Saturday, April 23, 2016
Posted by el duque at 7:01 AM
Thursday, even on the generally upbeat River Ave blog, Mike Axisa was outlining potential trades that would make Ellsbury disappear. When River Ave is looking to dump you, that's a bad sign. That's looking up and seeing "Surrender, Dorothy." Not even Alphonso plots trades; (he'd rather boil them in oil.) And yet... this morning Axisa can be found waxing over Ellsbury's "Signature Yankee Moment."
And he's right. It was Friday night's electrifying - and incredibly stupid? - steal of home against Tampa. Ellsbury ran on a full count and two outs, with two runners in scoring position, and Brett Gardner at bat. How does a runner attempt to steal home in such a scenario? If the pitcher throws a strike... dear God. Gardner either takes strike three - inning over - or he swings and potentially fractures his teammate's skull. There's a reason why guys don't steal home on 3-2 counts with two outs.
So what happened? Ellsbury stole home! The place exploded. It was incredible... but it raises a legitimate question: Did Ellsbury not know the count was 3-2?
And yet... who cares? HE DID IT! He pulled it off! If a strategy works, forget the insanity, right?
Well... yeah. I'm in. If Gardner had been forced to take strike three, or if Ellsbury were called out at the plate, today's tabloids would be going wild, and NYC talk radio would be re-enacting the 2004 movie "Hotel Rwanda," (remember killing the cockroaches?) This could well have been the end of the Jacoby Ellsbury era in New York. That's the chance he took.
But he did it.
So... I ask you: Is this his Giambi grand slam? Is this Coney perfect game? Is this the moment that finally anoints Jacoby Ellsbury as a Yankee for life? Because we haven't yet seen one.
Is this the game that turns him around. He's still batting only .255 with no home runs and four stolen bases. Yesterday, Ellsbury was even benched against the lefty. He only played because Aaron Hicks hurt himself on a dive. Last night, we witnessed one of the ballsiest career gambles in Yankee memory. Last night, did something happen?