The second weekend in August was undoubtedly the most memorable of the 2016 summer. A season which had high hopes to begin quickly went south when the Yankees started to show their age and deficiencies at key positions. Then, a week after the Yankees essentially punted on their season by trading Beltran, Chapman, and Miller, everything changed.
On August 12, Alex Rodriguez played his final game in pinstripes and Yankees fans said goodbye to the polarizing legend in a — for lack of a better term — weird way.
The crowd on that Friday night was electric, and whether you liked ARod or not, there is no denying the entertainment value he provided Yankees and baseball fans for two decades. But for all the gifts, curtain calls, and tearful goodbyes, there was also no denying that the sendoff for Alex was just simply awkward, especially considering the ceremony planned the following day.
Saturday, a brutally hot August day, celebrated the 1996 World Series champion New York Yankees. Jeter, Bernie, O’Neill, Mo, and the rest of the ’96 heroes were in attendance, but what surprised fans most that day was the call-up of Aaron Judge, the 6-foot-7 beast fans had been waiting a year to see play in the Bronx.
Also in attendance that afternoon was the Bronx Pinstripes team, and we had front-row seats to Judgement Day.
It was the first glimpse of the youth movement we had been clamoring for. ARod was gone and Mark Teixeira was retiring. Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Aaron Judge were 6-7-8 in the batting order.
The heat index was at infinity and I was sweating Budweiser, which is why we went to the centerfield sports bar to sweat in the shade. Then, this happened:
It was a prelude for 6 exciting weeks of Yankees baseball. While Judge struggled, Gary Sanchez rose to stardom. If things go as we all hope they do and this young crop of Yankees become the next core on a championship winning team, we will look back to this August weekend in the Bronx as the jumping-off point.