I want to go on record AGAIN that I do not want Girardi anywhere near this team.
Managers should know the rulesposted: Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Feedback | Print Entry
Yes, the Yankees swept the Red Sox. More on that -- and all the rest of the big games this week -- tomorrow.
At the moment I want to talk about Joe Girardi.
Girardi's currently serving as one of the Yankees' many TV analysts. By my count, there are seven of them, which has to be some sort of all-time record. What's more, most of them are truly excellent. In addition to Girardi, my favorite, Al Leiter, John Flaherty and Paul O'Neill all are solid (Leiter's better than solid, actually), and Ken Singleton has a million stories to tell.
Today, in the bottom of the fifth inning, this exchange came after Robinson Cano hit his second home run of the afternoon:
Michael Kay: One of the big knocks against Robinson Cano, for the first couple of years, has been his lack of production in day games. And that's changing with these two home runs today. And that's something that Jeter really rides him about.
Girardi: That's a small sample. When you hit well, they're always going to find an area where you don't hit as well as you have in the past. But it's a fairly small sample. Some guys are just better nighttime hitters. There's no doubt about it.
Actually, Cano's never showed any particular lack of production in day games. As a rookie in 2005, he played just slightly worse in day games than night games. In 2006, he was significantly better in day games. It's not until this year that he's struggled in day games, with a .721 OPS in 187 plate appearances (before today).
You know what, though? Girardi's right: That is a small sample. Of course, we can't know the depth of Girardi's understanding of statistical significance. But just a passing familiarity is something you like to see in a future manager, and Girardi will manage again someday.
In the top of the seventh, Kevin Youkilis ran far out of the baseline to avoid Alex Rodriguez's tag, but for some reason, Youkilis wasn't called out. After a conference among the umpires, Youkilis was finally called out, which essentially short-circuited the Red Sox's best chance to score all afternoon, and brought Terry Francona out of the dugout to argue (and then get ejected).
To Girardi's credit, while all this was going on he said, "I gotta tell you, Michael. I don't know the rule. I'm not going to sit here and try to make something up."
The rule is fairly clear: Any runner is out when "he runs more than three feet away from a direct line between bases to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball."
Youkilis just as clearly deserved to be out. My guess is that the umpires knew the rule, were not immediately sure if it applied in this particular case. If one of them did not know the rule, he didn't belong on the field. Frankly, I don't think the same applies to the broadcast booth. Or (fortunately for me and most of my colleagues) the press box. But what about a manager? Shouldn't a manager know the rules, cold?
Girardi's obviously an intelligent guy, and I don't doubt that he knows his baseball. But before I hired him to manage my team, I'd ask him to brush up on the rulebook. Because if there's one guy other than the umpires who should know the rules, it's the manager.