Yankees Old Timer’s Day falls “short” without a “closer “

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees parade of old-timers will go on as scheduled today. Some will trot out, some will walk out, and some won’t be there at all.

The Yankees annual celebration of Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium is always the highlight of a baseball season for Yankees fans of all ages.

For the young, it’s a time to see the face attached to a name like Whitey Ford who Dad has spun many a yarn about. And for the older fans, it’s a chance to reunite with a time that has passed but is not forgotten.

And back in the day, an air of expectation and mystery used to prevail when Yankee greats like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra were all alive and present for the celebration. And the question was always who would be the last to be announced to the crowd.

And to the chagrin of some fans like myself, it was always DiMaggio who got the honor. What we did, though, was to keep the cheers for Mantle going even as Joltin’ Joe was being introduced. It was fun.

But something happened along the way when the organization planned this years’ festivities. And with no disrespect to the player, the Yankees have chosen to make Jorge Posada the center point of the day.

I have no problem with that. But I do take issue with the absences of his teammates and fellow members of the Core Four. And whether by choice or accident due to conflicting schedules, the Yankees owe their fans an explanation that has yet to be forthcoming.

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And you know who I’m talking about. The greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera will not be there today. The tall lefty and Mr. Clutch from Texas, Andy Pettitte – MIA. And finally, the man with more hits than anyone who has worn the Pinstripes will not be present.

And if we knew, for example, that Derek Jeter had to take a pass on today because he’s running around the country and possibly even the world trying to scrape up enough money to buy the Florida Marlins, the reason for his absence might be enough to satisfy our thirst for seeing him in a Yankees uniform one more time.

And whether by design or circumstance, Reggie Jackson, seeing an opening to advertise himself (again!) to the Yankee faithful, “publishes” this video that the New York Daily News sees fit as a headline in their sports section today.

Look, my DVR is set, and there is no way that I’ll pass on watching the festivities later tonight when the dust has settled on a typical Sunday of family activity. But at the same time, diluting Old Timer’s Day, as the Yankees have this year, is not the way for this organization to win my heart.

And I suspect the same goes for many others who expect more from an organization that is built on and prides itself on being the classiest in all of baseball.

In the meantime, cheers to Jorge Posada. I didn’t mean to spoil your day.