Yankees: We saw something extraordinary in the dugout last night


Yankees fans were given a treat last night when the YES cameras stayed glued on the Yankees dugout, and in particular, a “discussion” that was taking place between a manager and one of his star players. What, if anything, to make of it?

Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, and catcher, Gary Sanchez, caught the attention of the YES cameras and we were given an extraordinary view of something that rarely occurs in baseball at this level.

And whether it was as some have said, a chewing out, or an instructional moment, or a father-son talk, whatever it was you rarely see anything like it during a game, much less from the Yankees own network. In all other instances, a manager will make a mental note to talk to the player the next day, or perhaps have one of the Yankees coaches do the deed for him.

And regardless of what Girardi said following the game to downplay the incident, and we’ll get there in a minute, you don’t take time out in the middle of a game to say, “Geez Gary, you are having one helluva good game tonight. Keep it up, big guy.”

No, something irked Girardi last night about Sanchez’s play. We’ll give both of them a mulligan as to why Sanchez loafed it to first base on a double-play ball (Girardi had told him to “take it easy,” not risking further injuries). That’s believable, though hardly acceptable when you consider why Girardi had Sanchez in the lineup in the first place if he was only 50-60 percent. But, we’ll leave it there.

What is more likely is that Girardi noticed that Sanchez was consistently “late” in moving his body to block the splitters in the dirt coming from Masahiro Tanaka. That pitch is Tanaka’s swing and miss out pitch, and a catcher has to be out there to block it. Sanchez was not.

So here’s what Girardi told NJ.com last night about what “really” happened:

"“When I talked to Gary Sanchez, it was strictly about tricks on how to block balls,” he said. “There are things that I learned over my time. I t has nothing to do with scolding him or you have to do this or you have to do that or you’re taking your at-bats behind (the plate). It had nothing to do with that. It was where you’re putting your weight on certain pitches. That’s what it’s about.”"

Joe, I’m sorry, but we are not idiots. You’ve had this guy with you for almost a year now, including all of Spring Training, and we’re supposed to believe that you finally took it upon yourself as a former major league catcher to show him some “tricks” on how to block balls in the dirt? Really?

So, what did we see last night? We saw Girardi, knowing the cameras had that red glow, artfully placing himself with his back to the camera while making several animated gestures that could have been instructional. Or, they could have been merely a ploy to use while he was telling Sanchez, “Get off your fat ass and get in this game.”

Noticeably, Sanchez never once made eye contact (that I could see) with his manager while receiving this “instruction.”

It goes by the wayside in a long and arduous baseball season. And at least they didn’t duke it out in the dugout like Billy Martin, and Reggie Jackson once did.

Who is Gary Sanchez?

By now, most would agree that Aaron Judge is the real thing. And more significantly, he has his head on straight. And the same goes for Didi GregoriusAaron Hicks, and Starlin Castro.

Hype may not help, and indeed, Sanchez has received enough to last a lifetime. Pegged as the next Jorge Posada, Thurman Munson, Yogi Berra, and Bill Dickey all rolled into one, his season, thus far, does not match up.

A .285 batting average, 13 home runs, and 39 RBI is nothing to be ashamed of. But they’re not All-Star numbers either. And neither is the 31 percent stat for runners thrown out trying to steal very impressive, especially with all the talk this spring about his having a permit to carry a “gun”.

And lest we forget, Sanchez did receive a spanking for similar behavior while in the minors, and it may be that he still has some growing up to do.

Whatever it was or is though, Girardi saw fit to call a time out, not waiting until the next day, to have a little talk with Sanchez. And thanks to YES, we got to see, if not hear, it all.