Rooting for Girardi in no way is abandoning a favorite team. It’s supporting a fellow person after the loss of a loved one.
Girardi's father, Jerry, died Saturday at the age of 81. Through the pain and mourning he has managed the entire ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles with a heavy heart.
Although he lost his father, he didn’t lose his father’s lessons of hard work and completing the task at hand. Girardi used those lessons to push through the situation. He explained his motivation to continue to manage in the series to John Perrotto from USA Today.
"I'm doing probably what a lot of men do when they go through difficult and sad times -- we try to stay busy," Girardi said. "That's what we do. And I tried to focus on what we were trying to accomplish and what we were doing because that's what my dad would have done."
Most of us have experienced or witnessed someone returning to work following the loss of a loved one. It’s a needed mental distraction to temporarily take us away from mourning. Those workplace environments, though, are not broadcast on national television with the emotions of cheering fans on the line for the outcome.
Girardi has done an amazing job of focusing on the task at hand. Wednesday night, he credited a gut decision as the reason he sent in Raul Ibanez to pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the ninth inning.
That decision is even more impressive when you consider what else was on his mind that night.
As sports fans, we are wired to root against someone simply because the logo on the shirt and cap they are wearing is different from ours. There are also times when we must rally as men and women and support others, even if we normally wouldn’t.
Sports fans usually step up to rally around athletes and coaches during difficult times.
In the NFL, fans rallied around Torrey Smith from the Baltimore Ravens after the loss of his brother. More recently, baseball fans supported Oakland Athletics' pitcher Pat Neshek after the loss of his son.
Now, it’s time to support Joe Girardi, even if he isn’t in the dugout of our favorite team.
Jamal Wilburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.