Report: Yankees manager Joe Girardi ripped into his team before Derek Jeter’s home finale

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Derek Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday nothing short of perfect, as he ended it with a walk-off RBI single against the Orioles, but the night apparently began on a sour note.

According to Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, Yankees manager Joe Girardi ripped into his team in the clubhouse before Thursday’s game to express his disappointment about missing the playoffs for the second straight year. In what can best be described as awkward, Girardi reportedly took a break during his speech for the team to present some retirement gifts to Jeter.

According to clubhouse sources who were present for the critique, and backed up by interviews with more than a half-dozen players, most of whom spoke to ESPNNewYork.com off-the-record for fear of angering the manager, Girardi chided some players for being overweight, and others for not being “hungry” enough.

One source described Girardi as “angry,” and said he even took a brief timeout to allow the players, led by CC Sabathia, to present Jeter with the original painting of The New Yorker magazine’s Sept. 8 cover depicting the shortstop waving goodbye, and an expensive watch, before returning to Part Two of his tirade.

“It was a speech the likes of which I’ve never heard him give before,” said the source, who was in the room during the meeting. “It’s something he probably should have said back in spring training.”

Some are overweight while others aren’t hungry enough. Talk about your mixed messages. Anyway, Girardi confirmed that the incident took place, but he characterized it as a “team meeting” and said he was more “disappointed” than “angry.” However, he was clearly peeved that details of the meeting leaked out.

“I’ll tell you what really bothers me, and I’m not blaming you,” he said to the reporter who confronted him about the meeting. “It’s that you know. It’s not right that the meetings you have in the clubhouse get out of the clubhouse.”

The Yankees were officially eliminated from postseason contention on Wednesday night. You could certainly quibble with the timing of the speech, as it felt out of place with the overall tone of the night, but Girardi said that he wanted to address the team at Yankee Stadium and not on the road.

Cincinnati Reds fire Bryan Price

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The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.

It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.

Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).” 

Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.

Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.