During his postgame interview this afternoon, Yankees manager Joe Girardi choked up one time. Not when he was asked about Hideki Matsui. Not when he was asked about George Steinbrenner. Girardi had to fight tears when he talked about longtime Yankees trainer Gene Monahan, who’s been away from the team while fighting cancer.
“Knowing what he’s going through, it was really emotional,” Girardi said. “We’re all thrilled to see him.”
Monahan got the first ring during the on-field ceremony. He was first member of the staff to come onto the field, and the rest of the Yankees gave him a standing ovation from the dugout. The crowd at Yankee Stadium seemed to respond as he waved from near first base.
“It probably more to us than to him,” Derek Jeter said.
Here’s Girardi’s postgame interview.
• As emotional as he was about Monahan, Girardi said his pregame visit with Steinbrenner was “one of the best parts of my day.”
• The Yankees gave Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher fake World Series rings. It was apparently Jeter’s idea to replace the real rings with the fake versions given out before the final spring training game in Tampa. Matsui got the real thing when Girardi was introduced pregame.
• Nick Johnson’s choice of at-bat music — Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus — was chosen for his daughter, who loves Cyrus. For those of you who know my obsession with music, you can imagine how appalled I was to hear it. But Nick gets a pass for the daughter thing. Maybe someone can introduce her to some Allman Brothers.
• Girardi said he was happy with Chan Ho Park, who got pitched exceptionally well except for the home run to Kendry Morales. “He made one mistake,” Girardi said.
• Speaking of great pitching, Andy Pettitte was outstanding. His biggest pitch was his last, the double play to end the sixth inning. “I don’t know if I made a good pitch that whole inning until I threw that ball right there,” Pettitte said.
• Brian Cashman, Randy Levin, Lonn Trost, Reggie Jackson and members of the Steinbrenner family were also in George Steinbrenner’s suite when Girardi and Jeter gave The Boss his ring. Cashman said the whole thing was a surprise for Steinbrenner.
• Alex Rodriguez said he was more nervous to get his ring than he was to play in the playoffs last year. “It was really a dream come true,” Rodriguez said. “I felt like a 10-year-old boy.”
• Jorge Posada hit his 345th double, moving him past Mickey Mantle for seventh place on the Yankees all-time list. He then hit his 346th.
Those are Associated Press shots of Monahan during the pregame ceremony and of Rodriguez showing off his ring postgame.