'Hey Joe, are you going to manage the Chicago Cubs next season'?
'Mr. Girardi, Chicago is your home town and the Cubs' managerial job is open. You interested'?
'I know you have more chances to win in New York. But, do you ever think what a legend you could be if you led the Cubs to just ONE World Series title'?
The Yankees are in Chicago this weekend to face the White Sox. That means Manager Joe Girardi is going to face a slew of questions like these about the managerial job Lou Piniella just vacated across town with the Cubbies. Girardi, after all, is a Chicago native and still a favorite there.
Girardi is not tipping his hand, of course, other than to say he hopes to deal with the questions before the opener of the Yankees series with the White Sox begins Friday night.
"I don't know what they're going to ask, but I'm going to do it on Friday and that will be it," Girardi said. "It's just another thing you have to deal with. I understand people want to know what you're thinking, but my responsibility is here."
That, of course does not mean the Chicago media can't ask. Or, that writers and fans can't speculate. Or that, ultimately, Girardi won't leave New York for Chicago. It also doesn't mean today will be the last time we hear about this, especially since Girardi is currently in the final year of his Yankee contract.
Baseball analyst Harold Reynolds, for one, thinks Girardi will be in the Cubs' dugout next spring.
"I really think -- this is going to sound crazy -- I think Joe Girardi is going there," Reynolds said Wednesday during an appearance on Dan Patrick's radio show. "I really do. If he wins the World Series in New York...or even if he doesn't, every year it's the same old thing. He wanted that Cubs job before and then the Yankees came to the table when he didn't get the chance with the Cubs. I think he's going back, I really do."
Reynolds said he found it interesting that Girardi danced around the subject Monday night when asked by New York reporters.
"I think if he went to the Cubs, they turned it around, they won like he's capable of, shoot, man, you celebrate it forever. I just think that's where he's headed."
I don't know what Girardi will do. There are Yankee fans, I'm certain, who think 'Why would he leave New York for Chicago? He manages the Yankees. Who would walk away from that?" I won't be so arrogant, though, as to think he wouldn't leave for the Cubs' job.
We will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, though, a question. Who the heck manages the Yankees if Girardi is gone?
Here are five possibilities that come to mind. I'm eager to see who you guys would like to see in the dugout if the Yankees have to replace Girardi, especially if it's a name not on my list. These, by the way, are not in order of preference.
- Tony Pena -- The Yankee bench coach, former AL Manager of the Year in Kansas City, deserves a second shot to manage somewhere. If the job is available, why not right here with the Yankees?
- Bobby Valentine -- The former Mets skipper is available, and takes every televised chance he gets to make it known he wants back into the big leagues as a manager. He would have to be considered, I would think, but I really want nothing to do with the guy. He has an ego bigger than Monument Park, and the Yankees don't need that.
- Don Mattingly -- A real long shot in my mind, since he is likely to succeed Joe Torre in LA next season. But, hey, it wouldn't hurt to talk to Donnie Baseball and see if he is interested in coming back to the pinstripes.
- Lou Piniella -- Tearful goodbye to Chicago and the fact that he is 66 aside, don't doubt for a minute that Sweet Lou would not be interested in putting on the uniform again if the Yankees came calling. Thing is, it has really been a long time since a Piniella-led team did anything substantial. You have to wonder if he still has the winning touch.
- Tony LaRussa -- He's working on a one-year deal in St. Louis. Somehow it has always seemed inevitable to me that at one point or another LaRussa -- looked at by many as the game's premier manager -- would end up managing the Yankees. Could 2011 be the time?