Thanks to some very obviously juiced baseballs, Brett Gardner is on pace to eclipse his career-high home run total of 21 with relative ease. He's already at 15 with 69 games (nice) to go, 31 of which are at Yankee Stadium, where he'll almost certainly hit four or five more over the short porch in left. If he keeps it up, he'll likely have a career-high in RBIs too, meaning he'd have one of his best seasons ever as a 35-year-old who the entire Yankee fanbase wrote off before May. What I'm saying is, Gardy has nothing to be mad about.
But the little lefty is one of the more fiery competitors in the sport, one that treats every at-bat like a life or death situation in which the only way to survive in his mind is to get on base. That's why, when he gets shafted by an umpire with a poor strike zone, Gardner almost always loses his sh-t. On Thursday in the Bronx, in Game 1 of a double header with the Tampa Bay Rays, Gardner was angrier than usual with home-plate umpire Brennan Miller, who is calling a game behind the plate for just the fifth time in his career.
Miller rung up Gardner on a 97-mph fastball that appeared to be just a tad inside in the bottom of the second inning. Rather than argue with him right there, Gardner calmly walked back to the dug out, where he proceeded to flip the hell out like a kid that just got sent to his room. This is one of the funniest things you'll see this week:
Something about him just hammering away while teammate Aaron Hicks tries not to laugh and manager Aaron Boone yells at the ump has me on the verge of tears. He's so angry!! Here was a view of the pitch, by the way. It was much closer than Gardner thinks:
But that didn't stop No. 11 from a little upwards jackhammer session in the dugout. Moments later, Boone was tossed as he continued to yell at Miller. As always, one of our favorite followers on Twitter @Jomboy_ checked in with a great video of the full exchange between Boone and Miller, complete with subtitles (NSFW):
"My guys are savages in that box!" What a line. Yankee fans know Boone doesn't get enough credit for his arguing, but this was another gear I didn't know he had. What a ride-or-die manager.
As for Gardy, this was just another day at the office. Here he is earlier this year cutting his own lip open by throwing his own helmet and having it bounce back at his face:
And here he is telling the ump to "lock it in" and "that's not right" in London last month:
Doesn't matter if it's Game 1, Game 94, or if the score is 2-2 or 15-6. Gardy has no off switch.