Just when you start to feel like the tides might be turning in 2021’s edition of the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry, the Sox decided to celebrate Dustin Pedroia Day at Fenway Park on Friday…and Jacoby Ellsbury showed up.
He’s alive. He looks fantastic. And the Yankees need a center fielder. What perfect timing!
We’re not sure who has more ability to cover the outfield at this moment between Ellsbury and Giancarlo Stanton, but we hadn’t seen the former Sox-turned-turncoat since 2017 when, at the age of 33, he put up a prototypical .264/.348/.402 line. Not wonderful, not dreadful, fairly dull.
Then he racked up the injury issues, battled the Bombers over a grievance, was paid $68 million simply to go away, and went down in history as the more confounding and bad signings in franchise history. Because, you know…he disappeared into the void.
Until Friday night, of course!
With the chance to embarrass the Yankees, he emerged from the outfield in full Red Sox regalia. All was forgiven by the Fenway Faithful, who missed screaming and cheering for an active member of the Yanks’ roster by about three months.
Former Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury showed up at Fenway Park looking great.
Fantastic. Just…phenomenal. In terms of a karmic reminder of things gone wrong, this seems like a fairly effective one.
Planting emotional ceremonies right in the middle of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry to swing the tide isn’t a foreign concept; you may remember the 2012 Sox planning their 100th Anniversary Celebration for Fenway Park right in the middle of a rivalry set, only for the Yanks to spoil the party.
It’s hard for anyone to spoil anything more than Ellsbury did with his poisonous Yankees tenure, though. It feels like eons ago that Ells inked a deal with the Yanks coming off a title-winning, MVP-vote-garnering season in Boston and immediately put up just one above-average season in four years. He also stopped stealing bases for whatever reason, dropping from 52 in his final year in Boston to 39, 21, 20 and 22 with the Bombers.
If we didn’t know any better, we’d say he didn’t really like it here. The timing of his return from exile — and his brutal lil’ smirk — on Friday seem to intimate the same thing.
Of course, a legal battle will sour any relationship. There were rumors earlier this year that Ellsbury’s grievance could end up ruining the Yankees’ payroll this year, pushing their first-round pick well below its current level.
Would that…push the Yankees past the luxury tax? Meaning they’d be able to add payroll at the deadline with reckless abandon instead of hanging back like wimps?
Hmm. Huh. Maybe…do us a solid after this troll job, Ells?