LOVE This Story About Girardi

I was on Twitter this afternoon and saw a tweet from ibrenne, a Yankee fan and sometime commenter here. She had retweeted a blog post from a man named Steve Curtin, who writes about customer service. We all remember the story about how Girardi stopped to help the victim of a car accident after the World Series last year, right? Well here’s one that happened during the ALCS, when the Yanks were in Texas, about how he watched a woman’s dog while she bought a cup of coffee! Take a look.

Too busy to serve

I recently received a jury summons in the mail and my first reaction was, “Really? I am way too busy to deal with this now.”

Then, in a moment of sobriety, I recognized that the protection of our rights and liberties as Americans is preserved by the American system of justice–which is predicated on the right to a public trail and the right to be judged by a jury of one’s peers.

This caused me to reflect on other opportunities to serve that I had passed on for a variety of reasons (e.g., time consuming, inconvenient, unfamiliar, uncomfortable, etc.) ranging from volunteering at children’s church once a month (“Certainly, others will step up…”) to assisting a stranded motorist (“Surely, he has OnStar or AAA…”).

So I’m thinking about all this when Joe Girardi, the coach of the New York Yankees, comes to mind.

Let me explain…

A friend of mine was in Dallas on business during the American League Championship Series between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees.

His hotel was a block away from the Crescent Hotel, where the Yankees were staying. One morning, he walked over to the Starbucks located inside the Crescent Hotel, purchased a cup of coffee, and found a seat outside on the patio.

It was then that he noticed the Yankees coach enjoying a cup of coffee at a nearby table. A moment later, a woman with an itty-bitty dog approached the muscular coach and asked him if he would mind watching her dog while she went inside to buy a cup of coffee.

He accepted. The woman handed him the leash and, for the next several minutes, he alternated between sipping his coffee and petting the itty-bitty dog. When the woman returned, she thanked him, accepted the leash, and resumed her dog walk–oblivious to the man’s identity.

When I shared this story with another friend, she reminded me that after the Yankees won the World Series last year, Girardi stopped at the scene of a single car accident at 2:25am, sprinted across three lanes of traffic, and aided the motorist whose vehicle was precariously jutting into oncoming traffic.

It would have been easy enough for Girardi to have declined the request to watch the dog: “Ma’m, ordinarily I’d be happy to but I need to prepare for tonight’s American League Championship Series game against the Texas Rangers.”

And it would have been entirely reasonable for him to have dialed 911 to report the accident from the comfort and safety of his automobile.

But he didn’t.

The next time I think I’m too busy to volunteer my time or to assist another person, I’m going to remember Joe Girardi’s example and his tendency to put others first–whether or not it’s comfortable or convenient.

And I’ll recall the Arthur Ashe quote: “From what we get, we can make a living; from what we give, however, makes a life.”

Thanks for reading. Now give of your time and make a life.


What makes me smile about the story is that someone of Girardi’s stature could easily have told the woman to buzz off. I’ve seen celebrities (including ballplayers) do exactly that when approached by “civilians” for any reason. Not our manager. It all got me thinking: What would he do if I wandered over and asked him for a favor or two? Like, would he:

– Carry my grocery bags out to my car?

– Hold my sunglasses while I fumbled around in my purse for my keys?

– Call my mother and say hello?

My guess is “yes” to all three.


Oh. Just a quick note about the passing of Sparky Anderson and (belatedly) Clyde King. RIP to both. I hate seeing so many legends going. This has been a tough year for goodbyes.


  1. jessel

    Jane, didn’t think we’d be talking again so soon, but it is always a pleasure. Just wanted to relate a short story about Sparky Anderson, whose passing you noted. Though known for his managerial feats, George (Sparky) Anderson also played a little major league ball. Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers, he toiled in their farm system for quite a few years before being traded to and playing his only big league season with the Phillies.

    Sparky went completely and very prematurely grey by about age 35 and was usually assumed to be a man of older age. He said though that his predicament had its compensations. When he reached 60, people would approach him and tell him how well he looked and how little he had changed over the past 25 years.



    Another nice story about Joe G. Always gratifying, somehow, to know that these guys are (or can be) regular Joes, like anybody else. In fact, I bet Girardi got a kick out of being totally unrecognized. Last spring, the nite after our local hockey heroes (the Caps) suffered an awful season-ending playoff loss — at home — word got around the next day about how one of the players pulled over by the side of the road to assist a woman and her daughter who had a tire blow-out. AND THEY WERE FANS. He stayed with ’em until help arrived; they didn’t say much…but it was an uplifting moment.
    Sorry to say goodbye to Sparky. He did seem like a really genuine regular guy, who’d have been happy to do what they did. The only moment that ever bugged me about him was immediately after his Reds swept our Yanks in the ’76 Series. Bench was the MVP — batted .533 or something — and our only shining light was Munson, who also hit .500+ The press wanted Sparky to compare the two; his reply of the moment was, “Please don’t insult or demean ANY catcher by comparing him to Johnny Bench.” Or something like that. It burned me at the time, but after 34 years, I kinda get it, and if that’s the worst thing he ever said, well then okay. You’re so right, Jane…it’s been a tough tough year for losses…


    You’re right, Jane. There are so many pro athletes and other famous people that wouldn’t consider being as thoughtful as Girardi has shown himself to be. A good friend of mine grew up in the Bronx and of course was a diehard Yankees fan – when he was a child, he got to go to a game and he waiting outside the Stadium to get Reggie Jackson’s autograph (Jackson being his all-time hero) — when he finally got near Reggie, all he could say to the child was, “Get away from me, kid”. It not only broke his heart, but he is now a diehard Mets fan because of that one incident. Anyway, Girardi has always shown himself to be a class act and I’m personally glad we have him.

