Derek Jeter was walking through the locker room at the New York Yankees training facility in Tampa. He spotted Brett Gardner.
"Hey, Brett, Girardi's looking for you. He wants to see you in his office."
Gardner was visibly shaken hearing Jeter's words. His first thought was "What now?"
Gardner pulled the dried up chicken claw on the leather thong from around his neck and carefully placed it on the top shelf of his locker before heading to the manager's office.
"Hey Skip, Jete said you wanted to see me?"
"Yeah, Gardy, come on in. Shut the door and sit down."
Gardner did as Girardi asked. He sat and looked at his manager behind the desk.
"Gardy," Joe began, "I want you to listen to me very carefully and don't get upset."
"You know I am going to find a place on this team for you, whatever happens. But I know you have been upset since the trade for Granderson and then Cash signing Randy Winn."
"And I know that you can't keep from hearing all the rumors that we are still looking at Rocco Baldelli and Jonny Gomes. And I just needed to let you know before some reporter asks you about it or you see it on some blog...."
"What, Joe? For Pete's sake what is it now?"
Girardi was trying to let his favorite player down easy.
"Well, you know that we have had this thing going on for several years now where we are trying to improve our scouting in South America and the Caribbean?"
"Well, you are going to hear about it. Cashman just signed two Brazilian outfielders."
"What?! Two Ba Zillion? TWO BA ZILLION OUTFIELDERS?"
"No, Gardy. Not Ba Zillion, Brazilian."
"Two Bra Zillion? How Many is That? What is a Bra Zillion? How many other guys am I gonna have to win this job from?"
Gardner dropped to the floor in a fetal position as Girardi jumped over the desk to try to comfort his center fielder.
The two were on the floor for the better part of an hour before Girardi was able to lift Gardner back into the chair. Gardner wasn't really moving. He seemed stiff and was staring into space.
Girardi went to the door and yelled from somebody to find the Gullah woman.
"Tell her to bring her stuff. She has to bring Gardy back around."