Joe Girardi, Upon Review, Offers a Rare Mea Culpa: ‘I Screwed Up’

Given a night of restless sleep — and after perhaps letting an excoriation from the news media (including from commentators on the YES Network, which is partly owned by the Yankees) sink in — Girardi ventured to the Bronx on Saturday, disassembled his standard defensive armor and offered up something unusual: a mea culpa.

“I screwed up,” he said.

“In hindsight, yeah,” he added. “I wish I would have challenged it.”

“Again, I screwed up,” he went on. “And it’s hard. It’s a hard day for me.”

In his decade as manager of the Yankees, Girardi has probably offered fewer such apologies than the number of pitching changes he made on Friday night. Typically, questions to him that call for self-reflection are dealt with dismissively. On Saturday, he responded with something approaching humility.

When he was asked near the end of Saturday’s 12-minute news conference if this mistake would be hard for him to forget, Girardi said: “Let’s just see what happens tomorrow and as we move forward. That will probably determine the severity of it.”

If the replay fiasco indeed becomes the epitaph for this Yankees season, it will be the latest once-a-decade, mistake-by-the-lake moment the team has endured in Cleveland, which happens to be the ancestral home of the Steinbrenners, the team’s owners.

The nonreview would be a fitting accompaniment to Mariano Rivera’s surrendering the only road playoff home run of his career — to Sandy Alomar Jr., with the Yankees four outs from clinching a 1997 division series — and to the swarm of midges that befuddled pitcher Joba Chamberlain and unspooled the Yankees in a 2007 series loss.