Joe Girardi wandered down to the batting cage at the Yankees training facility in Tampa with his early morning coffee in his hand.
Not fully awake yet, Joe noticed Kevin Long leaning back against a post and apparently dozing.
"Hey, Kevy. Wake up man. There's work to do."
As Long was shaking the cobwebs from his eyes, Girardi suddenly realized that there was something else wrong.
Brett Gardner was hitting off a tee, but he was swinging right-handed.
"Kevy, what is he doing?"
"Aw, Joe, it's that Lady Mahmoud, the Gullah woman."
"Well, you remember how you told me you wanted to try to have somebody reach out and see if we could get Rizzuto back to help teach this guy to bunt?"
"Well, last night, they did this thing down here in the cage. Not exactly a séance. But Lady Mahmoud was trying to channel The Scooter. Something went wrong and, oh man, I think they channeled Mantle."
"Mantle, what are you talking about?"
"Well, she asked me what time period Rizzuto played and I told her early fifties. So, she was doing this chant and burning something and then next thing you know, she says the Spirit of No. 7 is here."
"And she has convinced Gardner that he will have all the abilities of The Mick."
"Wait a minute, this might not be all bad."
"Joe, what are you talking about, not all bad? He thinks he can swing for the fences now."
"Well maybe he can. Maybe this woman is on to something. After all, he's got Mickey's speed. What if she really did channel Mickey?"
"Joe, will you look at him? Do you see the uniform he has on?"
Girardi took another look and realized that Gardner had on No. 7.
"Well, look, we both know he can't wear Mickey's number since it's retired. But, it won't hurt to let him wear it in practice."
"And then when the season starts maybe we can give him No. 51. After all they haven't retired Bernie's number yet and he was a switch-hitting center fielder."
"Yeah, I think this might work."