Brett Gardner wandered out onto the main field at the New York Yankees training facility in Tampa.
He looked around and paused to take in all the sounds and sights of this Florida day.
The sky was the most incredible cerulean blue with not a hint of a cloud anywhere.
The grass was a green that could only be described by a native of Ireland. And it stood in stark contrast to the reddish brown brick dust of the infield.
Gardner paused to take in the smell of the ball park and could recognize a hint of pine tar and Neets Foot oil and chalk on the foul lines. And far away there came a whiff of popcorn still hot in the pan.
As Gardner came back to attention he realized that he was the only one on the field. He was surprised and turned 360 degrees to make certain that no one else was around.
There was no one else there.
But sitting just beyond the dugout on the third base side Gardy recognized a brand new John Deere Gator.
Gardner, being from South Carolina, had a fine appreciation of any kind of farm machinery, even something as small as a Gator.
He walked down to where the Gator sat unattended. He marveled at the brilliant Kelly Green and gold paint on the implement.
He reached out and the touched the faux leather on the seat of the tractor and rubbed his hand over it.
He looked on the instrument panel to check the number of hours on the machine and was amazed that it had less than three hours.
He was enthralled with this masterful piece of mechanical perfection.
But just then he was shaken from his passion when the voice of Derek Jeter came to him from the top of the home dugout.
"Hey, Brett, Girardi wants to see you right now, up in his office."
"Hey, thanks, Jete. Any idea what he wants?"
"No, man, I just know it seems like he is in a really bad mood and wanted to see you right away. He sent me to find you."
Gardner made his way back across the diamond and up to the manager's office. He knocked on the open door and a red-eyed Girardi looked up.
"Hey, Gardy. Come in man, come in and sit down." Girardi's voice was quaking.
"What's going on Skip?"
"Gardy, you know how I love you man. And this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in baseball.
"It was really hard when it came time that I knew I just couldn't keep playing and had to hang my spikes up.
"I mean, you know I was fired in Florida and I had to go in and talk to some of the guys who had come in to clean out their lockers and that was hard.
"And then, it was really hard in 2008 when we didn't make the playoffs and I thought my head might be on the chopping block.
"Then last year when everybody was always second-guessing me and saying that I was a control freak and didn't know how to manage, that really hurt.
"And of course, you know how bad it was on me last year when I had to put Melky back in the starting lineup 'cause you just weren't hitting. That was really tough and you know I got you back out there as much as I could.
"But this is the worst man, the absolute worst."
"Joe, what is it? What are you talking about?"
"Well, you know how Cash kept bringing in all these other outfielders and I was trying to get you set for maybe playing another position, like catching or long relief or something, just anything to keep you around?"
"Yeah, so, what are you getting at?"
"And you know there's been that crazy guy on Bleacher Report who keeps doing these Daily Updates on you and that one time he ran that poll about whether the fans would trade you straight up for a Gator? You remember that?"
"Skip, I thought you told me to stop reading that crap. And I been working real hard on my bunting and hitting those foul balls off the barn. And I never take this chicken foot off."
"I know Gardy. I know you been doing all you can. But apparently the idea of trading you caught Cashman's eye and well, man, he went and did it. Cincinnati offered him a brand new Gator in a straight up trade for you and he did the deal."
"I'm sorry man, but you're going to the Reds."
"No! No! No!"
"Hey Gardner! Man, wake up, you musta been having a nightmare. What are you doing sleeping in that laundry basket for anyway. You better get you gear on and get out on the field. Joe's got you in the first rotation for live BP today."
Gardner rubbed his eyes and struggled to get up out of the big canvas, rolling laundry cart and then had a big grin on his face as he realized that he had just been dreaming and that he was really still a Yankee.