All things considered, the New York Yankees have done a pretty excellent job of not signing Brett Gardner to their 2022 roster.
Did they have ample opportunity to sign Brett Gardner? Oh, yeah, you know it! All offseason long, Aaron Boone sounded wistful whenever his ex-outfielder’s name was brought up, Gardner’s locker was kept vacant in the spring, and his agent floated a trial balloon last week to let the world know he’s in game shape (but, like, 2019 game shape or 2022 game shape?).
No matter. The Yankees did not sign Brett Gardner, and though he was a great Bomber for an extremely long time, they should take pride in the fact that they were able to stay away from giving him one season too many (OK, probably two seasons too many).
A July return? Sitting in George’s box? We wouldn’t rule it out. For now, though, not a Yankee. Unless…?
Eagle-eyed Yankee fans briefly spotted a Gardner-like figure in the shadows on Tuesday night and the whole Universe lost their minds.
Gardy went incognito mode, and appeared to show up in the 2022 Yankees dugout silently, dapping up Josh Donaldson in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays with no explanation.
Is that Brett Gardner in Yankees’ dugout?
The Yankees love their pomp and circumstance. If they planned to bring Gardner back, they would’ve treated it with the severity and pomposity of a midseason Juan Soto trade. Not only would he be back in pinstripes, but he’d be getting his number retired on 7/11, something Hal Steinbrenner confidently believes fans would react positively too.
Immediately after spotting the knockoff Gardner, fans went on the attack to confirm that wasn’t the case, actually.
You’ve all got to admit, it’s pretty spot on. Take the shades off Gardner and make him a player-coach, and this would probably be his exact vibe.
Mid-freakout, the supposed Gardy sighting did allow us to reminisce on a time when the Yankees were delightfully stacked with Balds.
We regret to inform you all, though, that there was a simple explanation here.
Yes, even simpler than “Brian Cashman caved”.
Remember how the Yankees hired three hitting coaches this winter to forever alter the team’s philosophy to “Hit Strikes Hard”? The Gardner knockoff is, reportedly, the third silent assistant, former minor-league guru Casey Dykes.
But if “Casey Dykes” shows up one day rocking No. 11 and batting fifth, we’ll know it was really just Gardy playing the long game.
You really thought you could sneak one past us, Old Timer?! We KNEW it was you!