In Game 4 of the ALDS between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians, Josh Naylor became a household name across America. In the bottom of the fourth inning with his team trailing by two runs, he hit a solo homer off Gerrit Cole.
With the Guardians now trailing by one run, Naylor sprinted around the bases, violently rocking an imaginary baby in his arms while screaming “he’s my little f—ing son!” toward his dugout, which was apparently a reference to Cole (and other pitchers Naylor homered off this year).
Both Naylor and his teammate, Triston McKenzie, talked about how it was something Naylor did all year when faced with questions from the media, but that didn’t stop Yankee Stadium from abusing Naylor in Game 5 of the ALDS (yes, after the Yankees won Game 4 in Cleveland despite Naylor’s home run cutting the deficit!).
Naylor and McKenzie were again approached about the topic at this year’s Guards Fest but the two had very different responses.
Naylor offered up clarity, claiming he meant no disrespect and wasn’t specifically targeting Cole, while McKenzie’s commentary was more of a battle cry.
Josh Naylor talked about showboating vs the Yankees, Gerrit Cole in ALDS
The Guardians’ first baseman said that he wanted to fire up his teammates with his actions because they had the Yankees on the ropes leading the series 2-1. He talked about how cool it would’ve been to beat a “powerhouse” team like the Yankees in front of the home crowd, and he felt he could’ve taken his team over the top with his showboating after a big moment.
Of all the fanbases, Yankees fans can respect an opponent saying “I just wanted to get the boys fired up.” While it made for good back and forth trash talk, in the end, it’s obvious Naylor was just living in the moment and trying to up the energy.
As for McKenzie …
It looks like this isn’t going away anytime soon! Naylor, the perpetrator, tried to bury the hatchet, and McKenzie came firing back with the “rent-free” comment. And he’s excited to face the Yankees because he thinks the Guardians got under their skin so badly?
Welp, here’s to the first Yankees hitter in 2023 homering off McKenzie (possibly as early as April 10-12) and rocking the baby while rounding the bases.