Torre on ESPN’s Sunday Conversation

A Prank for the Ages
Setting the tone for the 2008 season

I know he’s not the Yanks’ manager anymore, but it’s a great interview that’s worth three minutes of your time regardless. The third winningest manager in Bombers’ history talks Mitchell Report, the pressures he felt in NY, and milking pitchers for another hitter or two.

I’ve come to grips with Girardi being the man in charge now, and I’m sure he’ll do an excellent job, but I still believe Torre’s the guy that should be managing the team. There’s things off the field that need managing too, and Joe was the master at that. Chastise me in the comments if you wish, that’s just my personal opinion.

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A Prank for the Ages
Setting the tone for the 2008 season
  • mike

    thanks for posting that. any real Yankee fan will always truly love joe. i think girardi is going to be great for us, but we’ll always miss mr. torre.

    • mg

      I think a real Yankees fan can have a lot of problems with how he handled the team on the field. Sure, he may have been a master behind the scenes but at some point, you have to loose your job when you handle the bullpen like he did. It should have happened years before it did.

  • Rich

    I think that Torre should have been replaced after the 2004 ALCS collapse, but despite my criticism about his bullpen (mis)management, he made an important contribution to this franchise in the ’90s, and I’m grateful for that.

  • Brian

    There’s such a significant undercurrent to the hiring of Joe Girardi, which is, as you know better than anyone, Mike, the management and fearless introduction of new arms. And really, a new organizational method which Joe may not have been nimble enough, literally, to employ. That’s what we are all giddy about, and while I could hardly say that your point about Joe is wrong, the good that can come is there. Joe seems more than relaxed, though. It’s hard to think that he’s 110% thinking Dodger…the nostalgia for what he’s presently missing is probably not lost on him.

  • Manimal

    Joe torre sits on his old fat ass. Joe Girardi will be jumping up and down and arm-smashing Shelley.

  • Manimal

    The one guy that is grieving over Torre going to LA is Scott Proctor who will be put through hell again

    • dan

      When Torre was hired, I remember an interview with Joe Beimel where he said “I already talked to Proctor, and he told me to be ready to pitch a lot.”

  • Ricochet

    Plain and simple it was time for a change, I just wished it would’ve ended better Torre. Maybe after his days as the Dodgers manager he could end up in the YES booth.

  • cee

    I totally agree with you Mike even though I think Girardi will turn out to be a good one, seeing Joe in dodger blue just doesnt feel right.

  • Jeff

    I’ll definately miss Torre as I don’t expect the postgame interview to be as good anymore. He had such an ease about how he could talk about his team for issues big and small. This interview was another example of that. His words about Clemens were true in that it is so sad to see the competitor face an end result that will overshadow all the years of success that were legitamately fought for regardless if people’s percepton of the process makes them believe they were illegitamately gained.

    I believe Joe had a great mind for the game and could manage with the best. Some of the bullpen management issues are warented but in many cases I think he was forced to use the team that he had. Pitching was not our strong point from starters on down – and if ou want to argue against that fine. However, there were not always going to be the best alternatives when he needed crucial outs. Maybe some breathing room would have allowed for some more rest down the stretch but the injuries of the past couple of years forced us to play longer harder seasons.

    I will also give him a lot credit for work last season. Which I think would have been much worse had he not instilled it in his players to not panic and lose confidence even when it seemed as bad as it could get. Giving the BP off in Toronto was probably one of the best moves he ever made.

    All that said – I look forward to Giardi. I think the players have to get a little uncomfortable to perform to thier best. They have to get that mean kick ass feel about them that hopefully the Giardi boot camp will produce. I love Torre but think the need to lite a fire under this team might be just what the doctor ordered and I’m glad Giardi seems poised to do it. Hopefully he will turn out a great first season.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I love Joe Torre but he got a lot of free passes from 2001 on because of what he did in the late 90s and 2000. He had flashes of brilliance when he took the time to analyze the game, but by 2007 those flashes were few and far between. In the end he was phoning it in and sleeping in the dugout for craps sake.

