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Joey Gallo: Can the former New York Yankee turn things around in Los Angeles?

Unable to shine in the Big Apple, perhaps southern California can re-invigorate Joey Gallo and get him back to where we all want to see him

Unable to shine in the Big Apple, perhaps southern California can re-invigorate Joey Gallo and get him back to where we all want to see him

I have written many times about my Texas Ranger fandom. It is one of my undying masochistic traits. And it knows no better personification, no clearer representative, than Joey Gallo.

I want to be crystal clear here. I love Joey Gallo. I am Team Joey, all the way. But I love him in the way that Ranger fans love him, a way that Yankee fans would never understand.

Watching Joey under-perform in New York was nothing new, we watched it in Arlington for years. He would hit like an All-Star and then get into a slump, some feeling interminable, but we would still hold our breath each time he came to bat anyway. And you know what would happen? Joey would snap out of it. He would start banging out home runs, often in double digits, and we would love him for it all the more.

New York fans are not as forgiving, not as willing to stay the course. You get precisely one shot to make them happy, and if you can’t do it, boy do they let you know about it.

“It makes me feel like a piece of s***, honestly,” says Joey, about the treatment that Yankee fans subject their own players to. “I remember playing here with the Rangers, watching [Yankees] get booed off the field and thinking, ‘Holy s**t! I feel bad for that guy.’ Now it’s me.”

He’s no fool though, and Joey Gallo has been resigned to the inevitable happening for quite some time now.

“I’m actually really going to miss this team, miss these guys,” Gallo said. “It’s going to be really tough to leave these guys. We’ve had a lot of fun. We’re a really close group. But moving on is part of the business. I’m ready.”

“It’s something I’m gonna have to really live with for the rest of my life. It’s going to be tough. I didn’t play well, I didn’t live up to expectations. And that’s a tough pill to swallow.”

There have been times when I have been tough on Joey in these articles, critical of his calling to end the shift rather than simply hitting around it, ignoring the fact that he did, in fact, bunt to third for many years with Texas.

Often, my insight that Joey would be an All-Star again, just not with the Yankees, may have seemed churlish at the time. But it wasn’t. Nor is it now, in hindsight, prescient. It is what it has always been - a truth sent forward out of love. I told you, I am, and always will be, on Team Gallo.

Yankee skipper Aaron Boone agrees with me. “It’s been a tough calendar year for him. I have a lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for how he worked, how he carried himself, who he was in that room. I think a lot of us really feel for the situation he was in and the burden he felt and carried. I think a lot of us, myself included, very much hope that he goes and kind of recaptures what we all know he’s capable of doing. I’ll truly be rooting for him from afar.”

Los Angeles is a big market. Every bit as big as New York. But it carries it differently. Dodger fans, while perhaps not as loving and big-hearted as Ranger fans, are certainly more inclined to give players a chance than Yankee fans are. If you win them over, they are with you for life.

With the pressure off, Joey will snap out of his slump. Baseball in Chavez Ravine favors the long ball, and Joey, with the right kind of environment around him, will start to be Joey again. And Dodger fans, if they are smart, will take him into their hearts and watch him become that All-Star once again.

Take it from a Ranger fan, get onboard to Team Gallo and you will have exciting baseball ahead of you for years to come.


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