Thank You Joe Torre, and Thank You Yankees

I don’t know whether Joe Torre has managed his last game for the Yankees. For me, it’s too early to speculate on the future. The hot stove can wait. Let me just say this briefly: the Yanks gave us a lot to cheer about this year. A lot of great moments. Though we’ve been trained to evaluate a season purely on the end result, the truth is that the game is just as much about the joy of the daily grind, about process. As with life, it’s not just about where you end up, but how you get there. More than the World Series victories, more than the 13 consecutive playoff appearances, for me, that has been the great lesson of the Joe Torre era. It’s been a great privilege for New Yorkers—and not just Yankee fans—to experience that kind of leadership, and from a native son. We’ll be forever in his debt.

182 comments… add one
  • I think I join most Sox fans in saying I have the utmost respect for Torre. I hope – ironically enough, for his sake – that the Yanks are done with him. You don’t need the aggravation, Joe. Let ’em hire Mattingly and see what a 75 win season feels like.

    MJL in L.A. (SF) October 9, 2007, 10:42 am
  • Can’t say I have any idea what this must feel like for YF’s, as I sure haven’t developed anything resembling an emotional attachment to a Sox manager. Tito might get there some day, but it’s hard to tell…I get so angry so often at his in-game decisions that they sort of distract from the way he handles the clubhouse. In that respect I guess he and Torre are fairly similar.
    I’m not convinced the manager is all that important anyway, from a strictly performance-based P.O.V. But whatever; it’ll sure be strange to look into the opposing dugout next season and see someone else in Joe’s seat. Naturally, I wish your boys the worst of luck in finding a replacement. ;-)

    Josh SF (D1) October 9, 2007, 10:59 am
  • Joe has given us Yankee fans a lot to be happy about for the past 12 seasons, for that I am grateful. He has also brought a sense of calmness and confidence that is crucial for a team in New York. That being said I still think it’s time for a change. It has little to do with the ALDS loss. I felt the same way back in May. While there may not be a bigger Donald Arthur fan anywhere, I think Girardi is the man for the job. Unfortunately we all know if there is a change the next manager will be Donnie Baseball. I hope for his sake and ours it works out.
    I have to be honest, I don’t have a lot to say. I wrote the above paragraph 5 different times. Being a fan is rewarding sometimes, but other times it really feels like a kick in the balls.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 11:12 am
  • //It was a game fitting in style for the Yankees, a team anchored by the enormity of its reputation, its payroll, and its expectations but was ultimately beaten by a determined young Cleveland team that did not need to engage in a search for old magic because it has created something new and fresh for which the Yankees had no answer.// Howard Bryant at ESPN
    This article, and the post above, are eloquent statements concerning the Yankees. I’m not sad that we lost. I’m sad that its over. Maybe it went on too long. Maybe it was only meant to go from the bright dawn 1996 to the the dusk of 2001, and right now, we just let it get too close to midnight.
    This generation of players have grown old, like all ballplayers and heroes do, and now we have the inevitable rebuilding. Except, we don’t exactly rebuild, just a hefty reload is needed here. The Youngins are ready to be counted upon and some of the veterans (Jeter & Rodriguez) still have bite. Howard Bryant hints at a new era in a new stadium with Rodriguez as the centerpiece, and young guys all around him. I like that future.
    I hope the Boss sees reason once again; realizes that he can’t buy a team and demand returns. That teams need to come together organically, a combo of many types of players, gestating for a couple of years. The 1996 team had the horror of 1995 to grow with, and maybe the 2008 and 2009 teams, while vastly different from 2007, will use this experience to grow, not just to win a championship, but to dominate again for the next decade.
    For me, I’m prepared for that. mlb.tv gives me the ability to watch every game; and i intend to enjoy watching the Youngins, new and old, grow and fail and triumph and progress until a new New York Yankees emerge. One without the burden of continuing a dynasty that had already ended and prepared to create something wholly new.
    Teams change, players move, only the fans remain the same.

    Carlos October 9, 2007, 11:14 am
  • joe’s run was legendary, considering the odds of anybody surviving that long on george’s watch.
    i disagree somewhat with the notion that managers aren’t important. some people are better at juggling egos, etc. than others.
    have you ever had a terrible boss? how about a boss that you truly liked and respected? i think the difference could effect a group of guys over a long season.

    Anonymous October 9, 2007, 11:15 am
  • Well put YF. And if this is indeed the end of the Torre era, it’s been a wonderful ride. And w/regards to MJL’s Mattingly comment, I personally want none other than Girardi if Torre is gone.

    bloodyank78 October 9, 2007, 11:16 am
  • On Torre:
    I hope he is gone and that is not meant with any disrespect. I acknowledge that he was great for the Yanks these past many years and I appreciate how unmatched he is in terms of respect from everyone in the league. I think he is probably the best clubhouse manager in the game and is great with veterans and with the media. He is not a great in-game manager and neve has been. He was stronger in this regard when Zimmer was his bench coach – the last bench coach that Torre listened to rather than mentored a la Girardi, Mattingly, etc. And he is terrible with bullpen management.
    But the bigger issue is that he should go because any manager or coach with the same team for 12 years has been there too long. Torre’s style (loyalty to guys who have done it before/trust the regulars) has become more of a liability as those regulars have gotten older and older. It’s a standard liability of coaches with longevity in a place where they have early success.
    He is part (an invaluable part) of a team that looks back for its glory to years that are further and further back, rather than just focusing on the present and future. I think this every time I’m at the stadium and they flash great plays from ’96-’00 to try to “spur a comeback”. They did this last night ont he jumbotron with the words “Let’s Do It Again” and higlights form Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. I thought, how many of these guys are in a position to “do it again” since the vast majority were not even here???
    I loved those years and I like reliving them on Yanks Classics. I don’t like the two-tiered system the team has exhibited for 7 years now of “the guys who have done it” and “the guys who haven’t proved themselves yet”. This has only started to get broken down with the emergence of clutch performers (note Melky, Cano, Hughes, and Chamberlain this year) that Torre ended up going to only when he had no other choices left.
    I love Torre. And I think he should go.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 11:17 am
  • Agreed IH. He should leave, in splendid retirement. Kind of like a president “choosing” to not try for re-election. He shouldn’t be fired and thrown under the bus. Thanked for his service, invited to any Old-Timers Day and asked to throw out the first pitch some time in the future. (good question? Who does that? Yogi?)
    I imagine a world where Joe leaves the clubhouse for the last time, goes and gets a drink and chats with Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Yogi and Billy Martin about what its like to pitch and win with the best team in the world.
    There are ways to make a change, a needed, necessary change, while still respecting and valuing what was.

    Carlos October 9, 2007, 11:31 am
  • Carlos: On throwing out the first pitch, were you aware that Bernie Williams was approached for tossing the first pitch on Sunday night and he turned the Yankees down? That’s why they went to Tino. Bernie is still resentful. I hope he gets over it soon and can return to the stadium some day. Fans love him.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 11:33 am
  • As usual, IH, well put.
    As for a successor if Joe does leave, another Joe (Girardi) should take over, imo

    rz-yf October 9, 2007, 11:34 am
  • I personally want none other than Girardi if Torre is gone.
    After seeing what’s happened to the once-promising Marlin pitching staff, I couldn’t agree more.

    Paul SF October 9, 2007, 11:37 am
  • On Girardi: He is the guy I most want to get it and the one amond those discussed that I think is least likely to due to both his youth (he played with some of these guys) and his reputation. For fans, his reputation is brief but great: one year – one manager-of-the-year-award. Aggressive style, pound the basics, and give young up–and-comers a shot (since he had no other kinds of players anyway).
    But I think you can’t underestimate, especially in the eyes of uber-owner Steinbrenner, the other reputation he has – this one with owners/management. He did all of the above while snubbing/bucking ownership. That hurts job prospects especially in a toe-the-corporate-line place like NY.
    I don’t think he is out of the running, but I think Mattingly and, maybe even more so, veterans like LaRussa and Valentine (puke) have a legit shot.
    But yeah, I’d prefer Girardi.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 11:39 am
  • Yes, I think the Yanks and Bernie was complicated. It usually happens when a player and a team have different appraisals of the players worth. The Yankees definitely thought he was done, and he did not. They didn’t have a place for him and he didn’t want to ride the bench for no playing time.
    Then again, would Bernie have gotten a hit in the eight and ninth innings? Coming off the bench cold? Against that filthy stuff? A gamble that a little magic remains might pay off, but you can’t build a team around “a little magic.”
    In any other organization, Bernie might have been allowed to crash wholly and realize he was done, but the Yanks politely, clearly, honestly made the decision for him, and he understandably resents them for it. He should take a look around and see that no one else offered him anything, and the Yanks gave him a way to end his career with dignity…
    There are worse thing to be then an Yankee Great; its a sweet ride. I hope he eventually notices that.
    As an aside: Although Paul O’Neil left with no bitterness, he hasn’t shown up for the ballpark yet. I read somewhere that he still gets too choked up about not playing. It takes time. After 1995, Donnie went away and only came back the last couple of years. It takes time to lay the athlete to rest before the Ol’ Legend can take his place.

    Carlos October 9, 2007, 11:40 am
  • Carlos, good point on the player-to-old-timer transition. And yeah, Bernie should realize that no one else knocked on his door when the Yanks didn’t take him. And the way their bench turned out this year – a strength – I don’t know what role he would have played. Really.
    I had a great mentor once who used to say “when three people tell you your drunk, you better lay down”. Well 30 teams effectively told Bernie he was done. I feel bad for him that he had so much trouble accepting it.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 11:54 am
  • that’s “you’re” not “your”…

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 11:55 am
  • “I had a great mentor once who used to say “when three people tell you your drunk, you better lay down”.”
    Shane McGowan?
    It’s fitting that it’s grey and rainy day in NY today. I’m getting more and more depressed about the loss and ugliness that is going to ensue in the next month. I am not sanguine about the potential changes.
    Tony LaRussa is being mentioned.
    I need to lay down and it’s only noon.

    Nick-YF October 9, 2007, 11:59 am
  • Its baseball that has this issue. Its one of the great wrinkles in the sports.
    Football is merciless. Rice, Montana, Emmitt Smith, the list is endless of players that were cut off their team as “business decisions.” Sometimes the players still have it, sometimes they don’t, but the team can’t afford to keep someone around who will self-destruct on their watch.
    Basketball is so obvious that there is no disagreement. Players will sign for the minimum elsewhere because they believe they compete, but they openly speak of the glory days behind them. They know they are coming in as cogs in the machine and their expectations adjust accordingly.
    Baseball. Baseball is hard. The skills diminish, but they were often augmented by intuition, will and smarts, and those rarely fail quickly. Although we have a glut of aging pitchers, it used to be the outfielders you’d notice. Those who had definitely lost a step here or there (in some cases a whole staircase was lost to age), but still made great breaks to the ball. And they could always hit, bloop doubles instead of line drives. So, they stuck around.
    Which is poignant only because the torch passes so obviously to us observers. I first became a yankee fan way back in the day about an aging DiMaggio tracking a ball down in center but giving way to a young Mantle who got to the spot first. The Baton was passed. And so, although Cabrera doesn’t have the casual glide of Bernie, nor the hitting prowess (yet), I’ve come to accept that the baton has been passed. It took me a while and I can only imagine its going to take Bernie a long while.

    Carlos October 9, 2007, 12:05 pm
  • Cafardo in the Globe today wonders whether losing Torre means the Yanks lose more free agents than they would have.
    I think Pettitte retires, for sure. Rivera’s been unhappy with the contract talks, but I would guess his friendship with Jeter (abnd the cash) would keep him in NY (same with Poada). A-Rod I think has played his last game as a Yankee, which is nothing more than wild speculation on my part.

