What are you gonna do George Steinbrenner?
Firing Torre Shouldn't Crack Top 10 of Boss' to-do List
Oct 9, 4:31 PM (ET) Email this Story
By JIM LITKE
Nobody tells a guy who spent $200 million on the hired help what he can or cannot do. So go ahead, fire Joe Torre if it makes you feel better. Just ask yourself something first. What would Lou Piniella or any other manager have done differently?
Scream more? Hit and run less? Use the hook on one pitcher a little earlier or another a little later? Because even if Torre - or Piniella, or the ghost of Connie Mack, for that matter - had done any or all of those things, the result would have been the same.
If you're compiling a list of the people who let you down the past half-dozen seasons, his name doesn't even make the top 10.
This doesn't mean you have to stand pat. Just the opposite. The best thing about your stewardship is that the Yankees' glass never looks half full. If you're not happy, then nobody else in the organization is going to be, either. Sure, it's a miserable, nerve-racking way to run one of the greatest franchises in sports. But no one is ever going to utter your name and the word "complacent" in the same sentence.
So get general manager Brian Cashman on the phone, tell him to pull out a copy of the roster and a red pen. Start by having him draw a line through the third baseman's name, because everybody in New York already has.
Adding Alex Rodriguez was wonderful in theory, but, like communism, not so wonderful in practice. He's tried adapting, agreeing to move from shortstop, where he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer, to the far side of the diamond to give Derek Jeter plenty of space.
He tried being cocky, because A-Rod thought that's what the town wanted, then humbled himself when pity seemed like the quickest way back into its heart. He's always the first ballplayer to show up for extra practice, and often the last to leave. That might have endeared him to the coaching staff, but A-Rod will forever be dragging his price tag behind him like a ball and chain. Cut him loose, cut your losses while you still can, and ship him to the Angels, Dodgers or Cubs for one of those young arms that have been so effective against your lineup the last few postseasons.
And while we're on the subject of pitchers, it's time to stop thinking of your staff as a way station for AARP millionaires. Grabbing Roger Clemens a few years ago was a stroke of genius, but he was the exception and not the rule. Remember Kevin Brown, whose name rhymes with "broken down"? Well, Randy Johnson is already 43 and Mike Mussina turns 38 in December and they're eating up $35 million annually.
The good news is that Mussina is in his option year, the better news is that Gary Sheffield is, too. Cut them loose and use the money for another young arm. It seems like ancient history now, especially because a lineup card glittering with All-Stars is hard to see past, but the bedrock of those four World Series titles in five years at the start of Torre's tenure was strength up the middle and pitching.
Take out the contributions of Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, who both hit .500 against Detroit, and the rest of the batting order went 18-for-104. That's a .173 average. Everybody else in baseball understands your hitters were geeked once they fell behind early and responded by trying to hit every ball out of the park. That's because they figured it was only a matter of time before the other team started doing the same to the Yankee pitchers.
Torre, on the other hand, has been consistent, maybe the best thing that ever happened to you. He was the buffer all these years between expectations and reality, and every year he got your team close enough to win it all.
He kept everybody happy when dividing playing time among a bunch of midlevel talents like Tino Martinez and Paul O'Neill was touchy, and he kept the spare parts like Jose Vizcaino and Luis Sojo sharp. He made room and time for budding superstars like Alfonso Soriano and Robinson Cano to develop and he usually had all the issues sorted out when the playoffs rolled around.
Now he's got a roster full of guys who - at least on paper - should be penciled in every day, and less flexibility than ever to make decisions. He treated them like the professionals they're supposed to be, moving pieces around to account for age and injury, and tried to stay out of their way.
Remember how well that worked for the 2000 team, the one that Torre insisted prepared so well on its own that managing was almost too easy? "I'd have meetings sometime," he said then, "for my own sake." Well, this is not that kind of team.
No, this is team that could use a big, swift kick in the pants, and Torre isn't so timid that he wouldn't apply the occasional thwack. But ballplayers will forget the sting soon enough unless they know the manager will be around long enough to do it again.
