Curtis Granderson is a true class act of the game. He’s a leader, he’s always got a smile on his face whether he’s in a slump or batting over .300, and he’s a philanthropist. His Grand Kids foundation helps kids from New York to Chicago, to everywhere else, and teaches them the importance of education and baseball.
As if Mets fans weren’t happy enough to have taken him away from the Yankees, he won them over immediately, in one of his first press conferences by saying “True New Yorkers are Mets fans.” I have a rally towel that hung in my bedroom the past four years with that quote on it.
Grandy’s numbers in New York weren’t anything wild. His batting average in those four years was only .239. But Grandy almost always came through in the clutch. There’s no baseball stat for that just yet, but I’m sure with all these new sabermetrics it’s not far behind. He had a great eye at the plate, and when leading off for the Mets, always managed to draw a walk when it mattered. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen him hit lead off home runs. He never beat out Jose Reyes for the Mets team record, but he came close.
I remember one game in particular last season, late in the summer when the Mets were still in the wild card chase and every game seemed like it was do or die. The Mets were playing the Twins and were down 2-1 in the bottom of the 11th. Granderson steps to the plate and belts a solo shot to tie the game. Then in the bottom of the 12th, he steps to the plate once more. I thought to myself, sitting in my dark living room with just the light from the tv keeping me awake, “there’s no way he could hit another one right?” There was, because it was Grandy, because he always came through when you hoped he would. Because he was never the type of ballplayer to to let slumps, or stats get to him, for Grandy, every at bat was brand new. He crushed his second solo shot of extra innings, and the Mets walked off with a 3-2 victory. It’s one of my favorite walk offs of the Mets 2015 and 2016 postseason run:
Mets fans are sad to see him go, but I’ve seen nothing but well wishes for him across social media. The Dodgers traded for him, and sent minor league pitcher Jacob Rhame to the Mets, along with cash considerations. While I’m sad that Grandy won’t be in New York anymore, I’m beyond excited that he came to LA. When I first got that notification to my phone, the feeling was that of a friend that came out to here to join me.
In his first game as a Dodger, against the Detroit Tigers (where he started his career) Grandy hit a pop fly in the top of the 7th. It looked as though it would be a routine out, but Nick Castellanos lost the ball in the sun and dropped it. Because Curtis hustled out of the box, he turned what would have been a routine fly ball into a double. He would be the first run to come home later that inning on a single off Adrian Gonzalez and the Dodgers ended up winning the game 3-0.
The Dodgers second game in Detroit wasn’t as smooth. Up against Verlander, the Tiger’s ace, they ended up losing 6-1. But that one run was none other than a Curtis Granderson solo shot, his first homer as a Dodger, to break up what was shaping up to be a Verlander no-hitter.
Grandy was the perfect addition to an already lethal Dodgers offense. And it’s clear that playing for this team is so special to him for many reasons. But particularly:
Grandy now gets another shot at a World Series ring. He gets another post season. And I can’t think of anyone that deserves a ring more than that guy. I’m rooting for the Dodgers to win it all now more than ever. Welcome to Dodger Blue.