Gary Sanchez might not win the AL Rookie of the Year, but his performance has been legendary. The record book, however, might not be the only book to commemorate him.
Mr. Sanchez is writing quite a list of accomplishments in the Yankees and MLB record books. He hit 19 home runs faster than any other player in MLB and won two player-of-the-week honors in August, his first full month in the bigs.
It is also likely that he will be a repeat winner for the week ending September 24th. He won both AL and MLB player of the month honors for August. And lately he has been hitting eye-popping home runs on an almost nightly schedule.
Now, he might add one more accomplishment to his list: becoming a part of speech.
There has not been an official decision yet, but I expect a call from the good folks at Dictionary.com any day. Historically, verbs have often been created from the prime example of an action. For instance, many people use the word Xeroxing when making copies. But Xerox was just the first big name in copy machines.
The same is true for adjectives and adverbs. If you don’t know why overwhelming displays of athletic prowess are described as Ruthian, why are you reading this blog?
If Slashed Can be a Verb…
Gary Sanchez’ performance is now deserving of this honor. But, what does it mean to, “Sanchez”? How are we to encapsulate what he is doing, and what we are seeing? He is hitting for power and average. He is taking his walks. And, by now, every opposing team’s pre-game meeting must start with a reminder not to run against him. Did I mention the 19 home runs in the last 43 games?
But what really makes defining his accomplishments so challenging is that he must epitomize the delineation. That, and the fact that the definition must be precise before it can become socially relevant, meaning Taylor Swift uses it in a tweet.
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Perhaps “to Sanchez” means to break records set by legends. Neither Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, nor Mickey Mantle hit as many home runs, or played at this level, in his first 45 games. Yes, Sanchez broke the home run record for all of baseball but once you outperform Yankees, you have surpassed giants.
Mike Trout is often compared to The Mick, and with good reason. In Mike Trout’s first forty games, in 2011, he slashed .220/.390/.672. and hit 5 home runs. In his first 45 games (this year and last), Sanchez hit .337/.410/.747 with 19 home runs.
He has absolutely Sanchezed it; hey, this is catching on already.
Suck it Science Nerds
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Or, “Sanchezing” might mean making the greatest first impression of all time. But remember that if he is to be verbalized, he has to be the prime example. That means there are a few others we need to consider.
Magic Johnson, for example, had a phenomenal first season, culminating in a 42-point game to win the NBA title. Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved America from a banking crisis and pushed through the New Deal in his first 100 days. And Albert Einstein’s first four papers forever changed how the universe is viewed and gave birth to the atomic age.
Still, Sanchez has outperformed all of them and deserves the linguistic honor. Magic had a full season to make his mark, while it took FDR 100 days to pass all of his legislation. But Sanchez has taken fewer than 60 days to make his claim. And Einstein? Gary Sanchez has already hit more home runs in 43 games than Albert Einstein did in his entire life. Think about that.
Something to Watch When Yankees Baseball is Done
“Sanchezed” might mean making an immediate case to be considered the best at what you do. I am not saying he is the best player in baseball but no one can argue that he has not played like the best player since the beginning of August. Others have made similar claims via their performances.
For instance,the aformentioned Mike Trout has been “Sanchezing” the last five years–until August. Is it fair to say Abraham Lincoln “Sanchezed” from almost the first day he took office? And while John Keats died young, he clearly “Sanchezed” when he wrote an ode about an urn.
But Sanchez clearly deserves the recognition before any of these people. Showing the skills, not just the potential, to be an all-star catcher and mvp candidate is all the truth I know and all I need to know.
Clearly, it is hard to define what Sanchez is doing. Even Joe Girardi admitted he has never seen anything like it. Perhaps it is akin to what Justice Stewart said about pornographic images: I don’t know how to categorize them but I know them when I see them.
I don’t know how to succintly encapsulate Gary Sanchez impact and performance and maybe I will never be able to offer an entry into the lexicon. But I know what I am seeing—and I like it.
I see a modest young man who throws as well as he hits. I see a young catcher who has taken control of the pitching staff. And I see a power bat the Yankees can build around for years. Is there a word for that? If not, I nominate “Sanchize.”
Remember that we will need to get a lot of positive public opinion to convince the powers that run Big Dictionary to include this entry. And that is nothing compared to getting Swift to use it. So, if this is going to be a new word in the sports patois, we better not ask any Jets fans.