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Schilling, Boone and Garciaparra share memories of Rivera, on eve of Sunday Night Baseball and Fenway farewells

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The long and storied New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox rivalry will deliver what is sure to be another memorable moment on this week’s Sunday Night Baseball.

Legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony by the Red Sox – his ultimate adversary – before what could be his final appearance at Fenway Park. ESPN plans to capture the ceremony on Baseball Tonight, leading into SNB.

Front Row caught up with ESPN MLB analysts Curt Schilling, Aaron Boone and Nomar Garciaparra — all of whom have either played with or against “Mo” in some of the biggest games in the history of the rivalry. They shared their thoughts on Rivera.

Favorite Rivera moment
Schilling, former Red Sox pitcher: No one moment. What I will remember is the class and dignity that he carried himself with. He was the one player in this bitter rivalry that fans on both sides had immense respect for. If I had to pick a moment it would be him getting a standing ovation on Opening Day 2005, in Fenway, when we got our rings, he handled it so well.

Boone, former Yankees infielder: Rivera collapsing on the mound at the end of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS after he had gone three innings and shut down that great Red Sox offense. To see him completely overcome with joy is something I’ll always remember.

Rivera’s place in history
Garciaparra, former Red Sox infielder: He’s going to go down as one of the best closers, if not the best closer, in baseball. He set a standard for aspiring closers.

Schilling: I think he’s the greatest professional athlete at his position, in my lifetime. [Tom] Brady and [Joe] Montana at QB, [Pete] Rose as a hitter, LeBron [James] as a basketball player, [Sidney] Crosby or [Wayne] Gretzky in hockey – I think Mo was better than anyone in any sport at his job.

Boone: I think he’s arguably the most revered athlete, maybe in history. To have a guy like that who plays for the Yankees – there are a ton of people who love him and I guarantee you that Fenway Park will go crazy for him on Sunday night. That speaks to the grace, his character, the way he’s carried himself throughout his entire career. Revered, friend or foe. One thing I always tell people – he’s exactly like how you think he is. Humble, graceful, kind but also underneath it all, the ultimate competitor.

Editor’s note: In May 2013, E:60 aired this feature on Rivera by reporter Tom Rinaldi.

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