There has been a lot of discussion swirling around about who will be the leader of the Yankees. Derek Jeter was the captain of the New York Yankees but retired after the season ended. The next longest tenured player would be Alex Rodriguez, but given his bad public image and his use of PEDs he is ruled out as a leader of the team. Aside from Alex Rodriguez, the second longest tenured player on the Yankees is Brett Gardner. Gardner definitely has the passion and fire to be a leader, and will likely be the only homegrown player on the 25 man roster. At the same time however, many of his peers are older than him and he does not seem like a very vocal person. We keep on looking for a player to step up and fill that leadership role, but is that really what we should be looking for?
BYB has a great article about the affects a mentor has on athletes: http://bleedingyankeeblue.blogspot.com/2015/02/mentoring-athletes-is-key-to-success.html?m=1 In the article it talks about how confidence, spirit, and the refusing to give up attitude are intangibles that help far more than talent itself. Here is another thing the article said: “Good mentoring can help instill or restore confidence which is a key ingredient to success. Often people struggle because their belief in themselves has faded. A good mentor is often someone who has attained some wisdom and or expertise in a particular field and is now willing to share it and give back so that others can reap the benefit of their experience. A good mentor however might not have all the degrees, credentials or accolades, but still has the ability to listen and convey wisdom and truth in a way that the mentee needs to hear in a particular moment.”
Now you might be wondering why I highlighted those two sentence, even though the message on a whole was important. Reading those two sentences made me realize that the manager has the best qualifications for this role. This may not be shocking news, however everyone is pinpointing players to step up. In reality isn’t it the manager’s job to get the most out of his players? Isn’t it his job to share the knowledge he acquired as a player and as a manager, to benefit the entire team? This makes Joe Girardi the perfect candidate for the leadership role.
Are you not buying that Joe Girardi should be the leader of team? Just think of the affect that managers/coaches like Terry Francona and Pete Carroll have on a team. The manager can’t just let his players be the only leaders on the team while he sits idly off to the side. If the manager does not lead the team, then he has no role on the club. A lineup card would be better filled out by the hitting coach who spends hours working with each player, and knows about their strengths, weaknesses, and cold/hot streaks. The pitching coach could easily call on a phone to have a reliever warm up, he works on their delivery and mechanics more than a manager ever will. The manger’s job is to ameliorate the team and make them better capable of enjoying success.
Joe Girardi is the leader of the Yankees, and there are a lot of other players who are good clubhouse guys and set an example for their teammates to follow. Brian McCann is is a fiery and passionate guy who has no fear of backing up his teammates, just think about the Carlos Gomez incident. Texeira, A-Rod, Sabathia, Headley, Gardner and Ellsbury are all good clubhouse guys. Girardi is still the leader though. It is he who welcomed A-Rod back to the team in the midst of his suspension appeal during the 2013 season. It was he who had veins popping out of his head when Dempster hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch, although maybe Dempster’s veins should have been popping for missing his intended target 3 consecutive times. “Joe’s reaction was amazing,” Rodriguez said. “Every single one of my teammates came up to me and said, ‘Hit a bomb and walk it off.'” “What is wrong with people?” Girardi said. “You cheer when someone gets hit? I’m going to say it again: What if that were your son? What if your son got hit? Breaks an arm, gets hit in the head, has a concussion. I would be embarrassed. You’d have to be really unaware or not paying attention to not know that he threw at him on purpose.” Girardi is also the vocal leader who complained about getting the Mutombo from umpire Laz Diaz. It was Girardi who in 2008 benched Robinson Cano for not hustling, which may have helped as Cano never had a season worse than 2008. Girardi is the one who protects the team and deflects the blame, and led a wounded team to win 85 one year and 84 games the next. Joe is the leader, and that is what he gets paid to do. The leadership void is nonexistent.