Ravens

Yankees manager Girardi attends father's funeral

Yankees manager Girardi attends father's funeral

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) Jerry Girardi was memorialized Monday as a dedicated laborer who built the ranch-style Illinois home where he raised five highly successful children - two doctors, a math professor, an accountant and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

The Yankees manager, who attended the funeral service during an off day in the American League Championship Series, sat quietly alongside his family. None of the Girardis spoke, and they left the church quickly to attend the burial in Tampico, the tiny north-central Illinois town known as the birthplace of Ronald Reagan.

Father Larry Zurek told the roughly 100 mourners at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Peoria that Jerry Girardi's contribution went far beyond his occupations as a bricklayer, restaurant owner and salesman. Foremost, he cherished family, Zurek said.

``Jerry built walls, but he built so much more,'' the priest said.

Jerry Girardi died Oct. 6 at a residential treatment center in nearby Metamora, Ill., at age 81. He had suffered from Alzheimer's for years.

The funeral came the day after Joe Girardi was ejected for arguing a controversial call during a loss to the Detroit Tigers that left the Yankees down 2-0 in the series. But, a lot like the images baseball fans are accustomed to seeing from the Yankee dugout, Girardi showed little emotion Monday. A few times, he dabbed at tears with a handkerchief.

Joe Girardi, whose mother, Angela, died in 1984, managed his team through much of last week without telling players or the public that his father had died. He told The Associated Press last week that he found out while riding a team bus.

``The one thing that both of them, besides many other things that they taught me, was always to finish the job at hand,'' Girardi said. ``So my thought process was my dad would want me to do everything that we could do to go win a World Series. He had been a part of them with me as a player. 2009 - I don't think he understood what we did at that time. He was at a stage in Alzheimer's that he wasn't talking, so I don't think he understood.''

In a statement, the family thanked the community and others for their support.

``Our father would have been touched by all the kindness shown to our family as we mourn his passing. As saddened as we are with his loss, we take solace in knowing that he lives on through the principles he passed down to us and in the many wonderful memories we have of him.''

Lee Hall grew up with Joe Girardi and his brother John, and was co-captain of the team one year with Joe.

Hall, now a local TV sportscaster, said after the service that Jerry Girardi was typical of the hard-working, blue-collar Peoria-area people that both Hall and the Girardi children were raised by. Thousands of people in the area work at Caterpillar Inc., the heavy machinery manufacturer based nearby.

Hall played high school baseball with Girardi and his brother John, he said, was a team co-captain with Joe Girardi one season.

``I think it was the kids' parents - Mr. and Mrs. Girardi did an incredible job with them, you know?'' Hall said. ``They were kind of like my parents: working class parents who wanted better for their kids.''

Joe Girardi has talked frequently about his father taking him to Cubs games, and about how Jerry Girardi showed off his son's World Series ring - won as the Yankees catcher in 1996 - around town after his son gave it to him.

The manager frequently spoke about his father's long struggle with Alzheimer's, progressing from occasional forgetfulness and disorientation as far back as the mid-1990s to the point where he was never sure his father knew or understood him when he called or visited.

On Monday, as the service ended, Jerry Giardi's casket was draped with an American flag, a reminder that he was also an Air Force veteran who served during the Korean war.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said outside the church that he played high school football with John Girardi, and recalled Jerry Girardi frequently standing on the sidelines at practices to watch his son.

``Jerry and his wife brought the kids up right,'' Ardis said.

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Follow David Mercer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidmercerap

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 

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