    Paul SF October 9, 2007, 12:06 pm
  • Is there anything in the Texas papers about Pettitte that makes you so certain, Paul. That’s a lot of money to walk away from and he still can pitch.

    Nick-YF October 9, 2007, 12:08 pm
  • Just based on his comments yesterday, really, Nick. He seemed bummed about a possible Torre departure. He came for two reasons — Torre and Clemens. They’re both likely to be gone next year, and as I understand it, hasn’t really expressed that Clemenslike desire to keep pitching.

    Paul SF October 9, 2007, 12:13 pm
  • Pettitte leaving is not a sure thing to me at all. Torre’s departure (and Roger’s) affects him more than any of the other free agents I agree, but I don’t think it’s at all certain he goes. I think he was surprised at how well his arm held up and so would like to pitch again. That then means will it be NY or somewhere else. There is the money issue, which I don’t think will be outdone by another team, and there is the wanting to win a championship, which I don’t think gets better by relocating to Texas. I don’t know what he’ll do, but I don’t see how one can be certain he leaves NY.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • Shane McGowan for Yankee Manager!!!

    SF October 9, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • Pettitte said last night he wants to sit down and talk to his family and do what’s best for them. Andy has never been one to care about money, his religion and family come first. Like Paul, I wouldn’t be shocked if Andy was done. For sentimental reasons I hope he comes back for a final season this way we can give him a proper farewell.
    As for Mo and Jorge, I can’t see them leaving. They are both going to get the most money where they would be considered most valuable and that’s with the Yankees.
    Alex, it’s been fun. Like I said in my piece a few months back Alex is gone. New York fans will never appreciate him regardless of what he does, it’s best for him to move on. I hope the fans realize what they had once they see Wilson Betemit and his .250 avg playing 3B everyday.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • AROD, Posada, Pettitte, Abreu, and Rivera.
    Those are the big 5 decisions the Yanks need to make on players this winter. If 4 of the 5 didnt come back id be very surprised. I understand the loyalty to Torre but there is also some loyalty to the yankees and their fans. Beyond all that there is money and the yankees need to spend on these guys as part of their business model. Established stars are critical and they arent gonna run a team of rookies and B players out there for the last season of Yankee stadium. On the contrary, I believe we are gonna see them open the coffers even wider this offseason and everything they can to put together a winning team for the final year.

    Sam-YF October 9, 2007, 12:15 pm
  • Joe Torre’s name will forever be linked with those of Casey Stengel, Joe McCarthy and Miller Huggins as the most successful managers in Yankee history – that speaks volumes about how great his tenure has been. I’ll always love Joe for all of the great memories.
    That being said, I agree with IH – it’s time for new leadership. For the past 3 years in the postseason, I haven’t gotten the feeling of urgency from Joe’s managing.

    Andrews October 9, 2007, 12:15 pm
  • I’d take McGowan over LaRussa. God, it would be hard to rrot for the Yanks with LaRussa at the helm.
    “New York fans will never appreciate him regardless of what he does, it’s best for him to move on.”
    Some New York fans, some.

    Nick-YF October 9, 2007, 12:16 pm
  • Unless the Yankees really feel strongly about Andruw Jones, I can’t see them passing up on Abreu’s option. He is a steal (in this market) at 1 year/16 million.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 12:18 pm
  • Joe Torre has been the been the manager of the Yankees since I was 7 years old. I’ve grown up with him as the steady, confident leader of my favorite team in pro sports. I first started following the Yankees during the ’94 season, and I still remember the startling sea change that Torre ushered in. We went from an average playoff team to a superpower. It’s hard for me to imagine the Yankees managed by anyone but Torre.
    Despite my nostalgia, and as much as I don’t want to admit, maybe it’s time for Torre. Like others have said, he’s the perfect clubhouse manager but not a great in-game manager, especially his bullpen management. But can anyone else keep the team together? This off-season has immediate question marks for me. Without Torre, will Pettitte postpone retirement and come back? Will Posada stay? Mo? And most importantly, will A-rod, the man who carried the Yankees on his back for much of the regular season?
    Maybe it’s time for new blood at the manager spot. Maybe that’s what will finally get us past the ALDS. But I can’t help but think that this is too soon. The 2nd half of this season has been a magnificent piece of management by Torre. The Yankees have had a particularly rough ride this season. Our starting pitching this year has never been stable. I swear half of our AA/AAA pitchers have seen action in Yankee pinstripes. Without a premier SP prospect shifted into the setup man role, the relief has been shaky at best. The hitting was hot one month and ice-cold the next. With the emergence of the young guns, and Cashman doing his thing, who knows what Torre and the Yankees could have accomplished in the next 3-4 years?
    Until we get A-rod, Pettitte, and Posada coming back, I’m not sure about the future of our team.

    doug YF October 9, 2007, 12:19 pm
  • Paul:
    At this point, its all up to A-Rod. He needs to decide what he wants and what is best for him. The reports say that the Yanks are talking about a 5 year extension for 30 mil a year after his current deal is done. That locks him up until he’s what? 39?
    But if he leaves for “money” it’ll be for the next 2 years…where he might get 5-6 million extra, is that really all he wants?
    He might leave for his peace of mind, but thats a horrible blow for an athlete to take. Can his ego even allow that? If the Yankees put equal or near equal money on the table. If the disparity is really 2 years at 25.2 + 5 years at 30 million against 7 years at 30 million, I don’t think he can claim that the Yanks “pushed” him away.
    No, if he leaves, the line will be “can’t handle NY”, “Choked in NY”, and he’ll go off to somewhere less intense to finish his career. And that will hang with him longer than the postseason Oh-fers.
    I make no predictions, but I find it hard to believe than an athlete, a driven, competitive, ego-driven (in a good way) athlete will run away and let the ghosts/chants/criticisms follow him for the rest of his life. This is a man who has put alot of stock into becoming “the best”, and I don’t see how his departure on these terms could be seen as something less than failure.
    All things being equal, staying in NYC allows the opportunity for success and redemption. Leaving NYC and even succeeding elsewhere, leaves a question unanswered. I wonder how tough that type of doubt is in the ultra-competitive.

    Carlos October 9, 2007, 12:20 pm
  • I’d take LaRussa over Valentine. Anyone who has worn a Mets uniform must be banished from positions of responsibility in Yankee Stadium.
    On Pettitte, I too would not be shocked if he left. I just don’t think it is certain. For this reason I would also not be shocked if he stays. And I agree with you Trisk on Pettitte’s priorities – religion and family. And his religion is not Yankee-ism as much as some of us would like it to be.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 12:21 pm
  • I agree with you on LaRussa Nick 100%.
    As far as A-Rod goes you are right, he has his supporters, but just turn on the radio or ESPN. After that complete team debacle this man takes the brunt of everyone’s frustration. It has to take a toll on him.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 12:21 pm
  • Just an observation from my bleacher seats at last nights game, but Pettitte sure looked happy and comfortable before the game, engaging fans who shouted encouragement; and during the game, when he sat on the bullpen bench with Hughes, Ohlendorf, and Chamberlain.
    In an interview in September he said it was the first year in a long time he felt healthy at the end – I’m sure he’ll pitch next year, and with the Yanks.
    “I think Pettitte retires, for sure. Rivera’s been unhappy with the contract talks, but I would guess his friendship with Jeter (abnd the cash) would keep him in NY (same with Poada). A-Rod I think has played his last game as a Yankee, which is nothing more than wild speculation on my part.”
    Last night’s wet dream, Paul?

    Anonymous October 9, 2007, 12:27 pm
  • Honestly i dont think Arod has taken as much blame for this one as he has in past years. There have been many articles about the failures of all the other players, esp Jeter. Arod’s mediocre series is being written about but thats only fair because he was out there and did just OK. This year is very different from last and the Torre departure has drowned out most of the Arod bashing.

    Sam-YF October 9, 2007, 12:28 pm
  • Other things that should go (with much less fanfare) if we are indeed washing away some of the old and bringing in some of the new in New York:
    1. God Bless America in the 7th inning. Enough already. I won’t even get into the politics of it, which piss me off to no end. It is absurd and I fear it is going to last now forever in Yankee Stadium because they have made it awkward not to do it. There is little as cringe-inducing to me than a bunch of drunk morons screaming “Stand up and take you hat off you Nazi!” to fellow-fans. Group-think of the disgusting sort. Kudos to Delgado for going his own way on this one. Even if he continues to decline as a player, he has my undying respect for this small but significant statement.
    2. Showing Rudy Giuliani during games to rally the crowd – both in video-taped form and live. These politics too I’ll try to avoid. I’ll just leave it at this guy has nothing to do with baseball. The fact that he would destroy our collective civil rights, or at least those of some of us, if he were actually to become president is only a secondary concern in this context, but it doesn’t help.
    3. The clap on every two-strike-count. Not nearly as bothersome as the first two, but this tradition, started during (and very cool as part of) Gator’s 18-K masterpiece takes on ridiculous proportions when it is done on every two-strike count during every game.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 12:30 pm
  • “I personally want none other than Girardi if Torre is gone.”
    This is the rub with letting go of Torre. Joe has clearly demonstrated that technical managerial abilities take a back seat to clubhouse management when it comes to the Yankees.
    Do we quickly forget why Torre was hired in the first place? Schowalter (sp?) was a genius in terms of developing young players but couldn’t handle the clubhouse, the owner and NY media. The result was one-and-done.
    Why wasn’t Girardi asked back as manager for the Marlins? From what I recall, he had serious problems with the owner sticking his nose into the dugout and telling how to do his job. Are Yankee fans so clueless/desperate not to think that George won’t do the same thing a thousand times over? How will Girardi react, not only to George, but to the media reinforcing that same scrutiny. Could you imagine him telling George to f-off to his face? Even more outlandish, could you imagine that he would have a job 24 hrs after something like that went down? His stuff would be out on Rt 87 before he could shower and change.
    Girardi was playing with house money in Florida. Don’t be shocked and surprised next year at this time when the Yanks aren’t even in the post-season.

    lp October 9, 2007, 12:30 pm
  • IH – I strongly agree with the first and second items on your laundry list.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 12:36 pm
  • IH- I also agree with the first two items. I like the two strike clap personally. The standing can be limited to 2 outs and maybe the 9th. Although i dont fault anyone for standing and cheering at any point in the postseason.

    Sam-YF October 9, 2007, 12:41 pm
  • AG: I wonder, if they polled the fans on those two items, which way they would go.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 12:41 pm
  • George is reportedly set to fire God for not blessing America effectively during these past 7 years, so #1 will soon be off the list. I agree. It really bothers me that I feel compelled to stand for fear that some meathead might beat the shit out of me if I don’t. It needs to end ASAP.

    Nick-YF October 9, 2007, 12:45 pm
  • Wow, someone made a Pogues reference and it wasn’t me. That’s awesome.
    So does this really come down to LaRussa, Valentine, or Mattingly? There are no dark horses anywhere that I’m unaware of, or screwball candidates George might spring upon us?
    “George is reportedly set to fire God for not blessing America effectively during these past 7 years, so #1 will soon be off the list. ”
    I laughed out loud at that one. Nicely done.

    Josh SF (D1) October 9, 2007, 12:46 pm
  • IH- It depends what sections of the stadium were polled. The upper deck is way more “militant” about the God bless america. I personally think its an embarrassment. Its become such a token hollow gesture. They even pick the shortest recorded version of the song to play during the regular season.

    Sam-YF October 9, 2007, 12:47 pm
  • As much as I love Irish tenors, Ronan Tynan needs a new gig. He isn’t “bad”, but hearing anybody every game for seven years is alot. I think its time to end the practice completely, or just pipe it through the loudspeaker. The constant aura of seriousness is becoming laughable.

