“This is a special place,” new Phillies manager Joe Girardi said yesterday. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here because I feel like this is part of who I am.”
By Sam Bush
As Phils GM Matt Klentak introduced Girardi yesterday and slipped on his new uni, it occurred to me that this managing veteran with a World Series ring to his credit is a perfect fit for blue-collar Philly.
He managed 10 seasons with the Yankees, helped them win the 2009 World Series over the Phils and led them four times to the American League Championship Series.
“I’m well aware of the importance of winning in this town,” he said. “I’m selfish. I want to win. That’s why I came here, because I think there’s a great opportunity to win here.”
Girardi nows numbers, but the rap on him in New York was that he largely rejected analytics.
“I was made fun of as being ‘Binder Joe,’” Girardi told MLB.com.
“I do embrace it. It is important to me because numbers tell a story over time. They really do. I’m an analytical guy that has an engineering degree, that loves the math, and they can never give me too much information. I think it’s a tool that we use to assess players in so many different ways. Number one, how you get the best out of them? Number two, physically, are they healthy? I mean, there’s so many things. Number three, can you change certain things that will make a player more successful? Those things all intrigue me. Those things I’m excited about. Because in reality, our job is to bring out the best in the player, and whatever tool we have to help us, I want.”
“I think as a person I’m always self-evaluating things that I can do better,” Girardi said. “Nobody’s perfect and there’s things that you’re going to look back on and say, ‘You know, I maybe could’ve done that a little different. I could’ve done that.’ As far as working with young players, I love that. I went through it with the Marlins. I went through it with the Yankees. They went through a retooling process and I felt that I was able to get the most out of those players. They were one game away from the World Series [in 2017]. If there was a problem, it didn’t show up in wins and losses. That’s the best way.”
Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler kept things loose, maybe too loose. Some players might disagree, but there seemed to be a lack of accountability in the clubhouse.
“I don’t think you have to give them a ton of rules,” Girardi said. “It’s: Be on time. Be prepared. Be accountable to each other. Be respectful of each other. Love each other. Trust each other. Be respectful to the people around us who have to do their jobs. … But as long as you’re on time and you’re prepared and you’re accountable and that you’re focused on winning, is there really anything else? You can encompass everything in those four rules.”
“You have all the statistical data that tells you, ‘The guy is not good the third time through the lineup or the guy is good the third time through,” Girardi said. “But there are those days that a guy is at 85 pitches and there is weak contact and swings and misses all over the place. There’s a guy that has gone four innings and thrown 55 pitches and there have been rockets all over the ballpark and no swings and misses. So people will say, ‘Why’d you take him out?’ And I’d say. ‘Well, I thought it was time.’ That’s when your eyes become important.”