Royals honor Mo, make donation to his foundation

Royals honor Mo, make donation to his foundation

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals honored Mariano Rivera with a ceremony before Sunday's game against the Yankees, presenting him with a check for his charitable foundation's future efforts.

Rivera was joined on the field at Kauffman Stadium by Royals general manager Dayton Moore and Hall of Famer George Brett, who viewed a brief video on the large center-field screen paying tribute to the all-time saves leader's career.

"It's amazing," Rivera said. "The fans here have been tremendous. You talk about the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees and all the history that we have, it's a great competitive team.

"We come here to compete. We don't come here to do anything else but compete. The fans know that. You appreciate that, too. They made me feel like I was from here. It was wonderful. I appreciate it. Thank God for that."

The owner of 623 Major League saves, the most recent of which came on Sunday, Rivera is in the process of renovating a church in New Rochelle, N.Y., where his wife, Clara, serves as a pastor. Rivera said that the ceremony was "outstanding."

"To have Mr. Brett next to me, he was the man," Rivera said. "To be there, giving me that donation for the foundation, it's wonderful. I always appreciate that."

The Royals declined to disclose the amount of their contribution to Rivera's efforts, saying only that it is a "sizable monetary donation to assist in the refurbishing of the church."

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer watched the ceremony from the first-base dugout. He singled off Rivera in the ninth before being erased on a double play as Rivera recorded his 15th save in 15 chances this season.

"There's a reason why he's the best closer in baseball and he's the best closer that's ever played baseball," Hosmer said. "If you're a kid growing up that pitches and you dream about pitching in the ninth inning, you pretty much follow in his footsteps.

"As a fan, it was an awesome experience to see the presentation at the beginning of the game and, as a baseball player, it was an honor to face him. I grew up watching him. I remember being with my parents watching them win the World Series. It was a dream come true to face him and just to be on the same field with him in his last year."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.