    Carlos October 9, 2007, 12:47 pm
  • Shane McGowan is brilliant. I wish he drank less. It’s remarkable that he is still alive. Can’t say I know that many Irish pub style groups, but are the Flogging Molly’s good? I think that’s their name and I was at a bar a few weeks ago when they came on. Thought it was the Pogues until I was corrected.

    Nick-YF October 9, 2007, 12:50 pm
  • Carlos it is piped through the loudspeaker basically every game of the regular season and it sucks even worse.

    Sam-YF October 9, 2007, 12:50 pm
  • If the legit choices are Girardi, Mattingly, LaRussa or Valentine, again consider me a happy Sox fan. I can’t say any strikes me as being remotely near Joe Torre in terms of handling the clubhouse, etc. LaRussa is terribly overrated and his clubs consistently have underperformed through his career, Girardi blew out no fewer than three young shoulders in just one year as Marlins manager, Mattingly might be a crazy enough choice to work, but he’s been taking his cues from Torre, so how’s that bullpen management gonna work, and Valentine I just don’t know enough about, but he’s never struck me as that great a manager.

    Paul SF October 9, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • Sam:
    Thanks; i’m a transplanted NYer so have not made it for a reg season game in a while.

    Carlos October 9, 2007, 12:54 pm
  • Yeah, I had “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” going when I read that before. And “Fairytale in New York” is the only Christmas song I really like, and definitely the only one I’ll listen to out of season.
    Flogging Molly is very good. They’re sort of in between the Dropkick Murphys and the Pogues, if that makes any sense. Traditional, similar to the Pogues, but with some electric guitars and a fairly strong punk undercurrent.
    But in my opinion the best Irish band nobody’s heard of is The Tossers. They’ve been around longer then the Murphys or Flogging Molly, and are based in Chicago. The lead singer’s got a phenomenal voice and he’s a pretty solid writer, too. Real good pub music, that’s for sure, and everyone I know who likes the Pogues loves them, too.

    Josh SF (D1) October 9, 2007, 12:58 pm
  • “The upper deck is way more “militant” about the God bless america”
    Sam, my season tix are in bleacher section 39 – I hate to say it, but the blind machismo that passes as “patriotism” is at least as strong there as in the tiers or anywhere else.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 12:58 pm
  • Nick, it’s not Irish, but check out Great Big Sea.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 12:58 pm
  • While I agree that the “God Bless America” practice needs to be ended, Carlos, I disagree with your assessment of Ronan Tynan – he has a marvelous voice. As a musician, I really enjoyed hearing him sing “live” for the first time last night – for a minute I was able to forget about my dislike of the whole spectacle, and just enjoy the glorious sound – it was nice to think about something other than the yank’s plight for just a moment.

    Andrews October 9, 2007, 12:59 pm
  • What’s Great Big Sea like?

    Josh SF (D1) October 9, 2007, 12:59 pm
  • I wish he drank less.
    Why? Without that soggy liver, we might not have his brilliance.
    The Pogues came into their own while I was in college in the late 80s. If you told me SM would still be living twenty years hence I’d have told you you were insane.

    SF October 9, 2007, 1:00 pm
  • Oh, like i said, Ronan isn’t “bad.” I do think he has a marvelous voice, but i’ve been hearing him sing in playoff games for the last seven years and its wearing on me. I’ve learned to hear his little tics and though I love the interpolations near the end, I want to hear a new voice.

    Anonymous October 9, 2007, 1:01 pm
  • “I want to hear a new voice.”
    Or better yet, a new song…

    Andrews October 9, 2007, 1:03 pm
  • “What’s Great Big Sea like?”
    It’s what Steinbrenner is getting ready to offer A-Rod.

    Anonymous October 9, 2007, 1:03 pm
  • From St. Johns. If you like traditional pub music, you’ll probably like traditional Newfoundland music as well. They’ve got some stuff that is more pop-oriented as well.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 1:03 pm
  • If there has to be a patriotic song in the 7th (must there?), why not add a little variety? America the Beautiful, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, This Land is Your Land (which even mentions “the New York island”).
    Do they do God Bless America even when playing the Blue Jays?

    Ron Newman October 9, 2007, 1:04 pm
  • Thats me up there talking about Ronan not being “bad.”
    btw, it seems that the folks at ESPN.com listen to us here at YFSF.
    I just read this from Jeff Pearlman:
    “When did a baseball season in New York become solely about the finish line, and not about the journey? How can a team that clawed its way out of a 14½-game hole be deemed a failure for falling to a team — the Cleveland Indians — that features two of the league’s top five starting pitchers? Do the memories of Alex Rodriguez’s 54 home runs and Chien-Ming Wang’s 19 wins and Derek Jeter’s steely determination and Joba Chamberlain’s meteoric rise fade to ashes without a diamond-studded ring?
    Is this who we are?
    Is this what we’ve become?”
    I dont know how you guys do links here but: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=pearlman/071009&sportCat=mlb

    carlos October 9, 2007, 1:05 pm
  • vote for the following songs to replace God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch”
    1. 4′ 33” by John Cage
    2. Everyday is Like Sunday by Morrissey- suits the mood these days
    3. Baby Got Back by Sir Mix A Lot- think of the interpretative dance possibilities for the groundscrew (by the way, the YMCA bit has jumped the shark).
    4. The Internationale: Yanks’ ownership pointed statement about revenue sharing.

    Nick-YF October 9, 2007, 1:09 pm
  • Is it too early to start drinking?

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 1:09 pm
  • 5. Maybe the Sox will let us borrow Sweet Caroline…

    Anonymous October 9, 2007, 1:10 pm
  • Trisk, you’re late!

    Nick-YF October 9, 2007, 1:10 pm
  • That was me…

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 1:11 pm
  • “Let ’em hire Mattingly and see what a 75 win season feels like.”
    MJL in LA, when the Yankees dug themselves out of a 21-29 hole to scare the crap out of us and eventually grab the Wild Card, I think that most Red Sox fans feel the man responsible for that turn around was Joe Torre.
    If the Boss fired Torre at that point, I truly think 21-29 might have been just a SMALL sample of what was in store for the Yankees.
    As it is they had to have a monumental best of the Majors record from then on out to not only get right up on the Red Sox butt’s in the East, but sew up the Wild Card by a hefty margin, turning the AL east into a dominant division once again.
    New blood MIGHT re-energize the Yankees, but is Mattingly new blood?
    Conversely with the loss of Torre and who knows how many free agents, the Yankees MIGHT be facing seasons full of 21-29 type performances.
    Anything is possible, Joe Torre may been there for too long. The Yankees may again return to dominate the the AL east next year, but if they fire Torre, I wouldn’t bet on it too heavily.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 1:11 pm
  • I’ll tell you what, John, watching the game last night became a lot more fun when I learned to appreciate the finer qualities of the magnificent, Asdrubalicious, Byrdian, outstanding geniuses on the grizzled, hump-getting-overish announcing crew.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 1:14 pm
  • Ron: Yes, they do it when playing the Jays. And yes, the bigger issue is there need not be a “patriotic” song during the 7th inning.
    There is the star-spangled banner to open the game. That is appropriate and sufficient. There is no need for a 7th-inning “patriotic” song, particularly in an era of misguided patriotism and fear-based politics. Sorry, I promised I would stay out of the politics. It is just hard. It’s not Ronan’s voice (DR. Ronan, that is) and it’s not the need for variety. It’s the entire concept of something started at a time of national mourning and tragedy being carried through until today. Especially when we see that the population’s need at that time of tragedy for reassurance/solace/rallying together has been manipulated and misguided by some of the worst leadership in the history of this country. I don’t like it when I am going to the voting booths, but at least it belongs there. I despise it when it shows up in my baseball-game-going life. I don’t think you salute troops by showing support for the idiots who unnecessarily put them in harm’s way in the first place, and I can’t view the 7th inning through any other lens. Especially when it is combined with fawning over Giuliani – a politician who is probably the most fitting “rule-by-fear” successor to the current regime.
    That’s it. I’m done. Sorry – particularly to those who disagree since this site too is not supposed to be about politics.

    Anonymous October 9, 2007, 1:16 pm
  • Apologies, political rant from anon was me.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 1:16 pm
  • > 4′ 33” by John Cage
    That’s a great suggestion. Just enjoy the sound of the environment without getting bombarded by announcements, music, promotions..
    Never happen though.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 1:18 pm
  • The Idea of Larussa ugggggggg…..the only person from that “scene” of Managers that would make some kind of decent transition—POSSIBLY—would be Dusty Baker. But he’s black and there’s a real slim chance that the Yankees will have a black manager in the next 25 years.

    walein October 9, 2007, 1:19 pm
  • A few observations: Joe Torre is the classiest man is baseball, bar none.
    And if he is fired anyone who hires him in any capacity is getting a giant in the game of baseball.
    I can just envision the teams AND TV networks that will salivate to try and hire him.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 1:19 pm
  • More importantly, Dusty Baker is an idiot who destroys young pitchers. So…umm…I’d want him as far from New York as humanly possible, if I were you…

    Josh SF (D1) October 9, 2007, 1:20 pm
  • It may be a technicality, but Torre is not being “fired”. Even if he goes next year, it is after his contract ended. He is just being brought back. And just becuase he could be the best guy for another team, doesn’t mean the Yankees would be wrong for thinking he is no longer the best person for theirs.
    I am not on some compaign to drive him out. I just think it is time for him to move on and that he should be showered with praise by Yanks ownership and fans when he does and beyond.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 1:22 pm
  • Seriously, Dusty Baker is about as low on my list as Lou Pinella. He can keep his toothpick out of the yankees dugout.

    Sam-YF October 9, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • “That’s a great suggestion. Just enjoy the sound of the environment without getting bombarded by announcements, music, promotions..
    Never happen though.”
    gerb, sadly, last night it nearly did. I have never heard the stadium that quiet.

    Andrews October 9, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • About it being time for Torre to leave, maybe so, I mean while he did preside over the Yanks when they hugely came back this year, it has been sort something the Yankees have done over his years at the helm… I seem to remember more than one slow starting Yankees team, in ’06 they started slowly as well, though not nearly so, and I seem to recall a season after a WS win that they started pretty slowly and won it all..again.
    And what the hell, even if the guy DID preside over the greatest string of baseball dominance in the last 50 years, maybe his time IS done in NY

    Brian October 9, 2007, 1:37 pm
  • Thank you Joe Torre.

    Smitty (yf) October 9, 2007, 1:45 pm
  • Some other thoughts that occured to me watching the Yankees… Johnny Damon’s throwing ability is so diminished that in comparison he had a cannon arm when he played for the Sox.
    Doug Mentkiewicz, is a great glove man…
    and a nice reserve player…
    While the white elephant in the building last night was Jason Giambi, that guy just looks like a shattered husk of a baseball player compared to the the guy who played in Oakland. He looks just awful, I don’t mean his baseball skills, I mean physically and maybe even mentally.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 1:52 pm
  • Brian, no one is bashing Torre here, but you need to respond to the specific points that have been raised by him to make a compelling counter-argument. Post-Zimmerman he became totally timid with runners on base. The most blatant example was the 2004 ALCS with Wakefield pitching, Varitek barely able to catch him, and strikingly passive base-running, but there have eben many other examples over the years, especialyl in the post-season. He is hugely trusting of guys who “did it” before under his reign, but this is a liability when those same guys are so old. And I don’t know anyone who thinks he is a good bullpen manager.
    The nature of this team is changing and it needs a manager who can get on the young guys to get them focused on basics and motivated to play the game the right way. Torre may be able to do that, but others named here – i.e. Girardi – have proven a capacity for that as well.
    And regardless of anything else, he has been with them for 12 years, at which point, as numerous coaches and managers in baseball, football, and basketball have said, the players know all your speeches, they’ve heard all your arguments, and you are less effective as a motivator, mentor, and coach/manager.
    None of this is a Torre-sucks argument. It is a Torre-was-great for the Yankees of 1995-2007. Now let’s begin the search for the best manager for the 2008 and beyond Yankees.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 1:52 pm
  • Now let’s begin the search for the best manager for the 2008 and beyond Yankees.
    Manager-by-committee: YF, Nick, Trisk, and the Gerb!!! First-ever “blogger-to-manager” jump!

