NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi was on the Yankees' team bus last Saturday when he got the phone call telling him his father had died.
"I had tears in my eyes," Girardi said Thursday, "so I put some sunglasses on."
He didn't want anyone to know. Not you, not me, not even his players.
We say a lot of things about Joe Girardi, because we say a lot of things about every big-league manager and especially every Yankee manager.
But there's something else we should say about Girardi, whether we like him or not: He is one strong-willed man.
He was close to his father. He went to Peoria, Ill., to see him as often as he could, even though Jerry Girardi was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and often didn't know his son was there.
Girardi said Thursday that he wasn't even sure his father understood that he was the Yankee manager, a job that he took over after the 2007 season. That was about the time, Girardi said, that his father's memory really began to fail, as Alzheimer's set in.
"In my mind, I want to believe he was able to comprehend, but I'm not sure."
So when you ask how these last five days have been for Girardi, you really have to ask what the last five years have been like. He has done this week what he believes he has always done, tried to honor his father.
"I always said if I could be half the husband and father my dad was, that would be special," he said.
He talked about his father on Thursday, because the news of Jerry Girardi's death became public in an obituary published in the Peoria Journal-Star. Girardi said he hadn't planned to tell his team until this weekend.
The funeral will be Monday, which is a travel day in the ALCS.
He'll manage every game the Yankees play, just as he has managed every game they've played since he found out on Saturday.
"My thought process was my dad would want me to do everything that we could do to go win a World Series," Girardi said. "I was handling it pretty good until I got word that it came out today. So that's made it difficult."
He'll get through it. It's what he does.