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Final Word: Mariano Rivera shows value of rivalries

Did you happen to see any of the Yankees-Red Sox baseball game on Saturday night?

Yankees-Red Sox games at Fenway Park are always special, but this one had a moment that you should really see if you are a fan of the game.

Mariano Rivera, the Yankees closer who has 639 career saves, said this will be his final season. He is so dominant that most games are considered to be over when he makes an appearance.

He was pitching at Fenway Park this weekend, and when he came into the game in a save situation on Saturday night, the crowd of Red Sox fans, whose beloved team has been Rivera’s victim all too many times, jumped to their feet and gave him a standing ovation. They understand that the best closing pitcher we have ever seen was possibly making one of his final appearances at Fenway and, as much as they hate what Rivera has done to their hitters since the mid ’90s, they wanted to let him know he’s the best.

Complete class.

And, in return, Rivera had great things to say about the Red Sox fans, adding the he has always loved to play at Fenway.

This is what a great baseball rivalry is about. It’s competitive, it’s local and it’s respectful.

During the 2001 World Series, the Diamondbacks got the better of Rivera, beating him in Game 7. If Rivera were to pitch here this year, would D-backs fans stand up?

I hope so.