Jacoby Ellsbury: 'I've loved my first season in New York'

September 26, 2014 - 2:28 pm
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Jacoby Ellsbury's season is winding down in anticlimactic fashion. His first year in New York is ending not only without the promise of a playoff appearance, but also with Ellsbury sidelined by a hamstring injury. Ellsbury's year has been solid if somewhat short of his career norms. He's hit .271 with a .328 OBP and .419 slugging mark, a bit down from his career line with the Red Sox of .297/.350/.439, though he did hit 16 homers (the second highest total of his career) and steal 39 bases, making him one of the premier power/speed combinations in the game, in 149 contests. Though Ellsbury characterized his season as ultimately disappointing based on the imminence of its conclusion for the Yankees, he also suggested that the transition from the Sox to the Yankees -- in the first year of his seven-year, $153 million deal -- had gone as well as he could have hoped for. "I think a lot of my goals are team goals. Obviously it's not a good feeling not to make the postseason," said Ellsbury. "I know a lot of guys are going to work hard in the offseason from day one, try to get better. From a personal standpoint, I'm always setting the bar high for myself, always trying to improve. That's going to be no different this offseason, but from a team standpoint, it's something, yeah, you don't want to experience again. When you do win, it's the best feeling. You want to feel that again." As for his adaptation to New York, Ellsbury said that his first year with an organization other than the Sox had gone as smoothly as he could have hoped. "I didn't know what to expect," said Ellsbury. "I like that comfort. I'd never been anywhere else. I like the, I always wanted to play for one team. It obviously didn't work out that way. But this has been an unbelievable season in the sense of, the guys walking in the clubhouse, I've loved my first season in New York. I loved everything about it. I'm excited about the future. I'm excited about the next, at least, six years." From an on-field standpoint, Ellsbury did enjoy at least one lasting, memorable moment with the Yankees. Derek Jeter's walkoff hit on Thursday, in his final Yankee Stadium home game, offered it. "For how it ended, it's something I'll always remember. The fans all game, I thought it felt like a playoff atmosphere with weather, with the crowd, everything. It was a special moment," said Ellsbury. "Unfortunately, it was only one year [that Ellsbury played with Jeter]. As I was telling him, I wish it could have been longer, but I feel blessed for the privilege of having played with him for at least one year. I always try to take something from each guy in this clubhouse. There's a lot I can take for my career, going down the road, from Jeter." With Jeter's departure, the Yankees now face a transition in identity. Ellsbury could be a part of that, though he downplayed the notion the notion that he will assume a forced mantle of leadership. "No one's going to replace Jeter -- 20 years in one organization, five championships, all the statistics. You just try to be yourself, for me, lead by example and try to do everything the right way," said Ellsbury. "I know these guys in this clubhouse, like I said, are excited about next year. The goal is to get into the postseason and make a run every year. That expectation of it, I enjoy that. The fans enjoy it. They have high expectations. That's one of the biggest reasons I chose New York, was because of that. I think you just have to be yourself."
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