This season is slowly becoming a horrific train wreck. Want to know how I know that? Well, I’m writing instead of watching the game. Ouch.
Its just depressing to sit and watch our starting pitchers put up excellent number and give up one, two, sometimes NO runs and lose the game because of lack of offensive production. They’re in the bottom ranks in offensive categories in the MLB. The Yankees are tanking at the plate.
But enough of the Yankees plays that lead a normally “sane” baseball fan to shut herself up in her room at night, wondering why they cant do it for Jeter. The one positive the season has brought for me is the evidence of a new era. There will never be another player like Derek Jeter, but there certainly will be a leader when it comes to handling the media.
Brett Gardner. The speed demon and currently struggling outfielder. Sure, his swing doesn’t guarantee a hit every time. He waits on counts and swings at bad pitches. But he’ll get the job done when he knows he’s needed. But what has struck me the most this season is his presence in the media.
Especially during their recent skids, Gardner has been the one to go to that has been both honest and hopeful. He knows what the team isn’t doing, himself included, and he acknowledges that because he knows they are letting themselves and their fans down.
Need an example? Two nights ago, after a devestating 1-0 extra-inning loss to the Rays, Gardner commented on their performance.
“I feel like things have been slipping away for weeks. To be honest, I haven’t looked at the standings for the last couple of days because at this point they don’t really matter. We’ve got to win every day.”
AMEN. HALLELUIA! At least someone said it. Here’s the secret, Yankees fans…THEY KNOW they’re doing terribly. And they KNOW they need to step it up. Doesn’t that make you feel a little better? With a few quick sentences, Gardner proved to us that they aren’t just there for the money. They’re there to win the game, with that natural competitive spirit that drives all of us, whether we’re 2 or 92.
Even better: “As well as we’ve pitched, we didn’t need to be great, we just needed to be good and we haven’t been.”
There it is: a Yankee who tells it like it is and speaks for the team. He doesn’t call out any one or two players, but he says the team as a whole is not rising to their expectations. He calls himself out, by expressing his frustration, and his reaction to the media shows that he cares. He cares that they are not playing well and he cares that the fans and team is frustrated.
“We haven’t been good.” It takes a true-hearted player to admit that to the world. And Gardner is, and has been, telling it like it is. We’ve been thinking the Yankees don’t even care about their performances, but here is Gardner, showing us that while we want to give up on them, we can’t just yet.
Why? Because they haven’t given up either.
Derek Jeter may not be around to handle the media interviews next year, but hopefully Gardner will be, as he’s already done in the shadows since 2008.