New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been guiding his team through its American League Division Series with the Baltimore Orioles with a heavy heart, as it was revealed Thursday that the skipper's 81-year-old father passed away over the weekend.
Jerry Girardi died Saturday in his hometown of East Peoria, IL following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. The younger Girardi has been in the dugout for all three of the Yankees' games in the ALDS, which began Sunday, and will do so again for Thursday's Game 4.
"Probably what a lot of men do when they go through difficult and sad times, we try to stay busy," said Girardi prior to Thursday's game. "That's what we do. And I tried to focus on what we were trying to accomplish and what we were doing because that's what my dad would have done."
New York took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five ALDS with a dramatic 3-2, 12- inning win on Wednesday, with Joe Girardi making a gutsy late decision that proved critical to the game's outcome.
With the Yankees down by a 2-1 score with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, he removed star third baseman Alex Rodriguez -- mired in a 1-for-12 series slump that included seven strikeouts -- in favor of pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez. The veteran outfielder promptly hit a game-tying home run off Orioles closer Jim Johnson, then connected for another solo blast in the 12th that gave New York the victory.