    SF October 9, 2007, 1:55 pm
  • Look, all I know is that Joe Torre has kept the Yankees on top for longer than ANY Yankees skipper all time. This in an era of parity, mind you. Believe me I understand the frustration that can occur when a great team becomes merely a good team, but getting rid of Torre is a huge mistake for the Yankee organization in my mind. Get him another Zimmer, or get him Zimmer! Anybody other than Joe Torre as the Yankee manager is a step down in my book.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 2:04 pm
  • I will respectfully decling SF, LOL. Coaching HS makes my hair gray enough! I am 32 and I am starting to like a walking just for men commercial.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 2:06 pm
  • “Get him another Zimmer, or get him Zimmer!”
    Couldn’t agree with you more on this point Brian. I think that loss was bigger than a lot of YFs realize and it was entirely Steinbrenner’s fault for treating him like dirt and running him out. And since Zimmer, every other bench coach has been a guy that Torre was teaching more than someone truly advising him and with even more experience than he has.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 2:08 pm
  • And seriously, the guy is class personified, if the Yankees no longer feel he’s their guy, he’ll go gracefully, AND everybody else in baseball will thank the Yankees profusely. Mark my works, with Torre gone, in a very short time Yankee fans will be thinking back wistfully on the golden era of Torre baseball in NY.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 2:09 pm
  • YFs will only look back wistfully if the Yankees don’t get past the ALDS in the next 2-3 years. That’s a lot of pressure on a new manager, but whoever it is will likely be inheriting a very good team with a mix of young and experienced talent. And for the record, I will miss Torre no matter what. I just like seeing him in the dugout and in the post-game interviews. He has been papa baseball to me this past decade plus.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 2:13 pm
  • The truth is Joe Torre is a baseball giant, pure and simple, and when he goes the people of NY will be sorry it happened, I guarantee it. If he’s done now, that time of sorrow will simply be sooner rather than later.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 2:16 pm
  • IronHorse, what I’m trying to drive home is that the Boss has had control of the Yankees for what 35 years, there abouts? And in my mind during that time he has had TWO, countem TWO great managers. At least by Yankee standards anyway… it is concievable that the Yankees without Torre will play like 21-29 INDIVIDUALS, merely a collection of high priced paychecks…

    Brian October 9, 2007, 2:24 pm
  • Brian, the deification of Torre did not occur in his first 18 years of managing, when he led one team to a divisional crown.
    He came into a situation in New York that was ripe for success thanks to Steinbrenner’s banishment from the game, which prevented his meddlnig, and the work of Schowalter, Michaels, and others in the organization during that time.
    Torre did exceptionally well with the exceptional talent he inherited. No one can take that away from him, and in the process he developed legendary status that he was NOT on his way to earning until he came to New York.
    The blessings go in both directions. Just as Roger’s first WS was more a gift to him frmo NY than the reverse (his second was one toward which he more clearly played an indispensible role) Torre has benefited enormously from his association with the Yankees.
    Yes, another manager will never step into his legend-status, and in taht regard we will all miss him if he goes. But another manager will step into a very well run organization (if Cashman is allowed to continue with his approach) with huge resources and an ownership willing to dispense them, and a total commitment to winning an WS. If they can take that organization deeper into October than Torre has in the past 6 years, I think people will place Torre in the proper context. Exceptional manager of the 1996-2007 Yankees.
    And by the way, the curses go in both directions too: just as a Yankee team unable to advance far in ’08 and beyond will add to Torre’s aura, if Torre goes anywhere else and struggles to make the playoffs for years on end, you can bet that his God-status will get tarnished too.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 2:31 pm
  • I’m just saying… you Yankee fans have been blessed with a run of GREAT baseball in NY and yeah, maybe some years of just good teams. But Jeez I know it’s the Yankees and all, but before Torre name me anyone in the past 50 years that’s won more with his teams than he has, gotten more out of the guys he was dealt, combating injuries and retirement, etc… better than Torre.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 2:31 pm
  • listen, the one last thing ‘ll say is Schowalter, Micheals and a host of others, including Houk, Lemmon et al have all done their best with some of the same resources as Torre and sure he inherited a team on the verge, but he’s either won it all or kept the team on the verge of winning it all the WHOLE friggin time. I know, I know maybe someone will do better than one and done, I know that WS are what is expected, but I think throwing out the baby with the bathwater is what letting Torre go is akin to doing. Just my opinion, but I’m telling you, LOTS of other Yankee managers have had the resources the boss has made available and not even Billy Martin can come CLOSE to doing what Torre did, not to mention keeping Boston at bay for Sooooooo freaking long.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 2:43 pm
  • Dude you are way off, Torre never managed Schilling.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 3:01 pm
  • Well maybe this is Joe Torre’s final days with the Yankees, but as fan of the game of baseball, not remotely a Yankee fan, I want to thank Joe Torre for his great service to the game of baseball and congratulate him on his certain induction into the Hall of Fame.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 3:03 pm
  • As we’ve all read and stated before, but seen unable to remember, Torre’s great trait, what has elevated him to the “deification” status is not his skills as an on-field manager, or his baseball acumen, or his player development skills.
    It is that he provided a cozy, comfortable insulated stability in the craziest place in crazytown. Buck Showalter is an exceptional manager and coach. But he got kicked out of NY HARD because of the media pressure, Steinbrenner and the general Yankee craziness.
    I hate to sound like an Annoying Yankee Fan, but NY is different than other places. Managing in that town requires less managerial acumen as toughness and public relations skill.
    And so no, if Torre goes off to Tampa Bay, he won’t win as much. Thinking of him makes me think of Phil Jackson, who is not a great Xs and Os coach and is not someone that I would hire to grow a franchise. But if I had superstars in a big market with egos set to “clash mode”? Then Phil Jackson is the first one I’d call.
    So often we think of talent/ability as a zero-sum trait. Its either there or it isn’t. And I think thats true, but thats not what makes one successful or even “good.” You have to find the right situation, aka the one that fits your strengths and minimizes your weakness.
    Joe Torre may have been the perfect manager for this era of New York Yankees. And though the situation is different (less experience at bench coach, pitching/hitting coach not used to developing talent like before), whoever the new coach is going to have to deal with what Torre always dealt with skillfully and easily. And I don’t know that there are many people who could beat Torre in that arena.
    Note: Please remember that it isn’t as easy as “He’s great!” or “he’s horrible.” You have to provide a context.

    carlos October 9, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • Torre leaving has nothing to do with him being a nice guy. It has nothing to do with him being a class act. It’s simply time for a change. Change isn’t always bad, unless of course it means we hire LaRussa.

    John - YF October 9, 2007, 3:32 pm
  • “Change isn’t always bad, unless of course it means we hire LaRussa.”
    Trisk, I say you and I set up a site together if this happens devoted to the immediate firing of Tony LaRussa.

    Nick-YF October 9, 2007, 3:36 pm
  • I am with you Nick!
    “You only have to go and map out that if Alex Rodriguez were to play until he is 45 and he averaged 35 home runs he would have over 1,000 homers.” – Scott Boras on A-Rod
    Let the games begin!

    John - YF October 9, 2007, 4:04 pm
  • Awwww BRaw, you’re back, how cute…

    John - YF October 9, 2007, 4:11 pm
  • Was that a Canadian soldier?

    John - YF October 9, 2007, 4:12 pm
  • I couldn’t have said it better carlos, but unfortunately for the Yankees and their fans there seems to be a general agreement that Torre’s time is now passed.
    I could end up being very wrong but I have to believe that the next guy isn’t going to just jump in, snap his fingers, and deliver what is expected of a Yankee manager, it isn’t that easy.
    Some situations are just perfect for an individual and Yankees skipper is that position for Joe Torre, will he manage again, maybe, maybe not and maybe he’ll have little success if he does, but the Yankees and their fans seem to forget that the Red Sox won the AL east four times in the decade before the start of the Torre era, the Yankees won none, (although they were ahead at the conclusion of play the strike year of ’94.) THIS is the first year the Sox have managed to wrest the division from Torre’s Yankees.
    I won’t say it is the start of Red Sox domination in the AL east, but if they get rid of Torre I’d be willing to bet the Yankees don’t see much of the division crown either. I mean The Boss brought in a boatload of high priced underachieving playoff talent then too. Anyone forget the skewering The Boss gave Dave Winfield year after year?

    Brian October 9, 2007, 4:18 pm
  • “the one last thing ‘ll say is Schowalter, Micheals and a host of others, including Houk, Lemmon et al have all done their best with some of the same resources as Torre”
    Brian: this is not true. Consider:
    1. None of them benefitted from the owner being suspended for two years during which the nucleus of a dynasty was developed until Schowalter et al and then they were booted before the fruits of that labor could be enjoyed. On the contrary, previous teams had his interventions constantly undercutting player development, sicking private investigators on players, etc. As annoying and obnoxious as Steinbrenner is in the Torre era, he has been better then he ever was from his purchase of the team through to his suspension. If anything, Torre dealt with an easier Steinbrenner than any of his predecessors save for the 2-year lull in which the team he was handed was built.
    2. On financial resources, the Yankees were not the biggest spending team in baseball for much of the pre-Torre days, and when the team became the highest spending team, the spread between them and the next 10 highest paying teams was almost always negligable until the estbalishment of the YES Network in 2002. And then you see an enormous jump, both in their total spending, rate of increase per year, and, most relevant, their spending relative to other teams. If anything, Torre has benefited from a larger spending differential than any previous Yankee manager, so on this one I think you have it exactly reversed.
    And I will reiterate again, I think he is great. I love him and am glad we have benefitted from his skillful clubhouse managing (I was the one calling him the best at the game here) and calm presence. But beyond youthful resurgence, the Yankees are also for the first time in 3 decades about to experience a different owner. George is fading. Few know Hal’s style. Maybe Torre would have been perfect for it. Maybe not. But it is time for a change regardless. Not because Torre stinks, which no one believes, but because 12 years is too long for any manager.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 4:19 pm
  • > 12 years is too long for any manager.
    Does that include Joe McCarthy?

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 4:23 pm
  • An Brian, Carlos’ comment that it’s not as eas as saying “he’s great” or “he’s horrible” relats to your arguments here more than anything else. You seem to be in the “he’s great” so they should keep him until he wants to leave camp. I’m saying he has been great for a certain era of Yankee teams, but that era is passed. He may not be the best now, but regardless, stayign for 12 yers makes you a less effective manager, motivator, mentor, period. This is not a new insight and not one reserved for Joe Torre.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 4:24 pm
  • “I won’t say it is the start of Red Sox domination in the AL east, but if they get rid of Torre I’d be willing to bet the Yankees don’t see much of the division crown either.”
    You are giving him waaaaaayyyy too much credit. Take it from me, although I don’t coach at the ML level, coaches take too much of the credit and way too much of the blame. This franchise will not become the Baltimore Orioles because Joe’s time has come. Slightly dramatic.

