NEW YORK -- There won't be any Twitter campaign being launched from @BGardner11, if such an account even existed, and the Yankees wont be sending interns to photobomb the "Today Show,'' as they did on behalf of Nick Swisher in 2010.
If Brett Gardner is going to the All-Star Game in Cincinnati next Tuesday, it will be because baseball fans choose to send him without being subjected to a barrage of electioneering. That simply is not Gardner's way, which might be why he is in this position in the first place.
"That’s just not me, that’s not my personality,'' Gardner said in the Yankees' clubhouse before Tuesday's game against the Oakland Athletics. "I’m not going to change who I am for this final vote deal for these couple days. I’m just happy, honored to be a part of it, happy to be mentioned alongside all these great players. If it works out I’d obviously enjoy going to Cincinnati next week and being a part of it.''
Gardner, who finished 15th in the fan voting among AL outfielders despite having comparable, and in some cases, better numbers than Alex Gordon, the Kansas City Royals' left fielder who won the final starting spot, is one of five players who will have the chance to be the "Final Man'' on the AL squad based on one more fan vote.
Swisher, of course, won the final vote in 2010; in 2013, Yankees closer David Robertson mounted an unsuccessful campaign based around the Twitter hashtag #HighSocksForVotes. Gardner does not have a Twitter account, and according to a Yankees publicist, the team will mount a "toned-down'' campaign for Gardner as per the low-key player's wishes.
"I would really encourage our fans to vote for Gardy,'' manager Joe Girardi said. "I think he deserves to be on the All-Star team for what he does offensively and defensively. And this is a guy that wants nothing to do with self-promoting to make the All-Star team. He's not worried about his brand. He’s not going to be a part of a campaign, he’s just going to go out and play; go out and help us try to win.
“I think it’s very refreshing.''
Gardner faces some tough competition for the final spot, notably from shortstop Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox, who probably should have been voted in ahead of Alcides Escobar of the Royals, whose fans voted in record numbers, and Mike Moustakas, the Royals' third baseman who will probably get similar support.
"He's very deserving,'' said Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, who made the team in the players vote, of Gardner. "Obviously the numbers speak for themselves. I thought he would have gotten the call and not been in the final vote. So now, we've got to get him in somehow.''
"I hope the New York fans come out,'' said Mark Teixeira, the Yankees' other representative who was named to the team as the starting first baseman when Miguel Cabrera went on the DL with a calf strain. "I would love to see Gardy make it. It would be really cool to have him with me there, and with Dellin, to represent the Yankees, so hopefully Yankee fans will come out to support him.''
Said Alex Rodriguez: "I think Brett has kind of put himself at the forefront as one of the better players in this league. He’s definitely been a catalyst for us all year. There’s no question that without Brett, we wouldn't be in first place. The All-Star Game will be better if he’s there.”