New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has suffered a profound personal tragedy, as it was reported Thursday morning that his father, Jerry, recently passed away, according to the Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star. However, he will manage the team in Game 4 Thursday night against the Baltimore Orioles.
UPDATE: Thursday, October 11, 4:25 PM by Sam Westmoreland
The Yankees have confirmed that Girardi's father did pass on Saturday, not Thursday as had been previously reported. Girardi will still be managing tonight's game against the Orioles:
The Yankees mourn the pass of Jerry Girardi at age 81. Girardi, the father of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 6.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 11, 2012
UPDATE: Thursday, October 11, 4:15 PM by Sam Westmoreland
According to a report from Mark Feinsand, Girardi's father actually passed away on Saturday, but the Yankees' manager opted not to say anything until now:
Girardi's father passed away Saturday, but Girardi decided not to say anything.— Mark Feinsand (@BloggingBombers) October 11, 2012
Girardi's father had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for several years and lived in an assisted-care facility in Peoria, Illinois where the Yankees manager grew up.
It has certainly been a roller coaster of emotions for the 47-year-old former catcher. Late Wednesday night, the Yankees took a 2-1 series lead with a 3-2 win in extra innings, courtesy of a pair of home runs from Raul Ibanez, first as a pinch-hitter to tie the game in the ninth and another to win it in the 12th.
In contrast to that high, Girardi faces an emotional low with the death of his father. According to the Journal Star, the Yankees boss credits his father with introducing him to the sport he played professionally for nearly two decades and now coaches.
It's always hard to see athletes and coaches dealing with grief during games, and Girardi is hardly alone in his desire to play or coach so soon after the death of a loved one. Players like Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, the Baltimore Ravens' Torrey Smith and the Oakland Athletics' Pat Neshek have played in games shortly after the deaths of loved ones in recent months.
Regardless of the outcome of the Game 4 clash, it's clear that the Yankees and their manager will be playing with heavy hearts as they try to clinch a spot in the ALCS.