Oct. 11 Joe Girardi pregame interview
Q. How hard have these last few days been for you? We just found out about your dad, if you could talk a little bit about what he meant to you and how these last few days have been.
JOE GIRARDI: It's been somewhat difficult. One of the reasons I didn't say anything, I knew talking about it would make it probably even harder. So Saturday when we were on the bus going to the train station, we were on the Henry Hudson, about noon I got the call that my father had passed.
It was interesting, the day before, I was speaking with Ian, and we were talking about where my personality comes from, and I was telling him some stories about my mom and my dad, and the one thing that both of them, besides many other things that they taught me, was always to finish the job at hand.
So my thought process was my dad would want me to do everything that we could do to go win a World Series. He had been a part of them with me as a player. 2009, I don't think he understood what we did at that time. He was at a stage in Alzheimer's that he wasn't talking, so I don't think he understood.
So you know, I was handling it pretty good until I got word that it came out today a little bit. So that's made it difficult.
But you know, when I sit and think about I had a tremendous relationship with my father. 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 would be, that would be special.
Q. I know the Catch 25 Foundation is all about your dedication to Alzheimer's, so over the last several years in raising money and raising awareness, has it been with your dad mostly in your mind as you were doing that?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, my dad and others. It's something his mother passed away from, his brother Ronnie passed away a couple weeks ago from it, who was a couple years younger than my father. So I mean, it's been near and dear to our hearts. We see what it does to families, and I've always talked to other people, because I've been through all the different stages about sometimes we get frustrated with our parents when they're going through that. And believe me, they don't want to forget. They don't want to forget where they put their keys.
I saw my dad do things that were very difficult. They don't want to forget where they put a check. And you have to show them a lot of patience and kindness and try to understand the disease.
My thoughts have always went to people that are dealing with it because it's difficult. It affects a whole family.
Q. How did you break the news to the team, and what was that like? What were you thinking about? Just even from a different side of it, what effect that might have or how everybody might react to it?
JOE GIRARDI: I had only told a couple people. So for the most part, no one knew, because I didn't want it to have to deal with it with the team and the team to have to deal with it. That's a strong group in there, and I'm glad that I have them behind me.
But I really haven't met with them to tell them. I was going to tell them. You know, God willing, we get into the next round, that I was going to the funeral on Monday and I wouldn't be at the workout. That's when I was going to tell them.
Q. Were there players that you did tell?
JOE GIRARDI: I didn't tell any players. I only told a couple people that I felt I could confide in, just because and I'm not going to name those people, just because I didn't want it out.
Q. How tough is it for you to do your job tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: Oh, I've had to do it the last three or four days, so it's not something that's that I haven't been through before. I'll be able to do my job, because I know that's what they would want me to do. You know, and when I think about it, it's the first time in over 28 years that my mom and dad have seen a game together again. So they'll be watching, and they'll be mad if I'm not doing my job; I know that.
Q. Last night you had what would be considered a very good night for yourself. You have that kind of night and make that kind of brave call, is that something that kind of leads to reflection on something you might have liked to talk to your dad after?
JOE GIRARDI: Sure, I would have loved to talk about the situation. I mean, baseball was something that we both had an extreme passion for. I mean, he took me to games when I was a little boy, to Cub games. And we've go to five or six a year, and the memories that we had and playing catch in the backyard. I loved to talk the game with my dad. Watching him get frustrated many nights when the Cubs were on the road, and they were night games, and we were sitting around watching the games, it was fun.
So there's a lot of things that I miss sharing with my father. A lot to do with the grandkids, too, because it was something he really looked forward to.
Q. It could be argued that you have the best job in sports. Do you remember when you told your dad that you were hired as the manager of the New York Yankees? Was he able to, at that point five years ago, comprehend that and maybe what his reaction was?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, I really don't I'm not really sure that he was able to comprehend it. It was about the time that we had to put him in a home just because he was struggling with remembering things and sometimes walking out of the house and being concerned about where he was at. So I think he was able to comprehend a little bit.
You know, my father was able to share in a lot of things with me in my baseball career, and was able to really help me a lot. In my mind I want to believe he was able to comprehend, but I'm not sure.
