Say it ain’t so, Joe.
That was the reaction of many Yankee fans to the news of Joe Girardi’s announced departure from the team after nine years as manager.
“I am really sad to see him go,” Shane Kravik, 44, said outside Yankee Stadium hours after the word got out. “He’s been a huge asset to the entire Yankee organization. My daughter and I are huge fans.”
Girardi, 53, leaves the Bombers with a 910-710 managerial record since 2008. He managed the team to a World Series title in 2009, and this past season took the Yankees to Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, where they lost to the Houston Astros.
Joe Girardi managed the club for nine seasons and finished with a 910-710 record.
“I thought they would renew his contract,” said Joseph Bevel, 49, who lives near Yankee Stadium. “I was pleasantly surprised with the season, so even more surprised they didn’t re-sign him.”
Other fans also questioned the timing after a season with low expectations ended so close to a World Series appearance.
“I don’t know if this is the time to do that,” Sean Lee, 43, said outside the Yankee Clubhouse store in Midtown.
Girardi speaks during a news conference before the team’s Wild Card match game against the Minnesota Twins on Oct. 3.
(Frank Franklin II/AP)
“We exceeded our expectations this season. We have a real young team, a lot of depth. And maybe a change isn’t what we need right now.”
In 2007, Girardi took over the team after Joe Torre turned down a one-year deal. The former Yankee catcher won three World Series with the team as a player in the 1990s.
Girardi, who has an engineering degree from Northwestern, was famous for his meticulous preparation before games.
Joe Girardi’s Yankees career through the years
But not all fans were balking at the team’s decision to part ways.
“Honestly speaking, sometimes it’s time to go,” said Milton Aponte, 55, from the Bronx. “Let the next person do it.”
Aponte and others second-guessed some of Girardi’s decisions in the playoffs, despite the team’s successful run to one game away from the World Series.
Girardi celebrates with Aaron Judge (99) after Judge hit a home run during the first inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 10, 2017.
(Frank Franklin II/AP)
“He made some mistakes in that Houston game,” Aponte said, referring to the final matchup when starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia and reliever Tommy Kahnle gave up four runs.
“Why would he not take the pitcher(s) out?” he questioned. “He waited until it was four-zip. Why let (them) continue to pitch?”
Fan Torq Perry, 42, agreed.
While some fans are sad to see Girardi go, others say it was time to part ways.
“I’m not surprised because he made a lot of questionable decisions in the post-season and obviously if he made it to World Series it would be a different situation,” the Wayne, N.J., resident said outside the Yankee Clubhouse store.
Girardi was blasted by fans after he failed to seek a video review following a bad hit-by-pitch call on Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall during a playoff game.
“I screwed up,” he later told fans and the team.
But all seemed to be forgotten after the Bronx Bombers went on to defeat the heavily favored Indians in Game 5 of the American League Division Series.
Overall, Girardi was an intense team leader but rarely lost his temper or cool with the team or umpires.
By comparison, former Yankee manager Billy Martin once challenged Reggie Jackson to a fight in the dugout during a game in Boston in 1977.