Over his last 13 major-league games, Andrew Velazquez has shown up to a story-book situation.
Then, he’s had to focus on helping the Yankees win baseball games.
The Bronx native who grew up rooting for the Yankees added another moment to the memory bank on Saturday with his first big league home run, which also came in the stadium he grew up going to.
The TV cameras caught a big smile from Velazquez, and an even more candid reaction from his family, who the shortstop says have been at every home game in some combination.
It was emotional, but it was also the latest example of a fringe MLB player helping his team.
Aaron Boone said after the game that’s what’s most encouraging to him.
“I keep answering these questions, like, it is awesome and we’re all excited for him,” he said. “But he’s playing really well for us and helping us win games with his all around play. That’s the thing that gets me excited.”
Velazquez, who said the homer rendered all previous non-MLB ones unimportant, spoke about the balancing act of fairytale vs. real life since joining the Yankees.
“Just trying to take it one day at a time. … That way I don’t get lost in everything else that’s happened,” he said.
“I’ve been doing a good job of separating. Kinda like — when I get here, it’s about work,” he continued. “The guys are so good about prepping for the game … that I can’t help but fall in line.”
Still, the home run was a landmark moment. After he hit it, he saw a few members of his family on the jumbotron that he “didn’t even know were here.” The ball was tracked down and given to him after the game.
“I’m keeping that one,” he said. “Yeah, I’m keeping that one.”