ESPN.com is reporting that Marlins manager Joe Girardi is feuding with the team’s owner, Jeffrey Loria. From ESPN.com:
The Marlins lost wild-card race momentum over the weekend when they were swept by the streaking Dodgers. And frustrations apparently came to a head Sunday, during a Dodgers six-run rally in the seventh inning.
Girardi, who was ejected Saturday for arguing balls and strikes did not leave the dugout to question home plate umpire Larry Vanover when two borderline pitches by Florida reliever Taylor Tankersley were called balls. But according to media reports, Loria, sitting in the stands next to the dugout, yelled at Vanover, prompting Girardi to turn and ask Loria to stop yelling.
Immediately following the game, Loria, Girardi, team President David Samson and General Manager Larry Beinfest had what two sources told the Palm Beach Post was a heated discussion. That was followed by a 90-minute team meeting, which Girardi described as a “learning session” rather than a scolding or pep talk, and players described his tone as positive.
ESPN.com goes on to say that Loria went so far as to instruct his staff to set up an interview room at Dolphin Stadium for a press conference — the same room where the team has announced managerial changes in the past. But the press conference was never held and Giardi is still the team’s manager.
This whole incident reminds me of another owner intent on moving the team out of town, only to be undermined by a stubborn manager and some heroic players. Except that owner wanted to move to Florida and this one wants to move out of Florida.
Actually, now that I think about it, I think Girardi reminds me more of Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger), former team catcher turned manager, than Lou Brown (James Gammon), the crotchety old manager of a season before. And Loria reminds me more of Roger Dorn (Corben Bernsen), the dufus owner, than former stripper turned owner Margaret Whitton (Rachel Phelps), who was intent on sabotaging the season and moving the team to a new stadium. So I guess the Giardi-Loria feud is slightly more reminiscent of Major League II.
All real-life-to-movie comparisons aside, you had to see this one coming. When Girardi took the Marlins job, he knew he was signing on to manage a team that wasn’t going to win. In fact, the consensus was that the Marlins were going to be really freakin’ bad. But Girardi – a guy with almost no coaching experience — had a choice: take the Marlins job or spend several more years building experience as a coach before landing a managerial job the old fashioned way. He decided to take the fast track.
Since then, Girardi has won raves for the job he’s done managing the Marlins. The team isn’t great, but they’re WAY better than anyone anticipated. Now all of the sudden Girardi is a shoe-in Manager of the Year winner and, were the Marlins to fire him, he’d be the top choice of every club looking for a manager in the off-season.
So while Girardi might have been willing to toe the company line in March, now he’s not as anxious to listen to Loria’s excuses. He’s ready to win now, whether with the Marlins or somewhere else.
For Giradi’s sake, I hope it’s somewhere else. For Marlins fans’ sake…oh who am I kidding. The Marlins don’t have any fans.