"They won...For the respect of baseball and for the respect of the Red Sox organization, you've got to be there. After 86 years, I think they deserved to win one. And why not celebrate it as (much) as they could? That's okay. I have no problem with that." Mariano Rivera (N.Y.Daily News)
As good as Opening Day in the Bronx felt for Yankee fans, yesterday's home opener at Fenway Park was even sweeter for Red Sox Nation. The Sox received their World Serious rings before the game and then proceeded to knock the stuffing out of the Yanks. Mike Mussina was not sharp, Alex Rodriguez made a key error, and Tim Wakefieldbaffled New York once again.
The Yankees were all class yesterday, led by their classy manager, right there on the top step for every minute of the ring ceremony yesterday, and the raising of the flag. When Terry Francona came out first to get his ring, he stood near first base and the first thing he did was point across the field at the Yankees. "We were curious," Torre said. And maybe, just maybe, for this one day, everybody on the field, both sides of it, both uniforms, knew what Pesky has known his baseball life, long before the sides were even, about why this rivalry has always mattered the way it has.
The Bombers were booed when introduced before the game. But Mariano Rivera heard nothing but cheers. To his credit, Rivera rolled with it. The Daily News reports:
"I didn't know they loved me so much here," Rivera said after being roundly cheered at Fenway Park during player introductions before the Red Sox's home opener against the Yankees yesterday. As he jogged onto the field, Rivera returned the derisive ovation with an ear-to-ear grin and a doffing of his cap to the crowd.
..."I thought he was a good sport about it too," Joe Torre said. "It's what they do here. And, of course, Yankee Stadium is no different."
..."That's me," Rivera said. "What can I do? Get upset there and start throwing baseballs at people? I don't think that's the right thing. The right thing is to just follow them. Go with them."
Today gives a day of rest. Another day for Sox fans to soak it all in. Curt Schilling will make his 2005 debut tomorrow night. Jaret Wright goes for the Yanks.