New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi is persistently pursuing justice for third baseman Alex Rodriguez for the bean ball thrown at him the other night by Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster. Girardi’s probably the world’s biggest crybaby in the last two days if you ask someone from the anti-Yankee or anti-A-Rod crowds (read: almost everyone). Buster Olney of ESPN defends Girardi, a manager who is simply managing his team — which is, by the way, in playoff contention:
“… his job is to manage and he is managing a situation for which there is no script, no training, by being positive and direct and by separating what’s important from what’s unimportant …”
But I think it goes beyond that. He’s not handling the A-Rod plunking solely as a tactician. He’s separating not only what’s important from what’s not important, but also objectivity from subjectivity. In an atmosphere clouded with hatred for Rodriguez and any person, place and thing associated with him, Girardi has refused to cave in to the media frenzy and perhaps his own intuitions, ethics and morals. For all we know, every part of him could hate Rodriguez for using PEDs and lying about it. Perhaps it doesn’t faze him whatsoever. But he’s a strong manager, and man, for not letting his own values cloud his judgment or actions, and for not succumbing to the psychological bias of siding with the great majority (read: almost everyone) caused by the social pressures of the media.
It’s easy to dismiss this with the argument that it’s Girardi’s job to be the manager; it’s his job to stand up for his players. But that argument oversimplifies things.
It underestimates the difficulty of being the manager of the New York Yankees, MLB’s unofficial three-ring circus.
So, kudos to you, Joe. I don’t think I, nor many other people, could be as good a manager as you in this moment.
(Also, the title of this post is a playful jab at Rickey Henderson. I by no means wish to fuel an argument about greatest managers of all time. But today? You mean, only today? Well, sure, I’ll let Girardi borrow the title until tomorrow.)