The Yankees club was empty when it opened after Thursday night’s game. The music, always playing after a win, was low with dancing lights flashing just as it has after every win this season. There was no smelly champagne or beer, and nothing out of the ordinary after the win, even though the Bombers had just sealed their sixth straight trip to the playoffs.
“Yeah, you don’t want to take that for granted. Yankees coach Aaron Boone said after the 5-4 win over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, which settled the play-off area.” Long enough and you appreciate every time you get the chance and we hit that ticket. We have a lot of work to do here in the regular season that we want to get done, but you know, it started a long time ago. So much work, so much blood sweat and tears to get this ordeal point to an all-time low. We are excited so we will get a chance now we want to improve on that.”
The Yankees went into Friday night’s game against the Red Sox with a magic number of six, which means that any combination of six Yankees wins or Toronto losses would give them the MLS East title. There is a possibility that they could win the league for the first time since 2019 this weekend at Yankee Stadium, but that will most likely happen next week in Toronto.
With the team looking forward to that celebration and anticipation surrounding Aaron Judge being one MLS shy and a Yankee record one season at home, the Yankees’ playoff win was largely overlooked Thursday night.
There was no champagne. No party, just a simple title as part of the regular post-match party to honor the best player in the game by awarding him the championship belt. Thursday night, that went to Josh Donaldson, who hit the ball at the bottom of the 10th for his 91st win of the season.
Donaldson gave a simple acceptance speech acknowledging Jameson Tellon’s strong start, the judge’s strong defense in stopping a poor lead at the top of the ninth, and the volley that came just four feet from clearing the fences and giving the judge a piece of the record. He acknowledged the two negative cycles of Clay Holmes and then added congratulations to everyone for making the playoffs.
“The last thing I said was, ‘It’s a great welcome back to the playoffs for the Yankees here for all the guys,'” Donaldson said. “It’s not over yet but the chance of us getting that chance to play some baseball in the post-season. It’s going to be fun.”
The Yankees scrambled to get in on last season, entering the final day wondering if and where they would end up. So clinching it Thursday night with 13 games left is a nice change, which also allows them to prepare for post-season.
“I mean, we took all the way to the 162 game last year,” Taeyeon said. “We were watching the scoreboard on day 162. So just knowing we’re in the dance is great. Obviously we’re hoping to win the division to do bigger things. So we admitted that a little bit and moved on.”
This team has been talking about bigger things since February. The Yankees have not advanced to the World Series since 2009 when they won the 27th title of the franchise. They ended their season in early October last season when Gerrit Cole suffered an early loss by the Red Sox at the AL WIld Card Game. They have a lot to prove this off season, so Thursday night, they knew the work wasn’t done.