Girardi deserves praise for refusing to pamper starting pitchers
I once knew a Molly Coddle. Close friend of Jimmy Jack. Neither is related to
The World Series gave us a novel's share of heroes --
Checking the national-media reports as the World Series reached its most crucial stage, you got the impression Girardi was an odd sort of dead man walking.
In truth, Girardi's job never was in jeopardy, but such was the tone of panic and paranoia as the Yankee manager wielded that deadliest of weapons: common sense. He employed a strategy that worked in baseball for, oh, about 70 years, not including the 19th century.
Somewhere along the line -- and I'm sure it's connected in some sinister way with the
The old-school guys didn't know whether to holler or weep. A number of them, including
Or to put it another way: When are these modern-day managers gonna stop Jimmy-Jackin' around? They're mollycoddlin' these guys.
It was so refreshing to watch Girardi go through a month of excruciatingly tense baseball with
Without question, Girardi didn't have many options. Over the course of the regular season, the Yankees pampered a potentially excellent starter,
Foreboding statistics abounded as Pettitte took the mound for Game 6, all about ill-fated starters who worked postseason games on short rest. You could peruse those numbers, recoiling in fear, or you could watch Pettitte work a crisp 1-2-3 first inning, show the nerve to throw a 3-and-2 curveball to
One intriguing World Series does not change a prevailing mindset, nor can we all pretend it's 1956 and
That's the great thing about the World Series: Girardi didn't just want to shorten his rotation, he did so -- out of fear, absolutely. The fear of losing. Nice payoff, too. A fine memory to take into winter.
• Seasoned scouts like to talk about "the good face," a certain look in an athlete, admirable traits revealed in countenance. Hideki Matsui has the good face, a window into his strength and humility. The first day he ever came to bat as a Yankee, back in 2003, Matsui's Japanese legend preceded him. People expected to see him belt one about 580 feet on a dead-pull path to right field. Instead, on the first pitch he saw, he steered an off-field single to left, driving home a run. A very revealing look into the man's character. In the wake of Matsui's six-RBI performance in Game 6, and his natural fit as the Yanks' DH, they cannot let him get away.
• An endearing scene, played out time after time over the course of any summer or postseason:
• Few players ever spoke so eloquently in their second language as Martinez, who enlivened the Series with his witty and provocative remarks and so brazenly welcomed the big stage of Yankee Stadium. In a moment fully out of character, he didn't stand up to the clubhouse questioning after Game 6 -- and if a couple of reporters hadn't caught him waiting for an elevator, he wouldn't have been quoted at all. He ducked out early, hoping not to be noticed. A shame.
• Each year we hear sensible ways to shorten the postseason and get the World Series done by the third week of October: Shorten spring training. Start the regular season earlier. Throw in some doubleheaders. The esteemed