Thursday, November 16, 2006
Joe Girardi won the NL Manager of the Year Award yesterday, six weeks after being fired from his job with the Florida Marlins. He did a masterful job last season keeping the rookie-laden Marlins in the NL Wild card race right up until very close to the end of the season. He took a team of no-names with a payroll of around $15 million, and led them to a respectable 78-84 record. But, because he wouldn’t take crap from team owner Jeffrey Loria, he ended up getting canned. The team replaced Girardi with Fredi Gonzalez, someone who I guess Loria feels will take his criticisms, no matter how unfounded they may be. I think we’ve all had a-hole bosses at some point in our lives, and can all agree that life is too short to tolerate jerks, especially if you have to work for one. The best part of the whole thing is that now Loria has to pay Girardi a bonus for winning the award, which must be pissing off the clueless owner big-time. This is only the second time something like this has happened. Davey Johnson won the AL Manager of the Year Award in 1997, but had already resigned from the Baltimore Orioles. This is slightly different because Girardi was fired, while Johnson quit. Loria’s problems with Girardi started earlier this season when the owner began criticizing umpire’s calls in the press. Girardi asked Loria to please keep his mouth shut, and told him that bashing umpires would only make it worse for the team down the line. This is just another example of the fact that you can pick your team, but you can’t pick your owner. When a franchise gets into the hands of a jerk like Jeff Loria, a man who knows as much about running a baseball team as I do, then things can get sloppy, poor decisions become the norm, and the person who suffers the most is the fan. Girardi is a top-notch skipper. His players were devoted to him, he knows the game inside and out, and he started the season at a definite disadvantage trying to manage a team with a payroll $20 million less than any other team in the major leagues. He has since decided to work as a Yankees announcer next year for the YES TV network, but don’t be surprised if he’s back managing again real soon. Girardi has two major flaws as a manager -- he refuses to put up with idiot owners and he refuses to kiss ass. This award makes Loria look exactly how he should look – like another dumb-ass sports team owner who is cheap and deserves to finish in the cellar until he gets a clue. The only problem is that the people who suffer are the loyal fans of the Flordia Marlins, all 5,000 of them. And they deserve more.