    He let a rookie fight the bugs in Cleveland, he burnt out his bullpen and he mismanaged the youth in favor of veterans who should not have been performing coming off of injuries and when they went cold.

    The 2004 performance was horrible and the worst defeat the Yankees have ever known. He should have been fired then. The 2005 year was horrible and who can forget the irrational lineup change in 2006 for the playoffs and the bug debacle of 2007.

    He refused to watch film and analyze the other team, something Girardi is passionate about, and he cared more about being loved than being a good manager. His penchant for fading veterans and certain relievers brought the team down. And if I were Scott Proctor I’d be jumping in the Pacifiic Ocean.

    He had terrific years but a lot of the failures of the last 6 years were Torre’s fault. I’m glad they replaced him and I think that Girardi is going to be terrific with veterans (most of whom have played with him) and young kids alike.

    All that being said, I respect Torre and always like him and can’t wait for him to be in the HoF in pinstripes, but it was definitely time for a change and Girardi is the right guy at the right time.

  • maximumpotential

    perfectly put LiveFromNewYork. he and this team became complacent after ’01. the figured they’d just be back again next year. (and BTW, he shouldn’t have brought the infield in on Gonzo, ANYBODY could’ve seen Mo jamming him like he did). he tried to be the Phil Jackson of baseball, just letting his players play with as little guidance as possible.

    this team NEEDS Girardi. he’ll be perfectly willing to sit a broken-down Giambi in favor of a hot Duncan/Ensberg. he’ll MAKE Matsui DH no questions asked. if Abreu struggles and Cano is Cano, don’t be surprised to see them switched in the order. Girardi won’t be afraid to change something a little quicker than Torre would’ve, and he’ll probably stick with it longer instead of going right back to the same old thing.

    Girardi should manage the pitchers better too. some people like to point out the Marlins soph slump last year due to “over-use”. maybe, but they were a young STAFF that also had an entirely new coaching staff, surrounded by a young TEAM with their only “veterans” M-Cab&Willis. Yanks have solid vets around our Big Three. those Marlins were Willis and a Medium Eleven. he’ll juggle them perfectly. he should use Joba as the longman for the first half with Moose 5. second half switch ‘em. by season’s end Joba’s #1? plus by default, he automatically handles the bullpen better than Torre IMO.

  • h2munro

    MikeA, It’s nice to know we agree on something. It was always nice to have Mr. T’s calm hand at the wheel in the midst of an ugly stretch. I wonder how Joe G will handle all the Tabloid Chicken Littles during the inevitable 6 game loosing streak or during the PED media crush. I hope he learned about handling that as well as when to hit and run with Godzilla at the dish and A-Rod on first, 1 out, down a run in the 7th, Timlin on the mound. There is sooooo much to know.

  • http://www.yanksblog.com Patrick

    Agreed on all accounts.

  • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

    Mike I also agree with your sentiments. I also think that there was a need for change if for no other reason than to get a fresh look for the team starting from the top. Torre’s reputation as a veteran’s manager molded well with those WS teams that had such valuable contributions from players like Chili Davis, Strawberry, Raines, Duncan, Justice and stalwarts like Paulie, Tino and Brosius. It seems to fit that as that era’s homegrowns wind down their careers and vets like Giambi and Mussina are on their last leg that with all the new young players we have a manager who is not far removed from playing and also has experiencing managing primarily a young roster.

    My only gripe with comments from Torre detractors is this: did Torre play in any of those ALCS games in 04? Who couldn’t pitch 6-7 effective innings to allow for the bullpen not to be burned to the ground? I think managers/coaches get way too much credit both when teams win and lose. Not for nothing but what would have been satisfactory for those who think the Yankees have failed these last 6 seasons? 6 straight titles? I mean who wins in any sport every year? We got 4 out of 5 and made it look somewhat easy and got spoiled in my opinion. It just doesn’t happen like that, in any sport.

