Just as every opponent has done this year in this, Mariano Rivera’s final season, the Toronto Blue Jays presented the retiring Yankees closer with a special gift during pregame ceremonies Thursday night.
But this wasn’t a framed photo or a bronzed piece of baseball memorabilia or even a rocker made of broken bats. It was the gift of eternal life through salvation.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons opened the ceremony by giving Mariano Rivera a plaque with John 3:16 written on it — the well-known Bible verse promising eternal life to “whosoever believeth” in Jesus Christ.
Gibbons then asked Rivera if would accept God’s plan for him and take Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. A smiling Rivera said that he would and the Rogers Centre crowd broke into a standing ovation. Rivera was then presented with a pair of angel wings featuring the logos of the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Rivera said after the game that he loved Toronto’s gift.
“Not to disparage what the other teams gave me, I really appreciate all of it,” he said. “But a rocking chair kind of sucks in comparison to living in heaven forever. I mean, it’s no contest.”
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez caught on fire during the pregame ceremony upon being struck by lightning, oddly enough, despite being inside a domed stadium.
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(photo via CBC)