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Thursday, May 01, 2008

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I watched the YES postgame and Girardi seemed to be placing blame on Hughes for possibly concealing the injury. It wasn't clear that was being dishonest, at least not to me. But he certainly pivoted the press in Hughes' direction, which is either a lesson for Hughes (as a player you do NOT conceal injury) or a questionable move by the skipper, pointing the finger at a a player. It was certainly uncomfortable.

Oblique must be French for "if we demote him we could crush him and then ruin one of the top prospects in the game." Not 100% sure on that because I did take Spanish in college and not French. Can anyone help me out here?

I really dont think there is any doubt that there is some basis for this injury. Even if they wanted to get him right by taking him out of the rotation for a bit, having him stop pitching for 2 weeks isnt the ideal way to do so. The yankees would simply send him down if they needed to. I dont buy that it would ruin him to do so.

I dont mean to be picky Paul, but I think its waaaay premature to call the yankees "a losing New York team" at this point in the season. We are 1 game under .500 despite many negative factors working against us. I dont think that you would have agreed that the Sox were "a losing Boston team" after the rough patch they went through last week.

I think Girardi's lack of openness is not the best approach but I also think that given the shoes he is filling, a change in approach is that much more glaring. That said, I 100% agree that saying no comment is a better way of going that lying if that was what he indeed was doing. However, it should also be noted that if players aren't honest with him about their conditions, his hands are tied. It seems that Hughes didn't tell anyone about this injury until coming off the field on tuesday night.

I prefer the Belichick school of handling the media: never give them anything.

Does anyone think this is a serious injury, or just the Yankees using it as an excuse to give the kid a small break to work out some mechanical flaws in his pitching motion? I'm not saying they made it up completely, but it certainly comes at a convenient time.

In any case it's a great solution for Hughes and the team.

Sam, I don't think Paul meant that the Yankees are "losers", just that they currently have a losing record, which makes it difficult to deal with the New York "we-want-instant-gratification" media.

there's a lot of pressure on a manager to be sure paul, especially one with a team that has high expectations...girardi does have to step carefully with the media because a more vindicative profession has never existed... ;) cross 'em, and you'll pay...there's a suggestion that joe's being dishonest, but he may just not have perfected the mumbling evasive double-talk non-answer that served joe t and others so well...of course he should have anticipated certain questions, but it sounds like you're suggesting he should have prepared a better lie/non-answer in advance...how does that help?...and yes, perhaps the yankees [and/or hughes] were concealing something that they just weren't ready to reveal, so we get this awkward sidestep...wooo, shocking....i bet that's never happened before in sports...if they really haven't made a decision yet, how does it help the kid to discuss it in the press?...it's possible that they're just buying time by putting him on the DL...you know what's more annoying for me as a fan than seeing the yanks struggle, it's watching the sharks circle for the young pitchers...i guess that's the way it goes though when you're not getting the job done...back to the topic: give the guy [joe] a break, he's frustrated, and is obviously still learning the fine art of fending off the press...you shouldn't be surprised that he chose a "prickly, antagonistic road" in handling this situation...isn't that the perception of his personality in general?...from a style and grace perspective he's no tito, but he's no ozzie g either...

Ath nails it, Sam. The Yanks don't have a winning record, which makes the manager's job that much tougher in New York. That he's apparently not being honest with the media certainly can't help his cause.

As I understood Hughes' postgame press interviews (from scanning through the LoHud comments), Hughes said he told the trainers right after he came out of his start. So it seems either Girardi knew there were potential injury issues when he answered "Yes, yes" to the "Is Hughes healthy" question before last night's game, or he doesn't communicate with his training staff about possible injury issues and only found out midgame that his prize starting prospect has a DL-worthy injury. I would be concerned about either scenario.

"Does anyone think this is a serious injury, or just the Yankees using it as an excuse to give the kid a small break to work out some mechanical flaws in his pitching motion?"

If I had to bet Ath I would go with your second option. I think this is a safe way of getting him back on track without the sting of getting sent down.

"It's not easy managing a losing team in New York to begin with, but I can't imagine this apparent tack will do him any favors if the Yankees continue to struggle this season."

Just because a Sox fan wrote that the focus immediately goes towards "Losing" and "New York." What Paul says here is correct, the Girardi is currently managing a losing team. He then goes on to say "if the Yankees continue to struggle" which makes it clear that Paul isn't calling the season a failure just yet or that the Yankees ship has sunk, but that they have time to right the ship. I don't see that to be controversial by any means. Paul is a writer by trade (unlike some of us here) and he has the ability to separate his rooting interests from his job. He was being a writer and not a Sox fan. We need to appreciate the truth when we see it sometimes regardless of which fanbase it comes from.

