Just a few years ago Mick Kelleher was riding high. The Yankees lineup was full of quality offensive players and first base was a revolving door of high-fiving friends. He could trot out to the first base coaches box each inning, confident that he wouldn't have to pretend to get along with the opposing first baseman for long. The past two seasons have been a different story though. The 2013 and 2014 versions of the Yankees have on-base percentages that rank in the bottom ten all-time in franchise history, making poor old Mick one of the loneliest men in baseball.
Not only does Mick have to stand and watch one futile at-bat after another each day, but he has to do it knowing that most innings he won't even get the chance to shoot the breeze with another pinstriped pal. Most baseball fans would dream of becoming a first base coach, but let this be a cautionary tale. The dream can quickly lead you to a lonely, dark place where you're forced to watch ugliness in place of the greatness that was once there. They say misery loves company, but Mick Kelleher gets no such luxury.
The situation has gotten so dire that Brett Gardner has even taken notice. Gardner has taken on a leadership role in recent years and it's clear that his first order of business is keeping his first base coach company. In 2011 he couldn't get to second base fast enough after reaching first, stealing a total of 49 bases. However, last year he was one of only two Yankee players that got to first base regularly and he recognized how lonely Mick was. As a result, he stuck around to chat with him more often and stole just 24 bases, less than half of his peak total. This year he's being even more generous to Kelleher and has just 20 steals to his name. There's no other logical explanation for this trend, and while it's very sweet of Gardner, the team is suffering because of it.
There would be many benefits to the Yankees focusing on an improved offense heading into next season, but none of them more noble than ending the loneliness of their trusty old first base coach. Also, it would finally put an end to Mick playing the same Al Green song in the clubhouse after each game.