Watching Boston closer Koji Uehara effortlessly silence opponents this October got me thinking. Not needing any excuse to glance in the other direction of Red Sox dominance, I started fading into recent nostalgia about that other closer 200 miles to the south.
Well, at least he used to be the closer.
No, the full impact of Mariano Rivera’s retirement won’t reverberate through the club and fan base until March or April. But, no matter what month the calendar reads from here on out, Rivera has played his last game. But, you already knew that, didn’t you? How could you forget?
Over the course of the 2013 season, Rivera said goodbye to baseball in every park he played in. Quirky gifts, moving tributes and heartfelt genuine appreciation was bestowed upon the soon to be geriatric closer by his opponents.
Personally, I thought parts of the farewell tour were a bit over the top and soaked in a thick coat of sappiness. But, who am I to complain when all parties involved seem to be having a ball celebrating a truly amazing player that’s soon to be taking up precious real estate in Cooperstown?
That brings me to my question: Has Mariano Rivera set a precedent for “farewell tours”?
Initially, most people will read this and respond in a Mike Francesa like disinterest and mutter, “Who cares?” But, people love rankings and are always ready to settle into a good lively debate. Look at ESPN’s First Take- When there aren’t debates, they take “sincere” sides on the possible reasons for the lack of debates.
But, because the idea of orchestrated farewell tours is virtually uncharted waters, the debate has yet to become a hot button issue. Chipper Jones and Tony Gwynn were justly serenaded during their swan song, but in reality the celebrations were nothing compared to the highly talked about and highly covered Rivera goodbye.
So, as media outlets grow and debates are born get ready for future heated exchanges like, “Is he gift worthy?” and “Ah, but Player A got a gift tour and Player B didn’t. That means something”
It sounds preposterous and downright irrelevant, doesn’t it? Well, that’s never stopped the media and fans from acting like that before.
Future MLB resumes-MVPs, All-Stars, HOF, and…gift worthy?