If you don’t understand why the Yankees think so highly of Brett Gardner — and based on my interactions with Yankees fans, a sizable such population exists — I submit Chris Dickerson as the first character witness.
Remember Dickerson? You might not if you don’t qualify as a hard-core Yankees fan. Dickerson, an outfielder, played a total of 355 major-league games from 2008 through 2014. He clocked 85 of those games with the Yankees in 2011 and 2012.
One of those 85 Yankees games stood out in my memory: May 18, 2011, an Oriole Park at Camden Yards contest. Bartolo Colon threw eight scoreless innings, only to see Mariano Rivera blow the lead in the ninth. That led to Dickerson’s unfortunately memorable moment: In the top of the 15th inning, with two runs already in, Baltimore reliever Mike Gonzalez drilled Dickerson in the helmet.
A.J. Burnett, of all people, pinch ran for Dickerson, who went to The Johns Hopkins Hospital nearby for concussion testing.
“That was some scary stuff,” Dickerson recalled, when we spoke in October. “That was one of my first games with the Yankees (it was his second).”
As used to be medical protocol for concussions, the medical…