Gary Sanchez received word from Aaron Boone that he would not be the Yankees catcher in Game One. It’s too bad he took the news like a good soldier.
But after watching Sanchez for six years, there’s always been something missing, and it has nothing to do with the talent he brings to the table. No, instead, it has everything to do with those mysterious but all-important things we call intangibles in baseball.
“He was fine,” Boone said of Sanchez when told of the decision.
Fine – really? Gary Sanchez is the same player who is ending a streak of 27 straight postseason games that he has started for the Yankees – and he’s fine with that.
To further indulge himself, Gary Sanchez awkwardly reduced himself, telling reporters, “I’m a Soldier”. Meaning he no longer considers himself the heart and soul that any team looks for in their catcher, to the point where a two-time All-Star will calmly take a seat on the bench – is this what it has come to?
Gary Sanchez And The Wake-Up Call That Never Came
Look, Sanchez would look even worse if he dumped everything on his manager’s desk and stormed out to tell reporters about the “mistreatment” the Yankees are sending his way.
That’s not the point either. But somewhere along the line here, as we have front-row seats watching the rapid and seemingly unstoppable decline of “one of our own,” so to speak – how can there not be some flame in the eyes of Gary Sanchez after all he’s been through?
Shouldn’t we expect that Sanchez would be popping mad – at himself – and wouldn’t those feelings be apt to surface?
You’ve noticed all the questions raised so far, and that’s the way it’s been with Gary Sanchez, a Yankee’s enigma.
Clint Frazier Answers His Call
You’ll recall the series of false starts Clint Frazier made of himself during his first years with the Yankees, with all those lame excuses and blame assessed to anyone but himself for his plight.
In contrast to Gary Sanchez, though, Frazier showed up in camp a different person, almost like he “grew up” overnight. The Yankees noticed it, and that’s why Aaron Boone kept writing Frazier’s name in the lineup for most of the season.
A new attitude equals more production on the field, which in turn spawns more confidence and an extension on a career that only a few months ago was going nowhere in Frazier’s case.
Gary Sanchez should have taken notice.
Aaron Boone’s Empty Words
Aaron Boone insists that Sanchez “knows that if we’re going to win a championship, he’s going to be a big part of it.”
It’s doubtful that Boone believes that, or he’d have Sanchez in his lineup just as he’s done over the previous 27 postseason games the Yankees have played.
Boone’s job is to pump his players up, especially when making public comments. But still, how empty do those words sound to us – as casual fans of the game? And more significantly, what is Gary Sanchez thinking when he hears them?
For Gary Sanchez, There Will Be No Soft Landing
I submit the worst thing that can happen now: Sanchez comes up as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of a tie game, and the pitcher makes a mistake and happens to hit the sweet spot on his bat as the ball goes sailing into the night for a walk-off home run.
Because then, the Yankees, who also have a “sweet spot” for Gary Sanchez, may be moved to turn the clock back, deciding to give him – oh, just “one more year”.
Despite having been stung by not signing Austin Romine to a two-year deal before he went to the Tigers, it is not the right course for either the team or Sanchez.
Unfortunately, there is no soft landing in store for Gary Sanchez.
If the Yankees can swing a trade sending him to another team, we can only wish him well, hoping it will be the wake-up call that enables Sanchez to lift himself from a soldier to a general once again.