Chris Woodward jabs at Gleyber Torres' walk-off HR, calls Yankee Stadium 'a little league ballpark'

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Monday, May 9, 2022

Gleyber Torres lifted the New York Yankees to a thrilling victory Sunday over the Texas Rangers with a walk-off home run to right field.

After the game, Rangers manager Chris Woodward also took aim at Yankee Stadium's short porch.

"Small ballpark, that's an easy out in 99 percent of ballparks. ... [Torres] just happened to hit it in a little league ballpark to right field," Woodward said after Texas' 2-1 loss in the opener of a doubleheader.

It was the seventh career walk-off hit for Torres, who was asked about Woodward's comments later Sunday after the completion of the doubleheader.

"I feel like both teams play in the same ballpark and it's the same dimensions," Torres told reporters. "I feel good to hit a walk-off homer in the little league ballpark -- happy to win the first game."

Torres' opposite-field homer traveled an estimated 369 feet, according to MLB Statcast, and would have been a home run in 25 of the other 29 stadiums in Major League Baseball. The homer punctuated a cold game at Yankee Stadium in which runs were at a premium. The Rangers won the second game 4-2.

Woodward said Monday that he regretted the postgame comment.

"Probably bad words on my part," he said before the Rangers' game against the Yankees. "I gave it a layup for a lot of people. But listen, I meant no disrespect, obviously, to this place. And it's obviously a world-class organization, ballpark. ... I understand why Yankee fans will get upset about it. That's why I love them."

The Rangers, coincidentally, hit two homers to right field Sunday that were shorter than Torres' blast. Kole Calhoun's score-tying solo shot in Game 1 traveled 355 feet, and Eli White's opposite-field solo homer in Game 2 only went 342 feet, according to Statcast.

That aside, Yankees manager Aaron Boone also pointed out that Woodward's math was slightly off.

"His math's wrong," Boone said with a smile. "Ninety-nine percent is impossible. There's only 30 parks."

Woodward initially walked back his comments later Sunday after the doubleheader, calling Yankee Stadium a "cathedral" and saying his earlier dig about the ballpark's dimensions was a "joke." He reiterated that sentiment Monday, congratulating Torres andtelling reporters that Yankee Stadium was "one of my favorite places to play."

"[Yankee Stadium] is probably one of my favorite places to come," said Woodward, who spent two seasons with the crosstownMetsduring his 12-year career as a player. "But they've got a short right field. They always have -- it was like that back at the old park, and that's kind of what makes this place unique in a lot of ways.

"Hats off to Gleyber -- I know he hit that ball hard."

Torres' seven walk-off hits are most in the majors since 2018, and this was his second game-ending homer.

"The bigger the situation, it does seem like he ratchets the concentration level a bit," Boone said. "Cold day out there, it was good to see him to stick one."

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