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John Flaherty And The Yankees Would Both Like That Inning Back

DENVER, CO - JULY 16: Alan Trejo #13 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates after hitting a walk-off home run to beat the New York Yankees in the eleventh inning at Coors Field on July 16, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Alan Trejo
Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Everyone deserves a vacation, even baseball announcers. It's a six-month grind, and the occasional off-day isn't enough to heal the psychic scars of things like "four games in Kansas City in late August." So they must try to snatch a series or even a week off where they can, and what better time than now, in the middle of an all-star break/Colorado/Anaheim swing? (No offense to Denver; full offense to Orange County.)

That was the YES Network booth this weekend: No Michael Kay or Ryan Ruocco on play-by-play, and no Paul O'Neill or David Cone, both certified Dudes, on color. They were all off at the beach or eating a sandwich or something. Instead it was the C-team: the all-Guy booth of John Flaherty and Jeff Nelson.

Nelson, a longtime setup guy perhaps most famous for his "fake to third, throw to first" pickoff move that never, ever worked (save once!), is pretty good in the booth, in the limited work he's done on Yankees and Marlins broadcasts over the last few years . He's smart, he clearly knows the game and enjoys talking about it, and knows how to talk about it in ways that are comprehensible to the average idiot (me). He's not very high-energy, but this usually isn't a problem when he's paired with a good play-by-play guy.

Flaherty is not a play-by-play guy. He is also a color guy, pressed into service here by the contingencies of mid-July. They are two very different jobs, and being capable at one means very little for the other. One interjects when there's a lull in the rhythms; the other is the rhythm. This made for a sleepy-sounding booth, and also foreshadowing for the 11th inning of Sunday's Yankees-Rockies tilt.

After a very silly game that saw Colorado take the lead on an eighth-inning grand slam from C.J. Cron and the Yankees tie it up in the ninth, on the back of a brutal throwing error, the Yankees again staked a two-run lead in their half of the 11th. Leading off the bottom of the 11th was Nolan Jones, and let's just say Flaherty misread it off the bat.

Statcast had that one at 450 feet, which to be strictly technical makes Flaherty's self-correction—"more than popped up"—accurate. It happens.

With two outs, light-hitting infielder Alan Trejo came to the plate. Flaherty picked the worst possible moment to observe just how light-hitting:

Remotes may have been thrown in the Petchesky household; I decline to confirm or deny. The Yankees kind of stink this year. After dropping two of three to the NL-worst Rockies, they are now tied for last in the AL East, nine games out, and two games out of the third and final wild card. (And two games clear of the entire AL Central. LOL, he sobbed.) Perhaps even worse, they are extremely boring to watch. They have the fourth-worst batting average and fifth-worst OBP in baseball: it feels like 120 percent of their runs come via the home run, which results in some especially grim games with Aaron Judge still on the shelf with no projected return date. It's shaping up to be a long, slow summer. Maybe I'll go outside or something. Fans need vacations as much as broadcasters do.

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