The Daily Northwestern > Sports
In loved ones, Joe Girardi finds team for life
NU alumni fill Girardi's support staff of family and friends
By Hunter Atkins
Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010

After spending more than 15 years in the major leagues and managing the World Series Champion New York Yankees, it would be easy for Joe Girardi to let baseball consume his life. But relationships have always been more important to him.

Especially the one with his father.

Months after winning his first of four World Series titles in 1996, Girardi asked his father, Gerald, to join him at the podium of his Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame induction. Joe then presented his father with his championship ring, a modest token of appreciation for the man who devoted his life to the success and well-being of his family. A child of the Great Depression and working class father of five, Gerald was never one to dwell on things or gripe, his emotions sewn tight like the stitches of a baseball. But on stage at the induction, the typically composed and unemotional father stared into the eyes of his son and tears began to swell. Then they ran.

This unbridled moment of father-son pride was one of the last of its kind.
The once-tearful father rarely opens his eyes when Joe visits him these days. When he does glance at his son, it’s as if he’s staring into thin air. Gerald began showing signs of Alzheimer’s decades ago, calling his children by the wrong name. In 2006 he was checked into an assisted living facility. With his father's conditions worsening, Joe had to take back the ring for safe keeping.

“I miss him,” said Girardi in an interview Monday. “That’s the biggest feeling that I have, just not being able to talk to my father. We shared so many wonderful memories together since I was a little boy because I went everywhere he went.”

Girardi said he enjoyed being a boy glued to his father into his 40s. “It wasn’t until the last three or four years that we haven’t been able to share a lot, and now it’s nothing.”

Joe’s memories of his father trace back to acts that may have been small at the time, but comprised a lifetime of support. Despite working three jobs, Gerald found time to be the cook for the football team at Spalding Institute in Peoria, Ill., where Joe played quarterback in high school. During Joe’s minor league days, he would grab a brown bag lunch his father packed. Gerald introduced Joe to the roaring crowds at Wrigley Field and the quaint Canadian lakes where the old man gave his son fishing tutorials.

Gerald would be upset if he let work get in the way of time with his children, so after long weeks as a salesman by day and part-time bartender by night, he would sometimes bring his children to his third job as a weekend bricklayer. Mortar was spread and red slabs were stacked, cementing the bond between father and son.

Considering these moments of closeness, it is no wonder Joe said he resembles his father. Staring into the Yankees dugout, the manager sports a crew-cut, his arms crossed, stoic and antisocial. The only sight of activity occurres along his jaw line, which bulges with each chomp of gum, and at his chest, which he swivels around from right to left as transference of nervous energy. Girardi approaches managing like a workman, baseball’s bricklayer.

Beyond the attitude Joe adopted from his father is another component playing out in his everyday life. Joe is widely known by fans for his pinstripe coding and championship rings. But those lucky enough to get closer to the Yankee know him most for caring about people in a way that extends beyond his role as a parent, manager and public figure. The intensity of the relationship between Joe and his father served as a blueprint for how Joe would approach others, a sort of guide for how to engage with people on a deeply personal level.

When he looks back on his career, Girardi does not remember what the pitch count was when he got a big hit or what runner he threw out to preserve his team’s lead. “The interesting things you remember when you’re done playing are the relationships,” he said, referencing former coaches and teammates Don Zimmer, Mike Harkey, Paul O’Neill, David Cone and Dante Bichette, who he named his son after. “I don’t remember games, I remember people.”

cut for more, including Girardi being my favorite kind of Christian, the kind that will tell you about his 'special' relationship with the Lord, but only if you ask enough questions )

Finally, I hate a lot of the Yankees bloggers in general, but I tend to hate the "Confessions of a She-Fan" the most, but this article detailing why she's extremely sadden that David Cone isn't coming back to the Yankees announcer booth puts my feels into the dumb stock photos and videos she uses.
Dodgers' 12th home win ties MLB mark
Weaver allows one run in five innings in first start since '07
By Ken Gurnick /
05/06/09 2:17 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- With a dreadlocked left fielder hustling on the bases, a second baseman who channels Jackie Robinson and a starting pitcher who leaves tickets for a 1970s rock star, the Dodgers Tuesday night reached a milestone even an old-school Ty Cobb could appreciate.

