Who amongst hasn’t attended a Old Timers Game at Yankee Stadium, witnessed a paunchy Shane Spencer negotiating the outfield, Kevin Maas weakly dribbling out to the pitcher or Chad Curtis being led away in handcuffs and thought, “man, these guys are really tarnishing some wonderful memories?” Really? Nobody? Well, lucky for me Robin Yount used the occasion of the Brewers’ Wall Of Honor ceremonies to make the point far more elegantly than I can manage. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob Wolfey (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :
“I think it (the Brewers Wall of Honor ceremony) was far better than any old timers game you could ever have,” Yount said. “I am not a fan of old timers games, in all honesty. And I’ll tell you why. Some of these kids will recognize names and not ever have seen them play. Old timers games when we played were fairly common.
“And I will tell you what,” Yount said. “When somebody is very recognizable in a certain organization, a player the kids have heard their parents talk about. This individual and that individual. ‘What a great player this guy was. Yadda, yadda.’ Then you have an old timers game and this guy hasn’t touched a ball or bat for 10 or 15 years. He’s out of shape. And you ask him to go try to play baseball and the youngsters say, ‘Dad, that’s the guy you told me was so good?’
“And I know that’s funny, but I am being very serious,” Yount said. “I don’t think you want to have that memory put into that kid’s mind. They’re disappointed. They thought nothing but how great these people were. That’s just me. I’m not a fan of old timers games. I’m a huge fan of bringing guys back like we did (Friday). Put ’em in a uniform. Some guys will look better in uniform than others. You walk around. You say hello. You wave to the fans. You sign some autographs. And let the best high school teams go out there and play each other. We’ll watch.”