If you read last night’s post, you know that Hal Steinbrenner gave me quite a workout on the dance floor after I chased all over Tampa to find him. It was worth the trip just to hear him say he wouldn’t let Yankee fans down and would instruct Cashman to find us a new left fielder….
…or bring back the one we already had.
I was getting ready to call it a night when Hal said, “She-Fan, you can’t leave town without seeing what Girardi is doing to promote chemistry among the starting pitchers.”
“Has he sent them all to the pool hall again?” I asked, remembering Joe’s bonding efforts from spring training last year.
“No,” said Hal in that deadpan tone of his. He’s an incredible dancer, but he doesn’t show much emotion. I don’t think he smiled all night.
Anyhow, he was very insistent that I take a taxi to another location in Tampa (he wrote the address down on a cocktail napkin and handed it to me) and ask for Girardi. I couldn’t say no. So off I went into the dark of night.
We drove through some interesting neighborhoods and I kept wondering what Joe could possibly be doing with the Yankees’ starting five at such a late hour. Finally, the cab pulled up to yet another club. I was shocked when I entered and saw them.
Seriously. Chippendales? Joe Girardi? I couldn’t imagine what he was up to, but there he was, waiting for me. Apparently, Hal had called ahead and told him I was coming. He was all dressed up to greet me.
“Hi, Joe,” I said. “I’m sure you know what you’re doing, since you won the World Series and all. But team building at Chippendale’s?”
He laughed. “It does sound crazy, but I think it’ll bring the guys in our rotation closer together.”
“What will? I still don’t understand.”
“Follow me, She-Fan. I’ve got a corner table reserved just for you.”
“Sweet.” I sat down and Joe joined me. “So the Yankees pitchers are here?” I asked.
“Are they working in the kitchen? At the bar? I still don’t -“
“Keep your eyes on the stage,” he said. “And then tell me this rotation doesn’t have chemistry.”
The lights dimmed and the music started. And here’s what happened next.
When the show was over, Joe explained that Phil Hughes was too shy to participate.
“Does that mean he’ll start the season in the bullpen?” I asked.
“It might,” said the Yankees skipper.