Tiders Get Message From Yanks Manager

What are the chances of having a major league manager -- and not just the manager of any major league team, but the New York Yankees -- take time out in the season to speak to a roomful of people who are unlikely ever to play major league baseball? Well, Jai Miller did, but no other Alabama football players who heard from Joe Girardi in Tuscaloosa Thursday.

Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban has a fall camp policy of bringing in high-profile speakers to provide motivation for his Crimson Tide football team.

He hit a home run Thursday when his Bama team heard from New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi.

Saban said, "We had a great speaker in Joe Girardi. Obviously, they've had a lot of tough circumstances with the Yankees with injuries. But there are still high expectations."

Saban outlined the Girardi message.

"There are only three things that really can affect the team when you have high expectations:

"The first thing is complacency, which you hear me talk about all the time. That's being satisfied with what you've done before. Sometimes you're complacent even when you don't think you're being complacent, becuase you're satisfied and you don't realize it and you're relaxed and you don't continue to do things that have made you successful in the past.

"The second thing is you get selfish. Everybody wants a little more for themselves. That can be divisive to the team.

"The third thing is accountability. Everybody's got to pay attention to detail to do their job, do their role, be responsible for their own self-determination. Once you have success, everybody wants to have success. And it's very difficult not to have success, but it's also very difficult to continue to do the things you have to do to be successful. That's what we're focused on with our guys, that's what we're trying to get them to do."

Saban was asked how he was able to have Girardi speak to the team during the Yankees' season (although Thursday was an off day for New York).

"I think you all know that I spent a day with the Yankees during spring training," Saban said. "I visited with their farm system folks, about 200 players, all their coaches and scouts for the entire morning. They were interested in how we evaluate players, what we do, talking about how they do things, how they develop players, how they teach. Really interesting that people in the organization would be interested in talking about that. But I thought it was great and I learned a lot.

"Then I spent the afternoon with the big team with Joe, got to talk to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera and talked to the whole team. I spoke to the whole team. I just told Joe after that day that we spent together that I'd love for him to come talk to our team sometime. I thought it would be really hard for him to do it during the season.

"He wanted to bring his son, so his son came with him. His son plays football and baseball.

"They had a tough game in Chicago last night, didn't get in until 3 o'clock in the morning. He was over here at 10 with his son to talk to the team.

"I really appreciated him doing that. I think the players really appreciated it as well."

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