There’s nothing like turning on SportsCenter and watching a complete 908 takeover during one of the highlights. Well, to be honest, there’s nothing like turning on SportsCenter and watching a highlight in general, but that’s a “Grind My Gears” for another time.
The New York Yankees (46-21) hosted the Tampa Bay Rays (33-38) on Father’s Day to wrap up a four-game divisional set, and local boys Aaron Hicks and Matt Duffy stole the show in a 3-1 Rays win.
The Rays took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning with the help of Duffy at the top of the lineup. The Lakewood High School and Long Beach State product drove in two runners with a base hit to right field after a ridiculous piece of hitting on a 0-2 slider from Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. Sabathia says he always pitches better when he’s fatter, and he obviously didn’t get his extra bowl of Cocoa Pebbles in the morning because Duffy owned him. He went 3-for-4 with two of his hits coming off Sabathia.
Hicks, a Wilson High School product, responded for the Yankees in the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo home run to right field, his eighth of the year. On a 1-1 pitch, Hicks sent a 96 MPH fastball 387 feet—an absolute tank. It was Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium, and SportsCenter tried comparing Hicks’ home run to former Yankee Nick Swisher’s home run during the Old Timers’ game, but it was no comparison. It’s like comparing Sprite with 7 Up. Everyone knows 7 Up is better. Swisher never won a CIF-SS championship with Wilson and that’s a fact. He wishes he was from Long Beach.
I’m not gonna say Hicks and Duffy are better sons than the rest of the Rays and Yankees rosters, but the case can be made. What did Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton do for their Fathers on Father’s Day? 0-for-3 and 1-for-3, respectively, while Duffy and Hicks both carried their teams. Hmm, weird. The best sons and daughters come from Long Beach and the same goes for athletes.
It’s MLB All-Star Game voting season, a chance for all baseball fans to pretend like they know anything about the game, and I’ve decided I’m only voting for Long Beach. Duffy might only get six total votes from the proud supporters of Tampa Bay because that’s their average attendance at Tropicana Field, but I’ll pick up the slack by maxing out my votes. You can probably guess Duffy’s stats because he’s been doing it his whole life, but I’ll save you the time. He’s hitting .318 with four HRs even after battling injury so he should get the start at shortstop over Carlos Correa and co. if you ask me.
There’s no way Hicks shouldn’t at least be the fourth outfielder for the American League team at the All-Star Game this year. His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) this season is 1.1, meaning every time he goes out there, he’s helping his team produce one more win than his replacement. I’m honestly surprised the Yankees aren’t undefeated this season with that statistic.
If you’re a real Long Beach local, go out and vote for our boys. Nobody wants to see some boring guy from New Jersey go out and play in an All-Star Game. We want to be entertained and that’s what Long Beach does best.