• Joe Torre’s Last Game As Yankees Manager

    Posted by on June 25th, 2010 · Comments (34)

    October 8, 2007.

    Amazingly, there are only 5 Yankees still with the team, now, who played in that game…three years ago.

    Comments on Joe Torre’s Last Game As Yankees Manager

    1. Raf
      June 25th, 2010 | 3:56 pm

      5 in the game, 8 overall

      Jeter, Posada, Riveral, Pettitte, Cano, Rodriguez, Hughes and Chamberlain.

    2. Corey Italiano
      June 25th, 2010 | 4:11 pm

      You know what made me sick? I saw a quote from Torre that said that when he saw the Yanks win the world series, he didn’t miss it.

      Why are you still managing a baseball team if you don’t miss winning the world series? Perhaps the Yankees were right when they said that Torre got a little complacent.

    3. MJ Recanati
      June 25th, 2010 | 4:25 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      Perhaps the Yankees were right when they said that Torre got a little complacent.

      Perhaps? I don’t think there’s any perhaps about it. Torre’s fatal flaw at the end of his time in New York was not realizing that everyone can be replaced. When you treat your job as a lifetime appointment you’re bound to be the last to know that you’re doing a bad job.

    4. June 25th, 2010 | 4:26 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:

      Think of it this way…

      You’re married to a really hot chick. Then, you get divorced – but, you quickly re-marry. Two years later, someone asks you for a comment, that your new wife will probably see, about your “ex” recently winning a bikini contest. What are you going to say, that, you miss that body?

      Not really. Torre’s answer is no different.

    5. Corey Italiano
      June 25th, 2010 | 4:30 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      It sounded more like Torre didn’t miss winning the world series, not that he didn’t miss the yanks..here’s the quote from Chad Jennings blog:

      “The thing that gets me is last year, I’m watching the World Series, and not one minute did I wish I was in the dugout to be honest with you,” he said. “It was great and I did it a lot of times, but that was enough.”

    6. Raf
      June 25th, 2010 | 4:31 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      When you treat your job as a lifetime appointment you’re bound to be the last to know that you’re doing a bad job.

      Yeah, but going into the playoffs we were hearing about what a wonderful job Torre was doing despite the injuries the Yankees were having. Personally, I thought it was hooey, Torre was the same manager in 2007 that he was in 1996, but I thought it was a bit odd that he was blamed for Wang’s ineffectiveness and Joba getting flustered by midges. Posada could’ve blocked those pitches better, but he is what he is defensively.

    7. Corey Italiano
      June 25th, 2010 | 4:36 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Joba getting flustered by midges.

      I do blame Torre, he should have pulled the team. That wasn’t a few midges, that was rediculous.

    8. MJ Recanati
      June 25th, 2010 | 4:38 pm

      @ Raf:
      I definitely agree with you: Torre had nothing to do with Wang going from the team’s best pitcher to its worst in 2007. He had nothing to do with Posada’s inability to block pitches in the dirt, the total lack of offense from 2005-2007 or the fact that Randy Johnson pooped his pants in two consecutive Game 3′s. All of that is 100% true.

      All the same, I still think Torre got complacent in the job. It’s not so hard to see why: he had been the manager for 12 seasons and led the team to 12 playoffs, 11 division titles, 6 AL Pennants and 4 World Series titles. Anyone would be entitled to think as much of oneself as Torre thought of himself at that time. He’s not a bad guy for it but he was certainly pseudo-fired for just cause. The act was getting old and it was time for a change. If Torre was blindsided it was because, frankly, he never thought it possible to replace a so-called living legend like himself.

    9. Garcia
      June 25th, 2010 | 5:27 pm

      @Steve
      I agree with you 100%.

      I have nothing but great things to say about Torre, the end was what it was. Not going to get into who was right or wrong, and I will not diminish Torre in any way. I have mad love for the guy, the same way I have mad love for Bernie. Sometimes the way things end isn’t always nice, but doesn’t mean you have to start ripping people because you didn’t like the way they negotiated.

      Am I going to get into defending the Steinbrenner’s billions versus Torre’s millions? No. People disagree on money, happens all the time, people leave their job because of issues of money, respect, and/or a better situation. Doesn’t matter if we are talking about 5 figures or 10 figures. What Torre did happens all the time in corporate America.

