The New York Yankees and New York Mets battle for back-page press on a daily basis and share one of the most intense rivalries in Major League Baseball, but it seems both sides are willing to put aside their differences for the purpose of recognizing history.   

According to Bryan Hoch of, the Mets have asked Mariano Rivera to throw out the first pitch of Tuesday night’s clash—an invitation the Yankees closer has accepted:

In an even classier move, the Mets will bring out former closer and team Hall of Famer John Franco to receive the pitch, per Peter Schrager of Fox Sports:

The Yankees are at Citi Field for the second game of a four-game set, which will conclude Thursday at Yankee Stadium. However, Tuesday night will mark the final time Rivera sets foot in Queens as an active pitcher barring both teams making the World Series—an increasing unlikelihood for the fourth-place Mets.    

The 43-year-old Rivera announced he would retire following the 2013 season and has been met with an outpouring of support from the entire league ever since. The Mets’ act of class is just the latest on the Rivera retirement tour, which has seen teams shower the Yankees closer with checks for his charity (Kansas City Royals) and gifts like the one he received from Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland

It was announced earlier this week that the Mets would honor Rivera, but it was not known to what extent. Last year, longtime Mets killer Chipper Jones received artwork as he exited the game for the final time at Citi Field, as noted by ESPN New York’s Matt Ehalt.

The Mets and NYFD had already honored Rivera earlier on Tuesday by presenting him with a call box and hose nozzle, calling him the “ultimate fireman,” per Hoch

It’s unknown at this time what, if anything, else the Mets have planned for the Yankees closer when he throws out the pitch.  

Though the two sides only meet during interleague play, Rivera has (unsurprisingly) been quite the fireman versus Mets in his limited opportunities facing the crosstown rival. The future Hall of Famer has converted 20-of-22 save opportunities over 37 appearances against the Mets. Four of those appearances came in the 2000 Subway Series, when Rivera recorded the final outs to give the Yankees a 4-1 series win. 

The Mets likely hope Rivera’s first pitch is the only one he throws Tuesday night. Despite missing nearly all of last season with a torn ACL, Rivera has been on top of his game throughout 2013. He’s converted all 18 of his save chances, compiling a 1.40 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in 20 appearances.

Even if Rivera doesn’t get one last save chance against the Mets, the organization has made sure he has an opportunity to hear appreciation from the Citi Field faithful. It just goes to show that sometimes respect triumphs over bitter rivalries.


Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter:

Read more MLB news on