Brett Gardner is just three long balls away from the 30-homer mark, but the New York Yankees veteran doesn’t really care.
At the beginning of the season, many New York Yankees fans (including me) viewed Brett Gardner as a fourth outfielder. Now he has a legit shot at shoving 30 dingers in his doubters’ faces, but statistical revenge doesn’t seem to interest him.
Gardner told the New York Post’s Dan Martin and Ken Davidoff that he’s not aiming at the homer mark:
“No, the 30 doesn’t [mean anything]. I’ve already hit 18 or 20 more than everybody expected me to hit,” said Gardner, who has a career-high 27 blasts. “Just continue to try to have good at-bats, go out there every day, try and continue to take care of myself and get ready for October.”
The Yankees’ outfield was supposed to include full seasons from sluggers like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks. No one in their right mind would have predicted that Gardner would lead Bombers outfielders in long balls.
And yet, thanks to injuries galore, Gardner is one bomb ahead of Aaron Judge. And Gardner won’t let his fellow outfield patroller forget that fact:
“Every time I seem to get a home run, he seems to answer right back, and he gives me a little look in the dugout,” Judge told Martin and Davidoff. “But it’s all fun. We’re competitive. We want to win. That’s the main goal. … He says one of these days, I’ll catch him. We’ll see.”
If you needed an extra reason to watch the Yankees’ last five regular-season games, the budding homer competition between Judge and Gardner should do the trick.
The final stretch of the schedule is all road games for New York. Therefore, the short porch in right won’t be there to help Gardner out.
But the moral of this story is clear: never bet against Brett. It doesn’t matter what the 36-year-old says; there’s no way he doesn’t want to enjoy the lifetime bragging rights that would come with beating the Judge.