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Is it End-of-Story for Joe Torre?

by Ed Attanasio (writer), San Frickin' Frisco, Baby!, October 10, 2007

Will George Steinbrenner fire Joe Torre after losing in the AL Division Series to the Cleveland Indians? Georgie Porgie said that Torre was gone if the Yankees didn’t come back and win the series, which they lost in four games, but was it an idle threat or just a lame attempt to rally the troops?

George and Joe are very different people, in my opinion. The fact that they’ve been working together for so long is amazing, I believe.

The two men possess very disparate qualities -- Torre is a class act and a wonderful human being. Steinbrenner is a slime ball.

Torre has established throughout the years that he is a compassionate, respectful and thoughtful human being. Steinbrenner has a reputation for being a conniving, loudmouthed bully who uses his money and power to get whatever he wants.

Joe should just walk away from the Yankees. He’s won world championships and will probably end up in the Hall of Fame for what he’s achieved as a manager. What more does he have to prove?

This appeared in the New York Times earlier this week:

In his news conference late Monday night, Joe Torre tried to dissect another Yankees playoff loss and explain what it meant for his future. Watching on a television in the manager’s office as Torre choked up, the coaches struggled with what they were seeing.

“Joe treats everybody with respect, whether you’re a batboy, a coach or a trainer,” said Larry Bowa, the third-base coach. “He does everything the right way. What he has to go through, after all that he’s done, it doesn’t seem right. But we’ve all been in baseball for a long time. That’s the process.”

The painful process of parting with a manager was enough to make Bowa and the others teary on Monday. A day later, as the coaches and some players packed up their lockers at Yankee Stadium, Torre was a no-show and George Steinbrenner, the principal owner, was silent.

His only statement came through his publicist, Howard Rubenstein, who said Steinbrenner was flying home to Tampa, Fla., and had nothing to say for now. Steinbrenner will seek opinions on whether to offer Torre a new contract, but his public decree before Game 3 of the division series — that Torre would lose his job if the Yankees lost the series to Cleveland — resonates.

If Steinbrenner lets Torre go, as expected, most people around the team believe the front-runner to succeed him is the bench coach, Don Mattingly. Others believe Joe Girardi has a chance, and Tony La Russa — like Lou Piniella last year — is the biggest name on the managerial free-agent market.

Mattingly yesterday would not directly address whether he would want Torre’s job, but he said he had always made it clear that he would like a chance to manage. Yet he knows that replacing Torre, his close friend who won four World Series, would be an extraordinary challenge.

“I would think it’s like following John Wooden or somebody,” Mattingly said yesterday. “The guy’s won championship after championship, and he’s in the playoffs every year. It’s pretty much a no-win situation for someone to come in here and be able to experience what he’s done. It’s not going to happen. So as far as coming in here and taking on that job, it’s not necessarily a great situation.”

Girardi was Torre’s bench coach in 2005 before taking over the Florida Marlins and winning the National League Manager of the Year award. He clashed with management and was fired, but he is still widely respected, especially by General Manager Brian Cashman.

When Steinbrenner wanted to fire Torre last fall, Cashman interceded and saved Torre’s job. Torre had a year remaining on his contract then, but the deal is up now, and Cashman would not say if he would still recommend Torre.

“I’m not going to comment, in fairness to the process, until I have a chance to sit down with ownership,” Cashman said yesterday, adding later of Steinbrenner: “He’s always picked the manager here. Obviously, I had a great deal of input in last year’s process, so we’ll see. You can’t get ahead of the process.”

The Yankees are planning their annual organizational meetings, and before he left for Tampa, Steinbrenner’s son Hank, a senior vice president, told The Associated Press that no decisions had been made.

“I really do like Joe a lot,” he said. “I have a lot of admiration for him.”

Torre stayed at his home in Westchester County yesterday, speaking by phone with Cashman, Mattingly and others. Torre contacted the Yankees’ media relations director, Jason Zillo, because photographers were camped on his lawn, even though he had pleaded for privacy in his news conference.


About the Writer

Ed Attanasio is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Is it End-of-Story for Joe Torre?

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By Glenn T on October 11, 2007 at 01:33 pm
Pleading for privacy at a news conference?? Isn't that a bit like shooing paprazzi away when walking out of Hyde at 2am? I'm with El G on the ESPN bit - but I'm not convinced that Joe Torre is such a "good guy"... I mean, hell, with that kind of money, who amongst us can't appear a little magnanimous? Either way, the focus on the teams that are OUT of the playoffs should not eclipse that on the teams still in. There's still a lot of great baseball left - and how great would it be to see Cleveland in the World Series?
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