Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The ball rolled around in Gardy's glove, pondered the universe for one long moment, and then it decided to stay

So long, Jogginson Cano! Get 'em next year!
It brought one of those insane, out-of-body moments - the reason we root for the Yankees, which eclipses all the arguments of why we should not care. It vaulted me from the couch, wailing like a piglet in a pen. Game of Thrones doesn't do that to me. The Oscar awards don't do that. It was a moment I'll remember all winter - (no, NO, let's be honest): I'll remember that catch the rest of my life.

At the sub-atomic level, they say moments don't exist. They cannot be quantified. (How many moments in a minute? A billion?) They cannot be isolated. But moments are the time frames by which we ridiculous humans measure our lives. We cannot relive a minute, but certain moments never end. They last forever. You reach a certain age - I'm a fogey - and you think your best moments - even as a Yankee fan - have come and gone. Then Brett Gardner slams into the wall and holds onto the ball, and you're on your feet and screaming, as if the living room got hit by lightning. Weird, eh?

If last night had gone the wrong way - let's say if the ball bounced into the stands - we'd be emotionally dead today. I'd bite off the nose of anyone who even talked about the Wild Card race. And if we lose tonight, Toronto leaves five up in the loss column and shrugs off this series like a baby flea bite. We made our bed in April. It's been a glorious five weeks since the "sell-off," but now we wonder what took so long? How could we limp all the way to July 31 with such a tired, boring team? The answer was always right in front of us - the kids at Scranton were crushing the league - yet we slogged along with Tex, A-Rod, McCann, etc.

A question: Do you think we really learned anything, or next winter, will Hal revert back to the ways of the almighty contract? (There are rumors that we'll package our four best prospects for Jose Fernandez or some other ace, who surely will then need Tommy John surgery.) Frankly, I'd like to see a sell-off every July, if we have prospects. No more kids rotting in Scranton. If he's ready, clear a path. That's what Boston is doing, and thanks to Yoan Moncada, they might be winning for a long time.

Which brings me - at last - to Gardy, for many years my fave Yank. When the team signed Ellsbury and Beltran three years ago, it left a foul taste, because it seemingly meant Gardner was gone. But lately, I've wished him gone. He doesn't hit for average, he doesn't hit for power, he doesn't steal, and last night, I was furious at him for pulling up on a bloop single that drove in two Toronto runs. I was preparing an angry rant that would lay the loss on Gardy.

Well, he didn't make the greatest fielding play of the season, but he made the most important one. And the image of him throwing his arms into the air like Nixon, flinging the ball upwards like a little leaguer, it's a moment for the scrapbook in my head.

These are probably Gardy's final days as a Yankee. Either he or Ellsbury must go, and Ellsbury's contract makes him untradeable. It's nice to appreciate Gardy for a change. Last night, he had me screaming with joy.

We are alive. Maybe not for long, but we are alive. There will be more moments. They will last forever. Let's hope they're good ones.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE RIGHT ON ABOUT WHY WE COULDN'T ROLL THIS MOVEMENT OUT SOONER..... AT LEAST THEY SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT UP GARY SANCHEZ A MONTH EARLIER (WE COULD NOT HIT LEFTIES, AND NEEDED A RIGHT HANDED BAT)...... HE IS OUR LEGIT NUMBER 3 HITTER IN THE LINEUP NOW....EVEN WITH AROD ON THE ROSTER, AND MCCANN CATCHING, THERE STILL WAS ROOM FOR SANCHEZ TO GET INTO THE LINEUP, ESPECIALLY AGAINST LEFTIES...... HOW MANY GAMES COULD HE HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE IN A MONTH?..... I WOULD THINK QUITE A FEW...... AND THAT'S ALL WE WOULD NEED TO "REALLY" BE UP NEAR THE TOP IN THIS DIVISION....... LIKE I HAVE SAID MANY TIMES, THERE SEEMS TO BE A FAILURE TO "DECIDE TO ACT CORRECTLY AND SWIFTLY" IN OUR HIERARCHY (CASHMAN, GIRARDI, AND THAT DAMN MYSTERY SCOUT, NO DOUBT)....... OH, THE HELL WITH BITCHING...... THIS TEAM IS FUN AGAIN!!!

Anonymous said...

We are ALIVE,in September, with call-ups, with kids, with energy, with Enthusiasm. Who would've thunk it? A-Rod WHO?

Tom said...

somebody has been reading this blog. check out the headline on this game article:

http://m.mlb.com/gameday/blue-jays-vs-yankees/2016/09/06/448938#game=448938,game_state=final,game_tab=

Honey Barnes said...

Well Said.

Anonymous said...

el duque doesn't realize that Gardy has the highest WAR of any Yankee. He talks about the irrelevant batting average but ignores his strengths, evident by people who appreciate the game within the game: high on-base percentage, speed on the bases, superlative defense. Duque should know better by now.

joe de pastry said...

Gardner's OBP is high only when compared to his terrible teammates. And his SLG is lower than Ellsbury's.

ranger_lp said...

And the best Sterling could do was a three second warble...time for him to be put out to pasture...lol

steve said...

That play was only suspenseful because Gardy the shrimp is so short. A normal LF makes that play with ease.

Anonymous said...

joe de pastry--Gardner's OBP is well above the league average of .322--it's a very good OBP by any yardstick of comparison. And you persist in ignoring his other strengths--superlative defense and speed on the bases (first to third on singles, first to home on doubles, etc.), all of which are more critical to winning games than the one ancient, irrelevant stat of batting average that baseball deadheads like to fixate on. Perhaps you know more about player evaluation than the mathematical whizzes who devised WAR and other metrics that are actually used by the GMs charged with allocating hundreds of millions in player investments--but probably not.

Anonymous said...

Steve--a "normal" left fielder doesn't get anywhere near that ball for lack of Gardner's foot speed. Why don't you look at some defensive metrics.Besides--Gardner is 5' 10''. Do you think all other left fielders spend the winter months as centers in the NBA?

el duque said...

I just wanna go on record saying that I think Joe de Pastry does know more about player evaluation than the "mathematical whizzes who devised WAR."

Anonymous said...

duque--that's why you think BA is a significant offensive stat, and endlessly flog Gardner over it. In fact, it's the LEAST revealing offensive stat. If a guy bats .300 with an OBP of .310--all other things being equal--he's a much LESS valuable offensive player than a guy who bats .260 with a .345 OBP. This has been proved in so many ways over so many years now that it's embarrassing to have to rehearse the obvious in a group of people who claim to be versed in baseball analysis. According to Fangraphs, Gardner is the fifth best left fielder in the AL and the fourth best defender. I trust those evaluations more than those of someone who still clings to the rusty, corroded ancient chariot called batting average to carry his baseball analysis.

Anonymous said...

I should add that ESPN.com ranks Gardner as the BEST defender among AL left fielders among qualifying players--those with a minimum number of at-bats. Of course, the countless runs prevented by his defense somehow don't figure into the final tally of who wins and loses for duque and his fellow analytical philistines, who think that only batting average reveals whether a player contributes to a win or not--even though it tells us nothing about power, speed, plate discipline, defense, or on-base frequency. Somehow a run subtracted from the other team doesn't count as much as a run tallied by a ground ball through the middle that scores a guy from third. This is why we need advanced analysis--to rescue us from these mouldering inanities.

joe de pastry said...

The Red Sux had seven guys in their lineup last night with higher OBP than Gardner.
I'm not unfamiliar with sabremetrics, which is why I haven't mentioned batting average. It's also why I think Gardner's OPS+ of 88 is lousy for a left fielder.