    John - YF October 9, 2007, 4:24 pm
  • AG, on McCarthy. I think we are comparing two totally different eras don’t you? How many managers stuck around with their teams for a decade or more in the McCarthy era vs. today’s game?
    Free agency and player mobility has completely changed the game, not to mention expansion, the introduction of the WC, etc. Would McCarthy have won all those WS in today’s era? Perhaps. But let’s even take him as an example – the example mind of of possibly the best ever, just to make it clear how far of an extreme we are citing.
    McCarthy managed 19 years. For the first 13, the Yankees finished first or second 12 times.
    In the last six of his career, they never finished first – they finished second twice.
    So OK, in McCarthy’s time – the time of perhaps the greatest manager ever – 13 years was the limit, not 12.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 4:31 pm
  • That’s 19 years with the Yanks by the way, not counting his previous management with other teams.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 4:33 pm
  • 12 years is too long for any manager??? Seriously? You have got to be kidding, right? What’s the cut-off 10? surely it can’t be 5, so it must be between 5 and 10.
    Listen, I have no stake in this other than I’m a happy Red Sox fan if he’s gone, but if what you say is true then it appears that Torre’s greatest accomplishment is that he was the one there and simply benefited from Steinbrenners suspension! Holy Crap, you said it yourself the Yankee bankroll got huge ONLY after Torre led the Yanks to 4 WS wins out of 5 WS appearances!
    I don’t know, I just see what may simply be a manager who is perhaps in need of a revamped coaching staff. Not a wholesale dumping of the man responsible for the greatest revival of a sports icon in history!

    Brian October 9, 2007, 4:37 pm
  • > I think we are comparing two totally different eras don’t you?
    Sure.
    > 13 years was the limit, not 12
    I don’t know. Just noting that McCarthy won a World Series in his thirteenth season as Yankees manager.
    Cox took the Braves to the playoffs 14 years in a row, but in retrospect, should he have been fired after ’95? ’99?

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 4:40 pm
  • “a manager who is perhaps in need of a revamped coaching staff”. He hand-picked all of them Brian. I assume that is also not his responsibility because only good things seem to be in your world.
    Why are you trying to polarize the entire discussion? I am not saying he is bad or even good. I am saying he has been great for a certain era and team make-up. You refuse to deal with this argument that some managers can be right for certain periods but others for others. Instead, you keep reverting to, “well he was great for that era” (repeating my assertion but refusing to give any credit to the people that built the team he inherited) and then you make the leap to, “so he must still be for the next era.”
    Repeating the same thing ten times and ignoring the other person’s argument does not a strong point make.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 4:49 pm
  • “I have no stake in this other than I’m a happy Red Sox fan if he’s gone”
    And if he’s not gone are you then unhappy? Your team is in the ALCS, 4 games from the WS, the ultimate goal. Try focusing on that.

    John - YF October 9, 2007, 4:51 pm
  • Bobby Cox is probably the closest equivalent to the accomplishments of Joe Torre, in THIS era and maybe any era. Who believes Bobby Cox could hold Joe’s jock as a manager? Let me reiterate what we all know he presided over 4 WS winning teams, 6 ALCS winners and won the AL east a mind boggling 11 times in a row, throughout his Yankee tenure. Oh yeah, finished 2nd in the AL east ONCE but won the wild card after a 21-29 start!!
    Boy you guys a tough on a guy that no matter what you say has presided over the Yankees being feared for virtually the entire time he has managed them and at no time gig the Yanks come close to having a lousy year.
    Okay the Yanks didn’t win the division and lost in the first round a couple of times.
    Jeez not for nothing but I think there is a crapload of teams with great traditions that would kill for EVEN a friggin wildcard slot!
    Will the Yankees become the Orioles? Maybe not, and maybe with Joe at the helm they won’t ever be THE DAMNED YANKEES again, I am willing to bet that if they toss Joe aside it’ll be a long time before they are again THE DAMNED YANKEES and it won’t last nearly so long as this time around. Believe it, remember it was told to you…

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:07 pm
  • I really don’t know when a change should be made concerning managers/coaches. I do believe that good coaches remain good even in the twilight. Unless they’ve been coaching a hell of a long time, their instincts, intellect and command don’t really deteriorate over time.
    I naturally think badly about switching coaches as I watch college football teams play coaching roulette when its proven that hiring a good young coach and sticking with him works best.
    But I do believe that there are points when change is necessary. Its just often hard to select the right point.
    If I had to choose something, I’d point to fatigue. The manager is worn out by this particular daily grind. He’s burned out by the demands that have become less fun. The players are fatigued from the same thing day by day. Stability is paramount, but it can also need to stagnation, even with the most fiery of managers.
    Listening to Torre speak last night, especially his polite request for some privacy (which was preceded by his admission that when he’s “here, i’m here for you for as long as you want.” There was a certain honesty there that I find rare, almost like he was talking to old friends instead of headline-seeking reporters.) I got the impression that he was just tired. Its the end of a long season, he needs to recharge, but after 12 years, its taken this huge toll on him.
    I almost want to release him from the meat grinder for a bit and retire him. Not because he’s bad, or we can get better, but because its time to change. To let the personality of the team grow into something fresh, to distance from the weight of 1996-2001, to give the players (new and old) the change to grow something completely their own.
    In my mind, Torre’s departure will be just that. Not a rough firing or ringing endorsement. But a departure, a changing of the guard, a passing of the torch. Do we “need” it? No. He’s not a bad manager, his skills are still in force. But this seems to be a good point to part ways.

    carlos October 9, 2007, 5:07 pm
  • I have no stake in this other than I’m a happy Red Sox fan if he’s gone”
    “And if he’s not gone are you then unhappy? Your team is in the ALCS, 4 games from the WS, the ultimate goal. Try focusing on that.”
    John, uhhhmmm, in the context of this particular thread I will grant you one free pass. I was speaking of Torre’s absence for NEXT year, making me a happy Red Sox fan, for NEXT year, see?

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:12 pm
  • You will grant me one free pass? LOL.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 5:14 pm
  • Carlos: You’ve said it better than I did. I agree with every word. As well as with the conclusion: Time to part ways.
    And Brian, you are really going out ona limb when you say that the next manager won’t be able to have the same run that Torre did with the 4 WS et al. I won’t have to remember that it was you who told me. My 1 year old could tell me something that blindingly obvious…if she could talk.
    The point is Torre does not appear to be in a position to have that run again either. And perennial ALDS appearances is nice, you are right, but no, it is not enough and shouldn’t be for any team. I’d take 1 WS in 10 years of otherwise missed playoffs over 10 straight ALDS’s any day. Any day.
    For the umpteenth time: How great Torre was is not the issue. It’s who is best for the 2008 Yankees and beyond.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 5:15 pm
  • carlos once again, well put!
    But see, this is where I see what you are saying and I see something different.
    What I see is a great manager being weighed down by the people around him who look to him for all of it, instead of being bouyed and supported by them like Zimmer, who was another manager in the dugout.
    I’m not saying any one of them are bad, I’m saying a guy like Torre needs to have that to be at his best and whereas in the past Torre had that with guys like Zimmer and maybe Stottlmyre I don’t see it there for him anymore.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:23 pm
  • I disagree with the opinion that an arbitrary range of time can or should be set for when a manager should go regardless of recent performance. I agree that change can be necessary, but the only metric should be the performance of the person in question. In my mind Torre has done his job. If he is dimissed because his job requirements in the minds of Steinbrenner and the public included winning a pennant or a world series sometime since October 2001, then it should be said that is the reason he is not re-signed. I don’t think if this as a parting of the ways, not until Torre says he is parting. Previously, he has stated publicly that he wished to manage the Yankees into the new Stadium.
    > I’d take 1 WS in 10 years of otherwise missed playoffs over 10 straight ALDS’s any day. Any day.
    Fortunately Yankees fans haven’t had to make that choice because they have had fortune of enjoying both. There’s still three full seasons for the second part of that choice to play out.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 5:24 pm
  • One free pass John, it might not sound like much but I think this has been a nice logical and civil discussion, don’t you?

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:25 pm
  • You know, for all the rational speak about Torre not being the manager of the New York Yankees anymore, i find myself getting choked up about it.
    I was 14 when I started really paying attention to games. That was Buck Showalter and Jimmy Key/David Cone days. Then this guy shows up in 1996 looking like a lost uncle and we start winning.
    He sits quietly and calm, reacts to every thing the same way, and should be boring. But then he talks, after wins or losses, and he sounds like you’d want your dad to sound. In control, honest and reassuring. He didn’t project that knew all the answers (LaRussa), but instead articulated that he’d work tirelessly to find something that worked.
    I look back and know that players win games, not managers. And though Torre is undoubtely great what he does, what he did for the last twelve years is subtle and hard to quantify. Its best expressed by the feeling a fan gets when he looks into the dugout and sees him chatting with his coaches, or sitting at the press table. I’m no where near the team nowadays, but he always provided me with a reassurance that we’d weather whatever particular CrazyTown storm was raging; I can only imagine what kind of feelings he created in players.
    Now that I am past my fan adolescence, I’ve realized that Torre has created in me a standard of what I think of as good coach, and its definitely not the nuts-and-bolts Belicheck. Its the Tony Dungys and Joe Torres of the world, who inspire and instill something reassuring and constant. Players win games, but players are frighteningly fragile creations; Torre, more often than not, propped them up somehow.

    carlos October 9, 2007, 5:32 pm
  • Ironhorse, you are sounding like you need a nap. Look, you have you opinion, I have mine, but in my mind you are so spoiled with Yankee success, you can’t see the forest for the trees. Yeah you have a really bright kid who if she could talk would tell you that while Torre hasn’t won you a world title in a while he has won a hell of a lot and you ought to get used to the thought of maybe losing a LOT more.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:33 pm
  • “What I see is a great manager being weighed down by the people around him who look to him for all of it, instead of being bouyed and supported by them like Zimmer, who was another manager in the dugout.”
    With a staff of Larry Bowa, Tony Pena, Don Mattingly and Ron Guidry, I can’t imagine Joe being weighed down by any of them.
    PS – I don’t need you to offer me any free passes. Nothing I have said has been inflamatory or offensive to you. I don’t agree with you and I stated otherwise, that’s how a blog works.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 5:33 pm
  • I obviously have no work today. Sorry for the frequent, now repetitive posting, but the end of a season always hits me kind of hard, and I’m not used to this much focused Yankee/Sox talk. Living in the Midwest, i am used to being alone.

    carlos October 9, 2007, 5:34 pm
  • Brian: Agreed with you on Zimmer – George ran him out and it sucked. Sort of similar on Stottlemeyer though I never saw him as a great picthing coach and not as central in my view as Zimmer in terms of influencing Torre’s overall management. But on the rest, it’s hard to argue, especially in 2007. Torre is the only manager with two former managers on his staff. He wanted them, Cashman agreed, George paid. Hard to say Torre has been screwed by anyone on his coaching staff this year.
    AG: Agreed on overly-strictly giving timelines for managers. I overstated the case (and was just glad you didn’t go all John Wooden on me). Yes, it is performance, and yes, as Carlos said it is about feel and right now, to me, it feels like the time has come for Joe to go. If Joe returned, I would not even be disappointed, but I think new blood at the helm would help the team and it is part of a larger getting-over of ’96-’00 as defining of THIS team, which it shouldn’t be.
    And the 10 ALDS thing was a direct response to the bringing up of Cox and his 14 seasons. It wasn’t meant as a deadline before which change should not be made.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 5:38 pm
  • “while Torre hasn’t won you a world title in a while he has won a hell of a lot and you ought to get used to the thought of maybe losing a LOT more.”
    Do you have a crystal ball that we should all know about? Torre is a good manager with a ton of baseball knowledge and experience, but he’s not the only manager out there with that. Yankee fans are very grateful for what he has done for us, but let’s not go crazy and give him all the credit. Another baseball lifer will step in and make this team work. Will they be as successful as Joe Torre has been over the last 12 seasons, who knows. But at the end of the day it’s the team around him that will deserve some of that credit and blame as well.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 5:39 pm
  • Brian, ah yes, the time honored tradition of getting personal when your argument starts failing. You are right about one thing. I do need a nap. Too bad the Colorado-Arizona series doesn’t start right now. Meanwhile, you could use a brain. Just follow the yellow-brick road and ask the wizard. His name is Joe Torre, and he can do no-wrong.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 5:41 pm
  • I obviously feel exactly as carlos does about Torre but from my own perspective of being a Sox fan. I couldn’t have said it any better.
    Thanks carlos!