    I think the Dodgers will do well this year and I think Torre will enjoy reduced scrutiny. I also think we will be just fine and surprise a lot of people. Nothing ends well or else it wouldn’t end. So Torre is gone and that’s that. Every season was great and an accomplishment in and of itself.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Torre’s last quote sums it all up: “You never take it for granted.” I think there’s a lot of fans that have taken all the success the Yanks have had the last 12 years for granted, and don’t fully appreciate how great this team has been during that time, even if they haven’t won the WS in 7 years.

    There’s a lot of spoiled fans out there, they should be forced to root for the Pirates if they think they have it bad.

    • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

      lol no that would be cruel and unusual punishment…

  • Jeff

    I do agree that alot of fans take it for grantedd that we have such a good team. Joe Torre was so much better than alot of managers we were competing against. No manager is going to please all the fans. Giardi is going to make plenty of decisions that the same critics of Torre will come to call in question.

  • Rob_in_CT

    I liked Torre. I respect the guy, and there are worse managers in MLB. But I’m all for the switch to Girardi. That doesn’t mean I believe that Girardi will be perfect.

    We’ll see how Girardi does things tactically. Will he bunt or hit-and-run excessively? How will he handle the bullpen (much potential upside here, given Torre’s mishandling of it)? Will be creative enough to make the most of the Yankees’ pitchers? How will he use his bench? It’s entirely possible that he will have flaws just like Torre did, perhaps in other areas of the game. I hope not, of course.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    Mike, let’s understand what you are advocating, Joe Torre returns as manager, he returns as the highest paid manager in the game, and he returns with a multi-year agreement. That’s the only other choice, give him what he wanted or let him go, there was no third alternative.

    We have been through the staircase effect before, let’s briefly recap, five years (03-07) with each season ending worse than the year before. I won’t count them down again take a look at the book, it’s all there. In business you can’t continue to reward that kind of result or you become the Atlanta Braves, a big Palooka with a glass jaw going down with the first good post season punch.

    The plain truth, Torre was the right manager for the right team at a certain point in their history. That team no longer exists, time does that. Many veteran players who supported his return failed to perform over the last serveral years in the post season, if they had performed we wouldn’t be discussing this now. I see no evidence to suggest that Torre would have been able to do anything more with this team than he has with the team over the last few years, and again, plainly speaking, that’s just not good enough for me.

  • Alex

    If I had the time I would post a long winded post on all the negatives of Joe Torre instead I will just thank the good lord that he is gone and look forward to having an intelligent manager run a team that Pecota predicted to be the best in baseball this year.

  • K.V.C

    Please – enough of “saint” Joe. The nightmare that was Torre as Yankee manager is over. He is now a Dodger. Please stop covering his every move.

  • cc

    I gotta say i love Joe Torre. For the the past couple of seasons all hell has broken loose with the rotation (2007) and when we basically lost our outfield (2006 – matsui & sheff) and somehow he scraped it together and got us into the post season. For us Yankee fans its normal. we’re spoiled and tired of getting the boot after the first round. but there are alot of teams that want to be there, fight to be there, and we always got there. Alot of that was Joe Torre pushing the right buttons. You can second guess a million choices, but you can’t deny his success. 6 WS appearances in 12 years? he’s batting .500.

    p.s. 2004? i blame kevin “dudu” brown & Javier “grandslam” vasquez. Arod & sheff batted .179 for those last four games.

  • Monzo

    Torre should have been gone 3 years ago. The man does not, and never has, known how to use a bullpen. Bottom line, he is an old man and needed to go. The Dodgers will not finish above .500 in their own “WEAK” division. A “TRUE” Yankee fan will relish the day that the other JOE was named manager. Wake up and get with it……..

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