August 15, 2022

The expectations for Joey Gallo are lower now than they were when the Yankees acquired him at last season’s trade deadline.

And that’s a good thing for Gallo.

“When I first got traded here I think they thought I was Babe Ruth, or something, I don’t know,” Gallo told The Post and smiled.

Well, the Bambino did strike out a lot …

“A lot of the Joey Gallo they saw last year wasn’t the normal Joey Gallo,” he said.

He is who he is at the plate, a feast-or-famine lefty slugger with a .206 career average who will hit one in the seats or walk or not hit one at all and strike out and incur the wrath of the Yankee Stadium boo birds.

“I think last year they thought I was somebody that I’m not,” Gallo said before going 2-for-3 in the Yankees’ 3-0 loss the Blue Jays on Monday. “I wasn’t gonna come over here and hit .300. I’m just a guy who plays defense, hits home runs, walks, but I’m not a high-average guy and I strike out a lot. That’s who I am.”

He knows now how New York is a euphoria-or-disaster town.

“I think you just have to really understand here, and what I didn’t really realize last year was taking things with a grain of salt, understanding there’s gonna be a lot of criticism if you don’t play well, there’s gonna be a lot more praise if you do play well,” Gallo said. “Here, you’re gonna be on ESPN getting f–king blasted.

Joey Gallo
Joey Gallo
USA TODAY Sports

“That’s really what my focus is this year is, I’m not really worried about the stage or anything, I’m worried about winning games for my teammates and the Yankees, and that’s it.”

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Gallo hit 13 home runs in 188 Yankee at-bats with 88 strikeouts in 2021.

“I didn’t really realize until after the season that I was really getting f–king blasted by everybody,” he said. “After the season obviously, you’re at home chillin’ a little bit more and then you’re like, ‘They didn’t like me too much there (chuckle) in New York, I guess, so.’ This year I’m just going to try to win games.”

But this is a prideful man, a two-time Gold Glove outfielder who has bashed 158 career home runs … against 889 strikeouts.

“When you’re working out and you’re tired in the offseason, it provides a little more fuel like, ‘All right, I’m gonna show people who I am,’ ” Gallo said, “but baseball’s a weird sport because the more mad and angry you get doesn’t mean the better you’re gonna be. … You have to be calm almost, you know. … I wish it was football or a fight where I can just like beat the hell out of someone but you can’t, it’s baseball. It’s a 162-game season. Being angry doesn’t necessarily help you play better.

“For me I was just understanding about it, and understood, ‘Hey, it’s a different market, I didn’t live up to expectations that I should have lived up to, and this year I’m gonna hopefully prove them wrong and show them that I am better than what they might think I am.’ ”

Joey Gallo singles during the Yankees' loss to the Blue Jays.
Joey Gallo singles during the Yankees’ loss to the Blue Jays.
Robert Sabo

Joey Gallo, feast-or-famine with a bat in his hands.

“I think now I know when they’re gonna boo me,” Gallo said. “And you just get it and OK, and you move on, whatever. Last year I didn’t know how it worked. It was a little different. So now I know.

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“They’re passionate fans, they want to win, they expect you to play good. If you don’t, they’ll let you know, and you move on and next day hopefully they’re cheering for you,” Gallo said.

Gallo bounced from Manhattan to New Jersey to White Plains after he arrived last July.

“It’s definitely the toughest thing I’ve done in my life,” Gallo said. “I wasn’t prepped for it, I wasn’t ready for it. I was just given a jersey and said, ‘Hey, you f–king go,’ so …

“Now I have a little bit more of an idea how it works. … It was a little chaotic, so to speak.”

He will be a free agent in 2022.

“I know the guys now, I know the staff. Last year I barely knew half the guys’ names. Now I know how different it is than from where I was,” Gallo said.

When Arlington Is Burning, who knows it? When The Bronx Is Burning, everyone knows it.

“I’m not necessarily a loveable player ’cause of the way my skill set is,” Gallo said, “but I always respect the game, I always play hard, I always give everything I have every time I’m out in the field no matter what the score is, no matter where we’re at in the standings, who we’re playing. I always take pride in that ’cause I love the game of baseball.

“I think fans will start to see that over time.”

He’s not Babe Ruth. And he shouldn’t have to be.