It hasn’t been an easy start of the season for New York Yankees’ slugger Joey Gallo. He was homerless before Tuesday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, and he is hitting .154/.254/.231 with a 52 wRC+ and a 39 percent strikeout rate.
Fans had turned against him. But he remained confident in his abilities and never ceased working. In fact, he was rocking a T-shirt yesterday with a clear message to himself and the world: “Never Quit. Live it.”
He was homerless in his last 79 at-bats heading into last night’s game, until he got all of a changeup and sent it over the fence to left-center field. It felt like freedom.
“I think sometimes you get a little worried,” Gallo said, per NJ Advance Media. “You’re like, ‘Man, why are these balls not going out?’ I’ve hit some balls really good this year and they’ve been caught at the wall or warning tracks. But I always know. Last year I remember going through 15 or 20 games without an extra-base hit to open up in Texas. It’s a process. It’s a long season, so you understand that they’re going to come. You just have to keep working.”
“It was a great swing on a changeup,” Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “He goes the other way with it.”
The Yankees’ slugger left no doubt with his blast
It was a 426-foot blast that left no doubt. “I knew I hit it really good, but I’ve hit a few balls here to center field that I thought I hit well, too, and they were caught,.” Gallo said. “So I wasn’t exactly sure (it was going out). It was good to see it happen.”
His Yankees teammates gave him the silent treatment after he hit his home run, but only as a joke. A few seconds later, they were showering with cheers and high fives.
“I haven’t gotten that since my first home run in the big leagues,” Gallo said. “I didn’t expect them to do that, but I was laughing. I thought it was really funny.”
“Obviously, I wish I had a better start to the season, but it’s a long season and my teammates have had my back,” Gallo said.
Even fans, or at least some of them, had his back. After perhaps too much criticism, they were chanting his name.
“Jo-ey, Jo-ey, Jo-ey!” they said.
“It was nice to get the positive reception,” Gallo stated. “I’ve been a little while since I’ve gotten a positive reception. It was nice to hear them behind me and cheering me on. It felt good.”