New Yankees slugger Joey Gallo let his bat do the talking this week to beat the Mariners. Now Gallo, who grew up a Yankees fan in Las Vegas, does the talking.
New Yankees slugger Joey Gallo let his bat do the talking this week to beat the Mariners. Now Gallo, who grew up a Yankees fan in Las Vegas, does the talking as he fields some questions from Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: How good is this Yankees team, and how good can it be now?
A: Talent-wise, I’ve never been a part of a team like this, and [as] I look at the lineup and the pitching … I don’t see why we can’t make a real run at a World Series.
Q: An old tweet of yours: “Point the biggest skeptic I’ll make him a believer.” What prompted that?
A: That one must have been a loooong time ago.
Q: I think it was 2012.
A: That was obviously young Joey that tweeted dumb stuff that (chuckle) just came to his mind. But that was when all the scouts were telling me I was not good enough to be drafted by their team, and then that I should be a pitcher, and that made me really angry. I remember tweeting something like that. I knew that they were wrong on me, and they didn’t see the potential in me that I knew I had.
Q: Another tweet: “Don’t care what they say. You reach for the stars.”
A: These people are gonna think I’m some inspirational speaker now (laugh). … I don’t really remember tweeting that stuff, I should probably go clean up my Twitter a little bit. The whole draft experience for me, I remember when I was 18 leaving high school was a whirlwind, because I had a lot of people coming to your house, and eventually scouts and whatnot telling you that you’re not good enough for their pick, and they like somebody else better. When you’re 18, you think, “Ah man, you’re wrong.” I just always believed that I was better than what people told me I was.
Q: Is there more pressure being a New York Yankee?
A: Not really yet to me, I don’t think. I just try to play the game to the best of my abilities. I think it helps actually, we have a lot of really good players around — one guy’s not playing up to capabilities, we have so many other guys that can carry the load. It’s just exciting, honestly.
Q: Why do you like the New York stage?
A: You always want to play for the Yankees, most kids, and I grew up a Yankee fan, so it’s kinda surreal for me. But you always want to play for a team that has a chance to win a World Series every year, and I think the New York Yankees are the best example of that.
Q: Your on-field mentality?
A: I like to think of myself as like a grinder. I just play the game hard, and I just want to win, and do whatever it takes to help the team. I respect the game, and play as hard as I can, and leave no regrets on the field.
Q: What drives you?
A: To be World Series champs, and especially being here in New York, that’s a realistic goal, that’s exciting.
Q: You hit a home run out of Target Field, correct?
A: Yeah, that was like in the Futures Game.
Q: Maybe you’re the guy to hit a ball out of Yankee Stadium.
A: Yeah I don’t know, Yankee Stadium is set up a little bit differently than Target Field was so (chuckle), I’m not gonna put any bets on that. But I guess you never know, we got a few guys that might be able to do that.
Q: What did you think of Pete Alonso’s Home Run Derby performance?
A: It was tough to watch for me, I didn’t do too great in it, but he was locked in. Pete was ready for it, and his pitcher (Dave) Jauss was locked in. They knew the drill. You could tell just by the way they approached the whole thing. It was impressive, very impressive.
Q: Left-handed sluggers you liked to watch?
A: Barry Bonds was one of the big sluggers that was amazing to watch.
Q: Favorite Rougy (Rougned Odor) memory from Texas?
A: I think everybody knows the most well-known Rougy memory, obviously the Toronto Blue Jays incident (when Odor punched Jose Bautista in the face in 2016). That was kinda a unique baseball moment. And then (2017) Opening Day he hit two home runs, I think we were facing (Corey) Kluber, I think it was my first Opening Day, I was just like, “Wow, what a great player he is!”
Q: Whatever comes to mind: Kluber?
A: No-hitter … against us. That’s the most recent one (chuckle) that comes to mind.
Q: Aaron Judge?
A: Larger-than-life baseball player (chuckle).
Q: Gerrit Cole?
A: Oh s–t.
Q: Thoughts on the shift?
A: Hopefully they take it away.
Q: You’ve never liked it, have you?
A: Yeah, it’s not fun to hit a ball to right field and be out every time. It’d be nice to hit balls to right and get hits again.
Q: Does striking out bother you less than it used to?
A: I don’t think anybody likes to strike out, I know I’m gonna strike out more than most people — power hitter, and the way you get pitched to — but it’s not fun. When you go 0-for-4 and you strike out three times, it’s different than going 0-for-4 and grounding out four times. Striking out feels different. It’s never fun.
Q: It’s nice to have Yankees fans on your side, though, right?
A: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It’s different being out there. … When I was out there in the outfield on the road, it’s a little bit different of an ovation (chuckle) when you’re standing out there. So it’s nice for them to be cheering for you.
Q: If you could go back in time and face any pitcher in MLB history?
A: I’d want to hit off a guy like Cy Young or something like that, just to see like the difference in pitching now and from pitching back in the day, like the best of the best back then. I think it’s interesting how the game has evolved, and how much better pitching has gotten.
Q: If you could pick the brain of any slugger in MLB history?
A: Probably Ted Williams. To hit with him in the cage for an hour would be probably pretty cool.
