What a difference a year makes. The Yankees were in the midst of selling off their assets this time last season in an attempt to boost their already improving farm system. While last year’s team wasn’t really going anywhere and everyone knew it, there was still a great hope for the future.
Gary Sanchez’s emergence at the end of 2016 gave fans a new reason to be optimistic about the team’s future. Then Aaron Judge came along and out-hit literally everyone in the first half of 2017. Luis Severino looks to be turning into a reliable starter at the front of a rotation. Nearly everything is coming up Yankees.
Attendance has certainly suffered as the Yankees have floundered around in mediocrity. The Stadium hasn’t been full or lively in a long time. During the Yankees’ extra inning win over the Rays on Thursday, however, you should see a change. People were loud, and most importantly, invested.
It has been quite some time since it wasn’t sort of embarrassing to think of how Yankee Stadium stacked up to other ballparks around the league. The lower levels were filled with businessmen who couldn’t really be bothered to pay attention to the game. At times it all felt more like a funeral than a baseball game.
Guys like Judge and Sanchez are starting to change that, though. The whole team being right in the thick of contention is getting people more into the game and it shows. Even on television, the atmosphere of the stadium was able to shine as fans chanted Gary’s name during his at-bat in the ninth that ultimately tied the game.
The Yankees might be back, y’all. They are just half a game out of the AL East lead despite a horrific month of play. Some reinforcements are already here, and more may yet be on the way. The rebuild is ahead of schedule, and this team is certainly one that can contend deep into the season.
With the additions of Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson, and maybe more to come, the Yankees have a legitimate chance of getting back to the playoffs. They have a decent chance of actually winning the division for the first time in what feels like an eternity for a spoiled Yankees fan like we all are.
There hasn’t ever been a better time to get to the stadium to see it all in person and contribute to the atmosphere hopefully returning to a level that makes other teams uncomfortable. That’s the advantage the Yankees haven’t had in years, and it would be nice to be a place that other teams don’t enjoy playing again.
It feels like we might be getting closer.