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:42 pm
  • Unreal, classy very classy.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 5:42 pm
  • Ah, and now Brian resorts to profanity and pretending he is me with teh 5:40 post. Sure hope the administrators are watching this brilliant display of civility.
    Brian, next time you lose an argument try this instead: stomp up and down and cry mama. It works about as well.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 5:43 pm
  • Brian did not make the imposter commments.
    The imposter comments have been deleted.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 5:44 pm
  • IH, I tried to delete it as quickly as possible but someone had already done it. My apologies.
    I truly don’t understand why people need to come here and pretend to be something they aren’t or someone they aren’t. This is an awesome place to talk baseball. Where 99.9% of the regulars get along, I simply don’t get why Yankee fans pretend to be Sox fans to prove points and Sox fans pretend to be Yankee fans.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 9, 2007, 5:45 pm
  • getting personal??? Huh? Really you guys are touchy today.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:46 pm
  • Ah, I get, well for my part I’ve just tried to tell you how I feel about Joe Torre, nothing else.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:48 pm
  • uh, and Ironhorse if I stomped up and down and cried mama, at 87 I think she’d tell me to get a grip

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:51 pm
  • oh and thanks Gerb

    Brian October 9, 2007, 5:52 pm
  • Sorry for the false accusation Brian – my bad. I don’t think you saw the comment in question. Since we both agree with Carlos, I think we should just settle on what he said:
    “Do we ‘need’ it? No. He’s not a bad manager, his skills are still in force. But this seems to be a good point to part ways.”
    And yeah Carlos, notwithstanding the points I’m making here, it’s become hard to think of anyone else in that seat and I’ll genuinely miss him. In some ways I feel like it is part of all of us getting past the recent past of ’96-’00 and that too is something it’s hard to let go of, but it’s time I think to do it. This isn’t the same team. Jeter said it in October 2004 but I think few fans got the full implications of that. It needs new heros and leadership and for the first time in 6 years, a few seem to be emerging. Torre might very well be the guy to manage them, but I am no longer wedded to it having to be him.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 5:53 pm
  • Brian – no more mama jokes – I take it back. My mama would not be proud. Anyway, I burned a whole day at work now…hard to deal with the day after the season. Time to retire to some baseball books to keep my fix going through the 6 months to March/April.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 5:55 pm
  • Thanks AG.

    IronHorse (yf) October 9, 2007, 5:56 pm
  • > the end of a season always hits me kind of hard
    I know what you mean about that. By the time the snow gets here and I can actually start skiing, the hot stove is in full gear.
    >Living in the Midwest, i am used to being alone
    I know what you mean there as well. Not that there aren’t die-hard baseball fans out here in the PacNW

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 5:58 pm
  • “Its best expressed by the feeling a fan gets when he looks into the dugout and sees him chatting with his coaches”
    I dunno, I always felt that he was discussing which reliever to use next. And when his coaches said “please, give Vizcaino/Proctor a rest” he said something along the lines of “no, let poppa Jack show you how it’s done.”
    Press conferences with Torre are always a treat. He never seems panicked at the worst of times, and he always seems grateful at the best of times. He has a respect for his players (except, I guess, Chris Britton) and the game like no other. But I became more infuriated with him this year than any other year. He makes idiotic, stupid moves, and god damn it will he just let go of Jeter’s bat. It got creepy a long, long time ago.
    He should go. This club has quietly gone through a huge transition and is on the cusp of another great run. Cashman has seemed more exasperated with Torre this year than most years, personally exemplified by the highly-public “Joba Rules,” which really cannot be seen as anything other than a clear indictment of Torre’s bullpen-handling capabilities. Add in the fact that Torre straight-out refused to play guys like Milton Bradley or Morgan Ensberg (and again, apparently Chris Britton), and it was clear he had an undue strangehold on the roster. It was his team, not Cashman’s, and Cashman is the rightful master of this new Yankee team. I can’t see him hiring Torre back, not when he has every excuse in the world to let him go. Cashman will hire someone who he wants, which means he’ll hire someone he can control. That’s the only reservation I have with Girardi, is that he will completely ignore the innings caps of Hughes, Joba and Kennedy, and Cashman won’t be able to do anything but DL them. Otherwise, Girardi has already shown that he is a great manager, and is the best, talent-wise, that the Yankees (or anyone for that matter) can get. Whether he is the best fit remains to be seen, but how is that different than anyone else? Girardi came to work for YES for a reason – that reason has now come to fruition. Perfect timing on his part. I would be surprised if he didn’t jump at the chance to manage his old team.

    AndrewYF October 9, 2007, 6:03 pm
  • Oh, the midwest has some great fans, but they usually start with a very strong bias against anything Yankee related. We’ll argue over Koufax versus Gibson forever, but bring up Ron Guidry and suddenly its all eye rolling and “damn yankees.”

    carlos October 9, 2007, 6:04 pm
  • the Pacific Northwest, the midwest? you guys live in havens of sports fans. For all intents and purposes I live in a sports vacuum, Las Vegas…

    Brian October 9, 2007, 6:07 pm
  • Of course, what I mean is that IF ACQUIRED, Torre said he would not play those players. So the players were not acquired. Given Bradley got hurt, but he put up great numbers. Ensberg at least could be a reclamation project.

    AndrewYF October 9, 2007, 6:09 pm
  • Guidry Rigetti Gossage all names to bring fear to the heart

    Brian October 9, 2007, 6:13 pm
  • Surprising number of RSN expats in my region. But it’s all about football here; Ducks, Beavers, Huskies.
    > Las Vegas
    Betcha Vegas gets a team before Portland.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 6:13 pm
  • Most Las Vegans think paying people to play sports is just dumb… and watching it is stupid

    Brian October 9, 2007, 6:15 pm
  • If Vegas gets a team before Portland, then it’ll be the first team of the 21st century to jump ship to another city

    Brian October 9, 2007, 6:17 pm
  • “Surprising number of RSN expats in [Portland].”
    Including me, for a period. I lived out there for five years. My favorite record shop (I’m spacing the name, but it was on Hawthorne) was owned by a Sox fan, I used to talk baseball with him and get a good discount. I miss Portland.

    Tyrel SF October 9, 2007, 6:51 pm
  • Tyrel, was it Claudia’s?

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 6:57 pm
  • Whoops… should have read your comment in full. Claudia’s is a popular bar on Hawthorne, frequently packed with Sox fans.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 6:58 pm
  • Jackpot Records, I’m guessing?

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 6:59 pm
  • Or Crossroads. Those are the two shops that spring to mind.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 7:01 pm
  • I’ll say one last thing about the subject of Torre. As a Celtics fan of long standing, when Red Auerbach was coach and the Celts won the NBA championship in 1957 59 60 61 62 63 64
    65 66 and his disciples Russell Heinsohn and K.C. Jones won it all in 68 69 74 76 84 86(along with the much hated Bill Fitch in 81), for 30 years Celtic fans had not had to suffer a championship drought lasting longer than 5 years.
    When you win like that you don’t count the years that you made it to the finals and lost, the division titles while nice become the expected thing, and a simple trip to the playoffs becomes a means to an end and meaningless if they don’t win it all. Well the Celtics haven’t been the team to beat for twenty years now and I can’t say I expect that to change even with the new team they’ve brought in. All I’m saying is that lightning in a bottle is hard to capture, but Auerbach was that kind of guy, he stayed with the Celtics and while his influence was felt the Celtics won, and won again. Since then nothing nada zip zero, not really even a prayer of winning it all.
    From experience, I’m saying that you might be right, time for a new era, a newer better or at least different guy at the helm of the Yankees, but beware what you wish for. I really thought they could get someone much more astute than K.C.Jones to coach the Celtics after Celtics failed to win it all in 87 and 88, so much for that!
    Torre’s time may be passed, but I think he’s lightning in a bottle.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 7:06 pm
  • “Torre’s time may be passed, but I think he’s lightning in a bottle.”
    I think you’re using the wrong metaphor. Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon were lightning in a bottle. Those are things that flash brightly but don’t last too long.

    AndrewYF October 9, 2007, 7:19 pm
  • While players like Posada and Rivera may feel some sense of loyalty to the Yankees, if Torre is not asked back, then that gives them a great excuse to say, “Well, now I’m free to play the market.”
    And as Mike & The Mad Dog noted (over and over and over again) today, this is their last chance to get as much money as they ever will get paid again in their lifetimes, so economics is likely to trump loyalty anyway.

    Hudson October 9, 2007, 7:24 pm
  • I want to say it was called Birdland Records, though it’s been 7 years since I moved back, so I don’t remember. It was on the north side of Hawthorne, though it wasn’t the record shop next to Ben & Jerry’s. I’m guessing it was a few blocks west of the Baghdad Theatre, on the opposite side of the street. Near Fujin.
    Claudia’s is great. I never thought of it as a Sox bar, but I used to go watch the games there when the Sox played the M’s. I remember one REALLY long extra innings game there during finals, I had a stack of books and a pitcher of beer and sat in those barber style seats…
    I miss Portland.

    Tyrel SF October 9, 2007, 7:35 pm
  • carlos: are you surrounded by Indians fans in your part of the Midwest?

    Ron Newman (SF) October 9, 2007, 7:35 pm
  • I respect Torre; even as a rabid Sox fan, I never had any particular dislike for him — while I did have an active hatred of Billy Martin, for example.
    That said, let me throw out this thought:
    Statheads like to cite VORP in evaluating players.
    So: what was Torre’s VORM (Value Over Replacement Manager) as a Yankee?
    In other words: If someone else had managed the Yankees over the past dozen years, how much different would the results have been?
    Again, I respect Torre’s abilities. But I am just not convinced that, given the amount of talent he was provided, that the results would have been that different.
    Given identical rosters, a truly terrible manager can cause that team to do worse, and a truly great manager can cause one to do worse.
    For example, I could see Grady Little managing these same dozen Yankee teams and not winning any World Series. But I bet someone like Wedge could have gotten 3-5 titles out of the same gang.
    I tend to think there’s a lot more distance between great players and average players than between great managers and average managers.

    Hudson October 9, 2007, 7:37 pm
  • Eric Wedge??? While I’m proud of the fact that a former Red Sox player has managed the team that ousted the Yankees from the playoffs, is he really the guy you want to say might’ve done a better job with the Yankees than Torre did? Seriously isn’t this like the first trip to the post season for a Wedge managed team?
    Sure the guy has done great with a rebuilding small market team, but he might be the worst guy for a town like NY.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 7:52 pm
  • Hudson, I find your comment interesting. It sets me back to thinking about Torre’s potential successors.
    Stein is not a stranger to picking first time big-league managers: if I read it correctly when looking it up, Showalter, Stump (urgh), Bucky (ack), Gene Michael (that was weird), and Howser all took their first turns at the rudder the Admiral’s fleet, to play with sea-going metaphors when talking about a guy who made his money in ship building. It also makes me think of Al Davis, which can never be a good thing.
    “Those who will not be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rock.” Are there Yankee fans that yearn for the turmoil/turnstile ownership philosophy of the 80’s Yanks? But then, there’s “slow and steady wins the race” .. not.
    I just don’t even know. My brain hurts.

