Opinion: Brett Gardner’s age is the only thing keeping him from being named captain
This year in particular, the Yankees most tenured player, Brett Gardner has shown that he is capable of following in Jeter’s footsteps and donning the invisible C on his jersey. He is a great presence to have in the clubhouse by offering advice to the big class of young ballplayers that have risen through the ranks at lightning speeds. These guys like Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez and to a lesser extent Aaron Judge need a mentor to guide them through playing in the toughest city in America.
So much goes into donning the pinstripes that goes way beyond taking the field and Gardner has seemingly mastered the art of playing for the Yankees, but also keeping a low profile. Lately, he has been in the news over his fines for disrupting the pace of the game. While some might see that as a slight against the rules of baseball, something tells me Derek Jeter would’ve done the same thing to protect the players in a time where a lot of things, that might seem minor but totally change the way these players go about the game they’ve been playing for most of their lives.
Gardner is always hustling. In the age of bat flips and enjoying a home run, Gardner puts his head down and hustles on every play. While it’s fun to watch players showboat when they know they’ve gone deep, there’s something to be said about acting like it’s no big deal and just focusing on getting around the bases as fast as possible. Gardner busted it down the line in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader when the Yankees were up by eight runs in the top of the ninth inning and ended up getting an infield single out of it. Not many players would do that.
Also, while Gardner doesn’t have MVP numbers, he proves how valuable he is in clutch situations and always makes plays close even though he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the outfield. He gets the ball in quick and accurately to always make the baserunners work for their doubles and sacrifice flies.
Judge seems like he’d be the obvious choice for a captain, but he certainly needs more time to grow as a Yankee and the Steinbrenners are very selective about who they name captain, but the career Yankee that always gives it his all and exemplifies what it means to wear the pinstripes has been in front of us all along, and we wanted him traded a few years ago and “DFA’d” as recently as this season. Gardner is getting older, but his playstyle remains unchanged, and as of now, I believe the only thing holding Gardner back from earning this prestigious honor is his age and murky future with the club having young talent on the rise.
Article by: Sean McDermottFollow @seany_mcdermott Follow @BronxBomberBall