Friday, May 2, 2008

Yankees' Girardi Feels "Left Out" That No Real Speculation About His Job Security Has Started Yet

New York, NY. (May 2) - Despite a sluggish start and being swept at home by the also slow-starting Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees first-year manager Joe Girardi's job security has yet to be aggressively discussed, a development that has Girardi feeling "left out," according to friends.

"Everyone knows that you're not TRULY a Yankees manager until you've had your job threatened by radio show callers and sports columnists," said Anthony Pellagrino, a close friend of Girardi's since childhood. "And that hasn't really happened yet, and Joe can't understand why."

Girardi, hired last fall to replace longtime skipper Joe Torre, who resigned under pressure, is puzzled why a 14-16 start and the inability to consistently beat crappy teams like Tampa Bay and Baltimore hasn't made him a lightning rod yet.

During a recent loss, Yankees manager Joe Girardi desperately looks toward the Steinbrenner suite for any signs of disgust

"The other day, he was like, 'What does a guy have to do around here to be a whipping boy?'," said shortstop Derek Jeter. "I think he would wear his job being threatened as a badge of honor," Jeter added. "And, sadly, the media and fans seem to be patient with Joe, which hurts him."

Girardi reportedly was looking forward to the maelstrom and media circus that a slow start would put him in the center of, but he's complained to friends that "Torre was never treated this well" in the past several years. The Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2000.

"The thing about Joe is, he's at his best when you tell him he can't do something," Pellagrino said. "And it bothers him that nobody has really started to tell him that yet. He's getting restless, I can tell you that."

Girardi was the 2006 NL Manager of the Year with Florida, but fell out of favor with management and was fired anyway -- a situation that whetted his appetite for the perils of managing in New York.

"He was proud of being fired in Florida, because he did things his way," Pellagrino said. "So when he took the Yankees job, he told me, 'Just wait till you see how much abuse I can take.' "

But media and fan outcries for Girardi's head have been few and far between.

"He's bitterly disappointed," Pellagrino said. "He thought Yankees fans and the media were tougher and more callous than this.

"He's disillusioned."

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner's son, Hank, who's been taking a more active role in running the ballclub, has offered Girardi nothing but encouragement, according to sources.

"Joe now feels like he was sold a bill of goods," Pellagrino said.

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