One man can transcend the rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, and that man is Mariano Rivera.
The legendary Yankees closer received a wonderful reception when he received the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award from Bud Selig on Thursday night before Game 2 of the 2013 World Series, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt.
Selig was very touched to give Mariano Rivera the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award. Thinks Rivera is everything a player should be.— Tom (@Haudricourt) October 24, 2013
Likely for the last time ever, Rivera was led on to the field with Metallica's "Enter Sandman" playing in the background, as MLB noted.
Mariano Rivera honored at Fenway Park with Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award. He gets a standing ovation as "Enter Sandman" plays.— MLB (@MLB) October 24, 2013
The Boston Red Sox posted a Vine of the entrance.
David Ortiz made sure to offer his congratulations to Rivera before the game, via Boston's Instagram account.
Per MLB Public Relations, in a press conference before the final ceremony, Bud Selig went on record to call Rivera the best relief pitcher in the game's history. Who's going to argue with him?
Commissioner Selig calls Rivera "Unequivocally, the greatest relief pitcher in the history of the game." pic.twitter.com/CnHSnngMt8— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) October 24, 2013
The 43-year-old is retiring as the all-time leader in saves. His 652 are 51 ahead of Trevor Hoffman in second place. The closest active pitcher is Joe Nathan, at 341. It's safe to say Rivera is going to have the saves crown for quite a while longer.
The reaction he received from the Boston crowd is a testament to the professional Rivera is and how respected he is across the league. There's only a select few players still around who could command this kind of reception, especially from a rival team's biggest fans.
Thursday night was the culmination of a farewell tour that stopped at every ballpark in which the Yankees played in 2013. In each road stadium and then eventually Yankee Stadium, Rivera was showered with gift after gift.
The last one he received, though, will probably be the most meaningful.