Let’s set the stage. It’s the 2nd inning, 2 outs and bases loaded. AJ Burnett just walked Joe Mauer on a very close ball 4 call by home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. Girardi lifts AJ, who turns his head and says something in the direction of the mound where Girardi, Martin, Jeter and Cano are standing.
Michael Kay and John Flaherty were all over this, and for the next 7 innings they teased what they described as a must watch post game. To that, I say mission accomplished. They got me to stay up and watch to see what transpired. But after getting all the facts, I felt duped for actually buying into what Kay and Flaherty were selling. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Do you know what’s even more disgraceful? The way that some in the dying print media still tried to construct a war between the two men after getting the facts with vague headlines and misleading reporting. Here’s one example from the NY Daily News:
Yankees’ A.J. Burnett visibly angry after Joe Girardi pulls him from 9-4 loss to Minnesota Twins
After handing the ball to the manager, the pitcher took three steps off the mound, turned over his left shoulder and shouted three words – two of them unprintable in this space – expressing what appeared to be displeasure with his manager for pulling him.
“I’m going to be mad, yeah; I’m not going to be mad at him,” Burnett said of Girardi. “He obviously wants to stop the bleeding and thought that I couldn’t. Of course I wanted to stay in. I’ve been in bases-loaded jams before, but that’s not my call.”
Girardi turned his head and looked as if he said something back to Burnett. That wasn’t the story Girardi told after the game, however, as he went on a rant when asked about the chain of events.
“Russ (Martin) came out and he said, ‘That’s a strike,’ ” Burnett explained. “I said, yeah. I was not talking to Joe, absolutely not. No matter how mad I get, that guy’s taken my back every day I’ve been here.”
Girardi’s rant made less sense after Burnett acknowledged that the two spoke about his outburst a few innings later in the clubhouse.
This is tabloid journalism at its worst, in this instance from frequent Girardi critic Mark Feinsand. (Those who follow Feinsand’s Twitter account know he refers to Girardi as “Joey Looseleafs” on a regular basis) If you watched the YES post game, all three participants (Girardi, Martin and Burnett) recounted the same exchange from different perspectives. Martin said “That was a good pitch” to AJ, who replied “That’s fuckin’ horseshit!”. None of them had Girardi and Burnett saying anything to one another on the mound. When Burnett left the dugout, he went to the video room and was simply watching tape of the Mauer AB to see where the final pitch was. Joe went to check on him, and according to Joe they both watched the last strike and returned to the dugout.
Further, all three looked genuinely surprised at the line of questioning, since it bore no resemblance to what actually occurred. The press (in this case Jack Curry) managed to make Girardi a sympathetic figure after what had to be his biggest televised blow up as a manager. I also felt sorry for Burnett, being implicated of being a jerk and bad teammate when neither was true. Bad night for AJ, but an even worse night for YES and the beat writers who jumped the gun on a story that never happened.
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