This morning Gordon Wittenmyer appeared on the Mully and Hanley radio show. During the discussion he intimated that Crane Kenney and Ricketts pressured Epstein into firing Sveum and that Joe Girardi is being pursued out of fear of dwindling attendance numbers. Based on these baseless claims the discussion turned to how Girardi would fare under the leadership of Epstein where Girardi would be granted greater control over his clubhouse than what Sveum was given. The inference here being that Girardi (supposedly) would look at Epstein as a co-equal and only consider Ricketts his direct boss.
1. First of all, the idea that a manager would stop the downward trend or increase attendance is preposterous.
2. If Crane Kenney has any involvement in ordering the firing of a manager, I believe we would begin to see an exodus of the top management in this organization.
3. Terry Francona had every bit of the "panache" or name recognition that Girardi has and Francona got along with Epstein very well; in fact they became pretty close friends. It was also the firing of Terry Francona that helped Theo make his decision to come to Chicago. Go back to point#2, if Crane Kenney had any involvement we would be hearing grumblings about Theo Epstein’s unhappiness in Chicago.
4. Of course Girardi would be given more control of his clubhouse. You don’t give out what could be one of the more lucrative managerial contracts only to tie his hands when it comes to his team. Being that this was Sveum’s first dance as a manager, I’m sure there were things he had to deal with from the front office that Girardi wouldn’t.
5. Girardi is a consummate professional. The way he handled the controversies (ARod) with his team was just about flawless. It could even be said that this season may have been Girardi’s best as a manager. With that I doubt he would have any problems working with Theo Epstein or vice versa.
Based on the fact that the Cubs (from some media reports) have already talked with Girardi, it is safe to assume that there is one guy on their managerial wish list. It’s also fitting that even though Girardi no longer has parents in the Chicago area, his wife’s family live nearby. The Cubs may have been Girardi’s first choice all along and the Marlin’s and Yankees were stepping stones in the process. If that’s the case and Girardi takes the job then we’ll all say "welcome home, Joe". As for Gordon Wittenmyer, how about becoming the reporter I’m sure you set out to be. This type of crap reporting belongs with the likes of TMZ.