But also … bless you? Because the games with you at the mic since 2019 have uniformly been awesome, and the fact that you’re up there gives us hope, even when things look bleak.
Why? Because, sometime around the sixth or seventh inning, the narrative is guaranteed to go haywire.
Whole new ballgame.
Through five innings on Monday afternoon in a sleepy makeup game against the Twins, the Yanks were being shut out by Minnesota’s bad bullpen. Their only hit was a Joey Gallo bunt; he was swiftly erased on a double play, as often seems to be the case with this team. Entering this game, New York and the Miami Marlins were the only two teams in the league not to win a single game they trailed by four runs.
And yet … while the on-field play gave literally no reason for hope … the voice that intoned balls and strikes still had us believing in something wack-a-doo.
Yankees announcer Ryan Ruocco is guaranteed to make any game wild.
Now, this feels like confirmation bias, but an inordinate amount of games featuring Ruocco really do go down to the wire. More often than not, they also end up in the correct team’s win column.
Again — there was no reason to believe this Yankees team would deliver on Tuesday when pressed. They hadn’t overcome a deficit like this all year long — no, not even against the Twins.
So when Aaron Judge stepped up in the eighth, fighting off dizziness from Sunday night that still hadn’t dissipated, it felt like another hurdle en route to the end of a humdrum loss. Except … the Ruocco factor …
Judge somehow fought through his own impediment, saw the ball perfectly, and socked it deep into the right-field bleachers. Ruocco, naturally, was ready with the ideal call. This wizard probably saw it coming.
You know the rest. Aroldis Chapman nearly coughed it up in the ninth, but he didn’t, because Ruocco. Clay Holmes started the 10th with a man on second and Josh Donaldson/Miguel Sano coming up, but they didn’t deliver, because Ruocco. Gio Urshela stranded Manfred’s Man on second with three terrible bunt attempts … but it didn’t matter, because Gary Sanchez socked a liner into left to win the game. Because. Ruocco.
Of course, this narrative all began with the granddaddy of them all: the 2019 Yanks’ disgusting, transcendent and mind-leaking 13-12 win in Minnesota, featuring blown saves, Aroldis Chapman’s mess, Aaron Hicks smashes and Hicks’ gravity-defying leap into no man’s land to secure victory. It was the game of the year (era?), and it featured a new play-by-play guy whose baked-in, non-jaded excitement for the Yankees seemed to spur them on to impossible victory.
And who can forget this summer, when Ruocco turned a Monday evening game in Kansas City, of all places, into the most improbable Yankee win of the year (prior to Monday, of course), when the team set a record for blowing saves in a single game, only to hold on anyway when Brett Gardner’s hotshot grounder leapt five feet off the dirt and struck the shortstop?
Every time Ruocco calls a wild one, confirmation bias springs into action, of course.
But if every single fan watching feels the energy, there’s something there. It’s science.
Ryan Ruocco simulcast for the Wild Card Game if we reach it, please? Peyton and Eli Manning can come, too. ESPN2. Deliver it to me.