Greg Bird was not going to be on the Yankees 25-man major league roster to begin the year, but he was still going to play a vital role this season by providing insurance against a brittle Mark Teixeira and aging Alex Rodriguez. A torn labrum in his right shoulder has ended his season before it could even begin, but that doesn't mean we can't look back on his 2015 season with fond memories and look toward the future in 2017. Yeah, let's do that. In the order of my choosing, I present to you the top five Greg Bird moments of 2015:
5) September 15, 2015 (Yankees @ Rays)
Heading into this at-bat, the Yankees were down 2–1 in the top of the fourth inning. That is until Bird spread his wings and blasted a 440 foot home run to give New York a 3–2 lead. The team would go on to lose this game 6–3 (thank you, Bryan Mitchell), but in this at-bat Yankee fans were given one of their first tastes of the kind of power that Bird is capable of. That poor, poor baseball.
4) September 20, 2015 (Yankees @ Mets)
"As Mets Rise, a City Starts to Change Its Pinstripes," "It's Now the New York Mets' City...," and many more headlines spanned New York news outlets as the Mets continued to win baseball games in September (a novel concept for them). Greg Bird would have none of that, though. After splitting the first two games of one of the most exciting Subway Series in recent years, the Yankees decided to put the Mets in their place once and for all. Greg Bird helped put the last nail in the coffin with his three-run home run to make it 11–1.
3) August 19, 2015 (Twins @ Yankees)
Now it starts to really get good. A few days after making his major league debut, Bird hammered his first big-league home run into the upper deck of Yankee Stadium. Two innings later, he did it again, launching his second career home run into center field. Opposing pitcher Ervin Santana claimed that both of these home runs were "jokes" due to Yankee Stadium's dimensions, but that was not the case. Bird drove in all four Yankee runs on this day, leading them to a 4–3 victory over the Twins.
2) September 7, 2015 (Orioles @ Yankees)
At this point in the season, the Blue Jays had begun their quest to never lose a baseball game again, and it was going quite well up north. After falling to second place (1.5 games back), the Yankees needed to win in order to keep pace. With the score tied 5–5, Bird launched a go-ahead three-run home run to put the Yankees ahead, where they would remain, ultimately beating the Orioles 8–6 and gaining a game in the standings.
1) September 22, 2015 (Yankees @ Blue Jays)
I now present to you, Greg Bird's best moment of 2015. I literally screamed when this happened during the game, and I think it was then that my roommates started to believe I was psychotic. Anyway, heading into this game, the Yankees were three and half games back in the standings to their opponent, the Blue Jays. The season was drawing to a close, and the Yankees needed all the wins they could eke out in order to ensure a playoff appearance. The division was still up for grabs, and things were looking up for the Yankees, as they headed into the bottom of the ninth inning up 3–2. Then, in rare fashion, Andrew Miller blew the save, and the game headed to extra innings. In the top of the 10th, Greg Bird blasted this iconic home run, and the Yankees were ultimately victorious by a score of 6–4.
Bird had some pretty great moments in 2015, and there are plenty to choose from that aren't included here. Do you agree with these selections? What do you think were Bird's best moments of this past year? While you ponder these questions, I'll be over in the corner trying to suppress the tears of what could have been and thinking about just how much I'll miss this guy.