Q: If you had bumped into Derek Jeter in Miami, what would you have told him?
A: I would say, maybe like, “I looked up to you ever since I was a little kid, you’re my idol, thanks for everything you’ve done for the game.” And ask him if he can sign a jersey for me (laugh).
Q: Dan McCarty (a Las Vegas boy who suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta — a brittle bone disease)?
A: Amazing battle. Amazing triumph. I got to meet him through Miracle League, that was back in high school, and as I kept coming up the ranks, he came and saw me play in the minor leagues. My dad knows his family still really well. We talk here and there.
Q: You were an inspiration to him.
A: Yeah, I like to think so. And now he’s coaching, he’s actually coaching I think in college. Pretty amazing story.
Q: So he’s an inspiration to you in a way.
A: Oh, yeah.
Q: Favorite Bryce Harper memory as a kid?
A: I hit behind him in the lineup, so I got to see him hit some ridiculous home runs at like 9, 10 years old. Hitting 350-feet with a metal bat (chuckle), those are some pretty crazy memories.
Q: As a Knicks fan, what do you think of them signing Kemba Walker?
A: That’s awesome. I’ll definitely be more interested in following the Knicks a little more highly [now] that I’m here. That’s gonna help the team a lot, to bring in a talent like that.
Q: Who were your favorite Giants?
A: Eli Manning was always great, and I remember when I was younger, I got a Jeremy Shockey (chuckle) jersey when I was in middle school, he was one of my favorites as well. I thought Jeremy Shockey was really cool.
Q: Favorite Yankees besides Jeter?
A: (Mariano) Rivera, (Andy) Pettitte, Tino Martinez … the list really goes on and on with those guys, I thought they were all amazing.
Q: The Las Vegas shooting tragedy?
A: It was a crazy moment and such a sad tragedy for our city. I remember I was in Texas at the time and like right after the season and talking to a bunch of friends that were there and the horrors we went through. It brought together Vegas, and brought together the community. I’m proud to be from Vegas, so …
Q: What is it going to be like being one of New York city’s most eligible bachelors?
A: I’m not really thinking too much about that, honestly. I’m just trying to go out there and help the team win. We don’t have really much time to do any of that stuff, so I’m not too worried about it.
Q: I saw a video where you said your worst fear was not settling down and getting married.
A: Yeah, that was a couple of years ago. … My thoughts have probably changed a little bit on that. I’m not really worried about that anymore, that was a while ago.
Q: Why do dogs mean so much to you?
A: They’re just so loveable, I used to get scared of dogs, like deathly scared, and then I got one and I realized how amazing they were. They’re such great partners.
Q: What’s the name of your Labrador retriever?
A: (Laugh) His name’s Ranger.
Q: Are you still helping dogs find homes?
A: We were doing that when I was with Texas, so I’m gonna have to keep following through with that. That was through the Rangers and we would work with a bunch of shelters.
Q: Why was pediatric cancer a cause for you as a Ranger?
A: We would go and visit children’s hospitals and whatnot. I thought it was just so inspiring how happy you can make these kids just by showing up and talking to ’em, and playing games with ’em. It means a lot. When you have a platform, you try to use it to the best of your abilities.
Q: Mike Bryant?
A: Mike was my first hitting coach, and he did a pretty good job, he got me and Kris [Bryant] in the big leagues (chuckle). He was kind of ahead of his time in terms of guys hitting the ball in the air, so I have to thank him for teaching me how to hit the ball in the air at a young age.
Q: Three dinner guests?
A: Derek Jeter; Abraham Lincoln; Babe Ruth.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Pulp Fiction.
Q: Favorite actor?
A: Will Ferrell.
Q: Favorite actress?
A: Jennifer Aniston.
Q: Favorite singer/entertainer?
Q: Favorite meal?
A: Chicken parmigiana.
Q: Are you living in a hotel?
A: It’s a little different, but it’s a nice hotel. It’s just kinda what happens when you get traded (chuckle) to a new city, you don’t have a place, so … kinda used to living in a hotel as a baseball player though.
Q: Your mom’s meatballs.
A: Yes, they’re amazing,
Q: What’s amazing about them?
A: Just the texture, how thick she makes them. I can eat about 10 of ’em, and still feel like I want to eat more. They’re the best meatballs I’ve had.
Q: Why would the 5-year-old version of you be proud of where you are now?
A: If the 5-year-old version of me knew I was playing for the New York Yankees, he would not believe it. But I think to stay with that goal and that dream that I’ve had since I was a little kid and never give up on it and keep battling through to make it here, I would hope I always think about me as a little kid that I would be shocked and delighted that I’m actually here in the major leagues.
Q: Your message to Yankees fans about Joey Gallo and about this Yankees team?
A: I play the game hard, and I try to respect the game, and I know I’m not gonna hit .300, I’m sorry, I probably strike out a little too much, I’m sorry about that as well. But I’m gonna give you everything I got every time I’m on the field and represent the Yankees the best I can.
This team, they really want to win. It’s nice to be a part of an environment like that, and they’re doing everything they can to bring 28 back to New York.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Steve Serby