The people who run the Yankees, starting with the owner, need to stop explaining now why they decided to let Joe Girardi go.
There’s no need to go over this again: The Yankees had a right to make this change. Had a right to want a new voice in the clubhouse, and addressing their young stars. It took nerve to essentially fire a guy who just had them within one victory of the team’s first World Series in eight years, and only its second Series in the last 14 years.
But we get why they did what they did. We do. We’re good. The Yankees got their reasons out there before anybody had to say anything in public. By now, people in outer space know that Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman had concerns about Girardi’s “connectivity.”
No more explanations, about an incredibly loyal company man, a guy like Girardi who conducted himself in such a professional, winning way after assuming an almost impossible task, which means replacing Joe Torre. Someone needs to explain to Hal it’s time to move on.
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Here, in case you missed it, is what the Yankees’ principal owner said the other day at owners’ meetings:
“As I told (Brian Cashman), I wasn’t following his recommendation: I agreed with it. He and I have had these discussions for a considerable length of time, over and over again. This isn’t something we just decided we wanted to sit down and do at the end of the season. We’ve had a lot of discussions through the years.”
Of course Cashman, in his own explanation about Girardi’s effective firing, not only cited “connectivity” but also “communication.” Now Steinbrenner wanted everybody to understand that what happened to Girardi would likely have happened even if the Yankees had gotten one more game off the Astros and beaten the Dodgers in the World Series.
“I’m sure there would have been more pressure,” Steinbrenner said. “It would have been maybe a more difficult decision to make. But I would have made it because I felt like that was best for the organization moving forward.’’
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So move forward already.
I am one who felt that Steinbrenner and Cashman had a perfect right to do what they did. I keep saying that Cashman has placed an awfully big bet on himself by switching managers at this moment in Yankee history. He has not only put a tremendous amount of pressure on Girardi’s replacement, but on himself. But he shouldn’t say another word about Girardi, and neither should Hal Steinbrenner. We get it. We’re good.
These things hardly ever end well. They didn’t end well with the great Joe Torre, whom I believe was the single most important manager in all of Yankee history. Torre did not just win four World Series in five years between 1996 and 2000, an accomplishment in an era where you have to win three playoff rounds that stands with the Yankees once winning five World Series in a row between 1949 and 1953, but he made the Yankee brand important again. No Yankee team will ever do as much as Torre’s Yankees did.
And Torre felt as if he were being shoved towards the door after the 2007 season, and felt insulted when the Yankees offered him an incentive-enhanced contract after everything he had done and everything he had meant. So he chose not to take it. Girardi, after leaving Yankee Stadium up three games to two on the Astros, never had a choice, had no choice. He wasn’t shoved towards the door. Just shown it.
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We all know what the record was. We know all about what I think is a complicated resume: The one Series victory in ’09, the seasons out of the playoffs, the loss to the Rangers one year in the American League Championship Series because they traded for Cliff Lee and the Yankees did not, the Tigers sweeping them in another ALCS after Derek Jeter broke his ankle. There was the year when the Yankees were able to grind their way to a Wild Card, only to get shut out by the Astros, in a preview of coming attractions for the baseball October of 2017.
But here is what must be asked about Girardi’s fine work — again, after following Torre — over 10 years in a job that is like coaching Notre Dame football: When did he not win when he was supposed to win, other than with this Yankee team?
More and more you get the idea that Cashman thought that if they came as close as they did against the Astros, they should have made the Series. For the last time, once Cashman made those deals at the trade deadline, he honestly thought he could win this season, as loaded as the Astros and the Indians were going into the playoffs. He thought he could get enough starting pitching in October, hit home runs, and back everything up with his bullpen.
And the Yankees nearly made it, before they had to face Justin Verlander in Game 6 and before Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers, Jr. did the same thing in Game 7 that they would do to the Dodgers in Game 7 of the Series.
