Ever since the Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton in a trade with the Marlins back in 2018, the gargantuan outfielder has been a polarizing figure among fans in the Bronx.
The main problems for Stanton have been his health and inconsistency at the plate; fans can grow frustrated during his cold spells, as he feels like an automatic strikeout at times. But they sure do love him when he’s hot — and boy, is he hot right now.
Stanton came up clutch yet again this postseason in Monday’s Game 1 of the ALDS against the Rays. With the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, Stanton launched one over the wall in center field to give the Yankees breathing room at 9-3. He has now homered in all three postseason games, all New York wins.
MORE: MLB playoff schedule 2020: Full bracket, dates, times, TV channels for every series
As YES Network commentator Michael Kay would say, that was a “signature moment” for Stanton, who has yet to fully gain the trust of Yankees fans in the way Aaron Judge, his Goliath-esque counterpart who homered earlier in the fifth inning to give the Yankees the lead. It almost feels similar to how Alex Rodriguez was received during his time in pinstripes: Fans were happy to have him, but he always felt like more of a luxury player than someone who could actually help them in the postseason the way Derek Jeter, the homegrown product who already had four World Series rings when Rodriguez arrived.
Of course, fans warmed up to Rodriguez significantly after his hot hitting in the 2009 postseason — 19 for 52 (.365) with six home runs and 18 RBIs — led them to the franchise’s 27th World Series. If Stanton can continue his current hot streak — 3 for 11 (.273) with three home runs and seven RBIs through three games — and lead the Yankees to their coveted 28th World Series title, that would certainly help change his place in the hearts of fans.