Yankees are brought to their knees by Fowler’s injury

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, could only bring both hands up to his face to hide the tears that came as he looked down at his fallen Baby Bomber who lay on the ground with an injured knee that may never be the same. Pain comes in many forms, and the Yankees felt all of them during a game that should never have been played.

Yankees outfielder, Dustin Fowler, once sat by the phone in his Dexter, GA home waiting for it to ring. Finally, it did, and he learned that he had been selected in the 18th round of the June 2013 amateur draft by the New York Yankees.

Like most draftees selected that late, Fowler would begin his pro career at the lowest levels of the Yankees minor league system. But unlike most draftees, each of his five seasons in the minors brought about a steady progression up the ladder.

Last night, he was scheduled to play in his 438th game as a professional ballplayer. This one, though, would be different because, for the first time, Fowler would see his name posted in a major league lineup for the first time as the Yankees right fielder.

More from Yanks Go Yard

He would wait around with the rest of his teammates, some old like Tyler Wade and Luis Cessa, and some new like Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner, while the rains were falling in Chicago for more than two hours before the first pitch could be thrown.

Positioned down in the batting order, he watched from the dugout as the Yankees stole a run on an error in the top of the first inning. But fatefully, the inning ended before his turn to bat came, and for the first time wearing the Pinstripes, Fowler trotted out to take his position on a major league field.

The Yankees describe what happened next in many ways, but they all strike the same chord, “Oh, my God!” NJ.com quotes an emotional Joe Girardi with these words:

"“I was in tears, actually. Because I knew what it takes to get here. What could be a really exciting day for him turns into a really bad day. I’m still in disbelief. I’m in tears for the kid. I know he’ll fight and get back here, but he’s out for a while. He has to go through a long, grueling rehab. It just doesn’t seem fair that that would happen.”"

Aaron Judge would say that the play “made him sick” and Luis Cessa would claim that Fowler tried too hard to catch the ball. Maybe. But you don’t turn it off and on that quickly when you play in the big leagues.

And maybe the playing conditions on the field following all that rain weren’t ideal, or not even acceptable and the game should have been postponed. And maybe as Girardi said later, the White Sox or Major League Baseball needs to take a close look at the railing Fowler collided with.

But the fact is that the Yankees boarded a plane in the wee hours of the morning following the game bound for Houston, where they’ll take on the Astros in a weekend set.

In baseball, there’s always another plane ride to another destination to play another game. Time waits for no one in baseball.

No one could have predicted what happened last night to their promising rookie. But once again, the Yankees find themselves in a position of having to get back up, dusting themselves off, and getting ready to face the American League’s best team of the season.

Time and time again, the word resilient has been applied to the Yankees this season. We’ll know in the next few weeks whether or not the tag is a misnomer.