Red Sox fans cheer Mariano Rivera

Updated: July 21, 2013, 11:49 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

BOSTON -- When Mariano Rivera trotted in from the bullpen, the Fenway Park crowd rose to its feet. The greatest closer of all-time was coming out to shut down the New York Yankees' biggest rival and the Boston Red Sox fans began to cheer.

Unlike All-Star night at Citi Field, when Rivera soaked it all in, he barely noticed it this time. He was training his thoughts on retiring the Red Sox, starting with David Ortiz.

For the the 57th time against the Red Sox, the 35th time at Fenway, the 31st time this season and the all-time record 639th time, Rivera converted the save for the Yankees' 5-2 win.

"I don't want to be rude, but I didn't pay attention," Rivera said of the ovation. "It has always been hard ballgames here. I respect the organization. I respect the fans. That's why I give it back. I play the game the way it should be played."

Others noticed, including the Yankees' manager.

"I think it is the class of the fans here," Joe Girardi said. "Even though there has been a lot of history between Mo and the Red Sox. A lot of times, he has been in games that are extremely important. I think they understand what Mo has done and what he has meant to the game."

Rivera said he has always loved to pitch here and the reaction from the Boston fans didn't surprise him.

"It is kind of like an appreciation," Rivera, 43, said. "It is great that they do that, that they acknowledge you and that you have been there for so many years."

Unlike on Tuesday at Citi Field, the rest of his teammates were behind him as he warmed up -- and they noticed, starting with his catcher.

"It is huge," Chris Stewart said. "It just shows the respect that not just baseball fans, not just Boston fans, people in general have for Mo. They know what he has accomplished throughout his career. He has been their rival for quite awhile. For them to go out of their way to salute him and tip their caps and say, 'We respect what you have done,' it is huge."

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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