NEW YORK — The Yankees turned back the clock for their 75th Old-Timers’ Day on Saturday, drawing upon the nostalgia of the 1998 World Series championship in welcoming back the “Core Four” of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, plus many more.
Gathered in their pinstripes, bathed in glories of yesteryear, the retired players spent some time in the home clubhouse. There was little advice that Jeter & Co. could offer the current group; for the most part, they knew nothing but winning during their time in the Bronx. The Yanks dropped their third straight game, falling to the Brewers, 9-2.
“It was great to see that whole crew, see those guys, the energy and excitement they bring when they come here,” said Aaron Judge. “I wish we could have pulled out a win for them.”
Seemingly unaffected by a two-hour, 34-minute rain delay, Michael King struck out nine over five innings, continuing to build a solid case to be considered for next year’s rotation. King permitted two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk and has posted a 1.08 ERA in four starts since Aug. 24.
“I definitely like that role a lot better,” King said. “It’s also great having all the guys around me to coach me up. After the game, I sat down with Pettitte for a few minutes and just went over different things. He watched my [last] outing in Houston and gave me some pointers to work on; I felt like I was able to do what he was talking to me about, throwing offspeed for strikes.”
The bullpen faltered behind King. Tyrone Taylor hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning off Jonathan Loáisiga as New York relievers permitted seven unanswered runs, with Milwaukee batting around in the ninth against Matt Krook and Ron Marinaccio.
Krook and Marinaccio were optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after the game. Manager Aaron Boone said that there has been a ripple effect following injuries to Ian Hamilton and Keynan Middleton.
“For most of the year, even sharing the load, we’ve been able to limit you in the back end,” Boone said. “Having a few guys go down the last couple of weeks, we’ve obviously struggled.”
The Yankees (70-72) had enjoyed a five-game winning streak through Wednesday, sparked by the Sept. 1 callup of slugging outfield prospect Jasson Domínguez. But they’ve been outscored 27-7 in their past three games by the Tigers and Brewers.
Jeter’s recommendations for Domínguez, Anthony Volpe and the rest of the young Yankees sounded much the same as the instructions he gave young players during his captaincy.
“Win. It’s that simple,” Jeter said. “You’re not eliminated, so you go out and you win one game, one game at a time. The message I would give is probably the same message they’re saying to each other in there. What made the ’98 team great was, every single day, we wanted to beat you. We were competing against ourselves. It’s literally that simple; win a game.”
With so many recognizable Old-Timers in the house, the day took on a festive air for many of the players. Milwaukee’s Willy Adames gleefully skipped off the field before first pitch, having fulfilled a childhood dream of meeting Jeter; the Hall of Famer clapped a palm upon the infielder’s shoulder, exchanging a few encouraging words.
The Yankees, too, embraced having the alumni around. Gerrit Cole lingered in the dugout for a while, soaking up an opportunity to talk shop with Jeter and Rivera.
Judge said that he spent time chatting with Pettitte, Bucky Dent and Joe Torre, adding that he “definitely” missed seeing the Old-Timers take the field for the traditional three-inning exhibition game. Judge said that he admires the camaraderie that the 1998 Yankees still display; it provides a goal for where his group needs to be.
“Their attitude, their approach, every single day,” Judge said. “When you think about the Core Four, a lot of those guys came up through the Minor Leagues together and got a chance to break into the Major Leagues together. I think that’s pretty special. Seeing how close they are and how competitive they were, it’s a pretty amazing example they set.”