You can't sneak anything past eagle-eyed Yankees fans, especially in the midst of a bummer season where any hint of optimism is like fresh water in the Sahara.
So when Yankees legend Andy Pettitte was spotted in pregame footage of Aaron Judge's BP session with Jonathan Loaisiga, mental alarm bells went off.
Swiftly, things were clarified midway through the YES Network broadcast when word came down from Bob Klapisch that the legendary left-hander was being brought back to the team as an advisor (with no further clarity on his duties).
Pettitte, the pitching coach for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, won't be taking over for Matt Blake anytime soon (pending Blake getting a godfather offer from a collegiate superpower). He's simply back in the fold to consult, mentor, and stand in as a reminder of the days when this franchise used to be calm, cool and dynastic.
Yankees welcome Andy Pettitte back into fold as advisor for first time since 2019
If the possibility of "Nick Swisher, hitting coach" worried you, "Andy Pettitte, cultural advisor" feels like a softer landing (with more rings to boot).
Obviously, adding an advisor doesn't signal a massive, heads-rolling shakeup in the clubhouse. But Boone and the powers that be determined that they wanted Pettitte back (he'd been with the team in an official capacity in 2019, not coincidentally the last time their vibes seemed immaculate).
Based on Boone's quotes on the matter on Sunday, it sounded like it was a matter of Pettitte agreeing to return and not the team finally acquiescing to his request. Either way, the same mission was accomplished, bringing in someone with lived experience to be at the front lines of getting an oft-discombobulated modern Yankees team ready for battle.
Welcoming back Pettitte certainly registers as a "cultural shift," as does the hiring of Sean Casey to implement tweaks and motivational speeches (and, by the way, his early work on Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu has been visually obvious).
Fans must realize, though, that no "gutting" is going on. Blake -- who, again, has done fantastic work and doesn't seem to be a valid target of criticism -- won't be leaving, unless it's of his own accord. Michael Fishman and the analytics department won't be scared off by Pettitte's glove-level stare. Brian Cashman's job isn't in danger -- or, at least, it isn't in more danger today than yesterday because of this. He helped bring Pettitte in, didn't he?
Importing Pettitte isn't as much an admission of modern guilt as it is a rededication to this franchise's glory of the recent past. Remember, Pettitte was here in 2019. This isn't a grand departure for the Boone Era. Hopefully, though, the left-hander does quickly prove to have been the missing voice in the room, centering the current team's struggles by sharing tales of his and his teammates' repeated, incessant perseverance.