Occasionally, fans complain that teams don’t hate each other like they used to. Players bounce around more and have friends around the league, a difference from when Billy Martin despised his team fraternizing with the opponent.
That wasn’t the case on Thursday afternoon as the Yankees and Tigers cleared the benches several times. As the Yankees look to make the postseason, the skipper said that this could be a rallying point. “It can be affected but on the other side it’s a team that’s together,” Girardi said. “And they can be affected in a very positive way as well. I think that’s important as well.
Sanchez was suspended four games and Romine was suspended for two. Girardi compared Sanchez to his former teammate Jorge Posada. “Gary’s a fiery player,” Girardi said. “Gary’s got a lot of fight in him and that’s one thing that you don’t ever want to take away from a player. I know another catcher that had a lot of fire and a lot of fight in him and ended up being a great player and could one day end up in the Hall of Fame and his number is retired in Monument Park. And that’s what we love about Jorge. Learning how to control it as you go through the game and you as you grow up is important, but the kid plays with a lot of passion. He’s gonna protect his teammates, he loves his teammates, he’s got a lot of fire and fight and I like that about it.
Sanchez homered and was drilled in his next at-bat. In the bottom of the sixth, Tommy Kahnle threw behind Miguel Cabrera and was ejected. Girardi came out to argue and was thrown out. Minutes later, Cabrera and Austin Romine got in a fight which led to the benches and bullpens clearing.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened,” Girardi said. “It can be a dangerous and nasty part of the game but players play with a lot of emotion and are going to protect each other and that’s what you want.”
Out of the playoff hunt, Detroit can afford suspensions. The Yankees could be the ones hurt, especially the oddity of losing two catchers.
The Yankees have 36 games left, with the overwhelming majority against teams in the playoff hunt. Girardi said his players would have to have their heads in the sand not to realize that.
There are a number of players, including Kahnle, David Robertson, Jaime Garcia, Todd Frazier and Sonny Gray that weren’t here six weeks ago. While a night out on the town might have been a nice team bonding activity, Girardi says the fight against Detroit could help.
“Oh, I think it does,” Girardi said. “And it’s not what you necessarily want because of the consequences but I think a lot of times it can. And I think this was a pretty close-knit group but obviously there’s been a lot of new names that have come in, and I think what you see is, you’ll probably see a closer-knit group today.”