New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi lived out a full life cycle with the team, coming in like Joe Torre and leaving like Buck Showalter.
Sports go in cycles. It proves to be the truth time and time again. Even a team like the New York Yankees goes through it. The size of the cycle can vary, but generally speaking, it all goes through cycles. There is a period of great winning and success followed by down years and then it repeats. The circle goes around and around until the end of time.
For the Yankees, it is a long cycle. The 1960s and 70s were successful, followed by a drop into the lean years of the 1980s. It picked back up in the 1990s and the 2000s like we all witnessed. It started to go down in the 2010s but is now rebounding, led by Aaron Judge and company. The Yankees cycle is more like an oval, with more time at the top than the bottom, but it is still a cycle.
It’s not often, however, that a manager or a coach gets the opportunity to live that entire cycle. Typically the manager that is doing the losing says around for less time than the winning manager. It’s just logical. The successful one stays and the unsuccessful one is fired. In the case of Joe Girardi, however, he actually replicated the beginning and the end of the previous cycle. It’s unique so it’s worth pointing out. Let me show you what I mean.
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Remember back in the late 80s and early 90s? It was all going very badly, but then Buck Showalter came into the picture. That’s when the guys that were drafted, like Derek Jeter, started to make their way to the majors. The cycle was turning upwards. The Yankees were moving out of the Stump Merrill years and into the future.
As those players started to arrive in New York under Showalter, the winning began. The Yankees made it to the playoffs in 1995 but could not get pas the Wild Card round. Showalter, who set the team up for its soon to be winning ways, was gone.
Then came Joe Torre to manage a team that many thought was already set up for him. He leads the Yankees into the dynasty years, including a title in his first year as manager. He eventually ceded the role to Girardi who won a title in his second year.
The parallel comes in his dismissal. What happened this year? Girardi brought a young, improving team to within one game of the World Series. Now he is gone and whomever replaces him will have a team that is already in a position to win. That new manager might even win something in his first or second year with the team.
Does that sound familiar? Doesn’t that sound exactly like how Buck Showalter left the Yankees. Girardi actually lived through an entire team cycle, which doesn’t happen very often. He actually came into New York like Joe Torre and went out like Buck Showalter. Both ends are good for him, and isn’t that an interesting accomplishment in its own right?