Yankees: Revisiting Luis Castillo’s Amazing Dropped Popup 11 Years Ago Today

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /

11 years ago today, the New York Mets gifted the Yankees a walk-off win thanks to Luis Castillo.

The 2009 New York Yankees were good. Very good. Their lineup was stacked 1-through-9, their top three in the rotation were powerful, and the bullpen ended with Mariano Rivera, which is usually a helpful thing.

But, perhaps most importantly, they had the Breaks. And when they got the Breaks, they let sometimes-miniscule door openings turn into total destruction for their opponents.

Good teams get lucky, after all. Good teams sometimes outperform their pythagorean records by eight wins. Good teams walk off 15 times, and go 22-16 in one-run games.

And, most importantly, good teams get absurd gifts, like the one Luis Castillo gave to the Bronx Bombers on June 12, 2009. What should have been a game-ending popup and bat slam from Alex Rodriguez instead turned an 8-7 loss into a 9-8 walk-off victory, as Mark Teixeira chugged around the bases in record time, as Castillo’s throw inexplicably went to second base.

Who knew that reliving this moment would bring the exact same amount of joy over a decade later?

Strangely, though, this wasn’t even the moment that fully and officially woke up the 2009 Yankees from their waves of semi-slumber. The team hit another skid during their NL East interleague play over the next several weeks, and sat at 38-32 on June 24 when a Francisco Cervelli homer in Atlanta totally and officially woke up the ghosts that traditionally accompany great Yankee teams. From that victory on, New York went 65-27.

No matter how much of an ace that Cincinnati Reds hurler (and…possible eventual Yankee?) Luis Castillo develops into, though, we’ll always associate the name with the light-hitting middle-infielding Met who dropped the hell out of this baseball at the most inopportune time.

And, say what you will about Mark Teixeira, whose body betrayed him, and who was never the same after 2009: dude cared about the game, and his hustle was on full display. If he gives up on this play, the Yankees don’t win.

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A championship team is always made up of 25 heroes, at the very least. Sometimes, a few opponents sneak onto that list. Thanks, Luis Castillo, from the bottom of our hearts.