Sunday, April 29, 2007

Isn't it April?

Torre canned before May? Maybe these are your father's Yankees.

Chris McKendry just reported on SportsCenter that Joe Torre's fate will be decided after today's game against the Red Sox and the game itself will determine whether Joe stays or goes. I'm assuming she's referring to multiple reports (including this one) about George being pissed that the Yanks are in last place and Torre's job status being questionable. This is the most categorical ultimatum I'd heard on the matter. No pressure Joe.

I'm assuming this is all just overblown media hype, but there is certainly some element of truth to it because Cashman came rushing to his defense today as did some of his players (My favorite was this quote by Jeter: “The Boss should be upset; we haven’t played well. In terms of Mr. T., he’s not the one out there playing. He is in no way responsible for how we’ve been playing.” Mr. T? If there was any good to come out of this, it is that new nickname for Torre.).

If it is true, this is ludicrous. I like Joe Torre. Always have. Not only does he seem like a good guy, but his players love him. I think in more than most sports, the job of the baseball manager is dealing emotionally with your players. And no one has had a tougher job with that than Torre. He's had to deal with bad trades, players who have inexplicably blown up (Knoblauch, Kevin Brown, A-Rod), constant media circus surrounding your players' personal lives and having the boss hover over his every move. And he's supposed to win a championship every year in the interim. Another reason I like Torre is for more selfish reasons. Being a Sox fan, I like that he's become increasingly reliant on a few bullpen guys and ends up wearing them out before September. And since Cashman doesn't get him any starters who can go late in the game, Joe gets burned in October when you NEED to have guys in your bullpen you can count on due to the shorter leashes for your starters. If anything, the pressure to win in April and May from Steinbrenner is the reason for Torre overusing his bullpen because he knows that George has an itchy trigger finger. It doesn't seem fair for Joe to get blamed for that. For my money, this is Cashman's problem more than Torre's anyway. If they had a reliable starter (even one more in that rotation), overuse of the bullpen wouldn't be nearly as big a problem.

Lastly, the thing that would make me most sad about Torre getting canned today is that he has earned the right to go out on his own terms. It would be a shame to see his unceremonious departure from a team he has come to define. Manager's get too much credit and too much criticism as it is. With that in mind, another thing to consider is: who is going to replace him? Rookie manager Don Mattingly? Are you going to raid the broadcast booth and get Joe Girardi? I'm not sure Girardi would accept. He's loyal to Torre and he's already shown that he's not cool with taking a ton of shit from ownership. Are they going to make a run at Dusty Baker or Bobby Valentine? There's nowhere to go here. If George wants to make a change, maybe that change should be for him not to overreact this time when he clearly doesn't realize what's wrong with this team.

(UPDATE: Torre may have just sealed his fate by pulling Wang (HA!) after 84 pitches, which was followed up by Proctor giving up a run the very next inning. I'm pulling for you, Broseph, but that may not have been "the move."
**Wang was hurt, so now I look like an asshole. Thanks, Gamecast.)

1 comment:

rstiles said...

As a Yankees fan, I think Torre deserves a bit more time...hell, 3 of his starters have been out...

If Torre should go, they will look of course to Mattingly or Girardi....but don't forget, Tony Pena is the 1st base coach and he may take over to finish the season and then the brass will make a decision after the year