Florida Marlins officials were displeased when they discovered that last year's manager, Joe Girardi, gave rival pitcher Jon Lieber helpful tips on his delivery during the 2006 season.
Lieber claims his season with the Philadelphia Phillies hit a turnaround point shortly after he was whooped on by the Marlins July 31st. He credits a phone call from Girardi, who he played with from 2000-2002 with the Chicago Cubs.
"He just mentioned that the hitters said everything that was coming in was just very flat. I wasn't on top of the ball like I should have been," Lieber confessed.
Both teams contended for the NL wild-card berth, and Lieber went on beat the Marlins twice in September. Florida then finished 10 games behind NL wild-card winning Los Angeles Dodgers and seven games behind Philadelphia.
Girardi's relationship with management quickly went down the john in his only season with Florida, when he was fired in October, then chosen as NL Manager of the Year.
Lefty Dontrelle Willis doesn't see what the fuss is about. "What are you going to do now?" he said. "He doesn't even work here anymore. You can't dock his pay... I don't think it's a big deal. If we lost the wild card by two games, OK. But there are so many different other factors."
After his failing managerial career, Girardi has come to terms with the YES network to return to the broadcast booth for 60+ games as a Yankees analyst. He will also co-host a new show on the network, Behind The Plate, with John Flaherty, also a former Yankee catcher.