First off, a big THANK YOU to Becki Schick. Truly an amazing trip down Memory Lane. Thanks for the tickets...
Some were names you hadn’t heard in years. There were others that you may not have be familiar with at all. There were players that looked as if they could still suit up and help the Yankees (Johnny Damon & Hideki Matsui for sure) and others that were helped to home plate by a golf cart. But the thing that tied them all together wasn’t only that they were once New York Yankees, it was that putting on that uniform made them all kids again…if only for a few hours.
Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium is really one of the best days of the year. As fans we get to see heroes of the past play in the Summer sun and remind us all why we love the game of baseball so much. These players aren’t just retired former Big Leaguers, they are family. They mean something different to all of us, and yet they mean the same thing. We grew up watching and cheering for them. From the Days of Berra and Ford to the Bronx Zoo, to the Dynasty of the late 1990’s, each and every Old Timer evokes a feeling inside us all. We get to remember the first time we walked into that Cathedral of Baseball. The first autograph we received. The way we felt when one of our heroes sent us home humming “New York, New York” after a big win. We can still hear the voices of our fathers recounting stories of The Mick, Billy and Moose. Old Timer’s Day let’s everyone of us be a little kid again…and there is nothing better.
I was lucky enough to take in this years event. I sat in my seat like a 7 year old on Christmas morning. I cheered wildly for Mickey Rivers, Reggie and Bucky and then stood and held up my #21 jersey as Paulie “The Warrior” jogged out to take his place in Right field.
No matter who was up to bat or who was on the mound, my mind was flooded with memories. As the crowd chanted for Yogi I teared up a bit. The great Yankee backstop is frailer than we seen in the past and we all wonder how much longer #8 will be attending these games.
Watching Coney face the Boomer was outstanding. Two close friends, World Champions and Perfect game winners enjoying the early Summer sunshine…it was a Kodak moment to say the least.
The round of applause for visiting Manager Buck Showalter was proof that Yankee fans never forget. And to see the “Youngsters” Damon and Matsui out there made me feel old...but only for a second. There is truly something for everyone at Old Timer’s Day.
I got to watch the game with my best friend. We grew up together and although the current Yankee roster made the contest against the O’s a forgettable one, the day will forever be a great memory for me. Look how far we’ve come. My buddy and I are older now, but we have that same feeling when we sit in the Big Ballpark in the Bronx. This is a family reunion of sorts. We made friends with other fans in our sections recounting stories about where we were when Charlie made the final out in 1996.
Or how Gator once ate a the table next to us a restaurant after he beating Texas in 1983. There is nothing like it, and it is a Yankee tradition. As New York fans we take a lot of heat from others around the league, but this is something they can’t take away from us. Our players love to come home again and say hello once a year and it makes us all remember why this organization is so special. The New York Yankees never forget the fans and we never forget the players that wore the pinstripes.
I had a great time today…I wish the current Bombers had done more and taken the W, but all the same, this day was about the past. This day was about friends and family, great moments and great Yankees. This day was a day when none of us had to grow up. We were all young again…and it was one hell of a special day. Thank you to all the Yankees. You are the reason we keep coming back.
** It's a sentimental song, but it was a sentimental day.**
--Mike O'Hara, MLB Fan Cave Host, Season 1
"Paulie was always my favorite player."
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