New Phillies manager Joe Girardi is returning to broadcasting. Sort of.
Beginning with the Phillies’ March 7 matchup against the Boston Red Sox, Girardi will join the NBC Sports Philadelphia broadcast during the top of the sixth inning to discuss spring training games alongside Tom McCarthy and John Kruk. It’s a page out of his playbook during his time as skipper of the New York Yankees, when he joined the YES Network’s broadcast during spring games.
It’s not much of a commitment for Girardi, as the network is airing just 10 of the Phillies’ 32 Grapefruit League games this year, down from 16 last season. But the Phillies manager should be comfortable, since he’s spent considerable time in the broadcast booth before being hired in October.
Girardi joined the MLB Network as a studio analyst in February 2018, and was later hired by Fox Sports as part of the on-air broadcasting lineup during the 2019 season. He also spent time calling Yankees games on the YES Network, and did work for ESPN Radio during the 2003 playoffs.
His role as a TV analyst got him into a bit of hot water on social media last week, after a selectively edited clip resurfaced of Girardi appearing to reveal that the Yankees employed a sign-stealing scheme during his tenure as the team’s manager.
“Sometimes you have to worry about just how it’s being relayed,” Girardi said on MLB Tonight in October 2019, just nine days before he was hired by the Phillies. “I was a part of a system where it came from upstairs to someone in the dugout to the guy on second base. And we eventually caught it.”
Girardi told reporters that the clip was taken out of context, and that he was actually talking about how the Yankees caught another team’s sign-swiping. As my colleague Matt Breen pointed out, Girardi’s final game as Yankees manager was against the Houston Astros in the 2017 American League Championship Series, in which the Astros illegally used a camera to steal pitching signs and relay them to the batter.
“If people listen to the whole video, you can put two and two together and know what I’m talking about,” Girardi said. “We caught them.”
The Phillies’ home debut in Clearwater on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates earned an impressive 3.6 household rating (just shy of 100,000 households) on NBC Sports Philadelphia, the network’s highest-rated spring training game since 2012. No doubt the debut of the new-look Phillie Phanatic played a role in bringing in viewers.