Yankees fans may have found a way to make sure that Mariano Rivera never gets far from the Bronx. With the team's legendary closer playing out the final games of his career, some in New York are pushing to rename a street adjacent to Yankee Stadium after him. To proponents of the change, honoring Mo would be as simple as turning River Avenue in the Bronx into Rivera Avenue.
Such a change has been suggested by Tom Ferrara, who spoke with Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post, earlier this week. Ferrara also started a petition at Change.Org attempting to persuade New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to take action.
— 161stRIVERAave (@161stRIVERAave) September 5, 2013
But calls for a permanent change have been getting louder, with plenty of help from the Post.
“That would be awesome. I think it should be done,” Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia told Mark Hale and George A King III in a subsequent Post article on the idea. “It’s fitting.”
As noted by Vaccaro, there is one major stumbling block to renaming the Bronx thoroughfare: Per the City Council, “proposed honorees must be individuals who are deceased and of significant importance to New York City. Nevertheless, City Council speaker Christine Quinn said she is willing to consider a bill on the matter.
“I know many New Yorkers and many Council Members would enthusiastically support renaming River Avenue in his honor,” Quinn told Don Burke the New York Post. “If a member does propose a bill, it will undergo the same review as all bills do, and I look forward to considering it.”
Amid the growing enthusiasm for the change, at least two prominent members of the local sports media spoke out against it: Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton of WFAN.
“Do you want to do something, you want to name something after Mariano Rivera? Find a place in the Bronx,” Esiason said on Wednesday during the tandem's morning radio show, via CBS New York. “Build a field in honor of Mariano Rivera and hopefully all those kids that live in that area are inspired by his name being on that field, and they’ll go and play baseball. And they’ll get off the streets and they’ll give the guns back and all this other crap, and you get somebody inspired by the use of Mariano Rivera’s name.”
Carton agreed that renaming the existing street wasn't the way to honor Rivera.
“I don’t think we should rename it either,” Carton said. “And I know we all go, 'But Craig, he was so good. He’s the best ever. We should rename a street after him.’ Why? Why am I renaming River Avenue ‘Rivera Avenue?’ I’m with you 100 percent. I wouldn’t have named (the West Side Highway) the Joe DiMaggio Highway!”