A 3-1 win over the D-backs gave the Dodgers their 12th consecutive victory at home to start a season, matching the modern-day record of Cobb's 1911 Detroit Tigers. It was the Dodgers' sixth consecutive win overall.

The tone of the game was pretty well set in the first inning, when Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson made the first of two spectacular diving catches to prevent Arizona from scoring in the top of the first, then triggered the rally for all of the Dodgers' runs in the bottom of the inning with a flare double.

"I closed my eyes and Jackie Robinson carried me to the ball," the three-time Gold Glove winner said.

Makes sense to Jeff Weaver, who took another step on his comeback-of-the-year journey with a triumphant return to the Dodgers' starting rotation. Making his first Major League start since 2007 and first for the Dodgers since 2005, he allowed one run on a wild pitch, lasted five innings while striking out six and walking only one.

"He gave us everything we could have expected or wanted," manager Joe Torre said. "We gave them a couple extra outs and he pitched around that. He couldn't have been better than he was."

It was like old times for Weaver, who won 27 games for the Dodgers from 2004-05.

"I finally had a pass list again," said Weaver, the Southern California native who spent all last year and the beginning of this year in the Minor Leagues. "I had a handful of people show up and share it with me. My parents, a couple buddies, my wife and Gary Wright. You know who he is?"

Wright sang the 1976 hit "Dream Weaver," not only on the platinum album but at Weaver's wedding.

"We met when I was pitching in Detroit, we kept in touch and he sang at my wedding," Weaver said. "He came to show support."

Weaver had just enough support in the field. There was Hudson's first catch racing out to right field on Mark Reynolds' popup to end the first inning with a runner on second base, another diving web gem toward shallow center field off the bat of opposing pitcher Max Scherzer with runners on the corners to end the fourth inning.

"I didn't think he had a prayer on either one," Torre said.

And there was barely enough offense in the bottom of the first inning, in which the Dodgers scored for the third consecutive game. Andre Ethier had a one-out RBI single on which Manny Ramirez went from first to third, so Ramirez was able to score on James Loney's groundout to second. Shortstop Josh Wilson's throwing error allowed a third run to score.

That was it for the Dodgers, who then relied on pitching. Weaver had to work out of repeated jams, having allowed hits to the leadoff hitter in the first three innings. The D-backs went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

"He said he didn't do a good job with the leadoff hitters, but that's pretty much why we felt good about sending him out there," said Torre, who replaced rookie James McDonald with Weaver. "He's done this. He's never been one to rattle."

But Weaver said he appreciated the historical significance of the record win.

"I'm happy for the team -- 12-0 and I hope we get 13," he said. "You never know exactly how the road is going to turn. I'm fortunate to be part of something like this, it's really special. I'd like to stick around and keep it rolling and get the team to the postseason."

Torre received four scoreless innings from his bullpen, using four relievers. Ramon Troncoso ran his scoreless innings streak to 14 1/3 with 1 2/3 innings; Will Ohman got a key out by retiring Chad Tracy to end the seventh inning; Ronald Belisario struck out the side in the eighth and Jonathan Broxton fanned a pair in a scoreless ninth inning for his eighth save.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

I wonder what sort of drugs Joe Torre is on to say that Jeff Weaver never gets rattled on the mound. Man, South California is really doing good for Mr. Torre. But, in conclusion, a) haahhahahhahahha Jackie Robinson guided me to the ball because Jackie Robinson loves Jeff Weaver's fire (ie: anger). When did Jackie Robinson become Rickey Henderson, I will never know... /joke no one will get. b) Jeff Weaver is the biggest dork in the world and I think I love it.
Weaver looking to rekindle his pitching career
Pitcher reunited with Radinsky
By David Briggs
NEWS SPORTS REPORTER - Updated: 07/07/08 9:34 AM

Jeff Weaver was a junior and the third starter for Simi Valley High in Southern California. Scott Radinsky was the team's iconic pitching coach, returning to his alma mater as he battled Hodgkin's Disease.

