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.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.