Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Easiest Job in Sports

There are a number of cushy jobs in the world of sports. Goaltending coach for the New Jersery Devils, offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts and massage therapist for Maria Sharapova all come to mind.

But no job in sports is easier than the one Joe Girardi currently has - Manager of the New York Yankees.

At his disposal Girardi has the greatest collection of baseball talent ever assembled on a single team. The current Yankee roster has made a collective 48 All-Star game appearances, has more than 2000 career homeruns, 3 regular season MVP awards, and a Cy Young trophy.

Girardi manages the highest paid third baseman in the game (A-Rod - $33M a year), the highest paid short stop (Derek Jeter - $21.6M), first baseman (Mark Teixeira - $20.6M), closer (Mariano Rivera - $15M), catcher (Jorge Posada - $13.1M) and DH (Hideki Matsui - $13M).

The toughest decision Girardi has made in the postseason is which restaurant to eat at following each inevitable win. He could've managed this team to a championship in his sleep...we all could have. Kate Hudson has had a bigger impact.

The 2009 Yankees payroll is $208 million, which is 40% more than the second highest paid team (Mets - $145M) and almost two-and-a-half times the league average ($86M). It's not like Girardi was fiddling with his roster, playing hunches and taking chances. And why would he? They have the best of the best, an All-Star team stacked from top to bottom that was purchased to win.

The Yankees four starting infielders cost them more in salary than 16 teams pay their entire roster. They have two of the six highest paid starting pitchers in baseball and a third who has won 229 regular season games.

When you have a team stacked from top-to-bottom with stars, it's not like you need a manager to motivate or provide strategy. How hard can it be to fill out this zillion dollar line-up? Or hand the ball to Rivera to finish any game? Outside of potentially choosing between Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes to bridge the gap from starter to closer, Girardi can pretty much kick his feet up for nine innings and enjoy the ride.

In fact, if the Yankees really want to suck every single penny they can out of their fans (and the evidence indicates they do, with the $2500 seats and $10 hot chocolates), why don't they go ahead and auction off the Manager's job to the highest bidder?

I'm sure Rudy Giuliani, Billy Crystal, Adam Sandler, Jay-Z and a host of other celebrities would jump at the chance to put on the pin-stripes and pretend it matters who is in charge of the ship.

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