LADY AT THE BAT: Girardi Stands By His Code of Ethics In An Emotional Series Win in Boston

Monday, August 19, 2013

Girardi Stands By His Code of Ethics In An Emotional Series Win in Boston

There was a lot of unpleasantness in last night's game: Ryan Dempster plunked Alex Rodriguez, the bullpens emptied and warnings (apparently pointless because three Yankees were hit after that) were issued. In the end, the Yankees got the win. That's the most important thing. It's what the fans, and at least 24 of the players, want: series wins that allow them to stay close in the Wild Card race and, with a little luck, to sneak into the playoffs.

At the end of the unpleasantness, however, there was something really refreshing: Joe Girardi. This is a manager who has always stood by his players, even when it has acted to his detriment. He is a manager who has, at least by association, been thrown under the bus that Alex Rodriguez and his large and loud legal team are driving through the tail end of the Yankees season.

This is the manager who sprinted out of the dugout in Sunday's game, as animated as he's ever been, defending Rodriguez, screaming at Dempster, screaming at the umpires and screaming at the Boston bench. This, then, is a manager who does the right thing regardless of whose behalf he is acting.

Sure, Girardi had to come out of the dugout after Rodriguez was hit. The same way the other Yankees players had to come in from the bullpen and step off the bench. There had to some semblance of unity no matter how forced it appeared. But it was obvious from the first step that Girardi's anger was genuine, something that was made all the more clear in his post-game presser on YES Network.

Girardi was adamant in his rationale: Regardless of what you feel a player has done, you don't throw at a player, especially not three times. When voicing his outrage that fans would cheer someone being hit by a baseball, Girardi was almost in tears, imploring fans to consider how they would feel if that was their son, brother or father.

Girardi has every reason to be just as upset as Randy Levine, just as bewildered and frustrated as Brian Cashman and just as betrayed as the Yankees medical staff. Rodriguez is taking a torch to all of his Yankee relationships and apparently doesn't care who gets hurt by his actions, even Girardi.

Nevertheless, Girardi sprang to his defense. He protected his player. He stood up for what he felt was right according to his personal code of ethics. Everything else was secondary. It was actually inspiring to listen to him.

The Yankees are 6.0 games back in the A.L. Wild Card race. They need a rally. However, despite the emotion of Sunday's game, I don't think the Yankees clubhouse or front office will be anymore unified by the actions on the field.

They might be outraged that Dempster hit Rodriguez but to rally behind a player who is doing all he can off the field to disrupt the on the field product is a bit too much.

But rallying around Girardi? That's a different story. If the Yankees do come back and make the playoffs, the storylines will rightfully look to this game as a turning point. When they do, they should start with the manager.

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