I have always been a Joe Girardi fan. From his playing days to the present, I believe in G.I. Joe. Yes, he is lousy with the media. You can see the disdain he holds for the beat writers as they smugly badger him after games. His Northwestern Engineering degree wasn’t an accident. The man is SMART. My friends, that is a fact. He played the game. He was a Manager of the Year. Joe KNOWS Baseball. He is also a good person. NOBODY has ever said one bad word about the guy as a father, friend and teammate. That, in my opinion, is the measure of a man. Is he always right? NO. Emphatically no. But the Old Professor, Billy Martin and even the Great Joe Torre made BIG mistakes in their careers as Yankee managers.
So now we come to what I like to call “THE WORLD vs. JOE GIRARDI” in regards to the handling of ARod. This is the same ARod that once ripped Derek Jeter in a GQ article. It is the very same ARod that has juiced for the majority of his career (if you believe MLB). This is the guy who pretty much always put himself before anyone else.
Yes, he has done a remarkable job of repairing his image. I also believe Al has learned many lessons and IS actually sorry for what he’d done in the past. BUT as my Dad says, “Once the damage is done you can’t put a timetable on how long it will take others to forgive and forget.” HE IS 100% right.
Make no mistake, the “Baseball Writers” that are backing ARod aren’t doing it because they like him. They are doing it because they are just the same glorified TMZ hacks that I have always seen them as. It’s not about Alex. It’s not about Joe. It’s not about The New York Yankees. It’s about getting the juicy “Days of Our Lives” type story that they rush to print or post before the next guy. This isn’t about Baseball.
If it were, we read how JOE GIRARDI is doing a great job with a less than great team. The only consistent thing Joe has had this year has been AWFUL inconsistency! The Yankees are old, hurt, underachieving, overpaid and usually flat. Sure, Didi has been great. Cash and Co. did a great job re-seeding the farm and the future may be bright…but these Yankees are not an easy ship to steer.
The staff is baffling. Big Mike should be an ace…he isn’t. Nate is truly nasty…and then gets lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. They punted on Nova. CC has done well with spit and tape holding him together long enough to learn to pitch in a new way…but the coach WILL turn back into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. Sevy is a kid and needs A LOT of work. And then Masahiro…well, should we just make the week 8 days for his sake?
And then there is Tex. Well, I wish him well in life after baseball. He is, from what I’ve heard, a good guy and he was a really good player. But he doesn’t hit AT ALL either. Why not let Al DH and put McCann at 1st? Well, Joe is still trying to win…he says. He isn’t wrong. UNBELIEVABLY the Bombers are still in it. No, I don’t fully believe that…but it’s not impossibility. Joe also doesn’t seem to think AL can help. He’s the manager. Is it personal? Maybe it is. And we blame Joe?
Remember Alex Rodriguez made this bed. It’s not like Joe is benching the 2007 version of ARod. He is sitting a guy who now hits like Stephen Drew and can’t field.
The question then becomes, “Why didn’t HE do it to Jeets?!” Seriously? You wanna go there? Okay. Derek Jeter was like Joe Montana. Even in decline he made the guys around him believe. He still hit over .200 and HE WAS DEREK JETER! The Captain. The Jeter argument doesn’t hold the dirty water in the Charles River. Alex, much to his dismay, is NOT Jeter. He never was, and the 700 dingers won’t get him closer…not one bit.
Now, do I want to see Al out there at 3rd a few more times? Yep. I want to see him hit a couple bombs and go out with a smile on his face. I like Alex. I like to see people learn a lesson and comeback to be better people. I think ARod has done that. But the bottom line is he doesn’t help the club (HICKS, TEX, McCANN, HEADLEY etc… don’t much either) and Joe makes the calls. I believe in Girardi. I admire him for fighting the good fight. I will miss Alex Rodriguez.
Not the way I miss Paulie, Jeet, Andy, Mo and Jorge…but still. He was one of the greatest, natural talents EVER to play this game. I just wish it was different…and I think Joe Girardi does too.
** Alex Rodriguez IS the Man of the Hour…unfortunately his story is kind of as sad as this great Pearl Jam song. Goodbye, Al. You were truly something to watch.**
--Mike O'Hara, Senior "Features" Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @mikeyoh21