The Old-Timers were brought out for the intros, nearly 50 of them. El Duque is among the first-time Old-Timers here. Orlando Hernandez is living in Miami, playing a lot of golf and spending time with his family, and he has a baseball academy for kids.
“It’s a big day for me,” he said.
His best Yankees memory?
“For me, everything is a good memory,” Hernandez said. “When you play for the Yankees, everything is good.”
As usual, there was a long sustained ovation, appropriately, for Bernie Williams. Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra came out last, driven in a cart from a gate in the center-field fence, waving along the way. Berra is 88 and Ford is 84.
After the Old-Timers’ game, Ivan Nova will take the ball in the real game, back from Triple-A to make the spot start. Joe Girardi indicated it has yet to be decided if Nova is staying.
“Obviously when you have a taste of this life, you don’t want to be in the minor leagues,” Girardi said. “This is the place where every player dreams about being. So you have to figure out a way to put yourself in a situation where they can’t consider sending me down. The trick is not getting here. The trick is staying here.”
Thomas Neal was sent down to make room for Nova.
Photo by The Associated Press.