Over the past couple weeks since the end of the season, we’ve been reviewing the Yankees’ season. We’ve been looking at the good and bad, grading all the players’ seasons, and just generally looking at what was a disappointing Yankees season.
One avenue we’ve not gone down is looking at the weirdest moments of the year. This year provided a good number of them, and I’m not even counting all the COVID IL stints or injuries in general.
As a connoisseur of weird baseball things, here are my choices for the five weirdest things from the 2021 Yankees’ season.
5. Lucky Number 13
It’s going to be somewhat looked past due to the trajectory of the 2021 team on the whole, but it should not be overlooked that the Yankees had a 13-game winning streak.
After losing the Field of Dreams Game in Iowa (playing a game in a cornfield was another contender for this list), the Yankees rebounded two days later, beating the White Sox back in Chicago. That would be the first in 13 consecutive victories for the team.
The streak featured sweeps of the Red Sox, Twins, and Braves. (And the Angels, if you want to count a one-game makeup win as a sweep.) The one over the eventual champion Braves came when Atlanta was themselves on a nine-game win streak when they faced off. At the start of it, the Yankees were two games back of the second Wild Card. By the time it was over, they were up 6.5 games up. It was important.
It became the joint sixth-longest winning streak in Yankees history, and the longest since another 13-gamer in 1961. You don’t see a streak that long every year, especially from a team we’re going to remember as a disappointment.
4. Triple Play Mania
Ok. this is not really one moment, but a collection of a couple moments. After not turning a triple play since 2014, the 2021 Yankees did — three times — all within a month of each other.
The most fun came on June 17th, when it went down in the scorebooks as a 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple play, helping the Yankees to a win over the Blue Jays. Three in a season is tied for the most by any team ever.
3. A Helpful Bounce
Clinging to a two-run lead in the ninth inning, the Yankees brought in Aroldis Chapman for a save against the Rays on May 11th. All the nervousness was then ensured when Austin Meadows reached on an error to start the inning.
In the next at-bat, an errant Chapman pitch got by Gary Sánchez, but took an extremely perfect bounce.
This is an amazing caught stealing by Gary and a total circus play. But I think they got him out! pic.twitter.com/cd7T0LFaSo— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) May 12, 2021
That would be the first out of the inning as the Yankees eventually won 3-1. Even weirder is that it wasn’t the first time that has happened with that exact pitcher/catcher duo.
2. Grounds Crew Ejection
There was rain in the area as the September 15th game between the Yankees and Orioles in Baltimore went into the late innings. The Yankees were struggling (which will become a theme in this countdown in a second), and went into the top of the ninth down a run. They started to rally, but were still just a couple outs away from a loss. The Baltimore grounds crew then occupied the area near the tarp, expecting either the game to end or go into a rain delay soon, but umpire Tim Timmons was not having it.
Tim Timmons ejected the entire grounds crew a minute before it started pouring pic.twitter.com/I2j009fCOM— Internet #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) September 16, 2021
The rain eventually started to come down as the Yankees rallied with two runs thanks to a Brett Gardner single, and finished off a win in the bottom of the ninth. We’ve seen various coaches and players ejected in Yankees games over the years, but that was a first.
1. The Cat
As the 2021 Yankees were wont to do, the offense was sleepwalking through the August 2nd game. What made that day especially annoying was that it was coming against the Orioles in a game started by Jorge López.
The game ended in a loss, so there was nothing good on that end, but the game did get some redemption. In the eighth inning, a cat got on the field and evaded the various people attempting to catch it for a good deal of time.
It continuing to escape captors showed more fight than the Yankees did that day.