Joe Girardi, without a contract after the season, sounded like a man at peace with whatever determination the Yankees make regarding his future.
“I think an organization has to do what they’re comfortable with,” Girardi, finishing his 10th season as Yankees manager, said before Sunday night’s game. “And it may not always agree with the person that is either being fired or however it goes, but I think that’s Hal’s and Brian’s decision, and whatever their decision is, I’ll live with.”
There have been no indications that principal owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman are interested in making a change at manager (Cashman’s contract also is up and it’s thought that he is a virtual lock to return).
During a 10-minute pregame session with beat reporters who cover the club, Girardi repeated some of the things he’s said in the past when his contract has been up, primarily about talking things through with his family. But there were a few times when he was reflective in a way he rarely, if ever, is.
Asked point-blank if he wants to return, Girardi, under fire since Friday night for his decision during Game 2 of the American League Division Series to not challenge a key hit-by-pitch call in the sixth inning — which proved to be the difference between an inning-ending strikeout and a subsequent grand slam — didn’t answer directly.
“Those are things I handle at the end of the season, when the season is all said and done,” Girardi said. “I’ve always been a guy that sat down and talked to my family first. I owe that to my wife and my children. In saying that, that’s the least of my concerns right now today. My biggest concern is to win a game today. We’ll worry about that when the time comes.”
Girardi, who will turn 53 on Saturday, and his wife, Kim, have three children — Serena, 18, Dante, 15, and Lena, 11. “We talk about what’s best for the group of five,” he said. “Because obviously in my life, my family’s always going to be first and I have to do what’s best for them.”
Could he think of something else he would want to do?
“Oh, I don’t know,” Girardi said. “I think there’s some dream jobs that I’ll never get to do. I think it would be fun to be in some different positions in the game, I do. But I don’t really know, and that’s why I think it’s important to talk to my family and know what they’re thinking.
“I really enjoy managing, I enjoy the competition, I enjoy the relationships, I enjoy watching people have success. But again, they [my family] make a lot of sacrifices so I can do this, and that’s why I need to talk to them.”
Regardless of how some Yankees fans feel about Girardi, within the game, he is highly regarded as a manager. That reputation, at least in the short term, took a hit on Friday, and he was loudly booed during pregame introductions Sunday night.
“You hope that it doesn’t come to that,” Girardi said. “But there’s a lot of people that are upset with me and that’s all part of it. And that’s something that I have to deal with. The only thing I can do is give my best to this team moving forward. And that’s what I’ll do.”
Girardi brought some gallows humor when asked to rate his enjoyment of this season, one in which his team surpassed many outsiders’ expectations.
“Up until Friday,” he said, “probably pretty good.”