By moving on from Joe Girardi, Yankees are Brian Cashman’s team
Joe Girardi did very good work here, for a long time. Do the Yankees have a right to think that they need somebody else to take over the present and the future? Sure, even though all those who act as if this is the beginning of a dynasty ought to ask themselves where they think the Astros, and Indians, and Red Sox are going.
The people in charge of the Yankees probably don’t think they’re describing him as damaged goods, but they are, every time they start talking about this again. They need to stop it now, or people will start worrying about their communication skills.
The Great Liz Smith, Big Blue’s lost season & Happy 90th, Mom!. . .
-We lost one of the great ones last week when we lost Liz Smith.
I loved reading her, loved working with her, loved knowing her.
It may not be fair to Girardi, but time was right for him to go
She didn’t just honor this business with her talent, and her reporting, and her contacts.
She honored it because of all the fun she had, the kind of fun that made all of us want to do this sort of work in the first place.
-We are going to find out on Sunday, at MetLife Stadium, if it would be less cruel for John Mara and Steve Tisch to fire Ben McAdoo now.
By the way?
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There is never any form chart in matters like this, and lost seasons like this.
No one cares at this point how the Giants have always done things.
Because the way the Giants have always done things has now produced this team, and this 1-8 season.
Who knows, maybe they can shock the world on Sunday against the Chiefs.
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But Giants fans are smart enough to know that when you watch the season they’re watching, the record isn’t as much about a lack of effort as a lack of talent.
-As much as Patrick Ewing was viewed as a basketball savior at the Garden when the Knicks won the lottery and got to draft him first, the crowd at the Garden never loved him as much when he was a kid as they love the kid, Porzingis.
Next time against LeBron and the Cavs, maybe the Knicks can win the staredown and also win the game.
-Those three UCLA basketball players didn’t just do dumb, entitled young-guy stuff in China, they did criminal stuff.
Brian Cashman explains why Yankees moved on from Joe Girardi
They did it in a foreign country that has absolutely no sense of humor when you break the law, wherever you came from to do it.
So they got off easy.
But as much as the world wants to throw the book at them now, I’m still not sure they’d be getting off easy if they still got to play basketball this season.
At a time when there are far more important concerns on college campuses in America, as we keep seeing fraternity kids die because of the stupidity of fraternity codes about excess drinking, I’m not sure that we have to treat what LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley and Jalen Hill did as a matter of life and death.
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I still don’t see why the governments of both countries didn’t take my suggestion, before President Trump intervened:
A prisoner swap.
We send LiAngelo’s father to China, we get him and his two teammates back.
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-Aaron Judge had a season that will always be remembered at Yankee Stadium.
All Rise Judge was part of a rising at Yankee Stadium the likes of which we haven’t seen since Derek Jeter was a Yankee and the ’96 Yankees won it all.
But the voters got it right: He wasn’t the MVP of the American League.
Jose Altuve not only deserved to win, he deserved to win in a runaway.
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I know the analytics guys can probably out-debate me on this, but I believe that right now, the Astros second baseman is the best player in baseball.
Best player, best team.
Sometimes it still works out that way in sports.
-I write this every year, and am writing it again this week, and will keep writing it until Mike Mussina is in the Hall of Fame.
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Nine years after he retired, it is more clear than ever how worthy he is of Cooperstown, starting with the 270-153 record compiled over 18 elegant seasons in the meat grinder of the American League East, so much of his prime spent in the thick of the steroids era.
Oh, and by the way, pitching as much as he did at Camden Yards and Fenway and Yankee Stadium.
Say it again:
Mussina wasn’t just one of the great pitchers of his time, he is one of the great pitchers of all time.
Hal didn’t need GM’s recommendation to know Girardi had to go
-Finally today: Happy Birthday to my mom, Lee, who turned 90 on Friday.
I asked her if it was all right to put that number in the newspaper.
She said that I should go ahead, she was proud of her age, tell everybody.
So I am.
Joe Girardi will not return as manager of Yankees
She ought to be proud.
She worked hard to get here, never harder than she has over the past year.
A champion of our family, happy as ever to have my Pops on the other side of the room.
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