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ALCS Game 7: Joe Girardi postgame interview

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Q. What did you say to the team after tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: How proud I was of them. How this hurts. I understand, I've been through it as a player. I've been through it as a manager. And how it really needs to be the motivating factor during the winter and Spring Training to get better. Because I believe this club can even get better. And that was basically the message.

Q. What did the four losses here in Houston tell you about your team?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I mean there were some tough losses. We lost two games 2-1. We were in another tight game tonight.

I mean, I know people are going to talk about how we didn't win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven't won many games on the road, either. We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us.

I'd like to congratulate A.J. Hinch and the Astros. They beat us. And that's the bottom line.



There are things we need to get better on, and that will be a focus. But, again, I'm extremely proud of this group, what they've accomplished up to this point. But I think there's more. More. And that's the motivating factor.

Q. You said you think there's more. Do you want to be a part of this?
JOE GIRARDI: I love what I do. I've always said, the first thing that I do is I always talk to my family first. They come first. Because I think when you have a job, I mean, your family has to buy in, too. It's not just what you want out of life. It's everyone buying in. So I'll sit down, talk to my wife and my kids and see where they're at and what they're thinking. And then we'll see what the Yankees are thinking.

That's not my concern right now. I've had 10 great years here. I feel extremely blessed. God has been good to me. And we'll see what the future holds.

Q. I know this is really fresh, when you step back and look at where you were and where you are now, has this all gone quicker than you expected?
JOE GIRARDI: I'm sure -- probably, yeah. But, again, when I left Spring Training I felt really good about this team, I did. I thought, "Man, we're going to score runs." And that had kind of been a problem for us. And I felt good about our club and the leadership in the room. I can't tell you I could have predicted the year that Aaron Judge was going to have or even Gary Sanchez over a full year, missing a month. The improvements that a lot of our guys made.

It is pretty special how quickly they came. And, again, I really believe that there's more and there's more talent down below that are going to continue to push people.

But it was a lot of fun to manage this group, it really was. I'm as proud of this group as I've been of any team I've ever managed.

Q. They said on TV that CC was sick. Did that play into tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: We had some guys that have been dealing with colds. David Robertson has been dealing with a pretty wicked cold. It's been going around.

Our players are never going to make excuses. It happens this time of the year, it seems. I know there was a flu bug in 2009 that was going around. It just seems to happen every year. We had some guys that were under the weather, definitely.

Q. Besides obviously the pitching, is there a reason you didn't hit here in Houston in the series?
JOE GIRARDI: I don't know. I mean, again, it's a team that hasn't experienced a lot of this in a sense and going on the road in hostile environments. We were able to win Game 5 in Cleveland, and I felt good about us winning one game here. But we just weren't able to do it.

You've got to give them credit. They pitched their rear ends off. And the bottom line is they beat us.

Q. People from the outside that didn't expect this type of performance from you guys going this far, is it any consolation you guys made it or does it hurt too much?
JOE GIRARDI: I think right now it probably hurts too much to really think about that. Maybe as you move forward and as the winter goes on, the excitement will be there about what this team accomplished.

But, again, we fell short. And that's what hurts. You put -- there are a lot of days that go into a season and now we have to start over. And this club has to prove itself again.

Q. You've mentioned a few times that you think there's more for this team. I realize it's so soon after this season, but what do you think is more? Where do you think the growth is for this team?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think there are things that we can do better. I think guys will mature and at times I think there is mental growth, as well as physical growth. And the mental growth sometimes can be not trying too hard. Being able to control your emotions in situations. And I think a lot of times it can be tough.

You get to this point you can't imagine how bad the guys want it. And you have to learn to sometimes control your emotions. So that's growth.

I think there are things that individual players can do better. And that will continue. And if I'm a part of it, it will be a focus.

Q. The other thing is as Yankee manager, you didn't give the ball to a starter or take the ball from a starter more than CC Sabathia. Did you think this might be the last time you do that?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah. CC will always be special to me because of what he stands for. And the great player that he is. The great man that he is. The wonderful teammate that he is. I mean, how he pulls a team together. He's as good as I've ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you're on a losing streak or that you can count on, and knowing that it could be the possible last time. I'm not saying that he won't be back. But there's no guarantees for me.

And I'm very thankful for the years that I've had with CC. He's taught me a lot. And our players can learn a lot from CC. The kind of fighter that he is. The things that he has to overcome to be successful. The knee issues and he doesn't have the 98 in the pocket anymore. And how he reinvented himself. He's a special -- as special as they get.

Q. You mentioned Derek Jeter in association with Aaron Judge. As you look at the whole season, how would you describe Aaron's season and what you see in his future?
JOE GIRARDI: I think his future is extremely bright. I think he had an unbelievable season. Not one that -- I don't think I would have predicted that he would be an MVP candidate, from what we saw last year. I knew the heart was there. I knew that he had a great head on his shoulders. I knew the work ethic was there. I knew the talent was there. But that's a lot to ask from a rookie to be an MVP type of candidate.

I think the sky's the limit for this kid. And again, he's a natural-born leader. And that doesn't happen at an age where he's at, where people look to him, and it's already happening.

Q. To follow up on that, how much did you learn about all the young guys during this playoff run?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think you learn a lot. Some of the averages aren't there, but that's normal. That's normal across baseball. But you look at the production you got from an Aaron Judge and a Gary Sanchez and a Greg Bird and Chad Green, and Kahnle was able to do, I know he's not a rookie, but he's an extremely young player, just what these guys were able to do is pretty special. And to get 50-plus at-bats under your career in playoff baseball at this age, that's special.

