Joe Girardi took a few extra seconds during a late-morning tour of the U.S. Military Academy to study the statue of another man who was accused of over managing.

Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur stood in front of him, staring out at the perfect blue skies over the Hudson River. His monument here includes excerpts from his famous "Duty, Honor, Country" speech, and you got the feeling Girardi would have read every word if he had the time.

Some of it, he could have even used when he addresses this team one final time before the season opener.

"They are your rallying points to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."

Forlorn is a good word to describe the vibe around the Yankees with the season opener looming Monday. Everyone seems to doubt their ability to get out of their own way, much less win the more competitive AL East.

Some of it is the usual hysteria. Still, it creates a unique situation for the man in charge: If the perception is that the Yankees are crumbling, will the manager get credit for holding them together if they don’t?

This is an opportunity for Girardi, and chances are, he is relishing it more than he’ll ever let on. Gone is the perception that all a Yankees manager has to do is fill out the lineup card and manage the bullpen properly for the team to win 95 games, because the reality is something else entirely.

Now, and for the foreseeable future, Girardi might have to manage his you-know-what off to keep the Yankees afloat until they get healthy. There will be only two certainties day to day: That Robinson Cano will bat third or fourth and that Mariano Rivera will pitch the ninth in a save situation.

Otherwise, running this team will be a tricky job. He’ll have to find a productive lineup from an odd collection of newcomers and spare parts. He’ll have to keep his aging starters from burning themselves out too soon. He’ll have to use his bullpen perfectly because, chances are, his offense won’t bail out many mistakes.

Girardi disagrees that this season will be more difficult. Despite his reputation, he isn’t one of these managers who believes the man setting the lineup has a huge impact on what happens in this sport.