For the record the yankees werent "a losing team" when the comments that Paul quoted were made. They were at .500

I really wasnt trying to pick a fight, just noting that a guy like Girardi can keep the season in perspective. I think he is just a prickly character not simply reacting to a few recent losses.

a .500 team is a losing team for all parties concerned. You will be playing golf in October if your team plays .500, so I think we can consider that a losing record.

"...he has the ability to separate his rooting interests from his job...." uh, maybe from his job, but not always here john...and before someone asks the annoying question for me to provide examples, paul would probably admit that he wears his sox-heart proudly on his sleeve...there's nothing wrong with that, but you can't pretend that it doesn't skew his commentary from time to time, but probably not in this case...here i don't think his [primary] intent was necessarily to pick on joe, rather, it was to defend his profession...and, his being a professional writer, with all due respect, and i do respect paul's skills, doesn't give his or any pro's comments a pass from the kind of scrutiny sam was giving them...without splitting hairs about what point they've been at or above .500, in my mind the yanks are having a losing season, so paul's assessment is fair...i also respect sam's right to disagree with it...as for girardi's alleged dishonesty with the press, since it's fair to speculate, i'd say every manager tiptoes around the real truth from time to time...some even trample on it...it may just be that joe wasn't really sure what the right answer was, so instead of just saying "i don't know, we're looking into it", he fired back some conflicting answers...what i'm not sure about is what paul's point is, other than to defend the media against joe's mind games with them...exactly what did joe gain?...seriously, what was his rationale for the way he handled these questions?...is it being suggested that he's a pathological liar, or just situational, and for some inexplicable reason, he has something to gain by not telling the press every detail as it unfolds?...[head-scratcher]...my theory is that he's just a ball-buster who knows the press will hound him no matter what he says...if he wins, they may find his style colorful and amusing, but for now, he's just prickly, borderline arrogant, and perhaps dishonest...hardly the first guy to employ that style...

John,
I have the utmost respect for Paul and his writing. It wasnt a simply gut reaction to seeing the words yankee and losing in a sentence. I also feel that since Ive been posting here, Ive been pretty balanced and fair with my comments. I try to add to the discourse not simply yell into the wind about my team. I was simply pointing out that I dont consider the yankees a "losing team". I feel this way for a variety of reasons. Im not fully happy with their play so far this season but I do think that their record is so bad considering the adversity they have faced this season.

I think that both Paul and Girardi were being oblique............

I'm going to chalk this all up to growing pains. The press corps and Joe need some time to adjust to each other. The truth is, Torre used to give "right now he's in the rotation" type answers all the time, but after so many years of the grandpa act, and having established a reputation for candidness with the press, he got a pass. So I think all sides will need to evolve a bit here.

It's funny how 3 weeks ago the main concern about Hughes/Kennedy was that they'd blow out their innings limits by July. I'd rather they not be struggling, but it's not catastrophic either. Their kids, they need to learn. Hughes, especially, I thought had circumstances against him: a new catcher every game, some tough weather conditions, umps w/ small zones....It seemed he could never get a break, and then had innings where he just lost it. The history is so strong, you have to figure that eventually he' going to figure out how to get batters out consistently. But it may take a season. Or two.


I don't really care how Girardi treats the media. Why do we, as fans, have to know every little thing about our teams? Does it really make a difference? I just want to see my team play and hopefully win. I think this ESPN-NY POST-NATIONAL ENQUIRER media driven culture we live in is a joke. People can't do or say anything without some journalist breaking down every little nuance and telling us what we should think about it. What happened to objective reporting? Our society has become so media driven its as if these writers are judge, jury and executioner in the court of public opinion and it's wrong. Editorials belong on the editorial page in my opinion.

That being said, the reality of the situation is that the New York media will turn on Joe in a second, forget everything he has done for and as a Yankee and make his job/life miserable. That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Sorry for the rant...the media pisses me off.

A bit beside the point, this "losing team" business. I even stopped and checked the standings to make sure I wasn't mistaken before writing it. Even if it wasn't accurate, are the New York media treating the Yankees like a winning team? Because that's really what matters in this Girardi-media debate. I'll agree a more accurate statement would have been ".500 team," but for all intents and purposes, that is losing in the New York mindset -- just as it would be in the Boston mindset, and rightly so, given the payrolls and talent involved.

