Don’t believe dreams can come true?
Just talk to Brett Gardner. Because, Sunday afternoon, Gardner’s big-league dream came true when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Dave Miley called him into his office and informed him that he had been called up to the team’s parent club, the New York Yankees.
“It really hasn’t set in yet,” Gardner said as his team traveled back from it’s game against Buffalo. “Absolutely, it’s a dream come true. Growing up as a little kid, you get older, and you realize how far away it is. It really hasn’t set in yet, but I think (Monday) when I get there it will definitely happen.”
Gardner is scheduled to drive from Scranton to New York Monday and be in uniform for the Yankees 7:05 p.m. series opener against the Texas Rangers. The former Holly Hill Academy, St. George Post 105 and College of Charleston standout has been on the radar for a promotion to the big leagues for some time. In 80 games with Triple-A Scranton this season, Gardner was batting .287 with three home runs, 29 RBIs, 34 stolen bases and had a .412 on-base percentage. His play and injuries to New York outfielders Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui opened a door in the Bronx Bombers’ outfield.
“Before the season started I told myself, ‘If it happens it happens,’” Gardner said. “I just worry about what I can control and try to prove to them that I am ready. And, with this happening in the last year of Yankee Stadium…it’s very special to get to play there.”
Gardner said he called his parents, Jerry and Faye Gardner, in Holly Hill shortly after learning of his call-up.
“They are really excited,” he said laughing. “I think they are more excited than I am.”
“It was emotional for me,” Jerry Gardner said. “Just from the standpoint that…I know what kind of work he has put himself through, and to see him get rewarded with the ultimate promotion…is special.”
With the door opened and his dream fulfilled, Gardner said he is ready to focus on doing what it takes to make his mark in the major leagues.
“I’ve always been told, ‘The hard part is not to get to the big leagues, it’s to stay in the big leagues,’” he said. “I don’t know what my role will be. It could be to come in as a defensive replacement once a week or come in and run bases. I have no idea what to expect, but I am sure I will find out in the next few days.
“I will be working hard,” he added. “And, I am going to try my best to help the team win some ball games.”