Working together every day, the 17-year-old and the Chicago White Sox reliever formed an unlikely friendship in 1994.

"I kind of got more personally attached to him than I did the other two guys [ahead of him] because they were always pitching," Radinsky said. "He was more like a project, and the coaches just said, 'Do whatever you want with him.'"

yeah, I was shocked Jeff Weaver had friends too. Don't worry. )

Anyone willing to drive to Scranton with me in August? Bueller, Bueller...?

Less humorously, Ryan Church is still suffering .... something with his head.

Worried Ryan Church is headed for more tests
Sunday, July 6th 2008, 10:20 PM

PHILADELPHIA - Ryan Church slumped on a stool in the Mets' clubhouse Sunday morning, his shoulders hunched and his eyes glassy. The tangle of emotions - anger, fear, relief - combined to make him feel exhausted.

Concussions have been the unwelcome theme of his season, and after Saturday's migraine, the subject isn't going away.

In fact, it will now intensify: the Daily News has learned that Church was likely headed to New York after Sunday's game to be examined. Church did not play in the 4-2 win over Philadelphia, and now he's poised to miss even more time - after spending much of June on the disabled list with post-concussion symptoms. His season seems in question.

This latest round of concern began when Church left Saturday night's game in the eighth inning with dizziness. He phoned Anita Wu, the neurologist at New York Hospital for Special Surgery who has been treating him. Wu told Church his symptoms were consistent with the migraines he has experienced since the ninth grade, and Church was relieved. "I called my wife (Saturday) night and told her I was glad it was only a migraine," he said early yesterday. "She started laughing, like, 'You used to hate migraines.'"

But relief had turned back to fear and frustration after Sunday's win, as Church, appearing distraught, quickly left Citizens Bank Park without speaking to the media.

Church has suffered two concussions on the field this year, the first on March 1 during spring training and the second on May 20 against Atlanta. After continuing to experience effects of the second injury, he went on the DL June 10. He returned last Sunday and started every game until Friday, when he complained of fatigue. Church also felt tired in San Francisco in early June, the week before the Mets shut him down.

At that time, the Mets were criticized for relying on Church to decide whether he could play after the second concussion. Jerry Manuel said yesterday that the team would no longer allow the patient to dictate treatment. "I'm just going to take it out of his hands," Manuel said.

"It's so frustrating," Church said, shaking his head while pointing to it. "I'm fine, except for this."

With Adam Rubin

Simi Valley's Jeff Weaver is hoping to get back to the majors
By Rhiannon Potkey
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jeff Weaver's baseball future was teetering on the edge.

As a senior at Simi Valley High in 1994, Weaver decided to try out for the baseball team and was in danger of being the last player cut.

But pitching coach Scott Radinsky saw something in Weaver during their bullpen sessions, and convinced head coach Mike Scyphers to give Weaver a spot on the roster.

Damn him )
:::::::::NYR.Com: 5 Minutes Interview:::::::::

Question: Have you talked to any former Devils players about the experience of leaving the team and then having to face them for the first time?

Gomez: Yes. Bobby Holik is one of my best friends. Bobby was very instrumental in me coming here. I know the Rangers didn't have success when he was here, but at the same time, he says you get over the booing (in New Jersey). It's going to be weird at first, because everyone boos you and this and that, but it's just the nature of the beast. You couldn't come to a better organization, I think, than the New York Rangers. That's just the way it is.

March 2012

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