Thursday, October 28, 2010

Girardi must earn back trust of fans, media

Finalizing a deal to remain the manager of the New York Yankees was never going to be a difficult task for Joe Girardi, especially since Brian Cashman wanted him back. It's what he does in the second phase of his tenure at the helm that matters now.

The deal for Girardi to return as manager, likely official Friday, was inevitable since Cashman quickly announced Girardi's return after the Yankees were thoroughly outplayed and embarrassed by the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship Series.

Just to be clear, I don't think Girardi should have been fired for losing that series. But his managing during the regular season and the playoffs did raise legitimate questions about his job performance, namely about his over reliance on statistics and matchups and seemingly being incapable of telling when a game was about to get out of hand.

I don't blame the entire series loss on Girardi, but he has to take responsibility for two key decisions: failing to get AJ Burnett out of Game 4 with the score tied (if the Yankees win that game, the series could have ended much differently) and bringing in David Robertson in Game 6 with the game on the line. Yankee fans are like elephants, we never forget, and it will be a long time before the fans get past those maneuvers.

The media is another story. The beat reporters were already tiring of Girardi's post-loss testiness and getting suspicious about his injury reports, a distrust that's going to grow to a whole new level now that Girardi has admitted he shuffled his ALCS rotation around because of Andy Pettitte's injury. The open hostility already started with Joel Sherman's column earlier this week. But it's going to get worse as reporters feel free to question Girardi more intensely after his failure in the playoffs. Of course, Girardi has the security blanket of his new three-year contract so he may not care if reporters like him or not. But if the press is motivated to go after him, they could subtlety turn fans against him and that could make things very uncomfortable for the Yankee skipper.

Girardi’s going to have plenty of major decisions to make in his own clubhouse: Should Jorge Posada be more of a designated hitter? How often should he sit Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez? But his managerial style and interaction with reporters will also need some work if he wants to win back the trust of the fans and the media.


  1. RYC- I for one don't really care what the media thinks. It is Girardi's responsibility to act in the best interest of the team. Revealing players' injuries prior to their starts in the postseason doesn't help them in the least. He doesn't owe the public anything in terms of explaining strategical decisions.

    Yes, he made a few errors but which manager hasn't? And honestly, it's a good thing the fans don't dictate the course of the team otherwise we'd be drowning in stupid decisions. I guess my point regarding Joe is twofold. If not him, then who? Second, it's clear the front office and Cashman love him. Perphaps the fans and media should show some faith. As much as we hate to admit it, we don't know better.

    As for us forgetting/remembering prior transgressions, that all goes out the window the next time the Yankees play well just as it comes straight to the forefront when they struggle.

  2. You may not care what the media thinks, but they play a very important role in shaping what most fans think through their coverage. If the Yankee beat reporters and columnists turn against Girardi, they are going to take a lot of fans with them.

  3. FYI, to your point about Girardi not revealing injuries, I actually agree with Girardi that it could be a detriment to have injury information out there. But the problem is that when he flat out lies or misleads reporters about injuries, they start to doubt everything he says. If they feel he is deliberately misleading them, they are going to turn on him or go to other sources they feel are more reliable or honest.