As he begins his first spring training as the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, Joe Girardi is showing that he understands the process and what it will take to win.
Joe Girardi is an impressive guy, and so you already had to feel good about him coming aboard to manage the Philadelphia Phillies as the team takes a stab at its first postseason appearance (and winning season) since 2011.
But in his appearance on MLB Network’s High Heat on Friday, Girardi showed even more of why he was the right man for this job and how the Phillies are in much better hands now than they were when the other guy was in town.
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Right away in the interview, Girardi credited his bench coach, long-time associate Rob Thomson, with the gameplan for his first spring training with a new organization. It was refreshing to hear something like that from the top dog right off the bat. Even if someone is the smartest guy in the room, it’s important that they don’t act like it. Little things like this just show you that Girardi “gets it.”
Girardi would also go on to stress that, for his pitchers, their preparation will be more important than them trying to wow him and the rest of the coaching staff over the next few weeks. Spring training is a process, and the judgment will come in the second half of it once everyone gets up to speed. With statements like this, Girardi makes it clear that he will have expectations but is also intelligent enough to know when to employ patience.
Moving on to the importance of Andrew McCutchen‘s return, Girardi noted how the Phillies’ struggled last year to find a replacement atop the lineup after McCutchen’s season ended in June. Not only that, but the leadership he offered was clearly missing from this team. With McCutchen (and also Jake Arrieta) back in the fold this year and hopefully over their maladies, Girardi knows that he has a successful veteran core to help him get his message across to the rest of the club.
Finally, like you knew it would, the Houston Astros‘ cheating scandal and its impact came up. And even though Girardi has as good a gripe as anyone about how his Yankees team was victimized by trash cans, buzzers, or whatever else was going on, he completely deflected the question and said that his main takeaway was about the importance of protecting your team’s own signs and being careful about anything you do.
That’s a smart man right there.
Don’t get involved in all this garbage. Everybody and their mother is piling on the Astros right now. It’s fine, I guess. It’s certainly deserved. But Joe Girardi should only be worried about the Phillies. If other cities/fans/organizations want to dwell on ancient history, they can. But it’s good to see that the man in charge in Philadelphia is only looking forward and isn’t fixated on getting his pound of flesh from some previous injustice.
All in all, you have to like Joe Girardi and the potential of what he can do for this team, and things seem more promising with each passing day. The honeymoon won’t last forever, but this marriage is off to a good start. Let the games begin already.