With Friends Like These….
I watched the Spring Training game where the Tampa Bay Rays were easily cruising to an exhibition game victory over the Yankees. All of the regulars were rested. One Ray rookie Elliot Johnson crashed into the Yanks catcher Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli has a fractured hand and this prospect will miss 8-10 weeks.
Most macho men (and wanna be macho men on the radio) say the same thing.
Anyway, Girardi was defending and sticking behind his players. This is something which he will be getting used as manager of the New York Yankees. The bottom line is that it’s win-win for Girardi to criticize the play: he is showing his players that he will stand behind them, and that he will not sit by and have other managers and players pick off his players without the possibility of retribution (although he officially would never condone that).
Regardless of your philosophical stance about if players should barrel into each other during Spring Training games, you’d think a former friend and mentor of Girardi who disagreed would at least keep quiet. Unfortunately, if your former friend and mentor is named Don Zimmer, you don’t have a chance:
“What happens if our man slides in with the plate blocked and breaks his leg? Their guy blocked the plate and our guy bowled him over. What’s that got to do with spring training? That’s the way you play the game. Right is right and wrong is wrong. I’m talking about a guy that’s like a son to me, but I can’t believe he went after this the way he did because that’s not Joe Girardi. And being a catcher on top of it. Joe Girardi’s a tough guy.
Joe’s my friend, but he’s his own man, and I’m my own man. I think he was out of line, whether he likes it or not. To me, that’s almost making us look like bad guys, and that’s not fair.
I like the way [Joe Maddon] got these guys playing. If I was still managing, I would want my players to do the same thing. To me it’s the right play. It’s the same as if I go in hard trying to break up a double play. I’m not trying to hurt anybody.”
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