I've never been a big fan of Girardi's either.
In MLB today you do need some sort of variation of a player's manager to be successful. I don't mean a guy that is going to let the team run the clubhouse, but the era of the Lou Piniella style manager is over.
I've seen Donnie out there pitching batting practice and working with the guys. He seems to really have grabbed the attention and the respect of the club. So far he has greatly exceeded my expectations.
It really wasn't a wonder @ the time. Girardi was coming off a manager of the year season(even though he continually fought w/Florida management). Donnie, on the other hand, was just a popular player, with limited coaching experience. Since the Yankee way, bottom line, is win at all costs, it's not surprising they went with the experienced guy.
True, in places like Boston or New York the organization would get skewered for going with a rookie Manager. Look at the Red Sox ths year in taking Valentine as well.
I also think the split between Torre and his staff and the Yankee front office was not good. Bowa also joined Joe in LA.
Mattingly lucked out too that the Dodgers were going through such upheaval regarding Frank. He's the best thing that happened to us which was a direct result of the McCourt mania.