Sports Outside the Beltway

Yankee managers: why should Girardi replace Torre?

1. He was a bench coach for Joe Torre for two years. There aren’t many better bosses to learn from, especially in terms of dealing with the media and with megastar players (egos).
2. He spent this season working in the YES broadcast booth. How else to learn how to deal with the media than to actually experience it?
3. Girardi won Manager of the Year for his one season with the 2006 Marlins. No, it ain’t the most objective award, but he did manage to bring a seemingly awful team to a near .500 record.
4. You want someone the players look up to? Girardi was a hard-nosed player; he caught Mo Rivera and Andy Pettitte early in their careers and mentored Jorge Posada at the very start of his career (perhaps helping him become one of the best in the game?), and won three titles with those guys. I’m sure he’d have a shitload of respect from everyone in the clubhouse.
5. This part is mostly subjective, but he’s young (43), smart, and has less loyalties than Torre. He can bring some new ideas, some freshness perhaps to a team that seemed to stagnate under the 67-year-old Torre. He seems very intelligent from listening to him on YES – almost everything he says oozes baseball intelligence; he’s also got a great sense of humor and gets along well with Al Leiter, Michael Kay and Paul O’Neill (and Kenny and Bobby). Charm, charisma, whatever it is, he’s got it and it could go a long way to helping a ballclub. Outside of possible loyalties to Mo, Pettitte, Posada and Jeter, no one else on the Yanks was a teammate of Girardi’s, so all those feelings and egos that Torre was afraid to hurt because he was there 12 years (and seen somewhat as a father figure) would have no bearing on Girardi’s managing. Objective managing is the way to go.

Why not?
1. If Girardi, off the Yanks coaching staff for two years gets the job, will Don Mattingly feel slighted? Yes, probably. Enough to leave the team? I don’t know.
2. One of the big cons with Girardi is the way he got along (or didn’t) with Florida’s ownership during his season there. There’s no owner more imposing or distracting than The Boss. And even if he’s indisposed of, the Steinbrenner boys and Randy Levine seem to have taken a lesson from the pages of King George on how to disrupt a ballclub. Will Girardi be able to handle it the (usually successful) way Torre did? Since he served as Torre’s bench coach, I believe he can.
3. The other big con with Girardi is how he (supposedly) treated his young pitching staff. Several Marlins pitchers reached career highs in 2006 in innings pitched, and this year they had terrible injury problems. Is Girardi at fault? Is he the right guy for a staff that will have three early 20′s phenoms? This is a subject I’m going to tackle in depth, so stay tuned…

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