The postseason brings out varied and intense emotions among its participants. In the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s American League wild card game, one moment produced stages of confusion, horror, dread, empathy and mirth: When Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez took a foul tip square in the groin.
Trying to escape the sixth inning at the end of a herculean performance, one that keyed New York’s 8-4 victory over the Twins, Yankees reliever David Robertson fired a 3-2 knuckle curve. Brian Dozier almost whiffed, nicking the pitch just enough to alter its trajectory. The ball veered on a fateful course, past Sanchez’s mitt and into a region that tested the fitness of Sanchez’s athletic supporter. Sanchez writhed in the dirt.
“I didn’t know it got him in the cojones, man,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “When he bounced up, it looked like he was dying. I don’t want anybody to have that. I’m glad he’s okay.”
“I didn’t know where it got him,” left fielder Brett Gardner said. “I kind of had an idea where it got him. I’m just glad I’m not a catcher.”
On the mound, Robertson knew exactly where the ball had drilled Sanchez, and he reacted as a standard male member of the species would react: Sheer terror. He placed his glove over his mouth and his right hand instinctively over his crotch.
“That’s tough,” Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said. ‘That hurts.”
As trainers checked on Sanchez, video screens throughout Yankee Stadium aired the replay. In unison, the crowd unleashed a massive groan, and then another as ESPN showed another angle. Imagine watching “America’s Funniest Home Videos” with 50,000 people. It was kind of like that.
For the Yankees and for potential future generations of Sanchezes, all’s well that end’s well. Sanchez’s cup performed its job as well as the Yankees bullpen, and after a few deep breaths and wry smiles, he stayed in the game. He went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
So, in the box score under hits, it showed Sanchez had a pair.
On Wednesday, Sanchez assured his fans his other pair was doing well, too, posting on Twitter, “I’m OK,” along with a joke about Robertson’s memorable reaction.
More on MLB: