Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ailing dad could lure Girardi home to Chicago

Joe Girardi was happy to have an off-day in Chicago to visit his father Jerry, who has been stricken with Alzheimer's disease. But the New York Yankees manager was clearly troubled by the fact that he now only gets to see his father once every four or five months. He will have a golden opportunity to spend more time with his dad if he takes the job of managing the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs job is open now because Lou Piniella retired early to care for his ailing mom (although I’m sure he was also sick and tired of dealing with the mess that the Cubs have become). I can easily see Girardi making a similar life change and moving to Chicago to be close to his father, who doesn't have much time left.

From a baseball perspective, leaving the Yankees to manage the dysfunctional Cubs makes no sense. Girardi would be leaving a perennial playoff contender to run a team dominated by volatile individuals and players well past their primes. But his decision is not going to be strictly a baseball move. It's going to be driven by his faith and what he feels is best for his family. If he feels that he wants to be there for his father during his final years, then he is going to say good-bye to New York.

The Yankees have this unshakable belief that their wallets are big enough to lure and keep anybody in New York. I don’t believe that’s the case with Girardi. As much as he would enjoy the extra millions coming to him if he signs a new contract with the Yankees, we shouldn’t be surprised if he says no to the money, no to the prestige, no to the playoffs and goes home to his dad.

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