Joe Girardi changes tune on costly non-challenge: 'I screwed up'

Big League Stew

In a statement that came about 16 hours too late, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi finally took ownership of his decision to not challenge Lonnie Chisenhall’s hit-by-pitch in ALDS Game 2.

Girardi’s non-challenge proved costly. Not only did video show the call was likely to be overturned, Francisco Lindor immediately followed with a grand slam that turned the game around in the Cleveland Indians favor and helped them earn a 2-0 lead in the series.

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While Yankees players were not required to show up at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Girardi did in order to address the media. Many feel Girardi was pushed to attend by higher-ups in the Yankees front office to take responsibility for his decision after offering an inexplicable explanation following the game.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi attempts to save face after critical mistake in ALDS Game 2. (AP)
Yankees manager Joe Girardi attempts to save face after critical mistake in ALDS Game 2. (AP)

In speaking to the media Friday night, Girardi said his main concern was to not disrupt the rhythm of pitcher Chad Green:

“Being a catcher my thought is I never want to break a pitcher’s rhythm. That’s how I think about it.”

Girardi also said:

“There was nothing that told us that he was not hit by the pitch. By the time we got the super slow-mo, we are beyond a minute. It was too late. They tell us we have 30 seconds.”

Yankees fans were plenty frustrated by the outcome of the game. That grew to anger once Girardi was done speaking on Friday night. Even players in his own clubhouse couldn’t hide their displeasure. Closer Aroldis Chapman took to social media to throw some subtle shade in Girardi’s direction.

Whatever the motivation was, Girardi changed his tune on Saturday. When addressing the situation, Girardi was contrite and willing to take full responsibility for his decision.

Girardi was never going to come out of this situation looking great. Had he said something similar on Friday though, it definitely would have helped his cause. It’s a lesson learned for the 11th-year manager. Unfortunately, it’s one that could come with season-ending consequences for the Yankees, and perhaps worse for him if they can’t recover.

Like Girardi said at the end of his remarks, everyone has to move forward now. What’s done is done. His focus and the focus of everyone else in the Yankees clubhouse has to be on making sure they aren’t done come Sunday.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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