Bronxie, The Yankees’ new mascot, was left behind due to Canada’s COVID restrictions. But the team’s bats made it through customs big time…
The Yankees have two new additions: a seven-game winning streak and a turtle named Bronxie.
Bronxie was introduced to the team by Nestor Cortes Jr. as a gift, and he’s (or she’s?) quickly been adopted by the Yankees as their mascot.
Bronxie could not travel with the Yankees to Canada for their three-game set with the Blue Jays due to Canada’s super-strict COVIS rules for entering the provinces.
But the bats made it through customs big-time last night as the team took the first game by a score of 7-2, featuring yets another home run by Giancarlo Stanton and two more from Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela.
The win, coupled with Boston’s loss to the Orioles, secured the Yankees’ grip as the AL Wild Card team by two games over the Red Sox, 2.5 games over Seattle, while Toronto has sunk to three games down.
Yankees And Bronxie A Good Mix
Bronxie is just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees in a pressure-filled week, serving as a harmless but loveable distraction.
“Lucky charm, whatever you want to call it,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner told ESPN. “I know a lot of guys believe there’s a connection here. “At the end of (the season), it would be great if we could go out and get him a little World Series ring.”
And so it goes for a Yankees’ team that’s been on a never-ending rollercoaster ride this season, and for much of the time, a team that couldn’t get out of its own way.
As we know, in baseball, it doesn’t matter where you start; it’s where you finish that counts, and if you are a non-believer, ask the Mets, Padres, and Oakland A’s.
The other thing we know about baseball is that nine-tenths of the game is mental, and there is no substitute for confidence.
Yankees: Their Timing Is Perfect
The Yankees ooze confidence. You can see it on their faces and smiles in the dugout, the measured celebrations following a timely base hit or a perfect pitch that retires the side during an opponent’s attempted threat.
You can hear from the voices of David Cone and Paul O’Neill during the telecasts as they pick apart the failings of the Red Sox and Blue Jays while accenting the reasons behind the Yankees’ surge.
And perhaps most of all, we can see it through the eyes of Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone as he smoothly worked his way through his bullpen to cover nearly seven innings with five relievers after their starter, Jameson Taillon, had to leave the game with a reoccurrence of an ankle injury.
These may be reasons behind the push from Las Vegas oddsmakers that’s moving the Yankees ever closer to a World Series title, though still behind the six division winners.
Gerrit Cole: Seizing The Chance To Shine
The Yankees can also be buoyed by the fact that Gerrit Cole is making a start in the middle game of the Toronto series tonight, an opportunity Cole seizes with joy.
“I mean, it’s understood that we would rather be in first place but, I mean, these big games are fun, these important games are fun with a lot on the line. High stakes, it’s enjoyable for everybody that gets the opportunity to play in these kinds of games and watch these kinds of games,” Cole said. “So, I am super, super excited, and hopefully, I’ll be able to take advantage of it.”
Gerrit Cole, the odds-on favorite to win a Cy Young this year, is not alone among his teammates who now see a real chance to take this thing all the way to a 28th franchise title.
Motivation To Win Coming From Everywhere
To do so, there is motivation from everywhere. Yankees’ MVP Aaron Judge still harbors a bitter taste in his mouth from the championship he considers “stolen” by the cheating Houston Astros.
Brett Gardner, the lone survivor of the Yankees’ last title in 2009, dearly wishes, if this is indeed his final season wearing the pinstripes, that he goes out in the style he was born into all the way back then.
There is also an amount of vindication coming from Giancarlo Stanton. He knows and feels the disappointment his tenure with the Yankees has brought since he arrived from the Marlins.
We also find a player like Joey Gallo, who labored through so many losing seasons with the Texas Rangers, seeing the opportunity to be part of a winning team for the first time in his career.
We also look to guys in the Yankees bullpen and pitchers like Chad Green, who is running on fumes by now, but still answers the call when the team needs him, as they did for another spotless inning last night.
Others, like Luke Voit, Tyler Wade, and Rougned Odor, know their job is to wait and to be mentally ready because the time will come when Aaron Boone needs them.
For Voit, that time will probably come as soon as tonight when he gets the start at first base with a Blue Jays lefty on the mound, even though he was overlooked last night when his manager went in favor of Anthony Rizzo to face another lefty. Look out for Voit tonight.
With another win tonight, the Yankees can breathe a bit easier regardless of what the Red Sox do in Baltimore, as a victory will all but ensure that Gerrit Cole will not be needed against the Rays this weekend at Yankees Stadium, and he will be on full rest for the Wild Card playoff next Tuesday.
Yankees: Keep The Train Moving
In any case, the Yankees want to keep the train moving because it’s been proven over and over again that momentum carries a team through the playoffs.
In the form of irony, none of the Yankees will need to worry about gathering rust between now and the playoffs, something that Kevin Cash (Tampa Bay) and Tony La Russa (Chicago) will be fighting before they play a meaningful game again.
It’s not probable, but the Yankees appear to have the will and the means to run the table between tonight and Sunday.
Even so, there’s no doubt other teams are noticing the noise the Yankees are making, just like the old times when the team’s lineup struck fear in every opposing pitcher who had no idea where the next strike was coming from.
Best of all, and with the possible exception of the Cardinals, there is no team in baseball having more fun than the Yankees are now – and ditto for their fans…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Susan Levine I get it. The new mascot is very apropos. Like in Aesop’s Fables, The Tortoise and the Hare, the moral of the story “ Slow and Steady Wins the race!!!