Old-Timers’ Day was about everything.
It was about hot coffee and salted peanuts for breakfast outside the players’ gate. It was about as far in the past as anyone could remember and as far in the future as anyone could imagine.
It was about Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford and Brian Doyle taking pictures with his cell phone. It was about Darryl Strawberry and Jim Leyritz and Paul O’Neill reaching the seats in batting practice.
It was a day that could be whatever you wanted it to be.
For my wife it was about Don Larsen. Her grandfather sat along the third-base line for game five of the 1956 World Series. Larsen once signed a ball for him that he treasured to the end.
For me it was about the crush of media around Reggie Jackson after batting practice. He will always be the straw that stirs the drink around here.
It was about thinking of the day when Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams will be introduced to another packed Stadium.
And it was a day to think back on a cold March morning when the talk at the Crown Diner turned to Phil Hughes.
“You don’t want to rush the kid,” Javier said. “Phil Hughes’ day will come and Phil Hughes’ Day will come. They’ll be about 30 years apart.”
Maybe someday Hughes will jog out and wave his cap just like Ford and Larsen and Goose Gossage.
Old-Timers’ Day is always about everything you want it to be.