Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is on a retirement tour, but he's not just accepting gifts and bowing before loud rounds of applause at each stop. Rivera is trying to give back to the people who have worked at all the stadiums where he has played.
A group of around 20 Rangers Ballpark employees got their chance to meet with him Tuesday. This wasn't a simple meet-and-greet with phony handshakes and frequent looks at the clock to see how much more time he had to be there. Rivera wanted to be there.
"Allow me to say thank you for what you guys do," Rivera said. "I wanted to do something different, and I wanted to make sure I said thanks to those we never see or we don't interact too much. It has been wonderful."
He gave a welcome to the group, thanking them for what they do. He then asked what they do. He wanted to hear their questions. Many worked on the grounds outside the stadium, and others were in charge of the 1,200 televisions around Rangers Ballpark. Some didn't speak English, so Rivera gave his answers in English and Spanish.
At the end of the session, which lasted about 30 minutes, he took a photo with each Rangers employee and gave each one an autographed baseball. And another heart-felt thanks for the work they do.
"What you guys do is not an easy job," he said. "I wanted to make sure I thanked you guys for that."
-- Jeff Wilson