  4. Jane Heller

    Mike, I always thought Sparky was older than his correct age, just as you say other people did. Must have been the gray hair, but I guess that appeals to me – my husband went gray at 35 too!

    Yup. I agree, Paul. He goes off point at times, but he means well.

    HAHA, A-Rod would not watch anybody’s dog, that’s for sure, John. I met a young girl on my 2007 trip following the Yanks. She had a huge crush on him. She waited for him in the parking lot one night (at the old Stadium where you could actually glimpse the players coming and going) and had a bouquet of roses she wanted the attendant to give him. The attendant stopped A-Rod in his car as he was leaving, tried to give him the flowers and A-Rod said, “Don’t want ’em,” and drove off. Broke the girl’s heart. He could have taken them, put them on the seat of his car and dumped them later, but no. Sigh.

    You have a point, Jeff!

    You’re right, Dave. Girardi probably enjoyed the fact that the woman didn’t recognize him and didn’t say, “So, who are you starting in left field?” Must be nice to be anonymous from time to time. Nice story about the Caps player who helped with the flat tire. I love when these guys are “real.” Ouch on the Sparky story. I’d be pretty miffed if I’d known about that. Not a very gracious thing to say, although I get why he’d want to put his own catcher on a pedestal. But Thurman wasn’t chopped liver!

    Hm, that story doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy toward Reggie, Diane. Unfortunately, those interactions are all too common. I have a sportswriter friend who tells similar stories about how Mantle treated fans and he was my hero! One of the guys on Twitter tried to get an autograph from AJ last year and was told to stay away from him. Now he’s hates him. If these players only understood how a little kindness goes a long way…


    thanks for sharing the story. i love it. i have been a big girardi fan for a while and was so happy when he was hired to be the manager. my dad kept criticizing him this year and i kept supporting him because i just like him and he seems like he is a good guy.
    in other news i wonder if i will start rooting a little for seattle, who i’ve been disliking since ’95, now that chris chambliss is the hitting coach. i so clearly remember the craziness in my house with chambliss’ homerun–there is a photo of it in the shrine in my house–and remember my dad coming to my room and telling me he was traded and i cried.
    today at the gym the main trainer had a beautiful yankee sweatshirt on. i asked him if he was yankee fan and he said yes but really he just hates the red sox. so i played him my yankee key chain with jeter’s walk off homerun. i told him it keeps me happy and he said just be happy your a yankee fan. he said it’s good to spread the wealth and be happy for the rangers. this is the voice of not a deep loving fan whose heart hurts when the yankee lose.
    how many days till lee become a yankee? i say he would be a very nice thanksgiving present!

  6. Jane Heller

    Wouldn’t it be great if the players and coaches were all like that, Jenn? I don’t have a dog, but now I’d ask Girardi to watch it. Maybe even walk it. LOL.

    It’s OK to root “a little” for Seattle, Barbara. I did when Mel Stottlemyre was their pitching coach. And all those ex-Yankees were among the reasons I rooted for the Giants in the World Series, so I understand the feeling. You have a Yankee key chain with Jeter’s walk off homer? That’s adorable! I must check that out.

    He does seem to be, Babu.


    Joe really does seem like a good guy. I do feel for these guys because the intense scrutiny they are under must be awful. But if they can be nice for a few minutes it makes such a difference.

    My memories of nice Yankees:
    Curt Blefary (maybe 1970) signing autographed balls that fans tossed over the fence to him in the parking lot.

    Spring training maybe 1964, the Mick talking to fans and grinning and being very charming. He said he wasn’t allowed to give autographs but he was very sweet. I got Mel Allen’s autograph but I had no idea who he was!

    Nice players: Kenny Rogers, as a Tiger, before game 2 of the 2006 World Series, chatting to the fans and throwing balls up to the upper decks.


  8. Jane Heller

    I remember Curt Blefary, Melissa. Sort of. He was mostly on the Orioles, right? Good to hear the Mick was charming to fans. Maybe it was only in his later years that he had “difficulties” with them. LOL on Mel Allen.

  9. raysrenegade

    Most of the time we heard the bad and not the good that people do when not playing the game on the field. The media like to dismantle and tarnish the images of some high level people in the game while forgetting they are just as human as the guy in the stands.
    So when someone writes of a great gesture, a honest attempt to help or a potentially dangerous situation by someone within the game…I know I take notice of that action and applaud it.
    Not a fan of Joe G, but I can respect and admire him for being extremely human in a era where looking the other way is too commonplace.

    Rays Renegade

  10. Jane Heller

    Honestly, Renegade, I don’t blame the media for tarnishing the images of people in the game, although they’re not without responsibility. The stories I hear about players come directly from other fans. In any case, it’s always a happy occasion when we hear about the good deeds these guys do.

  11. antonella

    Joe is such a good guy.
    Unfortunately I think he’d definitely tell me “NO” if I approached him & asked for Robbie Cano’s number.. Maybe I’ll try that one day.. he may surprise me LOL 😀

  12. Jane Heller

    He would definitely tell you NO, Antonella. LOL. You know how secretive he is about the players. He would probably deny having met Cano!

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