Disaster Averted

Books, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players, Spring Training

On March 7th, Mike Francesa announced on his WFAN radio show that Yankees manager Joe Girardi would be a guest every day that there was a Yankee game and Francesa was working.

It was supposed to be a 5 or so minute segment designed to…do something.

I’m not sure what.

I wrote a posting on March 8th saying that it was a foundation for disaster; that former Mets manager Jeff Torborg had a similar daily appearance with Francesa and Chris Russo on Mike and the Mad Dog in 1992.

It didn’t go well.

Oversaturation and saying something stupid is too great a possibility for a daily interview—no matter how brief—for it to be worthwhile regardless of how much money Girardi was being paid.

The disaster has been averted as Girardi backed out on what Francesa said (and was told) had been agreed upon.

I believe Francesa when he says he wouldn’t have announced it had he not been under the impression that everything was set.

I also believe that Girardi was smart to back out.

Nothing good was going to come of it. In fact, it might have created controversy where none was necessary. Girardi has enough on his plate with the star-studded Yankees and their ever-present egos, the media, fans and the front office to have to chat daily with Francesa.

By May (at the earliest), it would’ve become a chore rather than an opportunity for Girardi to let the audience know what he was thinking.

Radio shows and planned appearances are contingent on many factors and Girardi has few of the attributes to make it tenable. He isn’t the most interesting interview to begin with and wasn’t going to say anything we didn’t already know from the day’s stories; instead of being an insider’s account or analysis of Yankees universe, it was a landscape riddled with traps. Because Francesa is a Yankee lover doesn’t mean he wouldn’t use the forum to try and corner the manager if it meant a boost in listeners.

The less a manager/general manager has to say to his constituency and critics, the better. J.P. Ricciardi—a far more interesting listen than Girardi because he has a volcanic temper and said stuff—had a call-in radio show while he was the Blue Jays GM.


Ricciardi actually argued with the callers. It was one such call that led to the Blue Jays GM openly criticizing then-Reds outfielder Adam Dunn.

In proceeding weeks, the impropriety of a GM criticizing another team’s player blew into a full-fledged story as Dunn and Ricciardi had a acidic back-and-forth in the media; Ricciardi was prank called into believing he was speaking to and apologizing to Dunn when he wasn’t; it became a mess of the GM’s own making due to the first cause: he decided to have a call-in radio show.

Girardi wasn’t taking calls from the audience, but going back and forth with Francesa would’ve been bad enough.

Girardi isn’t as forthcoming as Ricciardi—truthfully, he’s not a particularly engaging interview—so such a thing was unlikely to happen; but there was the potential, even likelihood, of the Yankees manager inadvertently revealing something that was meant to be kept in-house or would’ve been better left unsaid.

The risk-reward for Girardi and the Yankees was non-existent; the worst case scenario was a nightmare.

A nightmare neither the Yankees nor Girardi needed.

The Yankees and Girardi are better-served to have squashed the concept.

It probably would’ve been dull anyway.

I published a full excerpt of my book on Wednesday here.

The book is available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on Borders.com.


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