General managers are the real power brokers in baseball, assembling the pieces that win World Series or lose meaningless dog-day games. So as the calendar turns to the final full month, let’s give due to the manager – around whom not just the baseball world but every game revolves – and start with the best this season.
Not always does that come from the top team, either, but Joe Girardi does deserve such recognition in 2009. He handled with grace the Alex Rodriguez steroid debacle. He survived the five weeks sans a recovering A-Rod. He never panicked or complained about Yankee Stadium’s home run tendency. (Probably because it behooved him, but still.) He shifted Phil Hughes to the eighth inning, a maneuver that stabilized the Yankees’ season. He didn’t chafe at the Joba Rules as many other managers would have. He integrated Jerry Hairston Jr. and Eric Hinske seamlessly.
More recently, he put to bed any questions of a rift between Jorge Posada and A.J. Burnett. It was, in fact, something straight out of Joe Torre’s book: squash any perception of a truth before lingering questions turn it into one. Girardi is learning very quickly,
I understand you guys well enough to know that any Yankee manager, not just Girardi, will generate a mixed reaction. Praise of the Yankee skipper will be greeted warmly in some quarters, and with a great 'Harrumph!' in others.
After all, The Yankees are not 130-0. They have actually LOST 48 times. And it's mostly because Girardi doesn't know when to bunt or use Phil Hughes. Oh, and he actually had the audacity to play Cody Ransom when he was on the roster.
So, with the Yankees easily holding baseball's best record right now and cruising toward the playoffs how do you feel about Girardi now? Vote in the poll and let us know.