Sunday July 19th proved to be great day in the Bronx. It wasn’t just beautiful weather, it was the gathering of the memorable names and legends associated with the most successful franchise in sports.
As mentioned, the weather was perfect; it was the definition of a perfect day for baseball. This was very good news for me because I had already tried to go to two Old-Timer’s day games in the past, unfortunately both of those had been rained out.
This Old Timer’s Day main theme was the homecoming of two recent Yankee greats: Mike Mussina and Don Zimmer.
Moose’s return was weird to see because many fans believe he could still be pitching right now. (The Yankees definitely miss his arm) I overheard a few creative fans yell out to him “What are you doing this Tuesday?” referring to the news that Sergio Mitre was starting in place of Wang. Mussina said he was happy being retired, and that he was glad ended his career on a good note by winning 20 games.
Popeye’s return was long overdue and it was great to see Torre’s right hand man return to the Bronx. After leaving the Bronx under some bad terms, Zimmer became an advisor for his hometown Tampa Bay Rays and had vowed never to wear a Yankee unifrom again. His mind had definitely changed Sunday when he said “Coming back here and seeing your friends, it’s special.” It was definitely special for the fans, who gave Zimmer a loud, standing ovation; Zimmer’s ovation was the kind usually reserved for Don Mattingly or Yogi Berra. The warm welcome visibly moved Zimmer as it brought tears to his eyes.
The usual names appeared: Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers, Roy White, Rick Cerrone, Goose Gossage, and of course the oldests greats being Don Larsen, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford.
The biggests cheers were reserved for Yogi, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen, Bucky Dent, Don Zimmer, and another welcomed face, Mel Stottlemeyer.
Although it was a great day for baseball, the reporter and Yankee fanatic in me found some flaws.
Where were the players from the recent dynasty?
David Cone, Jeff Nelson, Chad Curtis and Joe Girardi (where else would he be?) were there, but guys like Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, and Scott Brosius were not. I know they aren’t that old, but Old Timer’s day is about seeing your pinstriped heroes. Those guys were just that for many fans around my age (21) as we grew up in late 90’s and early 2000’s. Every former player has circumstances that may keep them from attending, but let’s hope we see them all back there in the future.
Where were Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson?
I am sure they both got invitations, but it would have been nice to see Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and the soon to be inducted Rickey Henderson on the field. They have both been there in the past, so I am sure they both got invites.
What the hell was Keith Olbermann doing announcing the game?
Don’t get me wrong, it was a great idea to have two people announce the game, especially when one of them is hall of fame announcer Bob Wolffe (he called Larsen’s perfect game). I know Olbermann has done it the past few years with him, but what connection does he have to the Yankees other then probably a friend high up in the organization? He got a standing boo from the Yankee faithful when introduced to the crowd.
I don’t know how it was on the YES Network, but I was there and could barely hear them over the loudspeakers.
Speaking of loud-speakers, Susan Waldman needs to retire.
Her on field interviews almost ruined the day for me. The game would be rolling smoothly and then all of the sudden a high-pitched, out of placed voice would come over the loudspeakers. I’m talking about the same voice that was screaming about how Roger Clemens was coming back.
If Bob Shepard has the voice of God, (which he does) then Susan Waldman has the voice of….well, I can’t write what I want to, because that would be slander. Then again it isn’t slander if it’s true, right?
Old Timer’s day is truely a one of a kind, remarkable event that only happens once a year in the Bronx. Although I listed some flaws, it turned out to be a great day for Yankee fans in the Stadium, and those viewing it on television. I just hope the recent Yankee greats that I mentioned earlier show up on a more consistent basis, because if they don’t, Old Timer’s day will become just another memory.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the day: Enjoy!