Print and Go Back News & Opinion

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Joe Girardi: Robot manager

By Amanda Rykoff

I've been a Yankees fan for almost 20 years. I've watched countless postgame press conferences on the YES Network and read about them in newspapers and websites. Today, at the Winter Meetings, marked the first time I've actually attended a New York Yankees managerial press conference in person. After it ended, I spoke with one of my friends who has been a Yankees beat writer for 10 years. He asked me, "Was it as exciting as you thought it would be?"

If I'm being completely honest, I wasn't expecting it to be that exciting. I've seen him in his postgame press conferences, and he never really is exciting. He's pre-programmed and always manages to answer the question without ever actually answering the question. But the Winter Meetings aren't a postgame press conference. It's a relaxed setting which could have allowed for more openness and maybe a departure from the script. I had hoped that we might see some moments of candor or flashes of something other than Girardi's robotic responses. Sadly, and not surprisingly, I really didn't see that today.

I'm not bitter because Girardi's by-the-binder (over)managerial style cost the Yankees a chance at the division title. Honestly, I'm not. Am I nonplussed because of Girardi's style of not saying much but yet using a lot of words? Maybe. Was it because I'm still in awe over Joe Maddon's mastery of the press in his brilliant 30 minute presser yesterday? Possibly. Girardi did make one funny comment during the 30 minutes. When asked about All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira's injuries this past season, Girardi answered by referring to two fluke plays, "We'll tell him not to dive against Chicago or get hit in the toe by Bonderman." He also said he expected A.J. Burnett to bounce back and have a big season next year (a statement I find to be unintentionally hilarious, even with new pitching coach Larry Rothschild arriving to help). But the truth is, Joe Girardi just isn't that candid or charming, whether on television or in person. I got to witness it first hand today.