      So if I don’t get mad when a key manager leaves my place of employment, then why should I hold anything against Torre for leaving the way he did. He didn’t like the way he was treated, he has the right to say that, and the Yanks had a right to say goodbye. It’s called employment at will in corporate America, in baseball it is done within the framework of a contract.

    10. ken
      June 25th, 2010 | 9:01 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      I do blame Torre, he should have pulled the team. That wasn’t a few midges, that was rediculous.

      Torre has acknowledged (in his book and elsewhere) that this was his biggest mistake as a Yankee manager. He said he should have pulled the team off the field.

    11. June 25th, 2010 | 9:49 pm

      To me the issue was very clear, he w0as by more than double, the highest paid manager in baseball. In a results driven business, he simply wasn’t getting it done. In his own book, we learned the attitude of the ballclub coming back to New York in 2004 was that they were going to lose. Torre’s big selling point is not x’s and o’s, it’s getting the players in good head space. Dealing with the clubhouse issues, in this case he didn’t get it done. The latter day Torre teams (2004-2007) all folded the first time they ran into trouble. The best relief pitcher sat in the bullpen in game 4 of the 03 series while his team lost in extra innings. That’s a gamble, it failed, he has to answer for that. He really deserved to be fired after 06, he was given one more chance, and again he didn’t get it done.

    12. Raf
      June 26th, 2010 | 12:28 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      The latter day Torre teams (2004-2007) all folded the first time they ran into trouble.

      If that were the case, they never would’ve made the playoffs. They faced more adversity during the regular season than they did in the playoffs. Especially in 2006, when Matsui and Sheffield went down for extended periods of time.

    13. June 26th, 2010 | 1:57 am

      Are you kidding? The Yankees had the highest payroll in baseball in 2006 and were loaded with talent. How about a batting order in 2006 minus the two you mentioned that still had AROD, Jeter, Posada, Cano, Giambi (37 homers 113 RBI’s in 2006), Abreu, and Damon. That’s enough line-up for two teams. You want more!

      The Yankees aren’t judged by making the postseasson, they are judged by how they do in the postseason. 2004, made the championship series and lost, the greatest single collapse in baseball history. 2005, they lost in the division series in 5 games. 2006, lost in the division series in 4 games to a heavy underdog. 2007, no longer a first place team now a wild card, lost again in 4 games. The key here is to remember Torre was not just the highest paid manager in the game, he was the highest paid by more than double what the second highest paid manager was getting. What was the return on that investment, an investment augmented by some of the best players in the game with a sky is the limit mentality when it came to payroll.

      Going back to what I said in the post, this is a result driven business, for this kind of investment the ownership wanted more. If it is your position that none of what happened in his last four years at the helm was his fault, then how do we give him credit for what happened before that. How does this work? Better yet, how do we get in on it?

    14. Raf
      June 26th, 2010 | 3:06 am

      Point is a team will face more adversity during the regular season than the post season. 162 > whatever number of games played in the postseason. Always.

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      If it is your position that none of what happened in his last four years at the helm was his fault, then how do we give him credit for what happened before that. How does this work? Better yet, how do we get in on it?

      Playoffs are a crapshoot. If luck isn’t a component, there are teams that should’ve won a lot more than they did. There isn’t much difference between the 1995, 96, 97 & 1998 Yankees, yet they’ve won a varying number of games, succeeding at different rates in the postseason.

      Torre wasn’t or isn’t some tactical genius, he stepped in at a perfect time. He’s lucky that he was able to have the media eating out of his hand.

      Is Bob Brenly a better manager than Torre? He won the 2001 series despite trying to give it away. Rivera blew 2 saves in the 2004 ALCS. A couple of calls or bounces going the other way cost the Yanks in 2005. Remember Joe West calling Cano out for interference? Wang imploding twice and midges in 2007. So on and so forth. You can’t say that the Yanks somehow lost the will to win, or can’t handle adversity, or whatever is the cliche of the day because they showed during the regular season that they could.

      There are times during the season where a team will go 3-4, 1-3, 2-3, etc, why should we be surprised when it happens during the postseason?

