On Monday morning, with the stench of Sunday's walkoff loss to the Miami Marlins still stinging the nostrils (and somehow growing more potent with time?), the New York Yankees announced their Old-Timers' Day roster for Sept. 9, packed with World Champion 1998 Yankees and numerous other big names.
Somehow, even that announcement managed to make us feel bad.
Derek Jeter will be making his Old-Timers' Day debut this Sept., which was the Yankees' correctly-chosen headline for their announcement. Other first-time '98ers include Mike Stanton and a collection of also-rans (Mike Figga, Mike Jerzembeck). Many of your other favorites will be in attendance, too, from Scott Brosius to El Duque to Hideki Matsui to Roy White.
Unfortunately, once they get there ... they will simply ... assemble on the field, then go home? Inspired by their limp 2022 Old-Timers' Day where the game was canceled, the Yankees have chosen to double down for some reason and opt out of playing an exhibition. There hasn't been a game since 2019, with the 2020-21 editions of the event being canceled (and rightly so!) due to COVID-19.
Now, the event is back on, but the most interesting part of the day -- held annually from 1947 through 2019 -- has been erased, leaving most fans wondering if there's any decision these modern Yankees can't screw up.
Yankees Old-Timers' Day 2023: They're Not Playing The Game
Last season, when it was announced that the celebration would be restricted to a "ceremony only" affair, the Yankees claimed they "hoped" to return to a game format in 2023. Lie. Clearly, they did not hope that.
Instead, fans will be encouraged to arrive early to watch legends of the team's past jog lightly out onto the field, wave, sit down, then wave again before departing.
It will be admittedly nice to think of the 1998 Yankees, a behemoth roster that took particular pleasure into sucking their opponents' souls out of their bodies with all-systems-go stompings, if only for a moment. My soul is not so black that I can't admit it'll be nice to see Tino and Duque and David Wells on the same field once again, along with so many other players who gave 110% in an era when the Yankees were relentlessly dedicated to both winning and honoring tradition (unless Wells, like, wanted to wear Babe Ruth's hat or something).
Now? The modern Yankees love to cut corners where they could be going for the jugular. They also love to sell the past when there's precious little on-field product left to get excited about. Somehow, even though nostalgia is their specialty, they've even managed to disrespectfully toss dirt on that slam-dunk move this summer.