So far, a week into Josh Donaldson’s New York Yankees career, he’s piled up just a single RBI. Luckily for him, it was an iconic one, a walk-off smack on Opening Day against the Red Sox that has bought him at least another few days of goodwill.
Behind the scenes, though, Donaldson has been far more impactful.
He’s also racked up 1 Beef Squashed, though it was a fairly monumental one; he and Gerrit Cole have gone from enemies to minglers, as Donaldson told Ryan Ruocco and CC Sabathia that the pair has become inseparable, with their spouses and children blending.
As suspected, Donaldson and Cole were never really on opposite ends of the spectrum, but rather were both bristling winners who would do anything to take home victories and unnerve the enemy. Like Johnny Damon grinding away for both the ’04 Red Sox and ’06 Yankees, there was just an artificial barrier keeping the pair apart.
While Aaron Hicks first alerted Yankees Universe to his/the team’s 2022 mentality “Have Some F*** You,” Donaldson expanded upon the idea on this week’s episode of R2C2, making it clear how he intends to inject some revenge in the Bombers’ ethos.
So far, though some games have gone better than others, the ability to punch back has been evident in the early going.
Yankees’ Josh Donaldson wants to instill revenge in his teammates.
It sounds silly, but something every team that’s beaten the Yankees in recent years has in common is their ability to create chips on their collective shoulder.
The 2018 Red Sox acted disrespected by Brian Cashman saying his team had “done damage” against Boston in the past and carried that momentum through a record-setting season and the ALDS. Then, just when they needed a jolt, Aaron Judge carried a boombox past their locker room and they pretended to be offended once again to secure a 16-1 momentum-swinging Game 3 victory.
And who could forget the 2020 Tampa Bay Rays, so offended by some Aroldis Chapman chin music back in midsummer that they turned one errant pitch into a redemption arc for the ages for Mike Brosseau?
It’s insufferable when it’s not you, and crafting a disrespect narrative could be important work for Donaldson this season.
Additionally, Donaldson clearly doesn’t want a single enemy to like one thing about him, a mentality the Yankees have lacked since Sabathia’s departure.
Aaron Judge is typically all smiles, whether dominating or struggling, and the rest of the 2020-21 roster was more pudgy than fearsome. If Donaldson can stare down a pitcher like he plans to knock his block off — and actually start delivering on his own exit velocities — then perhaps it will truly become contagious, and the 2022 offense can match the spectacular pitching staff.
So far, it’s all just lip service — but at least it’s an encouraging variety.