Yankees manager Joe Girardi during batting practice at George Steinbrenner...

Yankees manager Joe Girardi during batting practice at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Erik Boland: You've said multiple times you don't know what it's truly like to manage the Yankees until you sit in that chair. What's the No. 1 thing that makes it so different?

Joe Girardi: I think it's two-fold - it's the expectations and the media coverage. I felt it as a player, the expectations, but I think you feel it more as a manager. You only have to answer for yourself in a sense. As the manager you have to answer for yourself and 25 others. And sometimes even more. It's totally different."

Boland: Are you a different manager in year three than year one?

Girardi: Oh, yeah. And I think I'll be different every year. I think the more you do something, the more changes you're going to make because you have a better understanding of what it takes and you understand your players better.''



Boland: Paraphrasing a bit, but Ozzie Guillen recently said managing is so much more than filling out the lineup card or calling for the hit-and-run. What did he mean?

Girardi: I think you know pretty much what you're going to put in the lineup every day. The surprises that come up can be during the game, it can be pregame; you pretty much know what your lineup is going to be every day. I can tell you our lineup last year what it was. That's the one constant. Sometimes things that happen in the game you can't predict, and that's why to me, he's probably right.



Boland: What is your dominant memory of 2009?

Girardi: All the walk-offs we had. You think about how your bullpen did a good job holding it, the game when you were behind that allowed you to come back and win. Or when it was tied, the bullpen holding the games so that you could win.



Boland: High school, college, pro or whatever, who was the most influential person on your managerial style?

Girardi: I don't know if I have a "most.'' I took bits and pieces from everyone I've ever been around. And that includes my parents. Played for my dad. But I took something from every coach.



Boland: In what sport did your dad coach you in?

Girardi: Basketball. I wasn't very good, though. I could run all day, that was about it. My father helped me develop a toughness.



Boland: What would you be doing if you weren't managing?

Girardi: I have an engineering degree, but I don't think I would have been an engineer. I might have tried to be a college coach, then maybe worked my way up to possibly being an athletic director.

Boland: What's the No. 1 thing people don't get about the baseball season?

Girardi: I think how physical it is. I think when you look at football, people say, that's physical. When you look at basketball, you think it's physical because they're running up and down the court. Our sport appears to move very slow but it doesn't. It moves very quickly. Our sport's a grind. In football, you obviously play beat up; basketball players are always beat up. You play beat up in baseball, too.



Boland: Derek has said he has the greatest job in the world as the shortstop of the Yankees. Do you have the second greatest?

Girardi: I don't really consider it a job. I think when you do what you love to do, it's not a job. It's a passion. The jobs that I considered jobs . . . I was a paperboy, I worked at a water slide, I worked cutting grass. Those were jobs.



Boland:  Your top concern with the 2010 Yankees is . . . ?

Girardi: I think there's two - always the health of your staff is extremely important. And No. 2, whenever you have new players, there's always concern how they react initially to New York.

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