9/27/14, "Sources: Joe Girardi chided Yankees,
" ESPN NY, Wallace Matthews, Andrew Marchand
"It was supposed to be a festive occasion
, in which Derek Jeter
's New York Yankees
teammates were to present their captain with gifts to express their
respect and gratitude just moments before he would take the field for
his final game at Yankee Stadium.
But before the gifts could be bestowed, manager Joe Girardi had a message he wished to deliver to his players.
It was not a fond farewell to Jeter, but a scathing critique of the
Yankees' 2014 season
, in which he expressed his disappointment with
their failure to reach the playoffs for a second straight year, the
first time that has happened in more than two decades.
According to clubhouse sources who were present for the critique, and
backed up by interviews with more than a half-dozen players, most of
whom spoke to ESPNNewYork.com not for attribution for fear of angering
their manager, Girardi chided some players for being overweight and
others for not being "hungry" enough.
One source described Girardi as "angry,"
and said he even took a brief timeout to allow the players, led by CC Sabathia
to present Jeter with the original painting of The New Yorker's Sept. 8
cover depicting the shortstop waving goodbye, and an expensive watch,
before returning to Part Two of his tirade.
"It was a speech the likes of which I've never heard him give
said the source, who was in the room during the meeting. "It's
something he probably should have said back in spring training."
Girardi confirmed the incident took place -- he preferred to describe
it as "a team meeting" -- but refused to supply any details of what he
said to the team or if any particular players were singled out.
"I'm not going to go into what I talked about," Girardi said. "Write whatever you want."
Girardi took issue with the characterization of him as angry -- "I
don't think that's the right way to paraphrase it. Disappointed is more
like it," he said -- but did admit he was not happy that details of the
meeting had leaked out.
"I'll tell you what really bothers me, and I'm not blaming you," he
said to the reporter who confronted him about the meeting. "It's that
you know. It's not right that the meetings you have in the clubhouse get
out of the clubhouse."
According to Girardi, the tone of his talk was overall disappointment
with the way the Yankees played this year in failing to reach the
"I addressed the team just to let them know what I expected of them
next year," he said. "I think that obviously there's a lot of
disappointment when you don't make the playoffs. And the expectation is,
the reason you play the game, is to make the playoffs and win the World
Series. We need to get better, and I let them know that."
Girardi denied that he was displeased with the effort of his club
this season or that he accused some players of being in less than top
"I felt we had chances to make it and we just didn't execute," he said. "I told them we had work to do to get better."
Asked why he chose Thursday night to deliver his message
delivering it Wednesday night, when the Yankees were officially
eliminated from the postseason in a 9-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles
, or even waiting until after the season finale on Sunday, Girardi replied that he wanted to address the team at Yankee Stadium.
"I think the best place to have a team meeting is at your own
ballpark," he said. "I thought it was important to have that meeting
before we left New York."
But other observers who were in the room questioned the timing of
Girardi's address. One told ESPNNewYork.com that it cast a pall in the
and detracted from the gift ceremony, which Jeter has said caused
him to turn away from his teammates to hide his welling emotions.
"I don't think that's true," Girardi said. "I think there was still a lot of anticipation for the game."
Girardi also denied returning to his critique after Jeter was given his gifts.
One Yankee source familiar with the meeting, said, "The only thing
you can question about it is whether or not it should've waited until
the end of the season."
During his postgame news conference following Saturday's 10-4 loss
to the Red Sox, Girardi said he has had other meetings during the year,
while leaning on his often stated mantra that if he wanted reporters to
know about them he would have invited them.
ESPNNewYork.com talked to eight players about Thursday's meeting
While most confirmed it happened, they would not answer specific
questions about the contents.
"My take was that was a team meeting and I'm not going to talk to you about it," Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner
said Girardi's talk was not anything different than what he has heard in other end-of-season talks.
"I've had managers in the past say the same thing," Drew said. "You
look back and you think everybody is hungry. It is just the way you
interpret it. We are all disappointed."
who played through a bone spur in his elbow all year, did not look as
lean as he has in the past. He said he would not talk about what was
said in the meeting, but he maintained he was in shape this season.
Beltran, whom the Yankees signed for three years and $45 million, will
finish the year hitting .233 with 15 homers and 49 RBIs in 109 games.
"Every year, you have something to prove," Beltran said. "It is never
enough. If you hit 30, the next year they expect you to hit 35. If you
drive in 100, they expect you to drive in 110."
And in typical fashion, when asked about the meeting Jeter said, "You should know better than to ask me a question like that."
With Jeter retiring, the Yankees will have a leadership void. There is some feeling that Brian McCann
could be asked to fill that role, which he had with the Atlanta Braves
. McCann did not have any problem with the team's effort in 2014.
"For whatever reason we came up short, but it wasn't for a lack of effort," McCann said.
Despite all the injuries to their pitching staff and the
under-performance of their offense, which produced just 620 runs -- more
than just two other AL teams -- the Yankees were still in contention
for a wild-card spot. But they went 11-12 over their next 23 games to be
eliminated Wednesday night, prompting Girardi's angry address to the
team the following day.
"I wanted to make sure they understood what we expect next year.
expect to be back in the postseason," Girardi said. "That's what I told
them. And then we presented Derek with his gifts.""
9/27/14, "As Jeter Ends Farewell Tour, Yanks Plan a Welcome Party,
" NY Times, David Waldstein
"The 2015 season was also on the mind of Manager Joe Girardi
on Thursday, when he addressed his team before Jeter’s dramatic last game at Yankee Stadium.
Citing unnamed witnesses, an ESPN New York article
published Saturday described Girardi as angrily chastising some of his
for being overweight and some of them for not being hungry
enough. Girardi acknowledged addressing his team but disputed that
characterization, saying he was just direct in telling his players what
was expected in 2015.
said that the timing of the meeting
was not intended to interfere with
Jeter’s final day at the Stadium and that it made sense because the
Yankees had been eliminated from postseason contention the day before
all disappointed we didn’t make the playoffs, but I addressed the team
because it’s easier to do it at our ballpark and we need to be better,”
Girardi said. “We need to execute better next year.”"