One final road tribute for Mariano Rivera
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HOUSTON - It didn't top the emotional send-off Mariano Rivera received Thursday night at the Stadium.
It couldn't have.
Still, the Astros did just fine in Sunday's pregame ceremony honoring the retiring Rivera, who has gotten tributes at each road stop this season.
Among those speaking at the ceremony, narrated by Astros Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton, were Joe Torre and Roger Clemens, whose 300th win was saved by Rivera.
"Nobody wants to see you go,'' Clemens said. "Thank you for all you've done for the game of baseball. We love you.''
Torre wasn't given the same ovation as Clemens, a state hero, but he was received warmly by the crowd of 40,542, many of whom were Yankee fans.
"You don't get a chance to manage for George Steinbrenner for 12 years unless you have a guy like this coming out of the bullpen,'' Torre said.
Rivera could be seen saying "Oh my God'' when a local artist unveiled a painting containing a collage of moments (13 of them) from his life and career that formed the No. 42.
Rivera addressed the crowd briefly and said he "wanted to apologize for not competing'' in the series. He had decided that Thursday's game in the Bronx, when he wept on the mound as longtime teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte removed him from the game, was the perfect way to go out.
"Every time you have Mr. Torre around, it's great for me,'' Rivera said. "Seeing Clemens was outstanding also.''
A side story to the ceremony was Pettitte, whose once-close relationship with Clemens cooled after he testified that Clemens told him he had used HGH. The two hadn't seen each other in several years, Pettitte said, but they embraced warmly -- though briefly -- and shared a few words.
Rivera didn't have much to add to what he's said pretty much all season. "Definitely I've been ready for this moment,'' he said after his team's 5-1 win. "I'm OK with it, I'm happy with it and I move on.''