One of the more under-the-radar stories in baseball is that Yankees fans and Red Sox fans don't like each other. It seems as if those two teams have something of a "rivalry" that transcends most rivalries in sports. You'd think it would be a bigger deal.
But over at the SB Nation Red Sox site, Over the Monster, Brendan O'Toole explains his emotions at the news that Mariano Rivera's career might be over, and they aren't "haha, choke on that you yankee loosah!"
... I could never find anything to dislike about Mariano beyond the fact that he was wearing the wrong uniform. The guy has (had?) one pitch. Just one pitch. But it was a pitch that ate hitters' souls. Shattered bats, shaking heads, celebrating Yanks. That's most of what I remember watching Mo pitch. A stone-cold assassin, single weapon in hand, calmly dispatching opposing teams. No Valverde hops, no Papelbon fist-pumps or dances. Just save after save after save, for 18 years.
That 18 years, more than anything, might be why I found myself tearing up watching Rivera discuss his injury, and the anguished tweets of Yankee fans last night
This is almost a litmus test to see if a fan has perspective. Rivera was the kind of player who earned begrudging respect instead of abject hatred. As a Giants fan, my only comp would be Vin Scully. There are actually Giants fans who can't wait to say bad things about Vin Scully. This extremist faction is barely tolerated, but luckily they don't have the numbers to become anything more than an annoyance. Scully transcends the rivalry.
And when it comes to Yankees/Red Sox, Rivera might be one of those guys too. It wasn't supposed to end like this.