On Friday night in the Bronx, Alex Rodriguez, a man that saw plenty of curtain calls in his day, saw the same curtain close on his controversial New York Yankee career.
Following Rodriguez’s dramatic exit on Friday night, the Yankees turned to the future calling up infielder Tyler Austin and outfielder Aaron Judge.
As the two new Yankees sat in the dugout watching the 1996 World Series champion celebration prior to Saturday afternoon’s game, Judge and Austin looked on as Yankee greats such as Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter took their positions on the field yet again, just as they did during the 1996 championship season.
As Judge and Austin sat and watched, the Yankees world pondered about past greatness and had images of a very bright future.
Whether or not Judge and Austin and new prospects such as Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres will be taking part in their own ceremony down the road is certainly unknown and quite frankly way to early to ask, but one thing is for sure — the thought was on plenty of Yankee fans’ minds.
The idea seemed to be distant, but shortly after the ’96 World Series team exited the field to give way to the current Yankees, there was another exit — that of two baseballs off the bat of Austin and Judge to right and centerfield respectively.
Both with two-strikes, Judge and Austin became the first two players in major-league history to hit back-to-back home runs in their first major league plate appearances.
The duo also became the fourth and fifth Yankees with a home run in first plate appearance joining John Miller, Marcus Thames and Andy Phillips.
“Unbelievable,” former Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams said. “Back then I was just looking to have a good at bat, put a ball in play. These guys are amazing.”
In 1995, Williams started the influx of young talent but went through some growing pains until 1996 when he was joined by Pettitte, Posada, River and Jeter.
As the comparisons have been made between then and now, the Yankees seem to have a quick rebuild in the future — if a team three and a half games out of a playoff spot is even considered rebuilding.
While a 41-year-old Rodriguez said farewell to baseball, the Yankees are now officially a team with loads of potential and plenty of young flare.
It really is amazing how fast baseball moves. With the Rodriguez era over, a new era has certainly begun with a bang in the Bronx. After all, while one curtain has closed, a new one certainly has opened.