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Brett Gardner Didn't Want To Wear A Name On The Back Of His Jersey This Weekend

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NEW YORKOf all the New York Yankees, left fielder Brett Gardner has been here the longest. He was drafted in the third round by the team in 2005 and made it to the majors fast enough to be part of the 2009 World Series championship team. Besides having the most tenure, he’s a traditionalist.With MLB Players Weekend upon us, the Yankees are bucking history by wearing names on the backs of their uniforms for the first time ever and will go without home pinstripes for the first time since 1914. Gardner is going along with the program — but he doesn’t necessarily like it.

“I’m more of an old-school guy, so I’m not a big fan of it,” Gardner said. “It doesn’t really matter what I think. I’ll play and hopefully we’ll win.” Gardner actually had a unique idea for his uniform — one that reflected his personality, which is the point of the whole endeavor — but it was turned down. Gardner wanted to stick with Yankees tradition and have no name or nickname whatsoever on the back of his jersey.

“I tried to go no name at all and keep it original,” Gardner said. “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.”

If you follow me on Twitter or you read anything I’ve written about players weekend, you know I HATE the Yankees wearing names on the back of their jerseys and that they won’t be wearing pinstripes at home. The Yankees have a storied tradition that has worked pretty well so far, so why change it? This is really just a way for the league to sell more jerseys and make more money, disguised as a weekend for the players. You can say it’s to encourage youth baseball at the same time as the Little League World Series, but those kids aren’t wearing nicknames either. If anything put local businesses on the backs of the jerseys like they do in Little League.

When the names came out, I wrote about each one of them, and how terrible they were. There was one though, that I said I kind of understood, and that was Brett Gardner.

Brett “Gardner” Gardner – When Gardner made his only All-Star Game appearance he got a warmup jersey with his name on the back and it was the first time he ever had that. In college and all through his professional career, he never had it once during a real game so odds are he just wanted to wear his own name. In my head though I’m imagining him putting his foot down and saying he isn’t wearing a stupid nickname. That helps me sleep better at night.

Well what do you know, Brett hate the idea and is only wearing anything on his back because THE LEAGUE IS MAKING HIM. Is it really a “Player’s Weekend” when you’re forcing players to play into your marketing scheme? Of course not. But I’m glad that Brett got out there and let us fans know that he wanted no part of this and respects the tradition and history of the team. Now we can never trade him.

PS: Shoutout to Sammy’s Fish Box and the 1997 City Island Little League Championship I won them. Knowing I am part of the rich history that creates commercials like these, that still air on TV today, is almost as good as being a Yankee.