Joe Girardi, a manager that fans in Cincinnati and quite a few other cities would love to have, was fired today by the Florida Marlins after just one season. Girardi's termination occurred not because of poor managerial skills [baseball people would agree that his team overacheived this year] but because of his deteriorated relationship with Marlin owner Jeffrey Loria. Earlier in the season Loria was sitting behind the dugout and began to yell at the umpire because of some questionable calls. Girardi asked Loria to put a sock in it and Loria reminded him who signs the paychecks. Girardi, unfazed, told him again to shut his pie-hole and Loria left the game in a huff. They had a 90 minute shouting match after the game where Loria wanted to fire Girardi on the spot. Advisors suggested it would be bad PR to fire a winning manager and Loria waited until the end of the season to give him the ax.
Now you might think Loria was within his power; he owns the team and should be able to yell at whoever he wants. But Girardi was managing a young team, and insisted that only he discuss calls with the umpires. And when the owner tries to be all big shot and one-up his manager, I think Girardi was well within rights to tell Loria to shut it.
Loria made his fortune at an art dealer, not baseball [and he used some shady methods to even get ownership of the club]. He knows as much about Major League Baseball as I do- not enough to speak as an insider. There was no need for him to argue balls and strikes from the owners box except to make himself feel more manly. And when Girardi called him on it, he wanted to pretend he was a bigger hard dog and fire him on the spot. Loria was a prototypical micromanger, who lost an incredible manager, and will now face the consequences.
The truth is, the Marlins started playing even harder for Girardi after he stuck it to the man. They persevered through the season on hustle and grit, taking on the nature of their manager.
Mark my words: the Marlins will suck next year.