A good manager protects his team. He takes the blame for things that weren’t his fault, and defends his players whenever necessary. After Thursday’s massive brawl with the Tigers, Joe Girardi did exactly what he was supposed to do. He stuck up for his players against Detroit and the umpires.
Lately, Girardi has been criticized for his staunch loyalty toward his team. In recent memory, he played Jacoby Ellsbury a little too much and stuck with Aroldis Chapman as the closer for a little too long. His allegiance, however, was beneficial and on full display on Thursday. To get the full picture, it makes sense to break down his post-game conference.
Girardi took umbrage with the umpires
Girardi was obviously highly critical of the umpires after the game, to the point of verbally abusing them. If you haven’t heard his comments, you can watch them here. He said phrases like “just a very poor job”, “understand the game”, and “pay attention”. Plus, he specifically mentioned crew chief Dana DeMuth by name.
I said “verbally abuse” because of the recent umpiring controversy. If you missed what happened, umpires around the league threatened to wear white wristbands to protest increasing criticism and “abuse”. This stemmed from an incident where Ian Kinsler harshly criticized Angel Hernandez.
While Girardi didn’t get suspended, he was fined, and it was probably hefty one. His managerial decisions and degrading comments after the game didn’t engender any goodwill. Girardi said those negative things because he was defending his team, his decisions, and his beliefs. Frankly, Girardi was absolutely correct in that the umpires managed the game poorly. It could have, and should have, been handled differently. So even if Girardi was mean and borderline abusive, he was justified in doing so.
He might have told Tommy Kahnle to hit Miguel Cabrera
Although it can’t be confirmed, one wonders if Girardi ordered the plunk. As previously noted, he was very upset that the umpires didn’t give warnings after Michael Fulmer hit Gary Sanchez. Then, Girardi was asked if things would have played out differently if warnings were issued following the Sanchez hit by pitch. His response? Of course.
What that really means is that Girardi would not have told Kahnle to hit Cabrera if there had been a warning. Without one, he didn’t think he and his pitcher would get thrown out. They were ejected anyway, so Girardi was livid.
He isn’t afraid to defend his players
Girardi brought his guts on Thursday. He answered all the questions, sometimes with aggressive, controversial answers. First, he was infuriated that Romine was thrown out because he was only protecting himself. Then, he mentioned Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus and his vulgarity around Brett Gardner. He was especially mad that Ausmus went unasked about it. Yankees fans should be proud of Girardi’s courage on Thursday despite any displeasure about him in the past.
How do you feel? Do you think Girardi did a good job handling the situation? Or could he have managed better? Let us know in the comment section below.