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Yanks now imitating Gardy's bat antics

@BryanHoch
August 18, 2019

NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner made too much noise for the tastes of the umpiring crew, but by repeatedly banging his bat into the roof of the Yankees' dugout, he also may have inadvertently sparked the Savages' latest rallying cry. After stroking a third-inning single and a ninth-inning RBI double

NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner made too much noise for the tastes of the umpiring crew, but by repeatedly banging his bat into the roof of the Yankees' dugout, he also may have inadvertently sparked the Savages' latest rallying cry.

After stroking a third-inning single and a ninth-inning RBI double in Sunday's 8-4 loss to the Indians, Aaron Judge stared into the dugout and gripped his hands as though he was holding a bat, mimicking the motion Gardner has used to leave numerous dents in the dugout roof this season.

“He’s one of the leaders of this team," Judge said. "We do a lot of crazy things in that dugout. We’re showing support for him. He’s a leader of this stuff, so we’re supporting him with that. You’ll be seeing a lot more of that."

Gardner was ejected by first-base umpire Phil Cuzzi in the sixth inning of New York's 6-5 win on Saturday, having protested manager Aaron Boone's ejection. CC Sabathia was also ejected, though Gardner said that an umpire has never explicitly told him that he is not allowed to make noise.

"I didn’t think I was doing anything to warrant getting thrown out or even close to being ejected," Gardner said on Saturday.

The incident was far from forgotten on Sunday. Though there were a few words exchanged between Cuzzi and the Yankees' bench, which manager Aaron Boone said was "just stuff within the game," Gardner drew raucous cheers when he mimicked his own gesture during the first-inning roll call.

“I know the fans out in right field were loving it," Judge said. "He gave them a little dugout hit with a muscle-up [flex]. That was a good one."

And the Yankees certainly aren’t shying away from their newfound moniker, which stems from Boone’s ejection in the first game of a July 18 doubleheader. They have been wearing T-shirts playing off Boone’s “Savages in the Box” line for weeks, and donned dress shirts with the word “Savages” in red script over the Yanks’ top hat logo for their flight to the West Coast on Sunday.

Boone said that he has discussed the situation with Gardner, specifically addressing the possibility that umpires seem to be watching closely to see if Gardner will dare to bang his bat again. Boone seemed to have no issue with what Judge did on the basepaths.

"Those guys are really close," Boone said. "There’s little things that happen throughout the course of the year that are inside things between guys, so that today was probably a little more of that."

After Judge's ninth-inning double, television cameras caught Judge speaking with second-base umpire Todd Tichenor, who appeared to be laughing. Judge said that their chat had nothing to do with the gesture and that Tichenor did not mention it.

“I just asked him where they were headed next," Judge said. "He said Texas and it was going to be a hot one. I just said, ‘Bring appropriate clothes.'"

So though Gardner said he might need to stop the bat banging, it apparently won't stop his teammates from keeping that rebellious spirit alive.

For most of this season, Yankees hitters have acknowledged hits by flashing four fingers. They've repeatedly declined to explain the meaning of that gesture, saying that it is an inside joke.

Judge’s celebration on Sunday offered no such ambiguity, and it was suggested that this could become the “thumbs down,” which became a fun sidebar of the Yankees' 2017 push toward the postseason. Judge said he is not concerned that any umpire run-ins could carry over to other series or crews.

"We’ve got a job to do and we’re going to keep on playing," Judge said. "It doesn’t matter who’s umpiring. That’s not our job. Our job is to win ballgames here for the New York Yankees. I don’t think anything will carry over from that."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.