Baseball has a longstanding rule, unwritten and unenforceable, that was intended to prohibit teams from making major announcements during postseason play. Judging by what happened before the World Series started and again Oct. 26, off-days don't count.
There have been three managerial hires, one rather shocking dismissal, and some serious movement of musical chairs among the coaching fraternity while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros were either preparing for or playing two extremely exciting games. There have been times when off-field distractions might've been a good thing -- but if these first two games are any indication of how this season is going to end, the 2017 World Series will be one to remember, not one to be bothered by distractions.
That's how I would describe the New York Yankees' firing of manager Joe Girardi, even though it probably wasn't as big a shock as it seemed. The "exit" sign was in full view when Girardi's 10th year also happened to be the last one on his contract. Managers entering the final year of their contract rarely return unless they happen to win a World Series (see Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals, 2015).
All of which should draw a lot of attention in Baltimore, where both manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette have one year left on their contracts. We've been talking about a mass exodus around here in 2018 ever since third basean Manny Machado established his footprints as a potential superstar, but that uncertainty extends beyond the playing field, which should make this a very interesting offseason.
Girardi's firing goes beyond "what have you done for me lately?" It was more like, "You haven't done enough for me lately." And how ironic is it that Girardi's last season produced a 91-71 record? That's exactly the average of his 10-year tenure, which produced a 910-710 record. That would qualify for a lifetime contract most places, but only one brass ring in 10 rides around the roller coaster doesn't cut it in New York.
Girardi had his detractors in New York, but it's hard to criticize his body of work. He's only 53 and has many managing years in his future if he so desires, just like his two most immediate predecessors -- Joe Torre and Showalter. And don't forget, Girardi reportedly turned down the Orioles' job before Andy MacPhail hired Showalter. MacPhail is now running the show in Philadelphia, and the Phillies just happen to have an opening in their managerial department.
Jim Henneman can be reached at JimH@pressboxonline.com
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