Joe Girardi managed the New York Yankees to their 27th World Series title last season and has the Bombers primed for another playoff run here in 2010, but is he the driving force behind this juggernaut or is he just along for the ride?
Everybody knows that Girardi is wearing No. 28 because he hopes to win the Yankees 28th World Series this year, just as he wore 27 last season.
Everybody knows about his playing days with the Yankees back in the late 90's, where he won three rings under his former manager and predecessor Joe Torre. And nobody knows where Girardi will be next April.
Torre was truly a great manager, and has continued to be in his post-Yankee years with the Dodgers, leading them to back-to-back National League Championship Series the past two years, although it does look like his team will fall short this year, which would end 14 consecutive years of postseason baseball for Torre.
Girardi led the Yankees back to the promised land in 2009, and has them in position to become the first repeat champs since the 1998-2000 Yankees, who won three straight.
So back to my question, is Girardi a good manager? Well, to be honest, I would have to say he is an average manager right now.
I agreed that it was time for Torre to go, but I certainly did not agree with the way the Yankees went about letting him go and I wasn't a big fan of Girardi when he got hired. Personally, I thought that Don Mattingly should have been named manager at the time.
Three years later, and Girardi's contract is set to expire after this season, which has sparked rumors of him heading back to the North Side of Chicago to manage the Cubs.
He is a Northwestern graduate and he did begin his career with the Cubs, so there are obvious ties with Chicago.
I think that Girardi will be wearing a Cubs uniform next season, no matter what the Yankees do in the playoffs or how much money they throw in Girardi's face to convince him to stay. And quite frankly, I wouldn't lose one bit of sleep over it, as a Yankees fan.
The ginormous payroll of the Yankees ensures that they will be in contention every year, and that it really doesn't matter who the manager of the Bombers is at the end of the day, because if you don't win, you will be packing your bags; just ask Joe Torre.
Who would have ever guessed in 2000 that he would be retiring as a Dodger and not a Yankee?
From Girardi's standpoint, he would be leaving the Yankees on his own terms, and Chicago is not just a home coming, but a chance to prove that he is a great manager and can get the job done, whether it be in the bright lights of New York or the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, where Cubs fans have waited for over 100 years to raise another World Series banner.
And just think if he does win it all with the Cubs, he would the toast of the town for the rest of his life; hell, they would probably put up statues of him up.
In the end, it's Girardi's decision. Will he choose to continue his tenure with the Yankees, which will almost certainly end ugly eventually, or will he go home to Chicago, with the hopes of trying to end the longest championship drought in sports history? Who knows?
But right now his focus has to be on bringing the Yankees their 28th World Series title, and that's all that really matters.