Mariano Rivera continued to be showered with recognition this past week, as the corner of East 4th Street and Broadway was temporarily re-named "Mariano Rivera Way" on November 21.
The event was sponsored by New Era Caps, as it was in honor of the limited edition cap they released on the same day. The cap features each of Rivera's five World Series rings, the commemorative Rivera patch sported by the New York Yankees on Rivera's final homestand and a list of his accomplishments—amongst other things.
New Era CEO Chris Koch spoke a few words about Rivera and the company's intent with the new cap before handing the stage off to Rivera, who was brief in his address to the small crowd in attendance.
His reaction to having his name hang over the intersection, though, was priceless.
The media was then given the opportunity to interview Mo in a brief 20-minute session, and you can bet that Bleacher Report was right there for the action. I was able to ask the greatest closer of all time about the Yankees' plans to play a few exhibition games in Panama City during the upcoming spring training to honor him, and he was humbled by the gesture.
"I will be there, definitely. It’s amazing," he said. "Thank God for that, for the organization and the players. Hopefully, it happens.
"It will be something that I will never forget."
Questions regarding the ongoing sagas of Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano were also asked. His opinions on the Rodriguez debacle were semi-neutral, though he did say what would happen if A-Rod decided to tell him his story.
In regards to Cano's contract, Rivera claimed that, "I want him to to do what is right and what is good for him—not anybody else."
Of course, Rivera spent every day of his 19-year major league career with the Yankees. That being said, he was a free agent before and knows what it's like to be a part of negotiations.
The afternoon was capped off by a photo opportunity of Rivera holding the "Mariano Rivera Way" sign that resided over East 4th and Broadway for the day, and he was all smiles while various media outlets snapped picture after picture of the Yankee legend.
His retirement may have occurred a few months ago, but the always humble Rivera will continue to be showered with praise and accolades for the foreseeable future. The exhibition games in Panama are a perfect example of how the Yankees will forever honor him.
Unfortunately, fans who were hoping to see Rivera in uniform again as a coach sometime down the line will be sadly disappointed by the rather lighthearted quote he offered regarding the possibility.
"No, I don't want to."
Rivera is apparently thoroughly enjoying retirement, and he deserves everything that a retired man should enjoy. As the awards and honors keep coming, Rivera will continue to take it all in.
I was just honored myself to be a part of the special honor on November 21.
*Note: All quotes and photographs were recorded/taken first-hand.
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