To listen to the New York media, who pride themselves on being the most knowledgeable - about everything - after Game 6, a person had to wonder if the interview was secretly being taped in case Candid Camera was going to make a comeback. Several of the reporters did ask Yankee manger Joe Girardi before the game strategical questions but they were only doing so for two reasons. One is that they believe they know the game - and the Yankees - as well as Girardi does and the questions they bring up are to impress those present - themselves. The other reason is that they, as well as everyone else who is a true fan of the game, know that certain situations will occur during a game and that Girardi will have to make a decision - and live or die with it. Inject the New York media with truth serum and we’d all find out they would be rooting for “die.”
After a New York loss, it’s almost like they revel in asking questions that they know the answer to - mainly because the game just ended. The manager has to make a decision without the benefit of knowing the outcome. Below are a few examples from yesterday’s loss to the Rangers which put Texas in the World Series (and eliminated the Yankees).
Girardi was asked about walking Josh Hamilton intentionally. Hamilton’s the odds-on favorite to win the AL MVP and was certainly destined to be the ALCS MVP. Taking the bat out of his hands would seem to be the wise move. Here’s how the question was posed to Girardi: “On two different occasions in the series, the intentional walks seemed to backfire. Can you talk about that?”
Why didn’t the slappy who asked that question say, “Since Vlad Guerrero pounded the ball deep, why didn’t you take your chance with Hamilton?” Imagine if Girardi had pitched to Hamilton and he took one deep? Think that same guy didn’t have the “How could you pitch to Josh Hamilton, as well as he was hitting” question on deck? It’s called second guessing. The reason I know is because, a prior query in the post game interview (the participation in which Girardi must have ranked 1000 on his list of “the 1000 things to do after the game”), was “Do you second guess yourself?”
That brilliant follow up was asked after the question about whether the skipper thought it wouldn’t have been a better move to bring in their ace, C.C. Sabathia, in the fifth inning. Girardi responded the way most professional managers/coaches do. “You have to remember, CC was coming off a 112‑pitch (game), if there was a situation where we would use him against a left‑hander, we were going to try to use him in a situation against the left‑handers in the bottom of the order if that came up,” the manager said. In other words, we were aware that Sabathia was in uniform and had a plan.
The question was asked because of the fact that the strategy the Yankees employed didn’t work. The reason they weren’t going to bring in their stud in that situation is that Texas had three right-handed batters coming up before they got to a lefty - the batter Girardi would have brought his ace in to get. After throwing 112 pitches two days prior, it wouldn’t have been a prudent move. Had Girardi made that move, and allowed Sabathia to throw a couple of innings, the press would have accused him of winning at all costs, with no regard for the health of his franchise pitcher.
Just once, I’d like to hear a manager (or coach) say, “You mean, had I known then what I know now - that if I’d stayed with the guy I did, he was going to get hammered? Hell yeah, I would have done something else!”
The question that is the most grating to me - and I’m sure to the person it’s directed to - was the final one Girardi was asked - the one seemingly every journalist feels is necessary to ask, even after the guy’s team’s been eliminated - “Any timeline for how soon you want to resolve your personal situation?”
What kind of answer did the fool expect? “Yes. I plan to come back next season,” to which the follow up would be, “After losing, do you have any guarantee they want you back?” Or, “I’m leaving,” which would have elicited headlines in the next day’s paper, “Skipper Leaves Team Hanging After Losing Series.”
There is a segment of society that feels all the questions are fair game because of the amount of money these guys make, but nobody’s falling for that line of reasoning. If a manager did the job for free, the questions wouldn’t change a bit.
In all, leading a team means making decisions and the only way to win (the press conference) is to live by the motto:
“A good coaching move is one that works.”