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posted: 8/9/2013 5:35 AM

Yankees' Rivera puts his class on display

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  • New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who is retiring after this season, makes a point to visit with behind-the-scenes workers at each ballpark he visits.

      New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who is retiring after this season, makes a point to visit with behind-the-scenes workers at each ballpark he visits.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera pitched his last game at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night and the veteran didn't fare well, but what he did before the game made it memorable.

Rivera, who has pitched 19 seasons in the majors, continued his effort to meet with various ballpark employees who do the behind-the-scenes work at each stadium he plays in.

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At U.S. Cellular Field, he met with a team-selected group of blue-collar folks who usually never get a mention but still play an important role at the park. His only stipulation was it couldn't be a worker who wore a tie.

How cool it must have been for the 20-plus people who congregated with him in the Conference and Learning Center inside the stadium for a question-and-answer session.

He's a first ballot Hall of Famer and a first-class guy!

Double standard

Riley Cooper used the N-word at a concert in June, and like everything today it was caught on video. The Philadelphia Eagle wide receiver went to sensitivity training and was suspended for four days before returning to the team.

Many people, including some media members, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and some teammates wanted a harsher punishment for Cooper.

In my opinion, that word should be gone completely from the English language, and that some people still find it acceptable to use is really unacceptable. I believe the word won't go away until everyone stops using it completely.

Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White and New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz tweeted inflammatory statements after George Zimmerman was cleared of all charges in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. The players took the tweets down and profusely apologized, but the damage was done. There was some fallout, but it went away quickly and the media, in my view, seemed to hold only Cooper accountable for his racial slur.

From my perspective, the tweeting by the players was pretty bad too.

Is there a double standard? Maybe, but maybe we should all think a little before we act.

Nats sink this year:

Mike Rizzo, the general manager of the Washington Nationals who derailed his team's chances of winning a World Series last year by sitting ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg, got a promotion and extension.

I love that Rizzo is a South Side guy from Chicago, and he deserves congratulations, but honestly I don't get it. The Nats are 15 games back right now after a 99-win season last year. How do you get a promotion and a raise?

The Nationals say he has performed brilliantly. Wow! By the way, Strasburg may have trouble winning 10 games this year.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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