For the second time in three games, Joe Girardi was spotted at a Cubs game.
Casing the joint? Testing the waters? Planting seeds?
Of course not. Just like Saturday in Washington, Girardi was at Wrigley Field as part of the MLB Network broadcast team.
But it doesn’t take much imagination to picture dots worth connecting when perhaps the most eligible available manager is in the vicinity of the highest-profile lame-duck manager in the majors.
But Girardi, the former Cub with local ties, is having none of that speculation, regardless of where it’s coming from — no matter how much he wants to manage again.
“That’s not fair,” Girardi said when asked about potential openings. “I don’t want to [take time] thinking about what’s going to happen to other managers. I hope they all keep their jobs because I’ve been on the other side of it, and it’s no fun.”
Girardi, a former Cubs draft pick out of Northwestern and 2000 Cubs All-Star, was connected to managerial openings with the Cubs at least three times in the last 13 years but wound up managing the Yankees (twice on extensions) each time.
“Obviously, I have family still here. My mother-in-law is still here, but I don’t have any places I’d say, ‘Well, that’s my No. 1 place or that’s my No. 2 place,’ ” Girardi said. “There are not a lot of choices in our game, so you look for whatever opening there is and you hope you get a shot and you hope it appeals to you.”
Besides, you might have trouble convincing Girardi that Cubs manager Joe Maddon is going anywhere, regardless of his lame-duck contract status.
“I don’t know about that,” Girardi said. “[The Cubs] look pretty good to me.”
Girardi, who won a manager of the year award with the Marlins in 2006 and a World Series title during a 10-year run with the Yankees, might be a better fit with the White Sox.
His experience seems better suited for a contending team or a talented rebuilding club ready to take the next step. If the Cubs’ front office considers its championship window still wide open at the end of the year, it might as well spend the bigger bucks to keep Maddon.
Girardi, 54, likes broadcasting but has made clear his desire to return to managing in his second season away. He talked to two teams about openings last year, he said, but stuck with the broadcasting gig.
He also has been helping coach his teenage son’s summer team.
“But that’s not the level I’m looking for,” he said. “I want to manage again, plain and simple.”