Joe Girardi manages Game 4
Joe Girardi will continue to manage the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series despite the recent death of his father.
Girardi has managed the entire ALDS since his father, Jerry, died Saturday at the age of 81.
Joe Girardi acknowledged Thursday that he did not want his father's death to be a distraction. He added that he did not want news of his father's death to be public because talking about it would make it "even harder" to deal with.
"I had a tremendous relationship with my father," Girardi, growing emotional, said Thursday before the Yankees hosted the Baltimore Orioles in Game 4. "Wherever he went, I went. When he stopped, I ran into him. And I've always said, if I could be half the husband and father my dad (was), that would be special."
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Girardi said he decided to continue managing after learning of his father's death because Jerry Girardi taught him "to finish the job at hand."
"My thought process was my dad would want me to do everything that we could to go win a Word Series," Girardi said.
Jerry Girardi had battled Alzheimer's disease for more than 10 years and was living in an assisted-care facility in Metamora, Ill. -- a suburb of Peoria.
On trips to Chicago as manager of the Yankees, Joe Girardi often would make the 2½-hour trip to Peoria to be with his ailing father.
The Yankees, who are one victory away from clinching a trip to the American League Championship Series, observed a moment of silence for Jerry Girardi before Thursday's game.
Girardi said that he plans to be at his father's funeral on Monday. If the Yankees advance to the ALCS, Monday is scheduled as a workout day. He was asked if it would be "tough" to manage the club on Thursday.
"I'll be able to do my job because it's what they (Girardi's father and late mother, Angela) would want me to do," Girardi said. "You know, when I think about it, it's the first time in over 28 years that my mom and dad have seen a game together. So they'll be watching, and they'll be mad if I'm not doing my job; I know that."
Most Yankee players found out about Girardi's father's death shortly before Thursday's game.
"Sometimes in life, there are more important things than baseball," Nick Swisher said. "... But I know that this is his family. And to have him here might be helping him get over that. Whatever we can do as a team and as a group to help him get over that, the game is secondary when it comes to something like that."
Joe Girardi spoke last year with ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand about the role his father played in his life.
Joe Girardi said Jerry Girardi provided for his family by working three jobs. Despite spending so much time at work, Jerry Girardi always found time for each of his five children, Joe said.
"My father is the one who introduced me to this great game and going to the ballpark," Joe Girardi said last year. "I was the fourth of five children and he always made time for us.
"There are a lot of things my father has taught me. He has taught me the value of hard work. He has taught me the value of money. But he also taught me the importance of time with your children."
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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