Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria had to be talked out of firing manager Joe Girardi after a loss last Sunday, the Palm Beach Post reported Saturday, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation.
According to the newspaper report, Loria had made the decision and only reversed it after a postgame meeting with Girardi and other front-office officials. Girardi, for his part, apologized to Loria in front of a subsequent team meeting, the newspaper reported.
"Everyone is going to write what they think happened. All I know is I'm still the manager of the Florida Marlins and I'm here," Girardi said Friday before the Marlins played the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Asked if Loria had fired him and changed his mind, Girardi said "I'll discuss things at the end of the year. Right now the important thing is our club, and I'm still the manager of the Marlins."
Loria declined comment Friday through team spokesman P.J. Loyello, the newspaper reported.
On Sunday, Aug. 6, Loria and Girardi had words after two borderline pitches were called balls in the midst of a six-run Dodgers rally. Loria, who was sitting near the team dugout, yelled at the umpire, and then got into a discussion with Girardi when Girardi asked him to stop.
"Then Girardi said, 'Just stay out of it. I'm the manager.'" a source told the Palm Beach Post. "And Loria said, 'Well, I'm the owner,' or words to that effect. 'If you don't like what I'm telling you, you're fired.'" Another source told the newspaper Girardi's reply to Loria included profanities, which irked the owner even more.
"Loria got up out of his seat and was preparing to get rid of [Girardi]," one source told the newspaper. "Jeffrey can be very knee-jerk. Before he was done walking up the aisle, Jeffrey made up his mind to fire Joe right after the game."
Team employees were seen setting up the Dolphin Stadium media room for a press conference after the game. That news conference was never held, and the newspaper reported that Loria changed his mind after meeting with team president David Samson, general manager Larry Beinfest and assistant GM Mike Hill in Girardi's office.
"They stopped and thought about this, that it would be a public relations nightmare if the resurging Florida Marlins were to have fired a man who turned them around," a source told the newspaper.