The Granites of Staten Island always have been Yankees fans. How serious?
“My dog is named ‘Jeter,’ ” Zack Granite said. “That’s how serious.”
Zack was born in September 1992, the second of two sons for Joe and Marie. That meant he was 4 when the Yankees won the 1996 World Series — their first Series victory in 18 years — and three more followed from 1998 through 2000.
“The Yankees’ dynasty … that was my childhood,” Zack said. “My brother, Matt, he’s another huge Yankees fan. Our family went to a lot of Yankees games.”
It wasn’t a straight line to the Bronx getting there. The Granites would take the train to the ferry, take the Staten Island ferry to Manhattan, take another train to the famous ‘4,’ that would land them a couple of blocks from the previous version of Yankee Stadium.
“It was always worth it,” Granite said. “Those were great players.”
A childhood of playing baseball as well as following the Yankees led to a standout role with the Pirates of Tottenville High School. Zack was All-City in New York, and the Pirates were city champions in his senior year of 2010.
Jason Marquis is another former Tottenville Pirate. He pitched 15 seasons in the big leagues, including an unsuccessful seven starts with the 2012 Twins.
“We’re family friends, the Marquis and the Granites,” Zack said. “My mom and Jason’s mom work together at the high school.”
Among the notes found in Granite’s baseball bio is that he batted .360 for Tottenville in 2010. It appears .360 is Granite’s lucky number.
He again was batting .360 for the Rochester Red Wings — and leading the International League in average by a huge margin — when he was called to the Twins on July 7.
The Twins had a chance to add a position player in lieu of a fifth starter because of the annual rotation shuffle that takes place after the All-Star break. The idea was that Granite would be with the Twins through last Friday’s series opener in Houston, then head back to Rochester when Joe Mauer came off the disabled list the next day.
You’re never sure in baseball, and especially in this new age of the 10-day disabled list, where trips to the DL and other roster moves are coming at a ferocious pace.
Center fielder Byron Buxton was running the bases Friday in Houston, messed up his steps speeding around the bases and wound up on the 10-day DL because of a mild groin injury.
Granite was in left field that night and got his first big-league hit. And with Buxton out, Granite stayed to play center field. He’d already made a big impression there in his first start July 9, getting his glove above the fence to take a home run from Baltimore’s Manny Machado.
Granite went home to Staten Island for the All-Star break. He then went to Houston, wound up staying on the roster and was back in Minnesota and in the lineup vs. the Yankees. There would be family and a few friends in the stands, for certain.
Zack described the itinerary since being called up from Rochester and said: “It’s been the craziest, greatest week of my life.”
This was followed by a pause and then: “Hopefully, I can start to hit a little.”
On Wednesday, he was making his sixth start in the eight games since being recalled by the Twins. He was 2-for-22, and way too many at-bats ended up as bouncers to second base.
“That’s my slump,” Granite said. “I get out a little early and hit the ball to second base.”
That was also a .091 average, a number that could get you benched with the Tottenville Pirates, or his college team, the Seton Hall Pirates.
The Twins and Yankees were scoreless in the bottom of the second. The Twins had runners on second and third, and Jorge Polanco left them there with a shallow fly for the second out.
All that was required for Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery to escape was to retire Granite, lefty against lefty. This time, Granite stayed back, bounced a 0-1 pitch past the mound and into center for the first two RBI of his major league career.
It was a 2-0 Twins lead that became 6-0 before the inning was over. The final was 6-1 and the Twins took two of three from the Yankees.
Winning hit: Zack Granite. Happiest longtime Yankees fans on Wednesday’s 4:40 p.m. flight back to New York: the Granites of Staten Island.
Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500. firstname.lastname@example.org