DC misses the point here, badly. If Girardi wanted to be oblique (pun!) and sidestep the issue, he could have easily done that with a no comment. Instead, he said directly when asked that Hughes was healthy, then two hours later, put him on the disabled list, after Hughes had done nothing but sit on the bench. Hughes later told the press he notified trainers he was hurt as soon as he left his start the day before. So either Girardi knew Hughes was hurting and lied when asked about it, or his trainers don't tell him when a starting pitcher may have a DL-able injury until the middle of the next day's game.

You can choose whichever scenario you think is most plausible, but neither is what I would consider a very good position for the manager of the most visible team in the most voracious media market in the country.

Also, for the record, Pete Abe says Girardi has lied before: About the results of Bruney's MRI, and about the reasons Abreu was sitting against lefties.

Paul's right. Girardi's honeymoon with the New York writers is now officially over. It isn't likely that Girardi ever cared one whit about that, nor is it probable that even if he were more forthcoming that it would have maintained for long anyway considering the dicey state of the rotation and the dismal output of the offense.

Tyler Kepner's and Bill Simmons' articles today take specific notice of the fact that the Yankees management chooses to hide and/or downplay injuries. Closeting certain information I can understand, but deliberate deception makes no sense.

This is not the New York media overanalyzing Girardi's batting order or some other trivial aspect of the game. This is reporters asking a basic question about the health of a player whose presence in the rotation is thought to be a key to the season.

Fans may not have a right, per se, to know anything about a privately run franchise like the Yankees, but they certainly deserve to be told the truth about whether their favorite players are hurt or not. I can see why Girardi gets upset with 35 questions about why he's batting so-and-so second, or why he took so-and-so out at Pitch 92 instead of Pitch 98. That's not the issue here.

When Girardi lies to reporters (and not having seen the interviews, I have to rely on Pete's reports here), he's knowingly disseminating false information to the people who read what those reporters write -- the fans. It's not necessary, and what's more, it's self-destructive. Girardi will not survive if the media don't trust him because, ultimately, that means the fans won't trust him.

It's certainly an interesting way to start the season. I don't envy the guy though; he has the toughest job in sports.

I think this argument needs to be tempered a bit. Saying that Girardi lied while technically true in some cases doesnt tell the whole story. I can assure that all managers havent been fully forthcoming with the truth at certain points. They have to manage their relationship with the press in the way that is best for the team no matter what. If Joe lied about why Abreu wasnt starting vs lefties he may have had a very good reason to do so. Some information must remain a secret to prevent the opposing team from having knowledge that would provide them with an advantage during a game. Hughes is clearly not an example of this. I agree this was handled poorly with the limited knowledge i have on what actually happened behind the scenes. Posada going to the DL last sunday is a good example of why Girardi shouldn't always be forthcoming. If cleveland knew the extent of the injury that could have effected their strategy later on that afternoon.

I tend to agree with YF's assessment that alot of this is growing pains on both sides. The difference in style from Torre is jarring to the press and they need to learn to adapt just as Girardi must adapt to being a manager in this market. I will remain in my belief that if the manager feels this is the best way to conduct his team I will give him the benefit of the doubt if the end results ultimately bear him out. If the yankees win, I could care less if I know all the details as they happen in real time.

Sam, I am sorry that my comment came across as personal, not my intentions. I just think that over the past 3 months or so things here have become Us Vs. Them (not by you) and I wanted to make sure this didn't go in that direction.

I wanted Girardi, I cannot deny that. But already his act is starting wear thin. I think the thing that p*ssed me off the most was his I'm smarter than you move in KC with Ian Kennedy only to eventually bring Kennedy in and lose the game and his turn in the rotation. How he handles this stretch without Alex and Jorge will be a big test for Joe. Hopefully we aren't back where we were last season needing to play .700 ball to make the playoffs.

Seriously, a bunch of Patriots and Sox fans are talking about an organization "lying" about injuries?

John and AG are Patriot fans? Who knew!

Saint Torre wouldn't have this Yankee team closer. If anything, they'd be worse. Cairo or Minky would be starting at 1B. Damon in CF. And the bullpen wouldn't feature anyone under 27 years old.

Did John or AG write the post?

> Saint Torre wouldn't have this Yankee team closer.

I agree that all things equal, it is unlikely that any manager could do much better given the state of the Yankee rotation and lack of output from the hitters.

> Did John or AG write the post?

Are you fond of rhetorical questions?

I would've written something similar.

I don't think anyone thinks it's Girardi's fault they are where they are. That's not the point.

As for "Saint Torre" you are barking up the wrong tree. I am on record for not being a huge Torre fan.

