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'Judge Mo' ready for next kangaroo court

'Judge Mo' ready for next kangaroo court

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NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera had already been named honorary judge of the Yankees' clubhouse when he presided over the team's kangaroo court almost three weeks ago. Now the team has made it official.

Judge Marilyn Milian, from "The People's Court," was at Yankee Stadium on Monday to present Rivera with a robe and gavel before the Yankees' game against the Rays, which was won by New York, 5-3. The producers of the TV show read about the kangaroo court, which took place before the game on May 20, and immediately thought to approach the club about staging a meeting with Rivera.

"The Yankees brought back the time-honored tradition of the kangaroo court, and we read about it," Milian said. "We thought we'd come out here and give them a few pointers."

Milian and Rivera met outside the Yankees' dugout while the team was stretching before batting practice. First to be presented was the black robe with the Yankees and "People's Court" logos adorning the front.

"You can't be a real judge without a robe," Milian told the crowd of onlookers.

"Now I'm all business," Rivera responded, laughing.

Then Milian gave Rivera a dark-red gavel with the words "People's Court" on one side and "NY Yankees" on the other. It came in a red box with the interlocking N.Y. logo on the front.

Rivera smiled and laughed during the ceremony, playing with the crowd and posing for photographs. Immediately after seeing the gavel, he turned to his teammates warming up down the right-field line and shouted, "I've got a real thing! I'm coming after you!"

"This is perfect," he told Milian.

Before the presentation, Milian mingled with the players in the dugout. A.J. Burnett approached her first and wrapped her in a hug when she extended her arm for a handshake. Burnett reappeared a few minutes later with his cell phone so he could pose for a picture, and he gave her a baseball to sign for his wife.

Outfielder Nick Swisher and third baseman Alex Rodriguez also hugged Milian. She sent pictures to her husband, Judge John Schlesinger, who was presiding over a case in Miami as she was e-mailing him evidence of her exploits.

"I sent him a text asking him a question about the kids, and he texted back, 'I'm on the bench,' like, 'Don't bother me' " Milian said. "So I texted back, 'So am I,' and I sent him pictures."

Jared Diamond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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