|Rivera addresses the crowd|
Apparently Mariano has a connection to some local charitable organizations through his Mariano Rivera Foundation. Earlier in the day there was a 1st annual Mariano Rivera 5k run, after which he would hang out and pitch at the special needs Challenger game.
|Rivera and Julia's Challenger team|
Honestly, I don't think any of these kids had any idea who this guy was, but many of the parents did. Rivera is the greatest relief pitcher in the history of the game, and a sure future Hall of Famer. He has the most Saves in MLB history, the most games finished, the lowest ERA in post-season history, and the most Saves in post-season history. Pretty much all you could ask for in a relief pitcher (even if he did play for the hated Yankees).
|Julia and Rivera|
He was a really nice guy, and the event was very low key. I can't imagine him doing a similar thing in the New York city area and not being mobbed. As it was, there weren't many people at the event that didn't have a reason to be there, and there was nobody I saw asking for autographs. He chatted with various people, and took a lot of pictures, but it was all very respectful and laid back.
For me, I can chalk this up as a random brush with greatness. Based on this act of kindness alone, I now like the guy. Even if he was a Yankee...