Well, you left out the bit about Torre likely having the team in worse shape - like 11-19 after 30 games.

And, yes I do like rhetorical questions? Don't you?

I just find it hilarious that Boston fans are shrieking about teams lying to reporters. The Pats are a whole other beast, but the Sox having been doing the same, on a smaller scale, for years now.

Who said I was barking up your tree? It came down to Torre, then Donnie Baseball or Girardi. It's hard for me to second guess any of that decision making. Girardi's a fine manager with an underperforming team.

> I do like rhetorical questions? Don't you?

It depends on how the writer employs them and what their agenda is.

> Well, you left out the bit about Torre likely having the team in worse shape - like 11-19 after 30 games

Purposefully, because it is out of the scope of the conversation and it is a straw man.

> I just find it hilarious that Boston fans are shrieking about teams lying to reporters.

I don't hear any shrieking. You left out the bit bit that so are a bunch of New York fans and New York reporters.

Why is writing an article of interest "Shrieking?" And why does everything need to be broken down to Boston versus New York. Paul didn't make any holier than thou statements, so why bring the Pats into this? If his post was filled with "Boston would never do that" or "How dare the Yankees" I could understand, but there is nothing like that in his piece.

To me it is disingenuous to chalk this up to "growing pains". Girardi played in NY. He coached in NY. He managed in Florida.

End of story, to an extent. He is not a spring chicken with regards to the New York media and tablioid culture or the responsibilities of being a manager, by any stretch.

When did it become popular for "straw man" to be used in place of actual disagreement?

"You left out the bit bit that so are a bunch of New York fans and New York reporters."

That's fine for me. They can rightly lament not getting accurate information. It's the moralizing from folks living in glass houses that I find hilarious.

> When did it become popular for "straw man" to be used in place of actual disagreement?

I don't know. How long have you been employing them? I didn't disagree with your statement regarding Girardi vs. Torre. Or Mattingly. Or any other hypothetical manager with regard to record. But "Manager X" has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

Giradi was being described in negative terms. Back in 1999, when this was still a free country, I could retort in a positive light.

"To me it is disingenuous to chalk this up to "growing pains". "

I dunno SF, there is a huge difference between playing and being a bench coach in NY and being the manager of the yankees. There are many more questions and pressure. Not to say he wanst aware of what it would be like but being in that seat is different. It takes time to adjust to the new role. As for managing in Florida, i hardly think that remotely compares to NY.

I also think that you are discounting the "growing pains" of the press. They were used to Torre and his style. Girardi is not Torre. As mentioned above, there were many times when Torre was less that forethcoming with his info and wasnt called on it like Girardi is now. I think its hard to argue against the need for an adjustment between the press and Girardi (or anyone in his position). I think its disingenuous to deny this.

"As mentioned above, there were many times when Torre was less that forethcoming with his info and wasnt called on it like Girardi is now."

What? The press in biased!?

Seriously, though, you're absolutely right on this point. Abraham, in particular, only took to criticizing Torre once he was gone. One month in and Girardi is already a liar.

Yeah, I'm definitely not prone to criticizing members of the Red Sox and their dealings with the media -- at all.

Sam:

I completely agree that Florida is not the Bronx. But I think that dismissing this story as just "growing pains" is naive. Part of the reason (part, to be clear) why Girardi was hired was because he had a grip on the environment and difficulties of managing in New York, both the team and the media. I don't particularly blame Girardi for anything (see my initial post at the top of the thread), but he is not so inexperienced as to not know what he was up to to an extent.

SF, I agree that this cant be simply dismissed as growing pains but I would argue that is part of the story here. Again, i choose to focus more on the press than Girardi himself. If I really believed that Joe didnt know what he was getting himself into that WOULD be incredibly naive. That said, know what you are getting yourself into and learning how to best handle a variety of situations are two different things. If things continue this way for the entire season, more blame gets put on Girardi. But 1 month in the season, I think its fair to cut the guy a little slack as he learns how to best find a happy medium....

In conclusion, maybe the term "growing pains" is too simplistic but lets go with "finding his groove" instead.

I think its fair to cut the guy a little slack as he learns how to best find a happy medium....

I don't disagree. The interesting thing about Paul's post, at least to me, is his perspective as a member of the press and the value of the "truth" to journalists, in concept. We can crap on the profession cynically if we want (God knows there is enough lazy or corrupt journalism out there to satisfy that urge -- hello, Judith Miller, Fox News, etc.), but Paul's perspective is useful and, I think, enlightening. I don't think Girardi was unware of what he was doing, even if he wasn't, to use another person's term, lying. He was, to me and as I mentioned in that first post, deflecting, misdirecting, redirecting, etc. He knew what he was doing, I think, and this prevents me from chalking it up primarily to a lack of experience. I believe he said what he said deliberately in trying to get a different story to take hold. I think he was trying his ass off to be clever and protective, to a fault.

