In his previous eight big-league seasons with the Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton went home after the final game of the regular season.
On Wednesday night, the Yankees slugger will play in his first postseason game, the win-or-go-home AL Wild Card game against the A’s at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s a quick turnaround from, ‘How’d your season go?’ to now,” Stanton said on Tuesday. “That season’s over. That’s already in the past even though it was a couple days ago. Now it’s postseason. Now it’s a brand new start and we’ve just got to show up.”
Stanton never had to worry about showing up in the playoffs when he was with Florida/Miami. The Marlins’ best record during his time there was the 80-82 mark they put up in his rookie season of 2010.
Stanton endured four last-place seasons, including last year when Miami went 63-98 despite Stanton hitting 59 homers and winning National League MVP.
Hence, Stanton’s agreeing to be traded to the Yankees when Derek Jeter took over as Marlins owner. Stanton went from a baseball-blah market to a baseball-mad market.
“All in all, a lot of things were different for me,” Stanton said. “That’s life. That’s coming to a new team. The Yankees are more magnified than most, but you’re aware of that going in and you adjust for things that you didn’t think about or processed before.”
For example, getting booed in your first appearance in front of the home fans, as Stanton was while striking out five times in the Yankees’ home opener in April.
But Stanton probably won over some fickle Yankees fans when he said after that game: “I was awful today. You put up a performance like that, you should get some boos.”
Eventually, Stanton produced, although not up to 2017 standards. He hit .266 with 38 home runs, 100 RBIs and an .852 OPS. Stanton led the team in homers and RBIs.
“Solid year,” Stanton said. “Not the way I would have liked in terms of full consistency. Solid overall.”
Stanton also led the Yankees in plate appearances (705). That’s significant since Stanton has been injury-prone in his career. But he rode out a hamstring injury for weeks by playing mostly at designated hitter and stayed in the lineup when many of the other Yankees’ big hitters were spending time on the disabled list because of various injuries. Stanton was the constant.
“I think it was good for us,” Stanton said. “We benefitted from it from having to survive without being full strength and then when we got a guy back we dropped another guy. Just all the things going against us there and we were still able to put up a 100-win season and still find a way to scrape by when we weren’t full strength. I think full strength is coming at the perfect time.”
So what does Stanton expect in his first postseason game for a team that got to within one win of the World Series last year?
“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “It’s going to be an exciting day . . . I anticipate it’s [going to be] as crazy as ever. I’ve heard stories about last year, so I expect it up a notch from last year.”