‘Hart of the Order’
By Sean Hartnett
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Some players are born to wear the famous pinstripes of the New York Yankees and Curtis Granderson is certainly one of them. The Yankees are often compared to businessmen as they are the richest club in all of baseball, play in the financial capital of the world and wear ‘pinstriped suits.’ There haven’t been many who’ve fit into the Yankee fabric as seamlessly and with such ease as Granderson has.
Not everyone can handle the immense pressure of representing the most storied franchise in all of American sports and survive in the fishbowl that is New York. There have been many examples in recent history of talents that have floundered under this spotlight. Carl Pavano, Randy Johnson, Jeff Weaver, Kenny Lofton, Tony Womack, Rondell White, Raul Mondesi… the list goes on.
It takes a certain kind of personality to fit the mold of a New York Yankee. Alex Rodriguez has had his share of successes and failures since arriving in 2004. We all remember moments when A-Rod would press and come undone before his breakthrough in the 2009 playoffs. Time will tell which way his legacy will be etched into Yankee lore. Unless Rodriguez plays a big part in future Bombers’ glory, he will be viewed with the same stigma as those listed above.
Regular season success doesn’t necessarily make you a Yankee idol as Gary Sheffield exemplified during his three-year stay. Though putting up MVP-caliber numbers, Sheffield fizzled during the playoffs and erupted like a volcano in his many public and clubhouse quarrels. He had a famous moment of bipolar behavior over an option year in Spring Training 2006 and also threw the newly acquired Bobby Abreu under the bus and went as far as questioning Derek Jeter’s leadership during his time as a Yankee.
Curtis Granderson on the other hand has coolly let his play do the talking. When a critical situation arises and Granderson is called upon, he fills Yankee fans with belief. It would be difficult to mention the entire list of big moments he’s provided in pinstripes this season but Wednesday’s performances against the Tampa Bay Rays was typical of what he brings on an everyday basis.
His two-run homer in the first inning set the tone after the Yankees suffered a difficult loss a day earlier. It was exactly the kind of reaction needed to gain the early momentum of the ballgame. Freddy Garcia had done his part to keep the Rays off the scoreboard for the first four innings but allowed a deep drive in centerfield in the 5th. With two outs and two runners in scoring position, Granderson rushed back toward the warning track and crashed into the outfield wall. He seemed to have been dealt a tremendous blow but held onto the ball that literally saved the Yankees’ lead.
His manager, Joe Girardi perfectly summed up Granderson’s value to the team when interviewed post-game. “You can’t say enough great things about Grandy.”
The quote was short and to the point. Both Girardi and his teammates know exactly what Granderson means to the Yankees. They’ve seen the selfless, team-first play he delivers and the quiet confidence that inspires victories. You won’t ever hear him toot his own horn as he simply goes about his business the next day.
Having Granderson around is such a refreshing change from some of the Yankee misfits of the past. He was indeed born to wear the pinstripes.
Yankee fans, how vital do you believe Granderson has been to the Yankees this season? Sound off below and send your tweets to @HartyLFC.