It’s official — the Mets have gone overboard with their celebration of Mariano Rivera. At a ceremony to honor the retiring Yankees great, Jeff Wilpon asked him to throw out the first ball at Tuesday night’s game against the Mets.
Now, I have no problem honoring Rivera; he is the greatest reliever of all time. Not only that, he has always operated off the field with class and dignity. He is admired, sometimes grudgingly, by virtually every baseball fan. But the fact remains that he is a Yankee, and Mets fans hate the Yankees.
So the Mets needed to do something low key, like they did with Chipper Jones. They presented him with that hideous piece of “artwork” at a private ceremony with a camera to record the event. Then they had a video montage of his great moments on the board before the game.
Instead, Mariano Rivera started his whirlwind day by greeting Mets employees in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. I’m not sure exactly why.
Then they held a full blown news conference at which Wilpon and the FDNY commissioner gave him plaques featuring a call box and a fire hose. You know, because relievers are “firemen” (who comes up with these lame gifts?).
And later he will throw out the first ball, likely accompanied with a video montage.
The news conference and video is all that was necessary. I mean, throwing out the first pitch? When do active players ever throw out first pitches? They play in the games for real; no need for a ceremonial appearance on the field.
This is yet another slap in the face to Mets fans who feel the organization does not honor its own players (or did I miss Mike Piazza Day?), yet goes out of its way to honor the opposition, often times from despised teams.
Add this to the list of things the Mets can’t just seem to get right.