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 8:00 pm
  • No no, I was using just the right metaphor.
    Torre’s time may be passed, but I think he’s lightning in a bottle.”
    “I think you’re using the wrong metaphor. Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon were lightning in a bottle. Those are things that flash brightly but don’t last too long.”
    Right AND if the Yankees don’t win it all for twenty years or 40 or going on a century like the Cubs. (I know I know it can’t happen to the Yanks. I didn’t think it could happen to the Celtics either.
    BUT if that does happen then you’ll see that these last few years with Torre have been lightning in a bottle.
    The fact is that Yankee fans are still too close to the moment of always being on top, always being the team that’s feared,
    The Celtics were that too, now they have to resort to wholesale trades to grant themselves a hint of excitement for the coming season.

    Brian October 9, 2007, 8:07 pm
  • “In other words: If someone else had managed the Yankees over the past dozen years, how much different would the results have been?
    Again, I respect Torre’s abilities. But I am just not convinced that, given the amount of talent he was provided, that the results would have been that different.”
    But you go on to say that Eric Wedge would have won 5 more titles than Joe Torre?
    Joe Torre (and Brian Cashman) did an amazing job for 12 years (and maybe before that, when assistant GM Brian Cashman was helping Stick build a dynasty). There’s absolutely no disputing that, whatsoever. You can throw around the ‘ubertalent’ talking point, but look at the postseason picture at the beginning of October. The only team to repeat from last year? The Yankees. Not even the 2006, $120+ million Red Sox, the most expensive failures in baseball history, made the postseason last year. There’s definitely something to be said about managing a team to 12 straight postseason berths. 2007, I think, maybe barring 1996, was Torre’s finest year, bullpen issues and Jeter’s bat-handling aside. He took a despondent, aging, completely unhealthy team and managed them to a 94-win season, and he did absolutely nothing wrong in the division series. When your 19-game winner shits the bed in 2 starts in a 5-game series, there’s not much you can do.
    So while Torre not winning the division series doesn’t exactly deserve him the boot, he doesn’t really deserve to be back either: his time was up at the end of 2004, absolutely one of the worst jobs of his career, when he couldn’t recover from a rare Rivera blown save.
    But in recap, I must say excellent, excellent jobs from the lot this season. 5-game series are horrificly stupid, and honestly might just be done away with during the next meeting where they rediscuss MLB rules. Posada and A-Rod both had seasons for the ages, and will not soon be forgotten. Cano continued to develop into a superstar, and if his postseason temerity was a taste of the future, boy. That is exciting. Joba Chamberlain is an absolute beast and will be the next Cole Hamels, even though Cole Hamels isn’t even himself yet. Hughes too showed awesome promise down the stretch, and should be even better next year in his first real season. There was just so much good stuff this season, it’s hard to be really too disappointed when looking at it from afar. So they didn’t win the World Series. Sure, it would have been nice, especially seeing how they had an even brighter future ahead of them, but that’s getting greedy. I’ll take a postseason exit this year any day over a flukey, everyone-has-career-years-they-never-ever-repeat-ever season from the White Sox (who go on to be one of the worst teams in the majors just two years afterwards with little chance of getting better any time soon), or a flukey win from an ever-declining Cardinals team who go on to be an under-.500 team just the next year after. And look at the Angels. What have they done since 2002? Us Yankee fans have it good. Because of Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer, there is no “this is our only chance for another 10 years” season for the Yankees. The future is bright indeed, with a farm overflowing with elite, homegrown, cost-controlled players.
    Jeez, I just got excited for next year. Thank goodness our front office and the players they grow is good enough to let me feel that way.

    AndrewYF October 9, 2007, 8:12 pm
  • > the most expensive failures in baseball history
    That’s an absolute that could lead to a length debate.
    > Jeez, I just got excited for next year
    I was feeling the same way in May. :)

    attackgerbil October 9, 2007, 8:35 pm
  • We seem to have some reading comprehension problems among YFs when it comes to the subject of Joe Torre. Let me set things straight:
    1. Andrew: I did not say that Wedge would have gotten “5 more titles” than Torre. I said I wouldn’t be surprised if he got 3-5 titles over 12 years, i.e. well within the same range as Torre.
    2. Brian: You say “Seriously isn’t this like the first trip to the post season for a Wedge managed team?” — thus missing the point entirely. The question is not Wedge’s history with other teams, but how he would have done *if provided the identical talent as Torre*.
    As a further illustration: How was Torre as a manager before he came to the Yankees?
    Answer (see link below) — In 14 years of managing before he came to the Yankees, Torre never won a pennant, let alone a World Series.
    That would suggest that perhaps his success over those 12 years had more to do with the players than his talents, IMHO.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/managers/torrejo01.shtml

    Hudson October 9, 2007, 9:01 pm
  • // the most expensive failures in baseball history //
    No one has ever spent more on a ballclub over a five-year period than George Steinbrenner has over the past five years.

    Hudson October 9, 2007, 9:11 pm
  • Hudson,
    I don’t think there is anyway to quantify or compare managers in this way. First off, you’d need statistics. Win-Loss wouldn’t be enough. I guess you’d need to take a look at the stats of relievers that he brings in cumulative over a season. Compare it against the average of all managers. But thats basing one person on another person’s stat.
    Also, though you can grade ability/management skills, I think that success is always a combination of circumstance, environment and synergy. Good managers on good teams do good. bad managers on bad teams do bad. Those are pretty much the only quantifiable items in my mind. Everything else is a melding of the two. Eric Wedge might have been able to manage the bullpen, but failed at the press management. He might have handled Steinbrenner’s unique ability to stir trouble, he might have been fired in year two.
    Its a crap shoot. I think the talent level of the Yankees have blinded us into thinking that success is inevitable when history shows that talent is not enough. The team with the most regular season wins of all time was not the most talented team ever, and they still fell apart at the end.
    Whether or not another manager would have succeeded with this level of talent is besides the point. Maybe someone else would have won but we still hated him because he was an asshole (LaRussa), maybe he would have become a laughingstock because of his antics (valentine, pinella), maybe he would have just been really really boring. I repeat, Torre is being sainted by some YFs, not because of his ability/record per se, but because of the feelings he’s inspired. That has to do with him personally, not with his actions.
    The reason why most YFs (in my opinion) want Torre back is because in a way they love him. Even when he’s overusing arms, we’ve come to live and die with him. His players have been loyal to him all those years for a reason, and I think YFs have grown the same kind of loyalty.

    Carlos (YF) October 9, 2007, 9:20 pm
  • For those who say the Yankees can never decline into mediocrity like the Celtics did, I’ll reply with just two words: “CBS Yankees”.

    Ron Newman (SF) October 9, 2007, 9:56 pm
  • Even though I’ve never really “liked” Torre, I definitely respected him. Carlos brings up the loyalty YFs have had for him, and I think that loyalty was mutual and rare, which is definitely something to admire. There aren’t enough coaches/managers who can come back year after year and I think that’s a potentially valuable part of the sports fan’s experience. Maybe this is just misplaced nostalgia since I barely remember the time when long-tenured coaches were commonplace but from what I do remember, it was better than the carousel of mediocrity that too many teams have now.
    One of my biggest gripes about the management of pro teams is how reactionary they are. It robs us of the being able to see more Torres or Lasordas or Cowhers or Popoviches. Or whoever. Even if you don’t like those guys (and none of them coached my teams while I was following them), it gives some contour to the sportscape, instead of always needing to look up who’s where and why.
    The way Torre survived this long seems to be the only way anyone could keep a job for more than 4 years – win enough to push your status above reproach – and even then it looks like Torre will be gone, and not entirely under his own power. I fear that that will only further entrench the tendency to distrust the person, to look only at the final record and judge. That makes me sad.

    FenSheaParkway October 9, 2007, 9:59 pm
  • “No one has ever spent more on a ballclub over a five-year period than George Steinbrenner has over the past five years.”
    You know what, I was going to say no one spent more on a ballclub that didn’t even make the playoffs than the Red Sox in 2006, but I forgot about the Mets. Well, I guess they were at least close.

    AndrewYF October 9, 2007, 10:04 pm
  • And of course, if you even look at the absolute shite Torre had to work with, it’s understandable that no one could do anything with those teams. Seriously? You expected Torre to pull a winning record out of the late-70s Mets? With who, a young Lee Mazzilli, Steve Henderson, Jeff Reardon in middle relief and a bunch of no-names who never amounted to anything? Sounds a lot like managing the Nationals today. You really think Terry Francona would do anything with that club? That anyone could? The Mets only got good when they got good players. They won with Keith Fernandez, Daryl Strawberry and some guys named Sid Fernandez and Dwight Gooden.
    Torre had a lot of luck in getting to manage the ’96 Yankees. A lot of new players, Jeter at short, Girardi at the plate, Duncan having a career year at second, Tino at first, but doesn’t Torre get credit for any of that? If you can’t give him credit for that, how can you blame him for the failures of awful-to-begin-with teams? He managed the new Yankees for years, and succeeded like very few other managers for 12 years. I don’t think he needs to prove anything else. Bullpen issues aside, he is a first-ballot (I don’t really know how these things work for management) manager, hands-down.
    As an after-thought, god, I never realized how close the ’96 ALDS was for the Yankees. Ridiculous. Actually, almost every Yankee win was of the ‘close’ variety that year, and it didn’t get that far apart in years past, either. They swept a couple series, and won a couple 3-1 and 4-1, but even the majority of those wins ended up as a ‘save situation’. Makes you wonder if we’re paying for all the relative luck the Yankees had those years. Baseball-Reference just used up more than an hour of my life. It makes me rant.

    AndrewYF October 9, 2007, 10:34 pm
  • Bobby Cox is probably the closest equivalent to the accomplishments of Joe Torre, in THIS era and maybe any era. Who believes Bobby Cox could hold Joe’s jock as a manager?
    Maybe I missed it going down this thread, but why was this comment not questioned? This isn’t really in relation to any of the other comments on this thread, or the great point AndrewYF made above about how if you’re ripping Torre for not getting wins with poorly-made teams, you have to give him credit for getting wins with well-made teams. Also agreed that Torre is going in the Hall on the first opportunity the BBWAA can put him there.
    Perhaps it’s just because I live in the southeast now that I had a problem with the italicized comment, but here’s a question for you YFs out there: Given a 162-game season, who would you rather have making the baseball decisions: Joe Torre or Bobby Cox?

    QuoSF October 9, 2007, 11:27 pm
  • Quo: As many of us Yankee fans have said before, of course Torre isn’t a great in-game manager. But he is one of the greatest clubhouse managers. With Torre, you might lose a few games because of bad bullpen decisions. Bobby Cox is probably a better in-game manager and you might win more baseball games out of the 162 with him.
    But without Torre, you don’t have the environment that keeps a team like the Yankees together. Without him, you might not have the same team for the next 162 games.

    doug YF October 10, 2007, 12:00 am
  • “Yankee fans have it good. Because of Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer, there is no “this is our only chance for another 10 years” season for the Yankees. The future is bright indeed, with a farm overflowing with elite, homegrown, cost-controlled players.
    Jeez, I just got excited for next year. Thank goodness our front office and the players they grow is good enough to let me feel that way.”
    Honestly, you Yankee guys ought to be a little more circumspect about viewing the future with rose tinted glasses.
    In 86 the Celtics had won their 16th NBA title in 30 freakin years, two of the last three titles and three out of the last 6… they had just drafted Len Bias, the next cog in the Celtics championship machine, everything was aligned for a run of greatness into the 90’s. Then Bias died, and everybody got hurt or old or both and the Celtics have been a poor team for a long time.
    I do understand how you feel though, and your perspective, cause I felt the same when the Celts stopped winning championships. They were competitive still and, had some talent (Reggie Lewis) and made it to the playoffs but crap that wasn’t what was expected, then Reggie Lewis died and well who sees that kind of thing coming?
    You Yankee fans have had it so good for so long, and you want ultimate winning back, I don’t blame you. But the fact is you never know what can happen and really who would have ever believed that the Celtics of all things went so far down so fast. Red Auerbach got old…and the lightning leaked out of the bottle.
    The Boss is getting old now too, what if he were to die tomorrow and the Yankees were sold to someone asinine like CBS again, as Ron was kind enough to point out. What if your front office suddenly became ex-front office guys… The point is you just never know, smell those roses a little bit more.