    15. June 26th, 2010 | 12:09 pm

      @ Raf says: “You can’t say that the Yanks somehow lost the will to win, or can’t handle adversity, or whatever is the cliche of the day because they showed during the regular season that they could.”

      Yeah, I can. According to Torre’s own book, Mike Mussina said that everybody knew before Game 7 in 2004 they would lose. That negativism should have gotten Torre fired back then.

    16. Raf
      June 26th, 2010 | 12:43 pm

      @ lisaswan:
      And there was no adversity during the regular season in 2004? Given the RS differential, the Yanks should’ve won 12 less games. Again, it should be noted that the ball was in Rivera’s hands twice with a lead. That they were blown out in game 7 wasn’t because they “didn’t believe,” it was because Kevin Brown and Javy Vazquez couldn’t get anyone out. The Yankees had several proven postseason performers in 2004.

      To build on the previously mentioned randomness of the playoffs, I present Esteban Loaiza’s regular season and postseason numbers;

      1-2, 8.50
      0-1, 1.42

    17. June 26th, 2010 | 2:30 pm

      @ Raf: You don’t see a problem with an entire team throwing in the towel before the game is even played? I sure as heck do. You may mock the whole “believe” thing, but the Red Sox didn’t give up when the Yankees had them down three games to none in the playoffs. Yet all too many times in the later years of Torre, the Yanks surrendered in the postseason at the first side of adversity. Heck, Mussina got flummoxed by 2006 Game 2 being rained out and moved to a day game. Does that sound like a team with the eye on the tiger to you?

    18. June 26th, 2010 | 4:18 pm

      @ Raf:

      Raf, the issue comes down to a simple business decision. The management of the Yankees didn’t want to continue to compensate Torre at the level he was at for the kind of results he was getting. The mistake they made was not telling him right after the 2007 team was eliminated that they were going in a different direction. As it turned out, the team returned to championship status in 2009, so the decision was the right one. The current Yankee manager makes less than half of what Torre made. The current manager delivered the results the ownership wanted at less than half the cost, in busness that is kind of important.

    19. Raf
      June 26th, 2010 | 11:29 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      You don’t see a problem with an entire team throwing in the towel before the game is even played? I sure as heck do.

      We’re going off the opinion of one player. Moose may be a Stanford graduate, but he is one of the more grouchier players in the game. Was like that right up until his last year in the bigs.

      You may mock the whole “believe” thing, but the Red Sox didn’t give up when the Yankees had them down three games to none in the playoffs.

      The Sox came back not because they “believed” it was because they’re a good team. Baseball isn’t football or basketball where a player or team “wills” itself to win.

      Heck, Mussina got flummoxed by 2006 Game 2 being rained out and moved to a day game.

      And yet, Mussina managed to have quite the career, despite below average run support. Meanwhile the game 3 starter pitched a few hours after receiving an epidural, and Wright/Lidle had no business being near a ML mound. Note that Wright and Johnson were “eye of the tiger” types; still didn’t do much for them. I’m sure Sheffield and Jeter and Posada were “eye of the tiger” types too.

    20. Raf
      June 26th, 2010 | 11:31 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      As it turned out, the team returned to championship status in 2009, so the decision was the right one.

      And they didn’t in 2008, was it the wrong decision? If they don’t win in 2010, would it still be the wrong decision?

      They won in 2009 because they were running a lineup out there that didn’t have 3-4 automatic outs.

    21. June 27th, 2010 | 3:43 am

      @ Raf:

      Raf, with all do respect you’re missing the point, they won in 2009 with a manager that cost the ownership less than half of what they were paying Torre. This is a business, when you get the results you want and those results cost you less, the outcome is a good one.

    22. June 27th, 2010 | 8:56 am

      @ Raf:
      Here’s the thing. Joe Torre was never good at Xs and Os. What his strength was – and the reason writers pushed to keep him on as manager – was supposedly keeping the clubhouse on an even keel. That was certainly true in the late 1990s, but it sure wasn’t true post-2001.

      You can say it was the new cast of characters. But as even Torre’s own book shows, the clubhouse in later years was very cliquish, and did not work very well as a team. So what did this great leader of men do to bring them together, exactly? Nothing. And what’s more, Torre clearly took sides, caring only about the dynasty guys and pretty much nobody else, with the exception of maybe Hideki Matsui. That’s not leadership; that’s junior high school “mean guys” stuff.

