Here was a lifelong Yankee fan (and, yes, an Italian) returning to his roots to take on the short porch and mash.
Unfortunately, Gallo’s grace period in the Bronx was quite short, proving he would struggle to get by on emotional attachment alone.
By the end of the summer, the 27-year-old slugger had compiled a career-worst stretch made up of all the more worrisome elements of his game. We knew to expect a low batting average, but not “.160” low. We knew the strikeouts would be a home run tradeoff, but we expected more than 13 homer and fewer than 88 whiffs in two months, too.
Headed into Year 2 with the Yankees — after shaking off trade rumors — Gallo needs to turn the page to the second chapter, otherwise known as the redemption story.
Ahead of his final contracted year in pinstripes, Gallo threw it back this week with some childhood photos to prove he’s always belonged here.
Yankees outfielder Joey Gallo’s throwback shows he was meant for the Bronx
Yes, even more than his 213 strikeouts last year did.
The slugger certainly had a few of the type of moments Young Gallo dreamed of a kid rocking the ’90s gear during the 2021 second half. Most prominently, fans got totally on board when he cashed in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton with a come-from-behind dinger against the Mariners in early August.
And, of course, there was his monstrous home run in extra innings in Chicago after Judge had cashed in the free runner from second base. Not shockingly, the Yankees’ bullpen ended up needing the insurance.
It’s easy to forget because of how pedestrian his 2021 cameo was that Joey Gallo, Gold Glove-caliber oufielder and potential 50-homer bat, is a New York Yankee and will be for the all-important 2022 season.
It’s tough for Gallo to forget, though. After all, he’s always been one of us.