Miami The crowds will be smaller, the budget tighter, the odds of winning longer. Still, the chance to manage lured Joe Girardi from the New York Yankees to the Florida Marlins.
The Yankees' bench coach accepted a three-year contract Wednesday to take over the Marlins.
It's the first managerial job for Girardi, who also interviewed for the Tampa Bay vacancy. He spent 15 years as a major-league catcher, then went into broadcasting in 2004 and came out of the booth to join the Yankees' staff this season.
"Joe was known as an intelligent player with great leadership skills, and he will bring those traits to his new position," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement.
Girardi declined to comment until today, when he'll be introduced at a news conference.
He apparently was Loria's first choice from the outset and was the first candidate to interview with the Marlins owner. A follow-up interview took place Oct. 12 in New York with Loria and general manager Larry Beinfest.
"This is an exciting day for the Marlins organization," Beinfest said. "After several discussions with him, it became clear that not only was Joe ready to manage, but he is the right guy to manage the Florida Marlins. Joe has a tremendous reputation throughout the game, and I am eager to start working with him."
The 41-year-old Girardi succeeds Jack McKeon, who led the Marlins to the World Series title in 2003 but resigned after the team finished a disappointing 83-79 this year.