CLEVELAND -- It was all about the children.
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said concerns for his wife and kids motivated his outburst at an unruly fan in the bowels of U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night after the Yankees lost 2-1 to complete a three-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox.
"My wife and kids were in there,'' Girardi said. "Other kids were there. And our families shouldn't be subject to that. It's not right. It's terrible.''
As Girardi began his postgame news conference in a tunnel outside the Yankee clubhouse, the unidentified fan began shouting, "Girardi, you're a bum!'' and "Yankees suck!'' as he left the ballpark.
The normally even-tempered Girardi broke out of the pack to shout at the man -- "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Shut up! I'm doing an interview!'' -- before asking a stadium security guard to "do something, would you? Shut this guy up."
He then resumed his postgame interview virtually without missing a beat, but the incident was caught on camera by CSN Chicago and went viral on the Internet.
Girardi's wife, Kim, and his three children, Serena (12), Dante (10) and Lina (5), were in the area when the fan began shouting. Girardi said the proximity of his family, and not the fact that his team had lost three straight and had seen its lead in the AL East shrink to three games -- it had been 10 on July 18 -- brought on his agitated response.
"They can heckle me,'' Girardi said. "They can say whatever they want to me. When my wife and kids are there, it's a different story.''