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Yankees baseball in the Girardi Era: “an amiable slog”

Sep 19, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

Joe Girardi

Will Leitch wrote a pretty great article in New York Magazine the other day, pretty much perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of Yankees baseball in the early 21st century.  The upshot: this year, as in just about every other year in recent history, the Yankees’ regular season has been something of a formality, though not one without problems. The playoffs are basically a formality, even if the team is far from perfect, and those imperfections — rotation problems, etc. — sort of define the April-September portion of the season as a slightly miserable, though by no means bad proposition.  An “amiable slog” as Leitch puts it.

Ultimately, Leitch believes, this is the definition of “The Girardi Era,” as he calls it.  And he contemplates whether those annoying little flaws can be overcome this fall. But he also notes that like everything else in the postseason, it’s more a matter of good fortune, not design, and that as such, you can’t really do anything about it but sit and wait to see what happens.

I’ll admit it: the Yankees usually bore me. But I may be able to appreciate them as a piece of existential philosophy.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    Much of this article is well known to Yankees fans. I disappeared for 3 weeks in August with only 2 day old scores and nothing had changed in the interim. But Girardi needs to let the lid off and manage more agressively to make it through the short-series playoffs.We went through 2009 with walk-offs and big play. We can’t repeat that in 2011 with bunts and steals.

  2. southofheaven81 - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    “Amiable slog” is how I’d call the last 8 or so years of the Torre era. Girardi has his problems as a manager but he seems to push the team much harder and promotes talented guys from AAA a lot more frequently, and doesn’t just fall back on high-priced talent the way Torre did. And given the woes of the rotation and the supposed invincibility of Boston this year, I don’t think too many Yankees fans were considering the post-season (let alone the division title) a foregone conclusion this year.

  3. bigharold - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    All in all not a bad assessment of the Yankees and Girardi, certainly nothing to get un in arms about. The only comment that was out of line was; “…he’s frustratingly rigid with bull-pen use…”. Girardi use of the pen has been masterful. Unlike his predecessor who regularly burned out one decent arm after another Girardi has defined roles that he plugs the right guy into. He spreads the work load thereby allowing everybody to stay sharp and avoids overwork. He puts players in the best position to succeed which was best evidenced by Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth was another hard thrower with a fragile make up. He as getting booed regularly and getting worse. He was the epitome of that classic Bull Durham line he had a “million dollar arm and a five cent head”. The Yankee realized that he wasn’t right for the NY media presure. Girardi brought him back to respectability so that he could be traded by using him wisely.

    As was stated in the article, a manager’s job is put the player in the best mind set to succeed and Girardi does that but he also does a good job of putting them in the correct role so that they are best able to succeed too. And, like his predecessor he does a pretty good job handling the media too, .. something that he wasn’t that good a when he began.

    • southofheaven81 - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:40 AM

      Yeah if nothing else, as a former catcher Joe knows to take care of his pitchers.

  4. dailyrev - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    I would choose phenomenology as the relevant philosophy here: Girardi reminds me more of Hegel than of Sartre. You know, baseball as a dialectical process rather than existential meaninglessness. But that’s a discussion best had in a quiet, late-afternoon tavern (Stan’s Sports Bar during a road trip).

  5. dailyrev - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    However, switching sports for a moment, there was an existential moment in sports last night, which naturally went unobserved by the TV people. I caught a piece of a football game from Atlanta that was streamed over this network, in fact: the unfortunate kid who murdered dogs was injured and the Philadelphia team brought in his backup, whose name is Kafka. I kept waiting for the announcers to reach for the low-hanging fruit of metaphor available to this moment, but maybe they don’t read many books. I could have spent the rest of the broadcast enjoying this existential coincidence. But the TV guys couldn’t even manage something like, “this little bug is seeking his Metamorphosis…” or “what a strange and surreal game this has been…what might you call it…”

  6. bigharold - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    “…but maybe they don’t read many books.”

    Maybe they do but they also know their audiance?

  7. mianfr - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Even as a Yankee fan, I admit September is generally a pretty boring time, and I feel like most teams would agree.

    If it weren’t going to create such a mess historically, I’d really have no problem if the season were only 120 games long…

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