Saturday, April 28, 2012

"These Games Are Very Serious"

"So we're not going out to eat after the game?"

There are a lot of Yankees fans that don't like Joe Girardi. Some of the things they bash him for are legitimate criticisms, such as starting Raul Ibanez in left field. Before Raul was a Yankee, and many fans were rallying for the team to sign Johnny Damon, I wanted them to get Ibanez due to the fact that he was more dependable in the outfield. Not that the Dark Lord was good out there, but that in a pinch he would be a better choice than Damon. I don't want to get into the whole "Ibanez vs. Damon" thing again, as I spoke plenty about those during the offseason, but one play from last night's game is not going to change my thoughts on the subject.

Other concerns are iffy at best. Joe has been trying out the shift this year, and plenty of times they are getting beat. But is that the fault of Girardi, or are pitchers just not putting their pitches in the right place? I mean, if a pitcher misses outside, and the batter takes it the opposite way (like any good hitter should), is that the manager's fault? No. That's the fault of the pitcher for not doing his job. The only way Joe should get any flak over shifting in this case is by those that don't believe he should trust his pitchers to get things done. And I'm not so sure Girardi, or any MLB manager, should go about things like that.

There's one thing that Joe G said during the press conference last night that I want to point out as a very good thing...
“I just didn’t care for the way it went,” Girardi said. “These games are very serious. Every game is serious stuff. That’s how I approach it. You’ve seen too many times where one game costs a team a playoff spot.”
Whether it was due to putting "inferior" lineups out there, or allowing struggling pitchers to start another game (e.g. not skipping Garcia), I've heard Girardi bashed for conceding wins on a given day. Until now I couldn't really say otherwise, just that I didn't believe a manager would ever be okay with his team losing. Some games may seem more important than others, but the fact is a team's winning percentage (which is how postseason teams are chosen) does not change depending on who they played, or when they played them. Each game matters just as much as another.

So I was really happy to hear those words cross Joe's lips. It proves that our manager is out to win every single game. And keep in mind that this quote wasn't directly related to whether or not he was trying to win. Girardi was asked about being thrown out of last night's game for arguing balls and strikes. If he was responding to the question "are you okay with losing?", then one could say Joe was just playing the politician here. This was a comment regarding another topic, but can be related to how he feels about winning in general.

And I liked it, as should you.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)