Starlin Castro’s home run disappeared and immediately, Ronald Torreyes knew he had to get to work.
Lights, camera, action.
OK, OK. More like bucket, Gatorade cup, bat.
But hey, real reporters sometimes have to improvise on deadline.
By now, most people with an Internet connection have seen the Yankees’ newest home run celebration. It involves Torreyes grabbing whatever he can as a prop camera — on Wednesday, when the shtick went viral, it was a Gatorade caddy — and filming as Didi Gregorius “interviews” the conquering hero. The White Sox and Cubs have done similar things, though there’s some real novelty in something like this happening in the Yankees’ dugout, of all places. It started Tuesday with Castro’s homer and continued the next day when Castro homered again, along with Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks.
“It was definitely spontaneous,” Torreyes said through a translator Thursday as Gregorius appeared behind the media scrum. Quickly, Gregorius procured a microphone and got in on the interview, once again playing reporter.
“Just like this and yeah, that’s how it happened,” said Torreyes, indicating Gregorius, who had the microphone dangling in front of him. “It happened very quickly,” Torreyes said.
Could have fooled us. Torreyes’ moves are as fluid as any cameraman’s. He walks backward, careful to follow as the player walks through the dugout, or perches on the bench to get the perfectly angled shot. On Thursday night, he upgraded from the caddie. When Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge went back-to-back in the first, Torreyes debuted a black box that looked . . . .like, well, a TV camera.
“What would a real cameraman do?” Torreyes said of his method. And Gregorius has his role, too.
“We did one in Spanish with Castro and Bird and Hicks, we did it English,’’ Torreyes said. “That’s why we have Didi around. He can speak five, six different languages. That’s why he’s the person asking the questions.”
It’s all good-natured fun, but it’s definitely not the sort of thing that would have happened in (somewhat stodgy) Yankee Stadium in the past. But these Yankees aren’t the Yankees of old, and that’s just fine, Joe Girardi said.
“I think being creative is always fun for the players and I don’t want to take that away from them,” he said. “I think they’re enjoying what they’re doing and it seems to be working. You don’t want players not to be loose when they’re playing. You want them to be relaxed and enjoying themselves and, in a sense, taking yourself back to being a little kid and playing that enthusiasm.”
Girardi said he has yet to be interviewed, but he’d be open to it. He’s not sure his players want to, though.
“I probably would not be a good interview,” he said, addressing the media who interview him daily. “Most of you can attest to that. They can try.”