Who's the Face of the New York Yankees?
By: Matt Cote
For the past decade Derek Jeter was the face of the New York Yankees, no ifs ands or buts about it. The captain was on every poster, program and T-shirt in the five boroughs. Seeing a #2 shirt, shirsey (a jersey shirt) or jersey was about as common in New York as seeing a famous Ray’s pizza. Jeter is gone, retired his face and legacy a memory of legends past. New York needs a new face, a new leader. Someone to sell to the masses, a face to go on every young Yankee fans walls at home. According to MLB Network and their face of the franchise contest the face of the Yankees is (drumroll please)….Brett Gardner. *crickets*
With all possible respect thrown Gardner’s way he is not, nor will he ever be the face of the Yankees.
This is why a guy from the Pacific Northwest is the new face. Jacoby Ellsbury (Madras, Oregon Native) was in the words of Joe Girardi “a thorn in the Yankees side.” That is until last December when he signed a seven year deal to become the Yankees new center fielder. Ellsbury had been the lead off man for New York’s most bitter rival the Boston Red Sox for the first seven years of his career. Not only did the Yankees get a good player but they crippled a division foe at the same time. Ellsbury was arguably the Yankees best player last season and was healthy pretty much all year until a late season injury sidelined him for the last few weeks. That was the one knock on Ellsbury, when he is on the field he is fantastic, its just keeping him on the field that is tough (see his 2010 and 2012 games played). However the Yanks more than anyone knew just how great Ellsbury is. In fact they even watched him steal home against them back in 2009.
Ellsbury has always had that classic clean cut New York look. Seeing him finally wear pinstripes was a sight to behold (unless you’re a Red Sox fan). Of all Brian Cashman’s signings last year this one received the most criticism and honestly turned out to be the best. Now will his prolific speed still be the same in year seven of the deal, probably not but that doesn’t make it a bad signing.
I’m of the camp that believes Ellsbury should bat in the two-hole behind Gardner. That way New York will have their two fastest and most dynamic players on base by the time they get to the guys paid to drive in runs (McCann, Beltran, and Teixeira). The Yankees, however, will rely on Ellsbury for so many different reasons. He’s their best defensive player by far (deal with it Didi). As far as best pure hitter he gets my vote and his speed is comparable to that of Gardner’s. With so much uncertainty with the middle of the lineup it is on Ellsbury to get on base and create havoc. Him just getting on makes a pitcher think and when that happens mistakes get made, when mistakes get made Michael Kay yells “SEEEEE YA”. Does everyone see where I’m going with this? Ellsbury is the key; he is the straw that stirs the drink (Reggie Jackson quote for all you younglings). For the Yankees to succeed this year they are going to need a full twenty five man effort. But the first of those twenty five men needs to be the man with the number 22 etched on his back.
Jacoby Ellsbury is the face of the Yankees, he’s their best player, he’s a winner, he will lead the Yankees back to baseball Nirvana, all he needs is a little help from his friends. (Bam Beatles reference as well).
Thanks for reading folks.
Follow me on Twitter @MCote31
Don’t forget to follow @BronxBomberBlog all season long
Photo via zimbio.com