Juan Soto's epic home run had Yankee Stadium sounding the way it should

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

Positive Yankees content, incoming! And we had to get a night's rest after this moment so we could gather ourselves, because Juan Soto's electric game-winning home run against the Rays had the Bronx vibrating.

It's the way Yankee Stadium should sound. Not every night. But certainly on a consistent basis, instead of the barren, energy-sapped gathering of groans and silence fans have experienced recently. Far too often over the past few years, the vibe in New York has been frustrating and dispiriting.

We're not even being hyperbolic, either. The 2020 playoffs had no fans, and the Yankees' Wild Card and ALDS matchups occurred on the road. The 2021 season ended in despair in Boston. The 2022 season featured an embarrassing ALCS sweep, and the ALDS victory was far too close to be worth celebrating. In 2023? Remember that? No playoffs, no competitive edge, nothing memorable.

It's still early in the 2024 season, but the vibes after just 20 games have featured an almost unimaginable shift. There have been a few freakouts along the way, most notably this week when the Yanks dropped three straight in agonizing fashion, but overall, the optimism, confidence and joy have been overflowing.

It's certainly felt closer to the 2017 postseason run than anything since. We're not there quite yet, but Soto has revived the fanbase and stadium energy while truly giving fans the "27 outs" experience.

Juan Soto's epic home run had Yankee Stadium sounding the way it should

Yes, that's why you make this trade 10/10 times, even if it means parting with an asset you're not exactly "comfortable" with. If not for Soto, it's unclear where the Yankees would even be right now. He's registered clutch hit after clutch hit, maintained a ferocity from innings one through nine that's been foreign to this core of players for the last six years, and is batting 347/.468/.600 with 13 runs scored, 5 homers and 20 RBI in 20 games. He has a league-leading 18 walks. He's played excellent defense.

But the most important trait of all is the crowd control. Soto has the Bronx in the palm of his hand, and he's breathing more and more life into each exciting moment every time he has the opportunity to do so. The roars at Yankee Stadium on Friday night were unlike anything fans have heard in well over a year and a half.

The way he celebrates, too, is contagious. He has Aaron Judge ready to rock from the on-deck circle. He has the dugout erupting from the crack of the bat until after he reaches the end of the high-five line. When the Yankees feel like they're about to gasp their last breath of air, Soto revives the collective like Jon Snow coming back from the dead.

Yankees fans are undoubtedly privileged to have players like Soto and Judge hitting back-to-back, but it'd be a true display of undeserved privilege if fans let it pass by without living inside every moment. That's why it's important to mark checkpoints for major cosmic shifts, and right here feels like an inflection point.

Six more months of guaranteed life with Soto. Soak it all in.