Arena: The Comeback of NY
With the playoffs just a month away, every team is pushing their boundaries. Playoff season sparks electrified tempers, heated rivalries, and most of all, unexpected comebacks. Perhaps the most interesting spin on the playoffs is the battle of NY. The Yankees and Mets are neck and neck, both fighting for a piece of postseason glory in their respective divisions. Although their records are similar, the Yankees (76-65) are lagging behind in their division, while the Mets (75-67) secured a top two spot. At this point, it's an even playing field. As the clock winds down, who will prove to be more clutch in the last moments before postseason madness?
The Yankees had a shaky start to the season, but proved to be resilient as the team progressed. They have been on a hot streak lately, walking away with their seventh straight win after a 5-1 victory over the Rays. Thriving off of that streak has motivated a team whose playoff chances seemed like a fantasy in the beginning of the season. They trade away three of their best players and yet, it worked out better than anyone could have imagined, thanks in part to manager Joe Girardi. Overcome with self proclaimed optimism, Girardi was confident, while most did not believe in the 2016 lineup. So here we are now: not just talking about a wildcard, but maybe even winning the AL East. No headline worthy comeback is complete without the debut of an unforeseen underdog. It's the guy who took a backseat role because of the situation, not a lack of talent; the self-made man you want to root for. That man is Gary Sanchez.
Called up from the minor leagues, Sanchez is shining in his rookie year. He's making a name for himself at a crucial time for the Yankees. He hit a .341/.417/.707 with 12 homeruns. His impressive stats are not the sole purpose behind his recent spotlight, but the attitude and energy he brings to the table at age 23. He has a passion within him that can lead the Yankees into a playoff run. In the Yankees' last victory over the Rays, Sanchez captivated the crowd when he was put in a vulnerable position. The Rays decided to intentionally walk the rookie and pitch to shortstop Didi Gregorius. But instead of letting the ball go, Sanchez decided to swing, sending everybody into massive shock. He was just yards away from a home run, turning a bad situation into a sac-fly and flexing his power as a rookie. It's the kind of spark that leads us to believe that Sanchez and the Yankees have what it takes to make it to the playoffs. In their concluding games of the season, the Yankees have many opportunities to match up against ALE teams and climb their way to the top.
On the other side of the city, the NY Mets have also thrown a few curveballs in our direction. Following suit with the Yankees, the Mets have utilized some young stars with their standouts sidelined due to injury. Pitcher Robert Gsellman had his second major league start last week where he lead his team to a 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals. A crucial win to the tune of 40,000 enthusiastic fans in Citi Field is not a bad start for the rookie. In the absence of Jacob deGrom, Gsellman has certainly filled his place and then some. The Mets All-Star is dealing with forearm discomfort, but fans soon forgot about the injury when Gsellman proved his worth.
The rookies have dominated the roster with unexpected glory, but a recent signing is something that nobody could have predicted. Just last week, retired NFL player Tim Tebow signed a minor league contract with the franchise. Some people think it's a mere publicity stunt and the team seems unenthused with the newcomer. When the Broncos QB decided to make that transition, I watched as the public seemed doubtful about his aspiring career in the MLB. So I am sure people are wondering why the Mets would take a chance on the 29 year old athlete. But we can let that thought ruminate in our minds during the offseason. Right now, the Mets and the rest of the baseball world are too focused on the playoffs to care about Tebow's future.