Clay Holmes’ new closer entrance aims to energize Yankees fans

The Yankees are a solid organization with a laid-back, easy-going closer.

They added some plays to the closer’s entrance that seem to be good for both club and pitcher.

For the first time in more than two years as the team’s closer, Clay Holmes is jogging onto the field to an element that aims to energize the home crowd.

When Holmes enters a game during this homestand, lights around the stadium flash and a hype video, his name, and some psychedelic effects take over the video board.

On Friday, May 17, Clay Holmes left the game in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox. Robert Sabo of the New York Post

This doesn’t come close to the enthusiasm that rumbled through the stadium when “Enter Sandman” was played as Mariano Rivera took to the stage, and it was far more subdued than Edwin Diaz’s trumpet-blaring introduction in Queens.

But it’s a perfect fit for Holmes, an Alabama native who runs out of the bullpen to Chris Stapleton’s “White Horse,” a guitar-heavy country song.

“I have some energy left, [the new entrance]” Holmes said before Monday’s series opener against the Mariners. “I think it’s a little more subtle.”

Ever since Diaz started stirring up dance parties at Citi Field with “Narco,” closer entrances have been back in fashion across the league.

As fire crackles along the video boards lining Target Field, Twins closer Joan Duran runs to the mound in the dark. The Giants turn off the lights and shine the spotlight on Camilo Doval. Last year’s Orioles closer Felix Bautista will appear after a whistle inspired by the TV show “The Wire.”

Holmes was aware of this trend, but did not actively participate in it.

But he said some of his teammates are lobbying the Yankees to add some drama to his introduction.

Clay Holmes, though rather reluctantly, put his own unique spin on that final walk.
After much hesitation, Clay Holmes put his own spin on the closer’s appearance. Robert Szabo of the New York Post

He wasn’t part of the discussions that led to the flashing lights and the addition of the video board, but he’d heard enough “grunts” that he wasn’t surprised when he jogged in on Friday and saw the show for the first time. .

“It was fun,” Holmes said. “All the players seemed really excited after the game. They were pumped up. It was fun just to feel the energy and see the reactions. A lot of people had fun.”

Holmes gave the Yankees the go-ahead, and the Yankees’ video operations personnel got to work.

“With a closer like we have, we better have something special for him,” Aaron Judge said after Holmes got the save. “That gave us all goosebumps. We were pushing really hard to get a run in the ninth.”

Holmes, a dominant pitcher who is enjoying his best season, entered Monday’s game pitching 20 innings, no earned runs, and tied for the most in baseball with 13 saves.

But he doesn’t show off a 100 mph fastball or anything that’s impossible to hit.

Instead, he relies on good movement and sinking pitches that he drives into the ground repeatedly, and his pitching style matches his personality: He’s not flashy.

So his arrival is a bit modest, at least compared to many of his peers in baseball.

“I’m a very easy-going, just go-with-the-flow type of person,” Holmes said. “It’s always a great moment when you start running at Yankee Stadium.”

If 40,000 fans could stand up and have a little more energy, Holmes would be all for it.

“This is a good way to engage the fans and make the end of the game a little more exciting,” Holmes said.