Working for YES, and being the guy who gets to go to the minor league teams on a yearly basis is pretty darn cool. Back in 2005, when we were covering the Staten Island Yankees, a young centerfielder led off the game with a bunt down the third base line and in the blink of an eye he was standing on first and the third baseman hadn’t even fielded the ball yet. In case you’re wondering it was Brett Gardner. I was in the SI Yankees dugout and turned to my shooter and said, “Wow!”
I thought to myself, if this kid could do just a little with his bat he would definitely make the big club at some point…at the very least as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. Gardner helped lead the SI Yankees to the 2005 New York Penn League Championship.
As he kept making his way through the system, I followed his progress. I make it a point to keep an eye on all of these kids that I go down on the farm to interview.
I interviewed him at Double “A” Trenton, and followed him at Triple “A” Scranton. Its great to see someone like Brett, who has put the work in, and has made his way through the system, get his due. Gardner will be the opening day centerfielder for Joe Girardi and the Yankees, and even though some “experts” aren’t comfortable with him being there…I am in a lazy boy with the fridge and a case of beer comfortable.
Note to Yankee fans who need a bazooka to kill an ant at every position…you don’t…see 2008 Tampa Bay Rays. If the pitching holds up and CC, AJ, Chien-Ming, Andy, and Joba stay healthy…and the bridge to Mo isn’t termites holding hands…October baseball will be in the Yankees future and you’ll see Brett Gardner will play a vital role. Congratulations Brett.