The Yankees clubhouse was closed to the media for an extra hour this afternoon while former NFL coach Tony Dungy spoke to the team. Manager Joe Girardi tried to get Dungy to speak to the team in spring training, but the schedules never aligned until today when Dungy was in New York for some television work.
“In important games, it’s not necessary who has the most talent, but what team sticks together and executes their fundamentals the best,” Dungy said afterward, explaining his message. “Probably nothing they haven’t heard from Joe, but I know I have a son who doesn’t listen to anything I say, but if he hears the same thing from someone else, sometimes it has a little more impact.”
Girardi is a big Dungy fan, and he likes bringing speakers to talk to the team. This spring, he brought former Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson to be a guest speaker.
“I admire (Dungy) tremendously for his faith, his beliefs, the kind of man he is, the kind of family man, the kind of coach,” Girardi said. “I’ve read his books. I subscribe to his website. A ton of respect.”
The players and Girardi said Dungy’s message didn’t have a lot to do with sports, but was more about the life experiences of an athlete. It was a brief speech — Dungy guessed it lasted about five minutes — and there were some follow-up discussion. My most accounts, it was Nick Swisher who asked the most questions.
“Winning at any level in any other sport, seems so much harder because you’re not doing it,” Curtis Granderson said. “When you listen to it, you’re like man that’s pretty cool and that’s pretty neat just because it’s related in a different aspect. It’s still winning. The philosophies are very similar.”
• Other than the Dungy appearance, this seemed to be a pretty slow afternoon at Yankee Stadium. The players had optional batting practice and were filtering in and out of the clubhouse the whole time the media was in there.
• Austin Kearns is back in the Yankees lineup for the first time since being hit in the elbow by a pitch in Baltimore. “The last couple of days it’s gotten better,” he said. “It was just a matter of the swelling and stiffness getting better.”
• Phil Hughes said he wasn’t caught to off guard by having his start changed to Wednesday. He joked that he’s not thinking of this as being skipped, just pushed back three days.
• Hughes seemed to have the same attitude as Dave Eiland, saying he doesn’t know what made the difference the last time he had a start pushed back. Maybe the inning of relief helped. Maybe the change in some of his side work helped. Or maybe he simply had better stuff that day. Either way, he’s not putting too much thought into the extra rest this time around, or leading into the playoffs.
• As he’s said before, Girardi once again said his management style would not have been any different had their spot in the standings been different. “I haven’t managed any different the whole year,” he said.
• Funniest father-son combination in the clubhouse has to be Kerry Wood and his little boy. That kid will follow Wood everywhere, and the two seem to be always having some sort of playful conversation. It’s really funny to watch.
Marco Scutaro SS
J.D. Drew RF
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jed Lowrie SS
Ryan Kalish CF
Daniel Nava LF
Lars Anderson 1B
Dungy picture from his website