“He does things a lot of people can’t do,” Green said, adding, “He’s a freak athlete.”
Boone has grown tired of seeing home runs being turned into outs. Los Angeles Angels center fielder Kole Calhoun took a home run away from Neil Walker, much in the same way that the Seattle Mariners’ Mitch Haniger leapt at Yankee Stadium to rob Stanton of what appeared to be a home run, but was not included on Sports Info Solution’s tally list. Tyler Wade and Austin Romine are also among those Yankees to have had home runs taken away.
For Engel and his fellow defenders, such artful displays are simply considered part of the job.
“Any time you can make a momentum-changing play and something that’s going to help the team win, I think that’s huge,” Engel said. “Even if it’s not necessarily taking the wind out of their sails and maybe adds a little bit to ours, I think that helps.”
He added: “Opportunities to make great plays don’t always come about and then when they do and you capitalize, it’s pretty cool. Just the fact it’s happened twice in a row is pretty surreal.”
Although the Yankees managed to post victories in both games in which Engel put his abilities on display, Hicks couldn’t help but tip his cap to Engel. Before Tuesday’s 13-inning, 4-3 Yankees win, Hicks went out of his way to find Engel and compliment him for his efforts. The pleasantries came before Engel tracked down another long fly ball — this time off Higashioka in the fifth inning with the Yankees trailing 1-0.
Hicks, for one, appreciated the effort.
“This whole game is about scoring runs and preventing runs,” he said. “Any way you can prevent a run is always a good thing.”
Engel said his catch on Tuesday was harder than the one that prevented Bird from homering a night earlier. While outfielders are trained to instinctively know their surroundings, Engel practices “working the wall” regularly, which makes executing catches like the ones he has made this week part of his normal outfield duties.
Still, for those who share the position, like Hicks, being on the other side of such feats is not always easy to stomach.
“Especially when you’ve done it before, you know how excited you get when you do it,” Hicks said. “It sucks for us, but it’s cool to watch.”