Dave Robertson had plans. He was going to get out of Yankee Stadium as quickly as possible. He and his wife, Erin, were going drive up to Connecticut and check into a little bed and breakfast they’d been to in the past. Then Robertson was going to do a little bit of fishing, take Erin to dinner a few times and just relax for three days.
The plans changed in the first inning, when Joe Girardi told Robertson he’d been chosen as an injury replacement for the American League.
Robertson had time to call Erin before he went to the bullpen.
“She was screaming,” Robertson said. “Then she was like, ‘Really? What have I got to do?’ Worried about getting packed up and figuring out how to get there.”
Dave and Erin are now flying to Arizona. Fishing is going to have to wait, because Robertson is an all-star in a season that started with him as the No. 4 option in the Yankees bullpen.
“I’m just a little surprised,” he said. “It seems like this whole season has crept up on me. It came down to this point and now I’m one of the fortunate guys who gets to go to the all-star game and be a part of something special… I really don’t know (why this season has gone so well). I feel like I’m throwing a little harder, and I’m being even more competitive than I normally am. I just don’t want to lose games. I know we’ve had some key injuries that have really set us back, so everyone has been stepping up in the bullpen, and I’m just trying to hang with everybody else and keep going forward and keep helping us win ball games because we all have one goal here, and that’s to win 28.”
If there was one all-star candidate the Yankees were pulling for, it was Robertson. Off the top of my head I can remember Russell Martin, Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez campaigning for him by dropping not-so-subtle hints in the middle of interviews. Girardi was thrilled that he got to be the one to give Robertson the news. “Just to be able to see the smile on his face was really, really worth it for me,” he said.
“I’m excited for him,” CC Sabathia said. “Young guy, and he’s pitched unbelievable. He’s really been the best reliever in baseball this year if you look at his numbers. So he definitely deserves to go. We’re all excited for him.”
He’ll be one of the least-known pitchers in the American League bullpen, but Robertson has earned his place. He spends every day in a clubhouse full of all-stars, but even in that room he’s set himself apart. Someone asked today if it would feel strange to be in a bullpen without Mariano Rivera.
“A little bit,” he said. “I’m just happy to go. I get to see him every day.”
Here’s the Yankees all-star setup man. Congratulations, Dave.
I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that’s an Associated Press photo of the moment Robertson found out he’d made the all-star team