By Jon Lane
Jerome Preisler eloquently comes to Joe Girardi’s defense by sharing a volley and serve with a reader. The manager cannot hit, run, throw or field, and – be fair – anyone would have asked Mariano Rivera for a four-out save Friday night. If a decision works, the manager is a genius. If it fails, he’s a moron. That’s the nature of the beast.
The biggest knock on Girardi is the Yankees, playing under supreme expectaions, failing to avoid the slow start that dogged them in the past and finally caught up to them last season. Just like last year, injuries have been, to steal a line from Tom Coughlin, a cancer. Let’s see where we’re at by the All-Star break.
What the Yankees have done, despite looking horrendous at times, is play hard, as Preisler points out here:
Without rehashing the entire weekend, this team is playing hard. If it wasn’t, or if Girardi had made some really serious managerial blunders, then, yes, you can say he shows a failure of leadership.
Want proof? Look at John Tortorella’s New York Rangers. Given two chances to bury the Capitals, they’ve played dead both times and are already being declared dead before tonight’s Game 7. That team is choking literally and figuratively. Their coach, hours after benching Sean Avery for being stupid, trumped that stupidity by throwing a water bottle and waving a stick at a fan.
The Rangers’ brain trust fired Tom Renney because his heartless team stopped playing for him. The Yankees haven’t stopped playing for Joe Girardi. Team Tortorella’s offensive game, especially on the power play, still stinks. Here’s what effect a managerial change would have on the Yankees at this time: None.
By Jon Lane
A quick thank you to everyone who’s shared their comments, opinions and observations. Joe and I are appreciative of the amount of feedback already with this endeavor not even a week old. It’s great to be a part of the community, and trust us when we say a plethora of fun and creative projects are on tap.
One other quick note: Steven Goldman’s latest Pinstriped Bible entry is a must-read. He and non-roster invitee Jason Johnson share something in common that puts life back in its proper pecking order.
The Yankees enjoyed a break in the monotony on Monday when Joe Girardi arranged a pool tournament to build team camaraderie. Before I get into the positive aftereffects, a few baseball-related news and notes with the first Spring Training game one day away:
Jorge Posada made 15 throws from distances as far as 220 feet on Sunday. He’s targeting being behind the plate Opening Day on April 6 and insists he’ll catch 110-120 games.
“It’s night and day,” Posada said. “Last year, I couldn’t do the things that I’m doing right now.”
Posada will also receive a community award for his work with the Jorge Posada Foundation, which provides support to families with children affected by Craniosynostosis, from the Ted Williams Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., during a dinner at Tropicana Field to benefit the Children’s Dreamfund. He deserves it. This is a player who operates on talent, heart and guts, and extends those intangibles to charitable organizations.
Mariano Rivera’s surgically-repaired right shoulder is feeling great. He told reporters he’s building muscle while throwing and playing long toss, and that it’s getting better every day. This is coming from, in my book, the greatest closer of all time and an absolutely indispensible member of the Yankees who is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s yet to throw off a mound, but it never takes too long a time for him to be ready for a new season.
Rivera, by the way, won two titles in Girardi’s First Annual World Championship of Pool, an idea that was embraced by the Yankees and the media. Girardi took some jabs last season for showing a Type-A personality, but working with him while he was a YES talent and ghostwriting a few of his columns, I found him bright, friendly and interesting, and his heart has always been in the right place. The experiences he had in Florida and last year in New York will only help take his overall game to the next level.
We saw a different side of Girardi before he canceled practice at Steinbrenner Field and took his players to a billiards bonding expedition, writes Ken Davidoff.
Monday was so long GI Joe. Hello Gentle Joe, writes Sweeny Murti.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin was impressed with Girardi’s idea to build team unity through pool, writes George King.