This has no impact on me as a fan, I honestly don't care a great deal about Girardi's relationship to the press (just as I don't really care about Tito's relationship to the Boston press - not many posts on that subject from me, I am sticking with Hank and the media!), but I find Paul's interpretation of the events to be a useful supplement to this little imbroglio.

Girardi is type AAAAAAA. I feel he has been gritting his teeth every time he talks to the press about anything negative - a loss, a poor performance, etc.

To be sure part of my view is due to the shock of going from smooth-press-dealing Torre to a very different style, but I think it is also fair to say that Joe G. is wound very very tight and that is tough in media-intensive NY.

As for the injury to Hughes, many of the commentators here in NY certainly seem to think it is a fake excuse to give him a rest without sending him down, though they may know nothing of course. Regardless, the timing is indeed welcome.

I think some surliness with the media is a good thing, for a lot of different reasons, but certainly including that sports media can make it harder for the players and managers to do their jobs, I think - and this is especially true in certain markets for certain teams - tne NY Yanks being one of the prime examples.

But a lot of those who I condider to me among the elite coaches/managers in sports have very short fuses with the Fourth Estate: Belichick, Pinella, Parcells, Leyland, etc. I think that kind of attitude can speak to the strength of personality of the manager and his amnount professional pride, and I have a no problem with it whatsoever.

Even if unitended, Paul's "losing team" comment certainly read to me as an underhanded little jab at YFs (and I suspect that he took the time to check the factual accuracy of that statement before posting it indicates that he realized it would provoke *some* kind of response), but certainly nothing to get het up about. The ebb and flow of bragging rights and knife twisting are part of what makes the rivalry interesting - and after 8 decades of flow for Yanks fans, I can take a little ebb for the time being. Provided it's over soon, of course ;)

Don't want to derail this, but does Belichick have a "short fuse"? I always thought of BB as a cipher, someone who basically says as little as possible. Parcells, Piniella, Leyland, those guys have all gone off on the media, but BB is, to me, famous for his opacity and not for his temper.

"He knew what he was doing, I think, and this prevents me from chalking it up primarily to a lack of experience."

My point was not that he was not coognizant of what he was doing, merely that--one hopes--eventually he will learn to act differently. Yes, he has been a manager before, and played and coached in NY, but to me managing the Yanks (and especially during a rough time) is something for which there isn't any precedent. But maybe he won't. Maybe a certain combativeness and lack of forthrightness will forever be the ways of his administration. I think we can all point to a pretty clear example of that not working out so well. But then we must introduce the question of competence. Let's just hope the Yanks don't invade Toronto.

> Losing team

I sincerely doubt it was a jab. He didn't say "the Yankees are a team made up of losers". Right now, the Yankees are indeed a losing team and what's worse is that the offensive stats over the last couple weeks are trending in the wrong direction.

"...DC misses the point here, badly...."

paul, if you want to get more respect from anyone other than the guys who seem to always be in your corner regardless of what you say and how you say it, you need to be a little less condescending...if you go back and re-read my 2 earlier posts, you'll realize that i'm dead-on...i even agreed with you about joe's "deception", but you're in such a habit of disagreeing with me that you can't help yourself i guess...what you haven't explained is what you think his motivation is...i gave you one theory...

Question, YF. If Girardi never learns to be a smooth operator like Torre, will that really make any difference? It might to the reporters who cover the team, and it might to the fans who want something else from the manager. But is there any correlation between a manager's combativeness and anything baseball-related? I am wondering why it is desirable that Girardi "learn" to act differently? Why do you say that "one hopes" he learns this? Do you believe it is better for the fans or the team if Girardi acts more collegially? Serious question, not a rhetorical one.

(and rhetorically, aren't there tons of examples of managers who have seriously poor media relations doing just fine?)

SF, it would be next to impossible to prove statistically either way, but one the skills most extolled by supporters and even detractors of Torre was his ability to deflect media pressure from his players. The assumption was that this was psychologically good for the players and helped them focus on things going on in the field. In the end, who knows what it did?

I tell you one thing: If Girardi doesn't learn some smoothness, he'll never last five years let alone 12. The NY media suckled at Torre's left teat right up to the very end.

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