Bob Lorenz and Jack Curry take in Old-Timers' Day from the "other side"
Neither Lorenz nor Curry played Major League Baseball, of course, but they have been around the game for a good portion of their lives. In his time with YES and his two decades as a beat writer and columnist for the New York Times, Curry has covered many of the men who put on the pinstripes once again on Sunday, while Lorenz has reported on their happenings as a YES studio host and occasional play-by-play man since arriving from Turner Broadcasting.
As such, both Bob and Jack had a unique perspective on what it means to be a part of a tradition that has been celebrated in eight different decades.
“It’s interesting to see guys you covered at the start of their career show up for Old-Timers’ Day,” Curry said. “My first year as a beat writer for the Times was Bernie Williams’ rookie year, so I feel like I followed him throughout his whole career… and now to see them show up for Old-Timers’ Day, it not only reminds you of their career, but of your own career as well, and it’s always enjoyable to watch these guys get out there again.”
As time goes on, the broadcast crew may have Old-Timers’ Day down pat, but being here reminds you that it’s always somebody’s first time – and this year, one of their colleagues was in that spot.
“I love to see all the new Old-Timers, because you get to see it through their eyes; for example, John Flaherty today was nervous and excited to be here, and he wants to play well and get his swing down,” Lorenz said.
One of the other fun parts, for them, is seeing the preparation that their colleagues who are in the game put into Old-Timers’ Day, and just how competitive it really does become.
“Flaherty is a first-timer, and we saw him take some swings in the cage, because he was worried about it. He wanted to make sure he had his swing evened out and could get a hit,” Lorenz said.
Of course, there are light moments within the game too, especially for those who know it matters not what their stat line might look like at the end of the day.
“I will say this: it’s probably a lot different for a pitcher than a hitter,” Curry added. “David Cone has the perfect approach to this game: he wants to go out and entertain, and part of that entertainment is him putting a pitch where somebody can crush it. He’s not out there to throw hard; he wants to throw that 60 or 65 mile-per-hour BP pitch, and he takes all the pressure off himself by doing that, because he can say ‘hey, I’m just lobbing it in there for you guys’ and it’s fine.”
As Curry finished that thought, Lorenz added one last note just as the Bombers and Clippers finished another low-scoring Old-Timers’ Game: “Hey, nobody wants to see a pitchers’ duel on Old-Timers Day, right?”
With greats like Cone, David Wells, Goose Gossage and Ron Guidry in the house, it surely could be a pitchers’ duel every year – but no matter the final score, the day is as much for the fans as it is for the returning players, and it’s up to guys like Curry and Lorenz to do the real heavy lifting and make sure that translates to those who couldn’t be in the Bronx.
“For us, it’s just great to be on the field doing pre-game for the Old-Timers’ Game and seeing the love that the fans give them,” Lorenz said. “I think that’s one of the best parts about it.”