Q. Going back to last night, do you think there's any, going forward, difference in your relationship with Alex because of the decision? And there are photos of a 10th inning conversation with you and him. He looked angry. What was going on there?
JOE GIRARDI: We were talking. He wasn't angry. I don't think it will change our relationship. I think we have a very open dialogue. We have a very honest relationship. I trust him. I expect big things from him tonight. I still believe he's a great player.
And sometimes as a human being you have to make tough calls, and sometimes it's not going to please everyone. Geez, I can remember a lot of tough calls my dad made, and it didn't always please me. So I don't think so, but time will tell.
I saw Al's expression when Raul hit the home run, and you see the type of team player he is. I saw how I mean, Alex wants to win, bottom line, whatever it takes, and that's a great thing, to be able to manage a player like that.
Q. Was it your perception his ego was hurt by the decision?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I mean, if you're Alex Rodriguez and you have 650 home runs I've got to believe he believes he could have done the same thing, and I think that possibly maybe not that time, or he could have that time or he would have done. I believe in Alex. I've seen him hit big home runs. You take away what he did in 2009, we may not win that World Series. I may not be a World Series manager, and for that I'm grateful.
But I had to make a hard decision, and we'll get by that.
Q. I know you're trying to manage in the here and now, but do you think last night is any kind of demarcation point on how you do have to maybe manage Alex going forward, who probably for the first four plus 162 games you never thought about pinch hitting for? And he's got a lot of years left on his contract. Is this the beginning of how you might have to manage him?
JOE GIRARDI: I don't really think so, and I'm going to say again, I expect this guy to be extremely productive. I expect him to have a big night for us tonight. I do.
So I don't really think so. So I mean, I just move forward as it's like any other day, and he's in the middle of the order, and I expect him to be productive.
Q. Derek Jeter, can you give us an update, and what went into your decision?
JOE GIRARDI: Sure. Well, you can imagine the conversation that we had today. "Derek, how you feeling?" "Great." "Okay." "I'm playing. Okay." And I said to him, "Well, I'm going to DH you then today. Let's go through BP and see how you are." He said, "I'm playing." I said, "okay." So I'm going to let him go through BP and see how he is. If I have to make an adjustment, I have to. But my guess is, he's great (smiling).
Q. I'm sure through the years when you made tough decisions maybe your dad's spirit is there, but have you found it waving through you any more so intensely, because you've been sort of going through that alone, and your team doesn't know that that's in your head as you managed these last few games? Have you thought of him more so at all in these games?
JOE GIRARDI: In making decisions, no, I don't. You know, I reflect on my father a lot because I always talk about the importance of being a great husband and a great father. But when I'm making a decision, I'm not saying to myself, "what would my dad do?" I'm not. I'm just kind of trying to use all the information that's available to me and my heart and my gut and what it's saying. But I do reflect on it after, thinking that like I said, my mom and dad saw a pretty good game last night.
Q. What do you think he would have thought of your guts? Because that's how we all portrayed it, as a very gutsy decision. What would he have thought of that?
JOE GIRARDI: He would have been extremely proud and probably told all his buddies. (Laughter).
Q. When you found out on Saturday, what was the rest of your day like, and how did you get through it?
JOE GIRARDI: I had tears in my eyes on the bus, so I put some sunglasses on. And probably what a lot of men do when they go through difficult and sad times, we try to stay busy. That's what we do. And I tried to focus on what we were trying to accomplish and what we were doing because that's what my dad would have done.
As I was telling Ian the story, I was watching my dad change a bathtub spigot, and he had the wrench, and he was trying to tighten it, and the wrench slipped and hit his thumb and he broke his thumb and it was bleeding, but he finished what he had to do. He finished that, and my mom was like, "You've got to go to the hospital," and he's like, "Nope, I've got to finish it." He just taped it up.
So I thought, that's what my dad would want me to do, so that's what I tried to do.
Q. Just back on today's lineup, what was your thought process in putting this together and having him fifth and some of the other places you put guys?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I liked both him and Tex's and Alex's bat against the lefties that we've had. They've both been extremely productive for us in these situations. Tex had a big hit off of Saunders the other day, I guess it was probably a month ago, Alex had some RBIs. I liked them both, so I just decided to go that way.