Joe Girardi talked for a little over 20 minutes today — more than twice the typical duration of his pregame presser. The topic, of course, was almost exclusively George Steinbrenner.
Of course, this will be the first Yankee game since The Boss passed on Tuesday. Girardi took everyone through his steps Tuesday morning when he learned about Steinbrenner’s death. He received a message from COO Lonn Trost at 6:15 a.m. and watched TV until about 10, pacific time. As you can hear in the audio, Girardi said it was a very emotional morning for him and his family, for whom he said Steinbrenner had done so much.
There’s too much from Girardi to break it down in detail, but he touched on a few key topics I think you’ll enjoy. Among them:
• He had few “Boss” stories, saying that he wasn’t sure if Steinbrenner just liked him or (in a lighthearted way) if the owner didn’t think Girardi was worth it.
• He talked about the urgency to win. “You could feel it,” Girardi said. “You could not only feel coming from up above, but you could feel it in the crowd. … He set up an expectation here that getting to the playoffs wasn’t good enough.”
• Girardi addressed the question about whether or not his players will be able to focus after an emotional pregame ceremony in time for what is the opener of a huge series vs. the second-place Rays. “They know exactly what he’d want us to do,” he said of Steinbrenner.
• What did it mean to beat Tampa? A lot, no matter if it was the regular season or February in Florida. “George wanted to keep that a Yankee town,” Girardi said.
• Girardi shares several memories: the time George offered to lend his private jet to fly Girardi’s father-in-law; Steinbrenner’s urgency before Game 3 of the 1996 World Series; and his favorite, delivering the ring this spring.
• There’s a few notes in there as well. I have more on them closer to first pitch.