It’s a cliche because it’s true. When you go to the ballpark, you never know if you’ll see something historic, something that’s never been done before.
Last night was “out with the old,” and the retirement of Alex Rodriguez. Today was “in with the new.” In our latest chapter of “the metaphors write themselves” the difference between the two lineups was night and day. Last night there were 7 starters in the lineup over age 30. Today there were 7 starters in the lineup under age 30.
The most anticipated new prospects were Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge, who both had their major league debuts, and were batting back to back in the lineup.
Austin came to the plate in the second inning, and sent a drive into left that made the crowd stand up. You could see it was going to be close to the wall–would it be caught at the wall? or robbed? or a homer? It was a homer and a sharp roar rose up as it cleared the wall. It’s always wonderful and amazing when your fresh young guy hits a home run in his first major league at bat. Lots of guys have done it. Lots of Yankees, even, like Marcus Thames. (And many others.)
But, as I asked corwin as Aaron Judge then came to the plate, have two guys making their debuts ever gone back to back? Judge is a big guy. Pitcher-big. He’s six-foot-seven and 282 pounds. We’ve seen him in spring training a couple of times. He’s so big he needs a nickname. (I suggest “The Hammer” as a slight reference to Hank Aaron…)
As it turns out, two rookies have never both hit homers in their first at bats while making their debuts in the same game, much less back to back. Until now. Judge’s blast was a no-doubter, clearing the wall into the net in Monument Park.
Prior to the game the 1996 Championship Team was honored in a ceremony that included video montages and introductions of each player: the big guns like Jeter, Tino, Paulie, Mariano, Bernie, Jorge, and Pettitte, and the not-so-big like Pat Kelly, Matt Howard, Andy Fox, and a horde of other faves. Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, Wade Boggs, Coney, Luis Sojo, Ramiro Mendoza, John Wettleland, Graeme Lloyd, and more. (Plus Joe Torre and Mel Stottlemyre.)
— cecilia tan wilbb (@whyilikebb) August 13, 2016
But by the time Austin hit his homer, and definitely by the time Judge joined him, the day felt like it wasn’t about the past, but the future. Maybe those ’96 guys left a little residual magic on the field, and maybe Austin and Judge soaked it right up. Let’s hope so.