Here is Russell Wilson’s Yankees locker at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.
By Randy Miller
His new short-time teammates can’t wait.
Yankees players have been really excited since the club announced in a Feb. 7 email that the Super Bowl-winning QB will be joining them in spring training for a few days, and according to manager Aaron Boone, this baseball cameo is expected to run through next Friday or Saturday.
Listed as an infielder, Wilson won’t get into a game, but he will be doing most everything else with the Yankees such as hitting and fielding grounders during batting practice dressed in full uniform wearing No. 73.
At Steinbrenner Field, Wilson will be lockering between Tyler Austin and Brandon Drury while trying to impress the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, whom he called out in a recent selfie videothat he tweeted out.
“I want to see what Wilson’s got on the baseball field,” said Austin Romine, the Yankees’ No. 2 catcher behind Gary Sanchez. “That’s an athletic human being. I’m interested to see how a dude who was in the Super Bowl does in this sport. I want to see how it translates. People have no idea how hard baseball is.”
Wilson has some baseball skills and he’s done this spring thing before with the Texas Rangers.
“I want to see Wilson on the field hitting with Judge, Sanchez and Stanton,” Austin said. “I think that’s the BP group that we need to put him in. Wilson might humble them, you never know! I’m just kidding. It’s going to be fun. I think a lot of the guys are going to be excited to meet him and pick his brain a little bit.”
A lot of guys are excited anticipating playing some football. Judge has mentioned that he wants to see what it’s like running some routes with Wilson throwing to him.
“I hope that happens,” Austin said. “Could you imagine Russell Wilson throwing a crossing route in right field? I’d get in that.”
“I might get out there,” Boone said.
Boone’s son would be jealous.
“My 12-year-old is a huge Russell Wilson fan,” Boone said. “He’s No. 3 in everything because of Russell Wilson.”
Another of Wilson’s admirers is new Yankees third baseman Brandon Drury, who grew up in Oregon making a lot of six-hour trips to Seattle with his family for Seahawks games.
“I’m a big Russell Wilson fan,” Drury said. “The way he plays the game, the guy’s a winner. Whether its baseball or off the field stuff, even mental stuff, you could pick the guy’s brain. I know he’s smart. He studies the game and cares. I’m real excited to get to know him.”
These next few days will be fun for the Yankees, and as Drury alluded to, players could wind up taking something meaningful out of this by watching and hearing what makes Wilson tick.
“I’m looking forward to our guys interacting with (Wilson), and him getting the opportunity to breathe into our guys,” Boone said. “It’s just something we feel is really a positive opportunity for us to kind of take advantage of.
“I don’t want him to feel like he’s got to come in and address this or do that. I want him to come in and just kind of be himself and get to know us and enjoy himself. I think a lot of our guys will benefit from him just being in camp.”