Torre has shown more patience than the job merited, sought less credit than he deserved, won as often as he should have and never once complained.
If that adds up to a pink slip now, you'd better have a pad of pink slips handy. You won't find anybody that good at covering your back for twice the price.
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
I am enjoy all of this as much, if not more, than the actual beating of the yankees.
THE AFTERMATH is awesome!!!!
The constant crying of yankee fans and the ny media is SO FUN TO WATCH!
Ahhhhhhh, you poor poor poor yankees.
I feel your pain!
NOT!!!!!Source(s): 2006 ADCS Champion Detroit Tigers.
- SusyLv 44 years ago
Billy Martin was hired and fired and hire and fired and.... Although Joe Torre is 66 years old and for Torre to come back in a year or two would be unlikely. Joe and/or Brian Cashman need to be replaced. There is a such thing as over-staying your welcome and Joe Torre might be on his way home and remain on the Yankee roster as some type of advisory position or maybe the front office. Whatever George Steinbrenner decides to do, it will be in the interests of putting together the nucleus of a great team for 2007. Personally, I was very much surprised the NY Yankees got so close to winning nearly 100 games during the regular season and wind up with the best record in baseball (along with the NY Mets). But, when you go into the post season, all that gets thrown out and its second season baseball. To the winner belongs the spoils and the loser ... well, goes home and prepares for next year.
- Jeffrey SLv 61 decade ago
That's a great piece. It's totally true.
I do have to make one point here. I keep reading a lot of "What is Steinbrenner going to do?", or "Take that, Steinbrenner". Everyone seems to think that George Steinbrenner is the same fiery, energetic, ranting, raving owner from the 70s and 80s, and he simply is not.
George Steinbrenner is 76 years old, and clearly not aging well. When was the last time you saw an interview with him? He pops up in spring training or makes a couple of comments throughout the season, like "We are going to have a good year", "we aren't playing well now", "It's all in Cashman's hands". Steinbrenner is old, and all of his statements are likely written and issued by his P.R. people. Yes, some of the mistakes are his, but his biggest mistake is listening to those conniving snakes in Tampa. None of this is Cashman or Torre's fault. It may take a few years for Cashman to clean up the mess now that he has pretty much total control, and he will weed out some of these pampered superstars. Hopefully he'll get some of the grinder types, good, but not great players like we used to have. I would say that most Yankee fans would prefer Brosius over A-Rod anyday. We'd love Tino over Giambi, and maybe even O'Neill over Matsui.
I think Steinbrenner should still have the final say, but he needs advice now. I do think he has one bullet left, and that is to make a managerial move before he rides off into the sunset. A lot of people think that Steinbrenner is still the bully, the bad guy who intimidates, fires people on a whim, and punches people in the elevator. Those days are long gone.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
OK,Now Let me ask you this? What is your owner gonna do,now that your Big Bad Twins team,didn't even win 1 Game? That was a pretty Pathetic sweep,Worry about your own OWNER NOT OURS!!!
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
I like larry David as george Steinbrenner from Seinfeld. Is he really like that i have never actually heard him having a conversation with anyone.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
What is he going to do? Yeah, probably fire Torre. What should he do? Get rid of Cashman. For years now, Cashman has been unable to establish a capable, not even good, pitching staff. No middle relief whatsoever. Cashman should go.
- Vintage MusicLv 71 decade ago
A-ROD GOES FIRST, THEN MOST OF THEIR MIDDLE INNING
RELIEVERS AND THEN TORRE. STEINBRENNER IN '62 OR '63 SAID HE'D BRING A WORLD SERIES TO THE BRONX. HE DID SO AND THEN SOME AND NOW YANKS ARE MOST HATED TEAM OUTSIDE NYC.
- Nora GLv 71 decade ago
he is gonna whine and cry and throw around a big stick to intimidate all the people that he couldn't keep under his control.
- smittyLv 71 decade ago
You know ol' George will make some moves.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
WOW 88 lines in one question isnt that some kind of VIOLATION??????