The New York Yankees earned every second of their AL East clinch celebration on Tuesday night, weathering 500 different types of storms this summer (some self-inflicted, preventing them from reaching the gas pedal, but we move on) in order to send the Blue Jays into the Wild Card round with eight games remaining.
Sometimes, people harp on the Yankees for celebrating (like every other team!) when they attain Step One of their multi-part journey to a title. Usually, that scorn is reserved for the (many) years they’re stuck in the Wild Card. This was not one of those scornful years. Even the detractors get it this time.
From 17 games up to clinging on for dear life and back again, the Yankees finished strong on the back of future MVP Aaron Judge, filling in the gaps around him to create a gritty, scrappy team built around a myth of a man.
Once the final out was recorded, Judge made sure the team waited for him before things really popped in the clubhouse.
After all, he had some steam to let off, too, headed home once again on Friday midway through a home run chase.
Yankees clinch celebration highlighted by Aaron Boone speech, Michael King Facetime
Once Judge got to the clubhouse, it was business as usual. The YES Network shot of an attendant covering the lockers in plastic midway through the ninth inning didn’t curse anything. The clinch happened. It was time to go wild.
After Aaron Boone made a short speech, of course.
Say what you will about Boonie’s bullpen management, but he has his finger on the pulse of this team, and delivered a legitimately fiery speech about being underestimated, battling through trials and tribulations, and coming through when it mattered most with an impressive recovery.
He delivered the championship belt to Jameson Taillon who, by the way, gutted it out in last year’s Game 162 clincher, too.
Then it was time to, uh, drink some beers. One, maybe two beers, max. After all, there’s a game on Wednesday.
Or, if you wanted to, technically, you could go the route of newcomer Harrison Bader, who took four Bud Heavies to the dome at the same time, and could probably do it again if you asked nicely.
At least, we think four was his maximum. That’s what was caught on camera. Could’ve been a different story after the cameras left the premises.
Don’t think these 2022 Yankees forgot for one second where they came from, though.
From rookie Oswaldo Cabrera soaking up every moment of his first big-league postseason celebration to former Texas also-rans like Jose Trevino and Isiah Kiner-Falefa reflecting on where their careers have taken them, there were plenty of integral pieces scattered throughout the clubhouse who never expected to be there.
And there was one missing, too: Michael King, the team’s elite setup man who had a penchant for absolutely erasing innings during the season’s first half, no matter which fearsome sluggers laid ahead of him.
Trevino and Kyle Higashioka made sure he wasn’t left out, too, Facetiming King from the champagne-soaked locker room to let him know how important he was to the journey.
ALDS Game 1 first pitch? Who says no? King deserves the chance to be acknowledged by a larger crowd, too.
Nicest moment? Definitely the King thing. Strangest moment? Whatever Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo did to Josh Donaldson to make the new dad wander out of frame in anger. It certainly sounded like both men called him, “Daddy,” Rizzo doing it with a hug and the high-pitched voice of a toddler.
If someone pulled that on me at the office, let alone two people, I’d definitely pull a Ken Dorsey and get out of Dodge, too.
Tuesday was a time of celebration, but Wednesday will represent a moment of rest and relaxation in the midst of an unrelenting slog. The Yankees haven’t reached their ultimate goal yet by any means, but they’ve made the final leg of the journey much easier (in theory) with their accomplishments in Toronto.
That’s worth between four and six Bud Heavies, at the very least.