Originally, when I sought out to do the research for this post, my intention was to find games from the 2023 season where the Yankees benefitted from big blunders from their opponents. There were a few that were compelling, but truly, not nearly as many as the Yankees subjected themselves too. That was disappointing for me, as I hadn’t taken on research like this in a while and was trying my best to stay positive as the Yankees enter a potentially long offseason.
But what I did come across while digging through the archives were a few blunders of years past that gave me a good chuckle, so that’s where this piece will be focused. The criteria here weren’t extensive; I was just looking for a blunder that ended up helping the Yankees, and I was not disappointed. Before going into the follies of years past, let us recall my personal favorite from this year that happened late in the season in Pittsburgh:
As Gleyber Torres smiled crossing home plate, I’m sure he thought to himself how it was nice they finally got one of those after he and others made similar mistakes during the season. It’s a darn long run for the first baseman as the ball slowly rolls to the wall. The first mistake was the throw, of course, but then it got worse when Jared Triolo took his stride too early and couldn’t react to it. From that point on, it was all sadness for the Pirates and rejoice for the Yankees, as Clay Holmes shut the door in the bottom of the ninth.
Now let’s go back to 2022 when the Yankees faced off against the Tigers. The bases were juiced and Josh Donaldson, notoriously bad hitter for the Yankees, was at the plate. He took an off balance swing in a 3-2 count and hit a pop up to the pitcher. Everything looked fine until the ball started coming to the ground, and Tyler Alexander was completely checked out:
The nonchalant energy followed up with panic and tripping over his catcher was a rollercoaster. Typically this is the kind of play that the third baseman has a good shot at, but he was essentially playing in left field, leaving the fielding responsibility to the catcher. Alexander thought he didn’t have to worry about it, but ya know what they say – when you assume, you only make an…you know the rest.
Funny enough, this wasn’t the only favorable blunder for the Yankees in ’22. In late September, they had a game in Rogers Centre up a few runs with runners on second and third. Adam Cimber got a chopper back to him, and similar to Alexander, Cimber was not in a fielding mindset:
Oswaldo Cabrera made an extremely poor running decision here. It should have been a mistake for the Yanks, but perhaps Cabrera knew Cimber was only capable of throwing the ball underhand and that this standard throw would throw him off. This one wasn’t even a little close and even let Donaldson come around to score because Cimber followed it up with another mental mistake by not covering home. That is not good baseball! Now onto the next one:
I was sitting on my couch for this one thinking to myself Vernon Wells just hit a go-ahead grand slam. But it was a damp spring game and the ball died on the warning track for Adam Jones, who looked smooth as heck as he drifted to the ball. He may have been too smooth, though, and the wind carried the ball further towards his shoulder than expected, resulting in him needed to catch the ball with his palm instead of pocket. It promptly popped out, and the Yankees had a three-run lead. What a feeling to relive the great smile of Francisco Cervelli as he happily crossed home.
Now, you know I wouldn’t write this piece without taking a chance to shame the Red Sox. You have to take your chances when you get ‘em:
Not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE errors in one game. The position didn’t matter either! The pitcher, third baseman, shortstop, second baseman, and center fielder all shared the wealth. Even when teams make this many errors, the “kicked the ball around” saying is usually just a metaphor, but in this game it was completely applicable. They just kept literally kicking the ball!
I’m sure you have your memories of great blunders that helped the Yankees. If you do, please feel free to share with the group. In these times, we must block out the bad and embrace the good times. I’ll leave you with one final clip that will never, ever get old: