Brett Gardner's Performance Perfectly Represents The New York Yankees' Magical Season 3
Noah K. Murray-USATSI

Brett Gardner has struggled and succeeded in his years in New York, but his performance in 2016 perfectly represents all the New York Yankees have been through this year.

A home-grown talent, Brett Gardner has always played a huge role in setting the table for the New York Yankees. Reliable, hard-working and boasting impressive speed, Gardner is the whole package.

While he has struggled since his 2015 All-Star appearance, Gardner’s struggles and successes in 2016 perfectly represent this year’s Yankees’ team.

Batting at a .206 clip during the second half a year ago, the speedster’s performance fluctuated throughout the most recent season. With promising months like June (.323 BA/30 hits) and depressing months like May (.194 BA/23 SO), Gardner’s stats have literally been up and down.

Just like the New York Yankees.

Gardner’s numbers have played a key role in the performance of the entire New York squad so far this season. During his terrible month of May, the Yankees batted a dismal .232 as a team.

When Gardner was tearing the cover off the baseball in June, the Yankees were hitting a respectable .278. However, his performance affected the entire team.

Sep 7, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) watches the ball as New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) is safe at second base after a throwing error in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Noah K. Murray-USATSI

The Yankees started the 2016 season poorly, to say the least. Going 8-14 in April, they were in last place in the American League East and seemed prepared to deem this season a lost one.

Since the All-Star Break, however, the Yanks have made strides in moving up in the standings.

Well, so has Brett Gardner. Since last year’s post-All-Star break downfall, he has batted .256, which is 50 points higher than last year.

Although his stats aren’t outstanding by any means, Gardner still leads the team in OBP (.347) and runs scored (67) while being an integral part of the team and with all the talk this season of whether or not he should be traded, Gardner has proven just how valuable he is to this magical Yankees’ run.

In August alone, Gardner had two spectacular catches to help preserve Yankees leads, which both eventually turned into victories. His leaping catch to rob the Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Cron of a home run was extremely exciting.

However, that catch didn’t even hold a candle to Gardner’s most recent snare of Justin Smoak’s bomb to left that helped lock down a game that was slowly spiraling out of control.

Far too often this season the Yankees have found themselves with their backs against the wall, needing just a hit, a catch or a strike to make something happen. In the beginning of the season, that wasn’t happening.

Now? That’s all we’ve seen from New York.

They’ve been in vulnerable spots and have somehow, someway found a way to keep the momentum rolling. Against all odds, Brett Gardner has been coming through with huge plays to secure these much-needed victories, mainly because he never gives up on the team and the game.

Although Gardner is a veteran leader on the field, he is also just a kid playing ball, as referenced by his exuberant reaction to his game-saving catch against the rival Blue Jays. T

That’s exactly what we’re seeing more and more from the Yankees: excitement and energy. And that “never give up” attitude is just what they’ve needed to make this run happen.

Sep 7, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) , center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (22) and first baseman Tyler Austin (26) celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Noah K. Murray-USATSI

When it all comes down to it, baseball essentially is just a bunch of kids, both young and old, playing the game they love and enjoying every moment of it. That’s what Brett Gardner is showing the 2016 Yankees.

While he’s had up and downs throughout the season, so has the entire team. His resilience, hard work, and attitude represent everything that has transpired in New York this season.

Most importantly, right now it looks like that might potentially be sufficient enough for the Yankees and Gardner to sneak into the playoffs.

NEXT: To All The Non-Believers: The New York Yankees Are Legit

Allison is just a girl with an enormous passion for the game of baseball and the written word. Based in Upstate New York, her life-long relationship with the New York Yankees is something that she developed through close relationships with her mother and grandfather. An aspiring sports writer, she graduated with a journalism degree and is finding places to share her excitement about the sporting world and how it affects us all.