Gary Sanchez Is Quietly Leaving Many Of Us Eating Crow

Gary Sanchez Game-Winner 6/16/2021

Gary Sanchez, with good reason, has been the subject of ridicule here and elsewhere over the years. It could be he’ll have the last word.

Transparent as a ballplayer, Gary Sanchez is anything but that as a person. Complex, introspective, limited by language deficiencies, all of it has contributed to a wild and often disappointing ride with the Yankees.

But since June 5, when the Yankees faced the Red Sox through last night against the Blue Jays, Gary Sanchez has gone 11-32, with three home runs and nine RBI.

It’s nothing to make Vladimir Guerrero Jr. shake in his shoes, but for Gary Sanchez and the Yankees, those numbers are giving his team a lift.

Last night’s winning pitcher in a win over the Blue Jays, Gerrit Cole, was forthright saying that Sanchez’s pinch-hit home run propelled him to suck it up to protect the lead afforded to him.

Gary Sanchez: Always The Underdog?

Naysayers will predict, and I have to wonder if Gary Sanchez cannot keep it going.

Nevertheless, one salient point emerges.

Aaron Boone and the Yankees are correct in saying, as they have for some time, that Gary Sanchez is an integral part of this Yankees team.

Hit bat is a force in the lineup, giving pitchers more to think about, especially when he’s “on.”

With Giancarlo Stanton in and out of the lineup and due to ride the bench for a slew of games when the Yankees hit the thrust of interleague games where there is no DH, the burden has fallen on Aaron Judge to supply the power.

Luke Voit will help when he returns, but he needs to prove his brittle legs can withstand a full season, not just the 60-game schedule last year when he led all AL hitters in home runs.

Gary Sanchez: Consistency Is The Thing

Perhaps the most encouraging sign about Gary Sanchez, though, is that he has not collected more than two hits in a game over his recent stretch, nor has he hit more than one home run in a single game.

Ex-Catcher Joe Girardi and Gary Sanchez - Where The Tides Did Not Meet
Ex-Catcher Joe Girardi and Gary Sanchez – Where The Tides Did Not Meet

The consistency has been there, and that helps to negate a valid criticism about Sanchez that he has games when he looks like Johnny Bench and others when he looks like – well – Joe Girardi.

Even more uplifting is that Gary Sanchez has only two passed balls this year in as many games as last season when he had five and 18 in 2019.

The Yankees have insisted that Sanchez is one of the hardest workers on the team, and it would appear the work is paying off. His uptick with the bat probably provides a confidence boost catching, but either way, Yankees fans will take it.

The “what have you done for me lately” adage will always apply in baseball so that nothing will matter until the final out is recorded in the 2021 season for Sanchez’s year to be evaluated.

Plus, for a player who will be entering his walk-year in 2022 before reaching free-agent status in 2023, it’s still fair to say the Yankees are on the fence about whether they will reward Sanchez a long-term contract when the time comes.

Gary Sanchez can make it a moot question, giving the Yankees no choice in the matter, but it all depends on his play offensively and defensively between now and then.

Let Me Root For Ya, Gary

I will freely state that Gary Sanchez is not the easiest player to root for. At times, his body language suggests a player going through the motions, and often he still looks like he needs a good kick in the butt.

But that is only “appearance,” and even if he reminds of Manny Ramirez or Manny Machado here and there, what he does with his bat trumps everything.

So, as a Yankees fan, I can grow to love Gary Sanchez, just as I love the play of Gio Urshela and Aaron Judge. Make it so, Gary.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Al Pratt His BA is still not too good.

Anthony Loffredo I’m sorry but he needs to be traded, I’m not going to wait and see him go into one of his famous playoff slumps again

Bruce Sadler As a Yankee fan I’ve already supported and when things were not going right for him. I hope he has a great year but you know people will still not like him

Sheilah Kittle Hope he does have the last word!!⚾️😎

Janelle Falcone Hopefully he does. If he keeps it up and straightens out his defense, I will happily say I was wrong.

Mike Harrington No one would be happier to eat said crow than I. Even in the midst of my personal criticisms of him, I always hoped he would make me eat those words eventually. Even then I always said the guy has the potential to be the most important hitter on this team, even beyond Judge. But he needs to exercise that potential on a long-term basis.

Sad truth is that Gary hate was rooted in frustration and disappointment. For a guy who looked to have possibly a higher ceiling than Judge to have struggled so long has been hard to watch.
Here’s hoping this is the start of his redemption story, and he rewrites the narrative for years to come.

Sal Presti The 2 Time All-Star and 2nd Fastest Player in the History of MLB to Hit 100 Homeruns has given many a reason to eat their own criticisms …Folks also forget that Sanchez was on the cusp of breaking the All-time Record for Most Homeruns by an American League Catcher held by Carlton Fisk (37). He was less than a handful of Dingers away from doing so when he, unfortunately, missed the final month of the Season. So I say ” Let them Eat ! ”

DM Dalessio I’ve always liked Sanchez..even when he’s bad I pull for him… struggling in NY is like torture and he’s hung in there when others might not have. Supported Higashioka( spelling ?) and tries to be a good teammate…

JoseLuis Carrasquillo I told everyone that he could hit.it was a matter. of time

Gilbert Rosado Jr.  Outstanding Sanchez you’re making me eat my words now for the rest Judge, Frazier, Odor, Torres, Green, Chapman.

Brandon Dury Show me the 2016-2017 Gary again.

Elisa Granata- Poitras All the Yankees Fans haters love him now

Mike Guadagnino I hope he makes me eat crow, all the way to a HOF career. I have no problem admitting I was wrong…if he keeps this up.

Ryan Ventura Because your all ding bats. Before his hot streak he was one of the best offensive catchers this year and top 3 for his career but you guys think catchers bat 300. They are on their knees all day and get hit with 100 mph baseballs. They are streaky because of the stress of the position

Stephen Guardino I’ve bashed this guy for years. I think he’s a complete slacker with no one to hold him accountable since Girardi left. That being said, I still think I’m right but I’d be thrilled to be wrong. Maybe he’s finally figuring things out…

Author’s Note

With regret because the comments have been voluminous and the exchange fun and informative, I am closing down published comments on this post. Let the dialog continue internally though, and as always, I will answer all.

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.