Everyone likes to point their fingers. (Photo from Newsday/Paul J. Bereswill)
When the dust finally settles in a few days, an era of Yankee baseball will end. How this drama plays out, though, will determine which era ends, and the end result could be something of a surprise.
In one corner, we have George Steinbrenner threatening the end of the Joe Torre Era. If you take the interview with Ian O’Connor at face value, Torre’s gone. The Yanks didn’t make it past the first round of the playoffs for the third year in a row, let alone win a World Series, and King George is not happy.
For now, the going school of belief seems to be that Steinbrenner’s threats were not idle and that Torre is gone. The Yankee skipper spoke of the team not as a “we” but as a “them” during the post-game press conference last night. Peter Abraham noted a few other indications concerning the imminent departure of Joe Torre, and Bill Madden at The Daily News speculates that the Tony La Russa-Dave Duncan team may be Bronx bound.
But what if? What if George Steinbrenner’s interview featured the words of an aging and nearly deposed dictator? What if Brian Cashman enlists the help of the heir-apparent Hal Steinbrenner to push for Torre’s return? What if the rumors of Tony La Russa’s arrival in the Bronx raises too many alarm bells among the Yankee decision-makers?
If the Torre faction within the Yankees can outlast those doubting him, another era will end in the Bronx. The Era of the Boss would officially be over. We know, thanks to Portfolio magazine, that george is not well these days. If Joe Torre keeps his job, Steinbrenner’s public words and Yankee clout are all but gone.
Right now, no one really knows what should happen. Joe Torre made a few bad managing mistakes this week that cost the Yankees at least game two and maybe game four. He has a history of mismanaging the bullpen, but he knows how to handle the Yankees. Furthermore, the players – such as free agents Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada – love him. If he goes, they may go too.
So it becomes a showdown yet again between the Boss and the only man more powerful than the Boss in the eyes of the New York sports media. In a few days or hours or minutes, someone will win and an era will end. Whatever the outcome, it will affect the Yankees for years to come.