Beltran how he was hated in NY, when most know it is only a small, bitter, illogical contingent. The fans went a long way to showing that we honor and embrace MLB.
Rivera’s All-Star moment was one that he and Yankee fans should remember for a long. For Mets fans, it’s one that we should feel pride about for an even longer time.
Posted by Robert Z