So what if Brett Gardner decided not to partake in the nickname frenzy during Player’s Weekend? He’s still a New York Yankee at heart.
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With nicknames flying around for the past few weeks and anticipation building for the reveal of the Player’s Weekend jerseys, New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner decided not to participate.
At least, he tried to.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) August 25, 2017
“I’m more of an old-school guy, so I’m not a big fan of it,” Gardner told ESPN’s Andrew Marchand. “It doesn’t really matter what I think. I’ll play and hopefully, we’ll win.”
“I tried to go no name at all and keep it original. But they made me put something. I figured I never had my name on the back of my jersey before, so instead of putting a freakin’ nickname, I put my name on there. That [having no name] apparently is not allowed.”
Gardner’s decision has been met with resistance. Some think Gardner should just ‘get over it,’ while others have called him a ‘party pooper’ for not taking part.
I get it. This is supposed to be a fun, joyous weekend where players can express themselves. In Gardner’s case expressing himself comes from his play on the field, not the name on his back.
While people are slamming Gardner for not having fun, maybe it’s time to stop and realize that he is the fun guy in the clubhouse. He is the jokester, the clown, the guy that everyone enjoys being around.
Having fun means different things to different people. For Gardner, fun means playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. And because he’s been a Yankee for his entire tenure in the major leagues, he deserves a voice.
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So no, we won’t get to see a “Gardy” shirt or something relating to “Gardy Party,” but can people really be this upset with a guy who is out there solely to win and not wanting any distractions?
It’s crunch time for the Yankees, who are nearly five games behind first-place Boston in the American League East and barely clinging to a Wild Card spot. Their main focus should be getting wins, not what clever or ridiculous name they can come up with to put on the back of their jersey.
Just as players who are choosing to wear certain nicknames on their back are being respected, so should Gardner. It’s not up to us to decide who deserves to be criticized for their choices during Player’s Weekend.
These nicknames mean something to people and that’s perfectly fine. But Gardner’s decision to not have a nickname—and attempts to play without a name on his back at all—mean something to him.
If we can respect, say, Aaron Judge‘s decision to put “All Rise” on the back of his jersey, why can’t we respect Gardner’s decision to go with his name?
Just because Brett Gardner doesn’t want to partake in the festivities doesn’t mean he’s a party pooper. It just means he’s firm in his beliefs and focused on winning ballgames. Isn’t that what really matters at the end of the day?