The debuts of Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin have come and gone but the New York Yankees have a new, prodigious vibe in the Bronx.
On Friday night, the New York Yankees said goodbye and celebrated the end of the 12-year Alex Rodriguez era that featured a surplus of success with just as much frustration.
Then, on Saturday morning, the greatest organization in sports celebrated the team that took home it’s 23rd World Series title that was clinched 20 years ago this October.
While everyone was focused on what Yankees’ legends have accomplished in the past, two rookies primed to make their major league debuts strived to write some history of their own.
Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge, who were both called up prior to Saturday afternoon’s contest with the Tampa Bay Rays, both hit solo home runs in their first at-bats to christen the Yankee Stadium crowd with a spark of young talent.
In the second inning, with two outs, Austin slapped a 2-2 delivery from Rays’ starter Matt Andriese over the short porch in right field to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead, which is impressive in itself.
Then, in the very next at-bat, the 6’7″, 275-pound Judge demolished a pitch off the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar in dead center field 446-feet away.
FINALLY, the diehard #Yankees fans can be diehards again. No more sloppy seconds. Austin, Judge go back-to-back. pic.twitter.com/g3BqgO2Llw
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) August 13, 2016
The two newest “baby bombers,” who became the first pair of Yankees that were making their big league debuts in the same game since 1969, became the first set of teammates in the history of baseball to hit a home run in their first career major league plate appearances in the same game.
Once those two home runs were smashed, you could almost feel the seesaw shift from past to present as it sparked the offense to a violent showcase of power.
Two innings after the authoritative blast by Judge, second baseman Starlin Castro lifted a career-high-tying home run to center field. Then, in the fifth, Aaron Hicks homered for the second straight day for a three-run shot to give New York a three-run lead that they would never relinquish.
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To put the icing on the cake, the newest cleanup hitter for the Bombers, Didi Gregorious, jacked a two-run home run in the seventh inning to extend his team’s lead to 8-4.
For those who already forgot that this offensive output was sparked by a pinch of youth: the oldest player to hit a home run today was 26-years of age.
The new core made up of Gary Sanchez, Judge and Austin are a combined 14-for-44 (.318) with three home runs just nine combined games in the show for a team a team that now sits only 5.5 games out of the American League East and three games out of a playoff spot.
However, while the team that has won four straight games prays that their reconstructed roster can spring them into the playoff picture, this day feels like a little bit more than that.
In coincidental fashion, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams – also knowns as the ones who would start of a dynasty that would win four titles in five years – were in attendance for the debuts of the current core of future Yankees’ success to symbolically pass the baton to the next generation.
“It’s a new day,” general manager Brian Cashman told the NY Post. “But it’s been a new day quite often lately, to be honest. We’ve had a lot of changes with a lot of quality people we’ve said goodbye to and a lot of quality people we’ve been saying hello to. It’s the nature of the beast. You’re always hoping you’re on the path to a championship.”
If there’s one thing these youngsters proved today, it’s that they are more than capable of shaping the building blocks of a future title.
Judgement Day may be defined as the end of the world, but today it’s can be translated as a new era, a new begining, a and the latest chapter of the Yankees’ franchise.