Is it the weather? Is it New York? Whatever the reason for his struggles, Giancarlo needs to hit the road
I have four words for Giancarlo Stanton.
Get out of town!
What else can you say to a guy who looks like he is wearing a blindfold and swinging at an atom?
Have you seen what Stanton has done in Pinstripes? He’s a mess at the plate.
On Sunday, the Yankees new slugger – can we call him slugger if his bat rarely touches the ball? – went 0-for-7 and struck out five times in one game. Five bleepin’ times!
There’s a name for striking out five times in a game: Platinum Sombrero. Yankee fans may have other names for it. Use your imagination.
Sunday’s game wasn’t the first time Stanton has achieved platinum status this season. And look at the calendar, it’s only April 9. He fanned five times during his Yankee Stadium debut less than a week ago. Fans booed him mercifully. He explained it as a bad day at the ballpark. He hit a home run the next day, but guess what: He also struck out three times.
After Sunday’s performance, a game in which his Bronx Bombers jumped out to a 5-0 first inning lead on Baltimore but were unable to hold, Stanton summed up his plate futility as a “bad week.”
After Aaron Judge hit into a double play that all but killed the last-gasp rally, the Yankees could have used one good hit from Stanton is his last plate appearance Sunday. A single would have sufficed. It could have tied the game.
It didn’t happen. Stanton stuck out with runners on first and second in the bottom of the 12th inning with two outs.
Stanton’s whiff ended the game. The Yankees lost 6-5 and ended a dreadful home series in which they lost three of four games to the Orioles, an American League East rival.
Fans booed Stanton, a lot, as he was making his way through a 3-for-28 homestand. Not to keep harping on the Ks, but he struck out 16 times in those seven games.
Criticize Yankees fans for booing all you want, but their angst is justified. Stanton seems to think so.
“They’re not going to cheer for that, so what do you expect? Stanton said after Sunday’s game.
So, what else is there to say but, “Get out of town, Giancarlo.”
It might do you some good.
It might be good to get away from the Bronx and the preseason expectations of hitting as many or more home runs there as Babe Ruth. Flee, for a while, the expectations of leading the Yankees to championship No. 28.
Get away for a week and leave all the expectations that have been thrust upon your shoulders after you became a superstar in Miami, particularly following last year’s performance in which you smacked 59 home runs and drove in 132 runs. And while you’re gone, don’t think a thing about the expectations that come with your contract, the one that will pay you $295 million through 2027.
Just go, man. Get out of here. Go to Boston.
Yeah, I know, it’s not the friendliest city for players dressed in pinstripes. But go find your swing, your happy place, and drive a few balls over the wall, or off the wall or, hell, under the wall if you can. Clear your mind in Boston. Make contact, for Jete’s sake!
Follow it up with a trip to Detroit this weekend, doing the same thing there. Forget about the Bronx. Forget about the Ks thus far in the House That Jeter Built. Faaaagetaboutit! Rip Comerica Park a new one.
Get your mind right for the next homestand. You’ll play 10 games there in Yankee Stadium, beginning April 16 against the Miami Marlins, the team that sent you to the Bronx. Yeah, they did you a favor getting you away from that circus, but you don’t want to thank them. You want to make them wish they had gotten in the trade a few more bags of peanuts for the elephants.
Some say much of Stanton’s struggles can be blamed on the cold weather the Yankees have played through in New York. They say that once temperatures heat up just a little, so will Stanton. They say, having been raised in Southern California and playing the past eight seasons in Miami, he is not used to swinging a bat at curveballs draped in icicles on 40-degree days with snow and rain and fog following him around the ballpark.
That may be true. And, sure, April can be cold in the Bronx, but so can October.
There will be many games between now and the playoffs for Stanton to rid himself of whatever demons are causing his bat to miss inside fastballs… and curveballs… and sliders … and… you get the point.
“The season is much longer than a week,” Stanton said minutes after his fifth K Sunday. “A couple good games and I can turn it around and help us win.”
So go now, Giancarlo. Go find whatever you lost between Miami and New York. Bring it back to the Bronx and give us, baseball fans, the show we are waiting for. Give us home runs to Monument Park. Give us three-run moon shots that thrust daggers into the hearts of Red Sox Nation in late September.
But leave behind your sombreros, be they gold or platinum.
Do so and the boos will stop. Yankee Stadium crowds will roar. The New York tabloids will stop spelling your name “GianKarlo.” And John Sterling will have five words for you: “Giancarlo, non si può stoparlo!”
And Suzn Waldman will giggle with delight.