Gleyber Torres added a move that had recently become all the rage at Yankee Stadium while touching second base to record the game-ending forceout that secured the American League Division Series for the New York Yankees.
Torres cradled his arms together and rocked them back and forth like a baby, staring towards Josh Naylor and the Cleveland Guardians dugout.
Torres reflected on what he had seen from his position in the Progressive Field infield the night before and remembered feeling disrespected.
“We got our retribution. We’re pleased to defeat those people. Now they can watch the next series for us on TV,” Torres said amid a champagne celebration in the Yankee clubhouse after New York won the pivotal Game 5 5-1 on Tuesday night. Just a thought on vengeance.”
Little did Naylor realize that he had offered up an extra, unexpected shot of motivation in the Yankees’ quest to extend their postseason run.
Naylor made the rocking-the-baby move repeatedly after homering in the fourth inning of Sunday’s Game 4 in Cleveland, challenging Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. During his jog to home plate, he even addressed Cole as his “son.”
The 48,178 spectators who filled Yankee Stadium on Tuesday didn’t forget that post-homer show, just like Torres. They welcomed Naylor with a statement previously heard across the street at the previous Yankee Stadium in 2004.
Even though he had a hard-hit, rally-stalling lineout and went 0 for 4, Naylor still enjoyed the wrong guy role in the Bronx.
Naylor described the fans’ reaction as “amazing” and “so sick.” “Playing at a place like this where they have devoted followers is fantastic. That was honestly like a childhood dream come true.
“It was sick. I could hear it across the entire stadium.”
Tuesday’s chorus initially began as Naylor sprinted back to the Guardians’ dugout after a flyout to Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge in the second inning. By the time he reached the top step, the chorus had intensified to a level that brought to mind the 2004 ALCS, when Yankees fans had screamed the same question to Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez.
Later that playoffs, the Red Sox, led by Martinez, went on to end an 86-year drought by winning the World Series. Before the taunting to Martinez, the Red Sox pitcher had referred to the Yankees as his “daddy.”
I felt that chant would be it because I knew they would think of something, Naylor said. “If anything, that pushes me. Playing under pressure is exciting when everyone and everything is against you. It’s enjoyable.
“Playing against teams like the Yankees, Astros, or whatever the case may be is why you play this game at the greatest level or attempt to get the best grade. It’s nice to play under that sort of limelight and under that kind of pressure because they all have fantastic fan bases, and they all want their home club to win.
Naylor also observed Torres’ sarcastic postgame celebration, but he wasn’t offended about it.
Naylor responded, “You do what you’ve got to do, I guess.” Better win everything; do what has to be done.