New York is a tough place. Forget being an athlete in the big city. Existing day-to-day as the average citizen is a challenge only a certain kind of person can properly handle. Those people subjected to the grind with a much less desirable situation than, say, Yankees players, are obviously going to be a bit more rough around the edges.
That explains New York sports fandom. The stakes are high. The fans pay a lot of money to see their team play. They spend a lot of money just to live a decent life. So they want more out of what they’re paying for. Blame it on whatever you think is most appropriate, but this is the reality.
Sadly, a reality former Yankee Joey Gallo didn’t understand during his year in the Bronx, and seemingly will never understand based on his latest comments when asked about his short tenure with the Bombers. This story won’t go away, which is incredibly annoying, but that’s all thanks to Gallo for creating the never-ending novelty.
In 140 games with the Yankees, the veteran slugger slashed .159/.291/.368 with 65 runs scored, 25 homers, 46 RBI and 194 strikeouts. Impossibly bad. Whatever realistic excuse you think you can come up with for that kind of output for a player of his caliber isn’t valid, which is exactly what prompted Michael Kay’s rant shortly after Gallo’s departure.
Joey Gallo talks about his time with the Yankees again … and nobody cares
Some fans were awful towards Gallo, nobody’s denying that. But toward the end of his tenure, the vitriol turned to sympathy, and fans were just dying for any sort of success for the former Texas Ranger. In the end, he had a year to figure it out. He didn’t. Not from a mental or from a physical perspective.
He couldn’t handle anything about New York, which is exactly what he proved with his latest comments:
"“My swing wasn’t in a good spot,” Gallo told Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. “My mind was in a spot where, I was just chasing a hit so people would get the fuck off my back, I guess. I was just playing every day to get people to stop talking shit.“It’s not like I killed it when I was there after I got traded. So like at some point you’re just trying to survive, (but) just sinking.”Playing in New York, Gallo said, was ‘just different.’“People don’t understand what it’s like in New York,” he said. “It’s a completely different day-to-day grind than a normal baseball player.”"
You had 140 games — a full calendar year — to get both your swing and mind in a “good spot.” Even had a break in between with last year’s second half and this year’s first half! Over that span, Gallo actually regressed.
So, in summation, he clearly couldn’t handle New York for a variety of reasons. The pressure, the criticism, the larger spotlight — which all culminated in Gallo feeling like he couldn’t “walk the streets of New York” despite citing no real evidence why he actually felt that way outside of a few boos and jeers at the Stadium.
Now, Gallo has enjoyed 17 games of “success” in LA, which has featured nine hits (two off position players in garbage time), including three homers and seven RBI. He’s also batting .205 and has struck out 20 times in 44 at-bats. There’s been a noticeable difference in his play, but let’s not continue to get ahead of ourselves thinking there was some “Yankees Curse.” He was just playing so badly that any improvement now appears to be a bounce-back or renaissance.
He just couldn’t handle New York and was unable to figure out how over the course of 12 months. What’s done is done. Hopefully this is the last Yankees fans have to hear about it, because as agonizing as that stretch was for Gallo, it also was for everyone else, because his play and demeanor contributed to countless negative headlines that added to the misery or took away from the successes.