Q. What did you say to the team after tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: How proud I was of them. How this hurts. I understand, I've been through it as a player. I've been through it as a manager. And how it really needs to be the motivating factor during the winter and Spring Training to get better. Because I believe this club can even get better. And that was basically the message.

Q. What did the four losses here in Houston tell you about your team?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I mean there were some tough losses. We lost two games 2-1. We were in another tight game tonight.

I mean, I know people are going to talk about how we didn't win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven't won many games on the road, either. We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us.

I'd like to congratulate A.J. Hinch and the Astros. They beat us. And that's the bottom line.

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There are things we need to get better on, and that will be a focus. But, again, I'm extremely proud of this group, what they've accomplished up to this point. But I think there's more. More. And that's the motivating factor.

Q. You said you think there's more. Do you want to be a part of this?
JOE GIRARDI: I love what I do. I've always said, the first thing that I do is I always talk to my family first. They come first. Because I think when you have a job, I mean, your family has to buy in, too. It's not just what you want out of life. It's everyone buying in. So I'll sit down, talk to my wife and my kids and see where they're at and what they're thinking. And then we'll see what the Yankees are thinking.

That's not my concern right now. I've had 10 great years here. I feel extremely blessed. God has been good to me. And we'll see what the future holds.

Q. I know this is really fresh, when you step back and look at where you were and where you are now, has this all gone quicker than you expected?
JOE GIRARDI: I'm sure -- probably, yeah. But, again, when I left Spring Training I felt really good about this team, I did. I thought, "Man, we're going to score runs." And that had kind of been a problem for us. And I felt good about our club and the leadership in the room. I can't tell you I could have predicted the year that Aaron Judge was going to have or even Gary Sanchez over a full year, missing a month. The improvements that a lot of our guys made.

It is pretty special how quickly they came. And, again, I really believe that there's more and there's more talent down below that are going to continue to push people.

But it was a lot of fun to manage this group, it really was. I'm as proud of this group as I've been of any team I've ever managed.

Q. They said on TV that CC was sick. Did that play into tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: We had some guys that have been dealing with colds. David Robertson has been dealing with a pretty wicked cold. It's been going around.

Our players are never going to make excuses. It happens this time of the year, it seems. I know there was a flu bug in 2009 that was going around. It just seems to happen every year. We had some guys that were under the weather, definitely.

Q. Besides obviously the pitching, is there a reason you didn't hit here in Houston in the series?
JOE GIRARDI: I don't know. I mean, again, it's a team that hasn't experienced a lot of this in a sense and going on the road in hostile environments. We were able to win Game 5 in Cleveland, and I felt good about us winning one game here. But we just weren't able to do it.

You've got to give them credit. They pitched their rear ends off. And the bottom line is they beat us.

Q. People from the outside that didn't expect this type of performance from you guys going this far, is it any consolation you guys made it or does it hurt too much?
JOE GIRARDI: I think right now it probably hurts too much to really think about that. Maybe as you move forward and as the winter goes on, the excitement will be there about what this team accomplished.

But, again, we fell short. And that's what hurts. You put -- there are a lot of days that go into a season and now we have to start over. And this club has to prove itself again.

Q. You've mentioned a few times that you think there's more for this team. I realize it's so soon after this season, but what do you think is more? Where do you think the growth is for this team?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think there are things that we can do better. I think guys will mature and at times I think there is mental growth, as well as physical growth. And the mental growth sometimes can be not trying too hard. Being able to control your emotions in situations. And I think a lot of times it can be tough.

You get to this point you can't imagine how bad the guys want it. And you have to learn to sometimes control your emotions. So that's growth.

I think there are things that individual players can do better. And that will continue. And if I'm a part of it, it will be a focus.

Q. The other thing is as Yankee manager, you didn't give the ball to a starter or take the ball from a starter more than CC Sabathia. Did you think this might be the last time you do that?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah. CC will always be special to me because of what he stands for. And the great player that he is. The great man that he is. The wonderful teammate that he is. I mean, how he pulls a team together. He's as good as I've ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you're on a losing streak or that you can count on, and knowing that it could be the possible last time. I'm not saying that he won't be back. But there's no guarantees for me.

And I'm very thankful for the years that I've had with CC. He's taught me a lot. And our players can learn a lot from CC. The kind of fighter that he is. The things that he has to overcome to be successful. The knee issues and he doesn't have the 98 in the pocket anymore. And how he reinvented himself. He's a special -- as special as they get.

Q. You mentioned Derek Jeter in association with Aaron Judge. As you look at the whole season, how would you describe Aaron's season and what you see in his future?
JOE GIRARDI: I think his future is extremely bright. I think he had an unbelievable season. Not one that -- I don't think I would have predicted that he would be an MVP candidate, from what we saw last year. I knew the heart was there. I knew that he had a great head on his shoulders. I knew the work ethic was there. I knew the talent was there. But that's a lot to ask from a rookie to be an MVP type of candidate.

I think the sky's the limit for this kid. And again, he's a natural-born leader. And that doesn't happen at an age where he's at, where people look to him, and it's already happening.

Q. To follow up on that, how much did you learn about all the young guys during this playoff run?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think you learn a lot. Some of the averages aren't there, but that's normal. That's normal across baseball. But you look at the production you got from an Aaron Judge and a Gary Sanchez and a Greg Bird and Chad Green, and Kahnle was able to do, I know he's not a rookie, but he's an extremely young player, just what these guys were able to do is pretty special. And to get 50-plus at-bats under your career in playoff baseball at this age, that's special.