The final day of an unusual season. In some ways, the events of the past few days — Mariano Rivera’s emotional farewell, Andy Pettitte’s complete game finale — have actually give this disappointing season a sort of happy ending, but today is back to the reality of missing the playoffs and a ton of uncertainty moving forward.
“There’s a lot of emotions that go through a day like this,” Giradi said. “The disappointment of not getting where we want. The sadness of seeing two Yankee greats leave and walk away. Extremely happy with the way they were able to go out. The only thing better would have been in the World Series. But there’s a lot of work to be done, and a lot of things that we were able to do this year. Saw a lot of good things. We saw a lot of players step up. A number of times that people thought we were out of it, we seemed to find a way to come back. Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to get into playing next week.”
Robinson Cano isn’t playing today, which means he might have already taken his final Yankees at-bat. It seems likely that a series of secondary pitchers, beginning with David Huff, will handle the duties on the mound. Curtis Granderson, Brendan Ryan, Travis Hafner and Mark Reynolds are in the lineup before reaching free agency. Mariano Rivera has said he doesn’t want to pitch or play center field today.
Girardi said it’s those farewell moments that he expects to most remember about this season, but there’s also this:
“The two things that really stick out in my mind about this year,” Girardi said. “When Vern came here, he probably never imagined that he’d play third, second and first. And Luis Cruz, they wouldn’t let in the building because they didn’t know he was on our team. Those are the two things that really stick out which kind of tell me what kind of year it has been around here.”
It’s the final day of a long and disappointing season, so the Yankees will play out the next nine innings and then begin finding out what’s next.
“I don’t know if I would call it (a transitional offseason),” Girardi said. “But I see it as a year where there’s probably more areas to address than there has been in a long time just because of people retiring, other situations that we’re dealing with, players at the end of their contracts. There’s a lot to be done in the offseason, but the Yankees front office has always done a wonderful job, and they’ll work at getting it done the right way.”
• Girardi addressed his own free agency, saying he expects to make a decision fairly soon about whether to come back to the Yankees. The team has certainly made it seem as though it’s interested in bringing Girardi back, and Girardi has expressed interest in coming back. “It comes down to family,” Girardi said. “They are first, and whatever is best for group of us – not one individual, not me or just my wife or just one of my children – whatever it best for us as a group, that’s what we’ll decide to do. And that’s something I’ve put some thought into and I’m going to have to think about a lot of the next few days obviously. But that’s a decision that we’ll sit down and make and decide what’s best.”
• Interestingly, Girardi downplayed his connections to Chicago — amid some speculation that he might want the Cubs job — but very much opened the idea of going back into broadcasting because it would let him stay home and see his kids more often. “It doesn’t even necessarily have to be in baseball, in a sense,” Girardi said. “It’s just, as I said, it’s not so much the (managerial) circumstances, but what’s best for my crew.”
• The Astros are going to honor Rivera pregame. Joe Torre is here, and apparently Roger Clemens is going to be a part of the ceremony as well.
Girardi said he doesn’t know just how much Rivera was hurting at the end of the season, but he believes Rivera would have been available to pitch if the team had advanced to the postseason. “I didn’t know until Thursday (that he was hurting),” Girardi said. “That’s just who he is. He was going to do everything in his power to help us get to where we wanted to go.”
• Player manager for this game? “I’ll ask,” Girardi said. “I was thinking about asking Mo if he wanted to do it, or Andy, if they wanted to do it. I was thinking about asking guys if they want to do it. My guess is they may not want to, but we’ll see.”
• Just making some random small talk with Brendan Ryan before the game, he expressed some interest in possibly coming back to the Yankees next year, but acknowledged that it’s tough to know what the team might do about its infield situation. Bizarre to have such uncertainty at third base, second base and shortstop.
Associated Press photos