In this week's New Yorker, Roger Angell, the dean of the press box, looks at the career of Joe Torre, dean of the dugout set, and his new book with Tom Verducci. Some of the choice bits:
For me, a longtime New York baseball fan, the shock of no Yankees in the playoffs was less than the shock of not having Joe Torre in town for the summer, and I feel the same way now, at the beginning of his second year in exile. What’s lost is not the winning so much as the elegant daily and weekly, home and away managing seminar on giving your team a chance to win, or get readyto win—or perhaps lose, if that’s the way things turn out. This tone or strategy may be only another way of enunciating Yogi Berra’s “In baseball you don’t know nothin’,” but it’s a lesson I did not fully grasp until I had watched Torre sitting immobile in the Yankee dugout through many hundreds of innings, with his lidded dark gaze raised to the level of the field; one hand occasionally reaching back for another swig of green tea; his head now and then tilting toward the words of his bench coach; and, late in the evening, his shoulders lifting as he prepared to get up and climb the steps and trudge to the mound to change a pitcher and exchange a word or two with his catcher about the situation at hand.
He’s a cinch for the Hall of Fame—as a manager, not a player—whenever he’s ready to retire, and he’s already in the Grownups Hall of Fame, which has a few more members than the one in Cooperstown but tougher admission standards.