Friday, November 2, 2007

A Cup of Joe




I really thought the Yankees were bitches about the Joe Torre situation.

Joe Torre managed the Yankees for twelve seasons, did one heck of a job, by all accounts. In twelve years, he made the playoffs twelve times, won four World Series, made the playoffs twelve times and his team finished first ten times. Of course he did have great players, but that's a pretty amazing run.

In George Steinbrenner's universe and in Yankee culture, though, the only way a team has a successful year, is to actually win the World Series. I mean, everyone says their goal is to win the Fall Classic in April, but most don't really believe they can. The Yankees mean it, that's the only thing that is acceptable and that's an amazingly high bar to set.

Torre hadn't made it over that bar in this century (2000 is still the 20th Century, dumbass) - unacceptable for his organization.

Now, the expectations are absurd, and it sounds like a really hard organization to work in, but it also has produced 26 World Series championships.

Anyway, that's the culture and I thought it was OK for them to fire him, but they didn't do it in the 'right' way - first Steinbrenner said he'd be fired if they lost during the playoffs, then they let him hang out there for a week, and then they gave him an offer he would refuse. (Yes, a lot of money, but the one-year thing isn't good. The bonuses for rounds won in the playoffs seems insulting, like the guy needed motivation or something).

I'm not sure if it was that they didn't have the nerve/heart to do it outright or they were trying to do some public relations posturing, but it would have been much better to say, "Joe, thanks, but we're going to make a change because we feel we need to shake things up."

After millions of dollars and twelve years and all those wins, you don't owe him a job, but you do owe him a bit of respect, and their lack of it was poor form.

3 comments:

Faith said...

I don't disagree with any of this, LJT, but, as much as I love the Yankees, doing the honorable thing isn't really what Steinbrenner is known for. Though he and his son, Hal, are both alums of my alma mater (go Williams!) they're not exactly known for their level headedness and rationality in managerial matters. In his first 23 years as head of the Yankee empire, up to and including his hiring of Joe Torre, Steinbrenner changed managers 20 times. So I'm not sure why this latest mishandling comes as a shock to anyone. It's unfortunate but not unexpected.

Open Bar said...

"Joe Torre managed the Yankees for twelve seasons, did one heck of a job, by all accounts. In twelve years, he made the playoffs twelve times, won four World Series, made the playoffs twelve times and his team finished first ten times. Of course he did have great players, but that's a pretty amazing run."

Yes, he managed the yanks for 12 years.
He sort of did a hecuva job (Brownie!).
Yes, he won four World Series, made the playoffs 12 times, and finished first 10 times.

But your next point -- HE HAD GREAT PLAYERS -- is by far the most important point. You or I could probably have had a similar run if we got to write out a lineup card with those hitters and pitchers.

Torre was a three-time failed manager before he came to the yanks. He has gotten way too much credit for happening to be the manager those for those World Series teams. He also had great players the last seven seasons, but couldn't get it done.

He definitely deserved to be fired because he couldn't win with a $200 million dollar roster of all-stars in just about every position.

Okay, he did manage the media well and shielded his players, which is ultimately the most important job the manager of the yanks over the last 12 years has needed to perform. I will give him that, so in that sense maybe he was the best man for the job. But almost anyone else with a pulse and a working right (or left) hand to fill out the lineup card could have gotten to the playoffs with those players.

The Dodgers will be good or bad next year because of how well their players play in what will definitely be the toughest division in the NL. Not because of Torre's "genius" and "winning attitude" and "likeability."

Walt Clyde Frazier said...

What is that picture? It is off-putting and I can't make out what it is.