Last week, Shawn Kelley was browsing the internet and had a tab opened to Amazon.com, trying to find his latest purchase. He happened to come across a horse mask, worth $19.32 and had a rating of 4.5 stars. He figured he would buy the mask, just to garner a few laughs in the Yankees clubhouse. Instead, the mask turned out to be a regular fixture in Kelley’s locker.
“When I see those things, randomly in a crowd, it makes me laugh,” he said. “So I figured I’ll do that, and it’ll make everyone laugh in the clubhouse.
“And then we went on a winning streak.”
Since Kelley bought the horse mask and brought it to work, the Yankees had a five-game winning streak, including a 8-1 victory against James Shields and the Kansas City Royals.
“Kelley’s undefeated with the horse,” Jacoby Ellsbury said. “I’m never going to go against that.”
For now, Kelley keeps the horse head in the clubhouse, but now that it’s brought joy to his teammates, he’s started his own ritual: He’ll run around with it during pregame and he’ll bring it to the dugout before the first pitch. The Yankees aren’t questioning the horse head’s winning ‘powers’, and they’re enjoying it’s presence.
“You can’t help but laugh at a guy in a horse head,” Brian McCann said. “He nails it. When he goes into character, there’s no getting him out of it. He’s a rock star. That’s what he is.”
So Kelley, what’s the name of the horse head? Every horse head needs a killer name.
“Seabiscuit,” Kelley said. “That’s what we’re calling him.”
“My concern was: he said he felt better but he needed to run,” Girardi said. “Gardy’s pretty tough, and Gardy’s played through a lot, which made me believe that it’s probably not 100 percent, which it might not be for a while. This extra day will probably do us some good. My concern is that he favors it, or that he gets out there and he can’t run, and then I’ve got to make a change. It can just really mess things up.”
— Speaking of the Yankees game, it will not start on time due to rain in Detroit.
— Before the rains, Masahiro Tanaka threw again. If he gets through that then he’ll still pitch his simulated game this weekend.
— How important is this series for the Yankees, considering the Tigers are also in the mix for the Wild Card?
“You’ve got to win the series. It’s extremely important. We know they’re a very good team, and we’re facing a good pitcher tonight who didn’t give up too many runs against us the last time. But Brandon pitched really well. You’ve got to win games.”