How does a coach shed a reputation as an inflexible taskmaster and bring his team together in the process? A bowling outing worked for Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants together; they won the Super Bowl later that season.
Taking a page from that team-bonding playbook, Yankee manager Joe Girardi took his team to a billiards parlor Monday.
Girardi said he considered a bowling outing, but decided against it. “We’ve got too many arms in camp,” he said. “Pool is safe.”
Given that the injury-prone A.J. Burnett is on the team, that was probably a wise move.
Bowling wasn’t the only event Girardi passed on for his team. Here are some of the other ideas he apparently rejected:
* Karaoke – too much of a risk that Alex Rodriguez would perform Madonna’s song “This Used To Be My Playground,” only to collapse into sobs, blubbering “She’s my soulmate, dude.”
* Wine tasting – worries that the team would degenerate into Merlot vs. Pinot Noir warring factions.
* Movie night – was quashed when Hideki Matsui offered to bring films from his personal collection.
* Hunting – Guns, wild animals, and A.J. Burnett. Talk about an accident waiting to happen!
* Disney World – fears that the players would get dizzy in the Mad Tea Cups.
* Poker night – ruled out after Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady said they were broke.
* Monopoly night – thought players going to jail, even in a game, would make for bad headlines
* Book club – idea was rejected when Derek Jeter suggested the team read “The Yankee Years.”
Lisa Swan is co-writer of the New York City baseball blog Subway Squawkers. Her work can be read at subwaysquawkers.blogspot.com .