For a third-hand manager, Joe Girardi's doing pretty well for himself. In 2006, the Marlins fired the feisty Girardi after he got a verbal altercation with team owner Jeffrey Loria. Then Girardi's longtime team, the Chicago Cubs had a chance to hire him, instead opting for the more experienced Lou Piniella. This year, those two franchises missed the post-season. Girardi's one win away from a World Series crown.
ESPN's new Chicago website recently posted an article questioning the wisdom of the Cubs' passing over Girardi, but the Marlins have an even flimsier defense.
Fans must remember that 2006 season, when Girardi gave the low budget team an extreme makeover, including a no facial hair policy, much like that of his New York Yankees. A catcher during his own playing days, Girardi's adept at using pitchers, and an expert communicator -- traits he displayed while managing the Marlins. The team made it stunningly close to landing the wild card during a season no one expected them to compete into September. Shortly after Girardi was fired he won the league's manager of the year award.
If Girardi managed to achieve that much with the Marlins, imagine what he could have done with the Chicago Cubs -- a team with a higher payroll and better, more experienced players. The sometimes overly emotional Piniella rules with his heart, whereas Girardi more cerebral, more disciplined, toting around a 200-plus paged binder filled with "scouting reports, statistics, and observations," according to the New York Times.
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The Marlins and Cubs should have taken Girardi while they had the chance -- or at least not fired him on an ego trip like Mr. Loria.