The Minnesota Twins perfected the practice of giving a meaningful, personalized gift to a star player on a retirement tour with Mariano Rivera in town Tuesday.
The Twins even named the rocking chair made of broken bats they gave to Rivera before playing the New York Yankees at Target Field: The Chair of Broken Dreams, they called it.
A brainchild of manager Ron Gardenhire, the chair is comprised of some of the actual bats broken by Rivera cut fastballs in games against the Twins. Sluggers such as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau — even Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett — donated wood to the project. Now that's how you treat the all-time saves leader. (Although they probably could have built him a dinette set, if they wanted to.)
That's Glen Perkins (right) and Justin Morneau with Gardenhire on the mic and Rivera on the left.
The Twins also donated $10,000 to Rivera's charitable foundation, which surely made him happy, but perhaps not as happy as when he saw the chair:
"He's kind of done it all the right way," Gardenhire said of Rivera. "When you talk about respect of the game, he'll be right up there at the top. He's a player you respect, and the way he's gone about it. A classy individual."
Rivera, who has said he is retiring at the end of the season, has been given some neat gifts along his farewell tour:
A surfboard and a bottle of wine in Oakland by the Athletics, a photo collage of himself along with a jar of Tiger Stadium dirt in Detroit, and a gold record of "Enter Sandman" by the Indians in Cleveland.
All thoughtful, and many unique. But if anybody tops the Twinkies and their rocking chair of broken bats, it'll be an upset.