Sunday, May 15, 2022


Source: NY Post

I will admit that I had my druthers with the Yankees signing Josh Donaldson. I felt he was cocky and had an attitude over the years. He has a reputation for talking straight and saying what's on his mind. That kind of mentality can either make you a hero or make you a villain. Donaldson's monologues have certainly rubbed people the wrong way, but so far, in the Bronx he is staking claim to the nickname, Mr. Intensity.


"Minnesota’s front office had to know what they were getting when they signed Josh Donaldson. He had a proven track record of being outspoken, but he was coming off being named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. The Twins were willing to deal with his on and off field behavior if he helped push the team to postseason success," report Twins Daily back in 2021. Part of the reason he was attractive to the Yankees was his fierce intensity, excellent third base and his potential to hit the ball hard, all despite being 37-years-old. 

"As his former manager in Toronto, John Gibbons, put it this spring: “He’ll irritate other players and the other teams,” Gibbons said. “He’s emotional and wears it on his sleeve. He’s intense and plays to win,” reported the New York Post.

Source: USA TODAY Sports

Donaldson's intensity was definitely on display in Friday night's game against the White Sox when he forcibly tagged Tim Anderson after catcher Jose Trevino tried to pick the White Sox star off third. There was no brawl despite the benches clearing, but there was definitely a physical exchange between the two. Ironically, Donaldson's bat was also on fire on Friday too, after a very slow start with his new team. He entered Saturday night's game having homered in consecutive games, and he's 16-for-57 (.281) with five doubles, three homers, 10 RBIs.

Source: Sports Illustrated

You may also recall Donaldson's comments about Gerrit Cole last season when Cole appeared to have some mid-season pitching woes after MLB banned foreign substances. No doubt, Donaldson's voice is loud and he is not afraid to use it. 

Yet winning means you have a certain chemistry in your clubhouse. This includes having different players gel with one another, not a cookie cutter clubhouse with all of the same kinds of dispositions around you. Having a fiery presence can bolster a clubhouse, and crank up its intensity. Maybe just what the Yankees needed after many years of missteps and failed postseasons. 

“It was a great move by the Yankees,” said Gibbons, who managed the Blue Jays from 2004-08 and then from 2013-18. “The old Yankees had an edge to them with guys like [Paul] O’Neill. You need more than great players to win. Sometimes, you need some volatility.” 

Josh Donaldson certainly takes the award for Mr. Intensity in the Bronx and carries it with him to every stadium he enters. Besides grit, he has an attitude and guess what, that might just be okay if it is balanced with players who know how to dial it down a bit. It is great to see this Yankee team playing so well, and if it takes some catalysts like Donaldson to do it, I am all for it. 

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

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