Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14

There’s just no other way to say it: Mariano Rivera is a genuine, caring human being. According to a report by The Associated Press, as part of his retirement farewell tour, the longtime Yankees closer is personally meeting with stadium workers all around baseball, taking the time to thank them for doing their job. On Wednesday, Rivera was in Cleveland, where he met with about 25 Progressive Field employees, posing for pictures and handing out autographed baseballs. “I appreciate what you guys do,” Rivera said. “We see mostly what goes on when we’re on the field and not what’s going on behind the scenes. I wanted to say thank you for everything that you guys do, for the love and passion you have for your team. It doesn’t matter if you are a Yankee fan or not. You are a baseball fan. “Thank you for being here. I know you are busy, but thank you for taking a little bit of time. I appreciate that.” The Indians were actually scheduled to honor Rivera’s career pregame, but that plan was scuttled by rain. Nonetheless, Rivera still took the time to meet with employees, also holding an impromptu Q&A session. “It was very genuine, very heartfelt, very nice,” said Mary Forkapy, who handles the Indians’ payroll. “He told me I was a very important person.”

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