Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cubs fans lucky to get off Girardi hook

Chicago Cubs fans: consider yourselves lucky that you don't have to live with the daily head scratching that comes with having Joe Girardi manage your baseball team.

When I visited Wrigley Field last month, I made conversation with a few Cubs fans. After telling them about my allegiance to the New York Yankees, they immediately asked me about Girardi, who was rumored to be a top candidate for the Cubs job that went to Mike Quade this week.

What I told them was simple: if you can live with Girardi making one move per game that has you thinking "WTF," then you can live with him as your manager. But if strange decision making has you wanting to throw your television against the wall, you want no part of Joe Girardi. Not only does he make puzzling moves at least once a game, he has no interest in explaining them afterwards and is downright hostile to anyone who dares to question his thought process.

My manager review wasn't all bad. I did praise Girardi for doing a great job protecting his players, making sure his arms in the bullpen don't get burned out and giving position players a day off now and then to recover from nagging injuries, even in the heat of a pennant race and intense criticism.

But my job critique did come down pretty hard on his decision making and Game 4 was classic Girardi. The Yankees were positioned to win that game, even with the offense so cold, but the manager made bizarre choices that left embattled AJ Burnett hung out to dry. Burnett took the loss, but really the defeat was on his manager. I don't think it's enough to fire Girardi, even if the Yankees lose this series, but he doesn't have nearly as much leverage negotiating his next contract as he did before the playoffs started.

I got the sense from the Cubs fans that I spoke to that they would have trouble with a guy like that, even if he came with Girardi's resume. Congratulations, Cubs fans. You are officially off the Girardi hook. Only we Yankee fans have to worry about what he's going to do next.

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