When Joe Torre elected to decline the Yankees offer to manage their team this season, I jumped right out there to back the concept of Joe Girardi taking over for Torre. As I wrote back then:
…with Joe Girardi you get the tactical-edge seeking of Billy Martin, the ensured preparedness of Buck Showalter, and, the politically correct demeanor of Joe Torre – all rolled into one. There’s really not much more that you can ask a manager to have, in my opinion, in terms of skills and talent.
This opinion was based on many things that I had read and heard about Girardi – as a player, in New York and elsewhere; and, as a manager for the Florida Marlins (where he was elected N.L. Manager of the Year in 2006). The notion was also based on listening to Joe broadcast games on YES and FOX.
…the tactical-edge seeking of Billy Martin…
…the ensured preparedness of Buck Showalter…
…the politically correct demeanor of Joe Torre…
In the Yankees first 45 games this season, have we seen any of these three qualities from Joe Girardi? Was I wrong about his ability to bring these things to the table this season?
To be candid, I have yet to see anything that suggests Girardi has his team prepared to play or has been working some tactical-edge type stuff in games. And, the politically correct demeanor? Well, Joe has already had his run-ins with the media – although, reportedly, he’s mended some fences in that area.
Therefore, if someone wants to claim I was wrong about Girardi, I have nothing to prove otherwise – at this junction.
Now, so far, this season, I have seen the following from Joe Girardi: He cares. He hates to lose. And, he’s willing to be a leader in the sense that he wants the buck to stop with him. Those are all very good qualities for a manager to have…but, is it enough for this team?
I’m not sure. And, that’s quite a difference from the way I felt last September.
Truth be told, I’m starting to get this “Bucky Dent” type feeling about Girardi. Back in 1989, when the Yankees hired Dent to manage the team there were some questions about his ability to take his minor league managing success and translate it to dealing with veteran players in New York. And, in the end, between 1989 and 1990, the Yankees went 36-53 under Bucky – and Dent was fired on June 6, 1990.
Could it be that Joe Girardi – while being someone who wants to win and who has shown that he can win on a smaller stage – is not ready to successfully run this Yankees team with all its extremely high-paid and veteran players? Based on what we’re seeing so far this season, that could be the case.
What do you think?