NEW YORK — Joey Gallo figures he was the last person at Globe Life Field on July 29.
He probably stayed in the clubhouse until midnight, Gallo remembers. The Gold Glove-winning outfielder was traded just hours prior, less than 30 minutes before the Rangers took the field against the D-backs.
“It was emotional for sure,” Gallo said on the field at Yankee Stadium on Monday. “It still is. I was making sure I had all my stuff and I cried a lot.”
Gallo recalled that day while getting a little emotional in front of the first-base dugout before Yankees batting practice. He was actually taking BP when he found out he was traded the day before the Deadline. He truthfully wasn’t too worried despite the rumors swirling around him, assuming he would still be with the Rangers come 4 p.m. ET on July 30.
The details get a little fuzzy for Gallo. But he remembers a clubhouse attendant came up to him in the cage, saying he was needed in manager Chris Woodward’s office. He disregarded it and continued hitting, thinking they were just messing with him. Then assistant hitting coach Callix Crabbe came to get Gallo, saying they were serious.
“That’s when it hit me like, ‘This is it, I might actually be getting traded,’” Gallo said. “I went to the office and [president of baseball operations Jon Daniels and general manager Chris Young] were sitting there. It was really quiet and I just knew, because it just wasn’t the same environment that I’m used to. It was a 10-minute conversation, but there wasn’t much said. I was a little bit shocked, surprised.”
Woodward remembers Gallo’s emotions that night in his office, recalling it was a tough day for everybody involved. Gallo was the most notable homegrown talent of the Jon Daniels era, selected in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft and making his debut in 2015.
“He wanted to stay obviously, and he voiced that opinion many times,” Woodward said. “That’s the hard part of the game for all of us, especially for me, when you invest a lot of time and effort into helping a man become better. It was just an emotional day, for him knowing that that was probably the end.”
“That was my home for 10 years, I think about it a lot,” Gallo said. “I’m still getting used to just living here, being with a new organization and whatnot. The Yankees have made the transition as easy as possible for me. I’m really appreciative of that. But like I said, I’ve spent my whole life in Texas since I was 18. It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do.”
Gallo didn’t even ask initially who he was getting traded to. He took time to get his thoughts together before even finding out he would be heading to New York alongside Joely Rodríguez. It then hit him the pressure that would come with playing in New York.
Gallo knows he didn’t exactly get off to a hot start with the Yankees. He slashed just .166/.310/.444 over his first 46 games with New York. In his short time in the Bronx, he’s learned to embrace the pressure and use it as motivation to get better.
“I enjoy playing here, but it’s a different market than Texas for sure,” Gallo said. “They want you to win, win, win. The pressures and the expectations are high, but it’s exciting. … Nobody’s excited to get booed, but it’s part of this. In Texas, you aren’t getting booed like that. But when we’re winning games in New York, it’s amazing and there’s no better feeling.”
Despite the adjustment period, he’s happy to be in New York, helping the club push for a Wild Card spot in this year’s playoffs.
“As of right now, I’m in New York and I’m very proud to be a New York Yankee,” Gallo said. “I take a lot of pride in that and in winning with this organization. I don’t have any hard feelings for [the Rangers]. I think they did what they had to do, and I’m on a great team. I’m in a great place and playing winning baseball, so I can’t complain either.”