Guardians DH Josh Naylor tipped his cap to Yankees fans who spent much of Game 5 taunting his “rock the baby” home run celebration.
The story of the ALDS between the Yankees and Guardians took a turn the moment Josh Naylor hit a home run in Game 4 and ran the bases while pretending to rock a baby in his arms.
Some loved the moment. Others criticized him because Cleveland was losing at the time. Gerrit Cole, the pitcher who he homered off of, was dismissive of it.
As for Yankees fans, they took the celebration and ran with it, using it to mock Naylor and the Guardians throughout Game 5.
Josh Naylor loved playing in front of a hostile Yankees crowd
To his credit, Naylor took it all in stride. When asked about the crowd chanting things like “Whose your daddy?” after Cleveland’s 5-1 loss, he praised the atmosphere.
“That was so sick. That was honestly like a dream come true as a kid; playing in an environment like this where they’ve got diehard fans, it’s cool,” Naylor said. “The fact I got that going through the whole stadium, that was sick.”
It’s so normal for athletes to be bad sports about things, especially after a devastating loss. It’s refreshing to hear Naylor take it as well as he can give it.
He seems to embrace the idea of good-natured ribbing as part of sports.
“If anything, it kind of motivates me. It’s fun to kind of play under pressure. It’s fun to play when everyone’s against you and when the world’s against you. It’s extremely fun,” Naylor said, per ESPN.
“That’s why you play this game at the highest level or try to get to the highest level: to play against opponents like the Yankees or against the Astros or whoever the case is. They all have great fanbases and they all want their home team to win, and it’s cool to kind of play in that type of spotlight and in that pressure.”
Naylor will have to wait until next year to have that feeling again.