MIAMI — Stepping into the Yankees' clubhouse for the first time on Friday, joining his new team on the road in Miami, Joey Gallo paused for a moment to take it all in.
Dealt from the Texas Rangers ahead of this week's Trade Deadline, Gallo is in the midst of what's been an emotional week, saying goodbye to the organization that he called home for a decade.
As much as that process is never easy, Gallo assured that he's overflowing with excitement about his new gig: an opportunity to play outfield for the team that he has loved ever since he was a kid.
"I grew up a huge Yankee fan. My family's from New York," Gallo said Friday afternoon in his first presser as a member of the Yankees. "It was pretty surreal that they told me I was going to the Yankees. It's a great opportunity and amazing team to be a part of, so I'm excited for it."
The 27-year-old explained that he was born and raised out in Nevada, but members of his family grew up in Long Island. That's why Gallo's childhood was all about New York sports—it's no surprise that Gallo had an affinity for a certain shortstop that used to don No. 2 in pinstripes, an individual that he's hoping to cross paths with during New York's series against the Marlins at loanDepot Park.
"Derek Jeter was my idol," Gallo said. "I ended up being a different type of player than him, but I always try to handle the game and respect the game and play it the way he did and the way he handles fans and whatnot. Derek Jeter was definitely my guy."
Now, Gallo has an opportunity to suit up each day in the same jersey that another Yankees legend wore before him, choosing No. 13 as Alex Rodriguez once did.
Beyond the fandom that makes this part of Gallo's big-league journey more special, the slugger also recognized that he's now surrounded by some of the biggest names and most talented individuals in the sport, playing for a club that has a chance to do some damage in October if they can clinch a bid to the postseason.
"Hopefully with a couple additions and the way they've been playing lately, we can take off and make a run," he said. "That's all I'm here to do, help the team win any way I can."
Bringing his powerful stroke to the Bronx, providing an ever-dangerous left-handed presence to the meat of New York's lineup, Gallo is poised to do just that. Factor in his elite defense, plate discipline and overall versatility, and his new manager is thrilled that he has another All-Star at his disposal.
"Sign me up for the guy that's on base almost 40 percent of the time and has the kind of power and provides the kind of potential balance for our lineup," Aaron Boone said Thursday. "On top of that, he's a two-way player. This is a guy that really defends and can run and do all those things. So nobody's perfect, no player is perfect, but it's hard to argue that we're not a lot better team adding Joey Gallo to us."
With no playoff games under his belt yet, Gallo cracked a smile about the prospect of contending for a championship in a Yankees uniform. Seven campaigns with the Rangers didn't result in many ballgames with postseason implications. That changed instantaneously on Friday when Gallo took the field with the Yankees for the first time.
"I haven't been in many playoff chases in my career unfortunately," Gallo said. "Here, the goal is to make the playoffs, make a run in the playoffs and win a World Series. So it's exciting to be a part of a team where we're trying to win."
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