New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi admitted growing up as a Chicago Cubs fan in Peoria, Ill., but he said he won't let his expiring contract and the impending opening for a Cubs manager become a distraction.
After Lou Piniella announced Tuesday that he will retire after this season, Girardi's name bounced to the top of the charts speculating about possible replacements. Girardi interviewed for the job before Piniella was hired in 2006.
"My responsibility is to this organization right now, and to the players in that room," Girardi said Thursday on WFAN in New York. "Just like it is for all the other guys who are free agents at the end of the year.
"And someone asked me, 'Do you think it will become a distraction?' And I said, 'The only way it becomes a distraction is if I let it become a distraction.' And it won't be, because I have a responsibility to this organization, which has been tremendous to me since 1996."
Besides growing up in Peoria, Girardi attended Northwestern University and played seven seasons with the Cubs.
"I grew up a Cub fan," he said. "They were my team as a little boy. I used to sit and listen to games with my father in a car. He was a salesman, and I rode with him, and we watched them at home at night when they were on the road.
"Yes, they were my team."