The Yankees have found a special one in Gio Urshela and Buck Showalter has always known it.
When the Yankees purchased Gio Urshela, a known defensive commodity with a mysterious bat, for just $25,000 from the Toronto Blue Jays, even the most boastful front office employee will admit under truth serum that they had no idea what they were snagging.
But when Miguel Andujar injured his labrum sliding into third base in April 2019, the team had to maneuver to even get Urshela onto the 40-man roster. And once they did, he made himself essential within his first few weeks.
There are some things you can’t tell, though, even from an exceptional and ever-growing regular season sample size. How would Urshela comport himself when the pressure was on in October? Would the defensive metrics that continue to criminally underrate his range someday come back to bite him in a big moment?
We learned plenty in a Wild Card Series Game 2 that will now be forever known as the Gio Urshela Game, and on the postgame show, former Yankees manager and gruff customer Buck Showalter finally broke down and admitted … he’s always just loved this kid.
Us too, Buck. Us too.
Showalter’s my preferred manager for this roster, by the way, but that’s neither here nor there. Perhaps Urshela’s presence for the current and future core could sway him? Eh?
At this point, if you don’t have a man crush on this beautiful human, you should be inspected. Urshela was the inflection point of every single good thing that happened on Wednesday night (and Thursday morning). His superhuman at-bat against rookie weapon James Karinchak ended in a grand slam that officially erased a 4-0 deficit. His dastardly double play saved at least one run in the eighth, and propelled the Yanks to their ridiculous comeback, once the Cleveland closer was dealt a Brad Hand.
And he was a direct and important part of that comeback, too, hitting the lowest pitch any Yankee has hit safely all year for an 0-2 single to put two men on. That’s how you get the Championship Belt all to yourself.
The next time we see the New York Yankees, they’ll be playing the Tampa Bay Rays on a neutral field. Hopefully, that’ll remove the bad Tropicana Field juju once and for all.
And the spotlight will be placed firmly on one man who was bought for a song in the middle of the 2018 season. If you had a man crush on him all the way back then, you’re living large now.