    Brian October 10, 2007, 12:01 am
  • To be honest with you, I like Bobby Cox, but I always felt there had to be something missing with him. Atlanta put up great numbers year after year after year, but up against it in the playoffs it just seemed like the Braves wilted far more often than that talented group of guys deserved (jeez they had some incredible pitching), and to look at Bobby Cox during those times of year was to witness a man who just looked fearful all the time. Cox’s only ring came against a Cleveland team that in my mind played more fearful that Bobby Cox looked.
    But thats just the way I saw it, and it is a humble opinion after all.

    Brian October 10, 2007, 12:16 am
  • Some of the above comments just reinforce my impression that some YFs can’t see past the Mystique and Aura to come to grips with a simple point about Torre:
    Namely, that Torre’s fortunes have pretty much exactly coincided with the talents of the teams he coached.
    I neither gave him credit nor blame for the failures. The point is, I see no evidence that he ever transformed a lousy team into a winner, or a great teams into loser.
    The question remains not Torre’s particular results, but *whether another manager would have gotten significantly different results* with the same talent?
    Really, it’s not such a difficult concept to grasp, folks.
    Take the 114-win Yankees of 1998. With a different manager, do you think they would have less than 111 or more than 117 wins that year, or just about the same?
    I do think managers can affect the outcomes of individual ballgames, on occasion, though they don’t “swing the bats or throw the pitches,” as the cliché goes. I also think a good manager can help certain teams out of slumps faster, or fail to motivate players to perform their best.
    For example, I think the 2003 Red Sox were a better team than the 2004 Sox overall (961 runs scored, Pedro and Lowe having stellar years, on and on), and might have broken the curse a year earlier, if not for the horrendous passivity and dumb “gut decisions” of Grady Little, both during the year and during the playoffs. The Sox lost something like 23 one-run games that year, most of them late. I think Little was an exceptionally bad manager. The only thing going for him is that some of the less motivated players liked how easy he went on everyone.
    But I also think examples like that are the exception. Most of us here are familiar with the basic Moneyball concepts, and the phenomenon of how players and teams revert to their personal and league means… In a long season, most things even out. In a playoff, small, anomalous events (such as bugs!) can push a series in unexpected directions.
    Overall, I suspect if a metric could be invented for managers (and I agree it’s awfully difficult), Torre’s VORM would be above average.
    I just don’t think it would be stratospheric.

    Hudson October 10, 2007, 12:29 am
  • Hudson, this where you and I see things differently. I truly believe that a team with great players capable of winning championships can truly play horrific. The only example I can think of at this close to my bed time is the Larry Bird led Bill Fitch coached Boston Celtics of the early eighties they had great teams that while good, after winning in 81, just never got over the hump again with Fitch calling the shots and after what amounts to a mutiny by the players (they absolutely loathed Fitch by that time)in the 83 playoffs Boston was stunningly bounced from the playoffs in an early round by the puny Milwaukee Bucks. Fitch was fired shortly afterwards and the Celtics won two of the next three and MIGHT have won three or four in a row but for injuries to Bird and McHale in seperate years. I just believe that team chemistry starts from the manager or coach and goes from there. Guys like Torre just don’t come around often and he was absolutely made for that job. Could someone else do as good a job and had more success that Torre with the players they had? Maybe, but I for one doubt it. It’s not just a matter of him coaching a team that knows how to win it’s him molding that team INTO winners and then the swagger comes to the team and maybe then someone could come along and manage them to a WS win and maybe the next year and for a number of years after the suck! Remember how dominant the Cowboys were in the 90’s and then Jimmy Johnson got booted by Jimmy Jones here comes Barry Switzer who promptly wins a title the next year and not another hint at one there after. I also seem to remember several mid year managerial changes where teams that had been playing horribly suddenly became monsters, but I’m tired now so I’m to bed.

    Brian October 10, 2007, 1:00 am
  • I think I might’ve been unclear in my point. The implication from Brian (I think it was) was that Joe Torre was in a class above Bobby Cox. …can this honestly be said?
    They’ve got their strengths and weaknesses, but if you’re going to put Joe Torre top tier (dubious, in my opinion, though he’s definitely getting unfairly blamed by many (not on YFSF though) for the loss), then Bobby Cox absolutely HAS to be top tier as well.
    Also missed in the Red Auerbach comparison is that Red built those teams. He was not only coach, but Supreme Ruler of all that was Celtics basketball. In that sense, Bobby Cox is a lot closer to Red, given that under his tenure as GM, they brought in John Smoltz by trade, and he probably was also in charge of whatever scouting they did on Chipper Jones (who was, IIRC, the first round 1 draft choice of the John S. era in Atlanta).

    QuoSF October 10, 2007, 1:23 am
  • Ah yes…so a few weeks after reiterating multiple times that if A-Rod opts out, the Yankeees won’t pursue him, Cashman says yesterday that “That would be my strong recommendation” and notes that this might not hold because there would “more people involved in the process”.
    What changed? George Steinbrenner giving a rare interview a couple days earlier in which he said he thought A-Rod would be back – in other words, “Me wanty A-Rod”.
    The eroding of Cashman’s authoritative status started even before strike 3 to Posada ended the season.
    So much for trying to get any leverage over Boras.
    Not so bold prediction: NY throws a bank at A-Rod in the next month, he opts out anyway, and NY throws the bank at him again in free agency but without a Texas subsidy.

    IronHorse (yf) October 10, 2007, 9:33 am
  • IH,
    I wrote about this before, but what is Boras trying to gain here. Cashman has been reported as offering a $30 million a year extension of the current contract. So, if he doesn’t opt-out and signs an extension, he will make 25.2 in the next 2 years and $30 per in the subsequent five.
    What does Boras think he’ll get in the open market? Does he really think that he’ll get over $30 million per for seven years. Cause if we decide thats the max, then we are talking a difference of $10 million? Either he makes $200 million over the next seven…or $210 million with someone else.
    I guess a guy like Boras always feels that its best to test the open market, because the price can thus have no limit. But its really not that open of a market. The Angels have shown that big pockets don’t mean big spending, even if a Guerrerro/Rodriguez combo is a spanish language marketing goldmine. The Red Sox would be more than breaking the bank to go over $30 million a year. The Cubs, with ownership options? Who else?
    My point is that people seemed to blanch at $30 million a year. The speculation seems to peg that as his approximate value as the “best player in the game.” (I’d glance at Pujols before removing the quotes.) So, if $30 million is what he wants, and the Yankees offer it to him, then he should take it.
    Unless he doesn’t want to play in NYC anymore. Which is a different argument altogether. But Cashman is right. He’s saying “We offered you something fair and appropiate. You know this. You opt out, it means you want out. So go out.” Its the reasonable response.
    But Stein doesn’t always see reason.

    carlos October 10, 2007, 11:30 am
  • Carlos: I agree with everything you say. The bigger issue to me right now is Stein undercutting his GM publicly. I am trying to think of a time taht Boras got one of his clients to opt out or test the free agency market and ended up having to crawl back. While I find your arguments why each team that is seemingly in the running would not bust the bank much beyond the Yankees to be convincing, and I’ve made similar arguments here before as well, I also think there is a truism, and one on which Boras rests his entire career. There is always a stupid bank-breaker somewhere who will take the overpriced bait that he shops.
    In the end, I agree that A-Rod stays or goes based on whether he wants to stay in NY and not because of a money difference, which, at best will be pretty negligable (who else can offer much more than a Yankee team that wants a guy AND has a $30 million subsidy to include in their offer to him). For me the bigger story right now is Cashman’s newfound power being publicly eroded by Stein. Not at all shocking given his boss, but almost amusing in how quickly it happened post the ’07-season.

    IronHorse (yf) October 10, 2007, 11:37 am
  • I’m more or less with Hudson on this one (I think) – managers get way too much credit or way too much blame. There are certainly situations in which a manager can lose a game or several for his team (see 2003 ALCS); it’s harder to find examples where a move by a manager clearly wins a game for his team.
    Depending on how you feel about “intangibles”, clubhouse management can be important, but how many games is it really worth over the course of a season? In comparison to the other things a manager has to do (make lineups, manage bullpens), I would argue that clubhouse management is more or less negligible.
    Of course, the Yankees may be a special case because of their All-HOFer (i.e., all-ego) lineup and the constant presence of Steinbrenner. But in that case, I’d say Torre was in the right place at the right time… his management style was just what the Yankees needed at that point in time. But that doesn’t mean that he is even a better than average manager.
    So, I’m sick and phlegmy and probably rambling, but for me it comes down to the fact that the Yankees really need to let go of their glory days. They’re not that dynastic team, and as long as they keep clinging to icons of that past, they may not be able to move forward in the way that they need to. It would be nice symbolism for Joe to move on so that the rest of the franchise can, too.

    Jackie (SF) October 10, 2007, 3:02 pm
  • “their All-HOFer (i.e., all-ego) lineup”
    Not sick enough to stick the jab in there huh Jackie?
    I imagine I could fit the combined egos of the yankee lineup and starting pitching into either of the egos of Curt “enough about me, let’s talk about me” Schilling and Manny “hold the game while I wander in the Green Monster/stand and admire my latest HR/take a break for the month of September” Ramirez.
    Hope you feel better (seriously).

    IronHorse (yf) October 10, 2007, 3:08 pm
  • IH – thanks. :) I wasn’t really intending that to be a jab… I just thought that was the point most people were making about Torre’s ability as a clubhouse guy. You have a team with a monster payroll, and it takes a special kind of someone to stop those egos from clashing and taking the focus away from baseball.
    And I certainly won’t argue your point about Schilling (he lost my personal admiration when he cashed in on his WS success to shill (haha) for Bush in 04). I might have argued for Manny, but after his “I’m a Bad Man”/Me and Ortiz are teh best!!11oneone press conferences, I’m willing to concede there, too. But Francona also has a reputation for being a good clubhouse guy, and for similar reasons…. and for a while there, Henry/Lucchino/Epstein were almost as tough to handle as Steinbrenner. ;)

    Jackie (SF) October 10, 2007, 3:15 pm
  • Does Francona have a big loyal follownig with players and fans? Genuine question here.

    IronHorse (yf) October 10, 2007, 3:28 pm
  • It’s hard to say – maybe not to the extent that Torre does, because obviously the situations are different, but I think he is loved and respected by most of the players. You’d think the fans would adore him since he brought us a WS in his first year here, but as a group we’re cranky and not easily satisfied. ;) I think Theo also gets a lot of the credit for many of his managerial moves.
    Overall, I think Francona’s a great manager. He has a somewhat lassez-faire attitude toward managing in the regular season, which seems to backfire as often as it works out and generally drives me crazy. But he seems to magically make all the right calls in the post-season, which makes me think that he knows what he’s doing all along.

    Jackie (SF) October 10, 2007, 4:04 pm

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