      Regarding your notion that:”As for “The Sox came back not because they “believed” it was because they’re a good team. Baseball isn’t football or basketball where a player or team “wills” itself to win.” I disagree. Positive thinking matters. If you’ve already given up before the game even starts, how can you possibly expect to win? Besides, doesn’t Derek Jeter get credit for his will to win? Do you not believe in that, either?

      At any rate, I’m glad Joe Torre is gone. There would have been no 2009 championship with him at the helm.

    23. Raf
      June 27th, 2010 | 10:54 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Raf, with all do respect you’re missing the point, they won in 2009 with a manager that cost the ownership less than half of what they were paying Torre. This is a business, when you get the results you want and those results cost you less, the outcome is a good one.

      Est. payroll
      07: $189,259,045
      08: $207,896,789
      09: $201,449,189
      10: $206,333,389

      They weren’t looking to save money hiring Girardi. As with the Damon situation, either side could’ve worked something out but chose not to. And the desired outcome didn’t cost less.

    24. Raf
      June 27th, 2010 | 11:15 am

      lisaswan wrote:

      You can say it was the new cast of characters. But as even Torre’s own book shows, the clubhouse in later years was very cliquish, and did not work very well as a team.

      Didn’t work well as a team? Remember the Boston Massacre 2? Remember how the Yanks were the “gutty, gritty, Yankees?” Remember how the Yanks came back in 2005 to take/tie the division? Remember the number of injuries they overcame in 2006?

      You don’t have the success the Yankees have, post 2001 or otherwise (run scored, run differential, division titles, pennants, whatever), without having them being able to work as a team.

      Besides, doesn’t Derek Jeter get credit for his will to win? Do you not believe in that, either?

      That he gets credit for it doesn’t necessarily make it true. His “will to win” certainly hasn’t helped him in his career going to his left, or grounding into so many dp’s this season.

      At any rate, I’m glad Joe Torre is gone. There would have been no 2009 championship with him at the helm.

      The fallacy of the predetermined outcome? You think Girardi could’ve won if his ace craps out twice, like Wang did in 2007, or if Rivera blows up, like he did in 2001 and 2004. Or runs into a hot team as the Yanks did in 2002 or 2006.

      MLB managers really don’t make much of a difference. It’s the players.

    25. June 27th, 2010 | 1:05 pm

      @ Raf:

      OK, now we are getting somewhere, your quote, “MLB managers really don’t make much of a difference. It’s the players”. With that as a jumping off point, could you explain why the Yankees should pay Joe Torre more than twice what the second highest paid manager receives plus offer a multi-year contract?

    26. June 27th, 2010 | 1:29 pm

      @ Raf: Yeah. I also remember how Joe Torre thought it was a great idea, heading into the 2006 playoffs, to orchestrate “The Lonely Yankee” SI cover story hit job by Tom Verducci. And how A-Rod, who had finally turned a corner that year, went into a slump just before the playoffs after the issue came out. That was more of Joe’s great leadership and class.

      And knowing that Torre wouldn’t win with the 2009 Yankees is not “the fallacy of the predetermined outcome.” It’s knowing what Torre is. I saw 12 years of how Torre treated players. Torre would have destroyed the bullpen, the way he always did. He would have marginalized Nick Swisher for being wacky. A.J. Burnett would have gotten the stink eye from Joe the very first time he unleashed a pie. Joe Torre was very set in his ways, with his guys, and he would have stuck to his same old, same old.

      “MLB managers really don’t make much of a difference. It’s the players.” Then why are you fighting so hard to defend Torre’s record?

    27. Raf
      June 27th, 2010 | 9:12 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      could you explain why the Yankees should pay Joe Torre more than twice what the second highest paid manager receives plus offer a multi-year contract?

      Throwing money around is what the Yankees do. If they didn’t want Torre back, I’d rather it be done the way they did it with Showalter, instead of taking a half-assed approach.

      The switch from Torre to Girardi had little to do with money. The Yankees aren’t a penny pinching organization and they certainly weren’t when they were throwing money around. They wanted a new manager, and I’m fine with that. As a Yankees fan, I’m used to the managerial carousel. But don’t insult my intelligence and blow smoke up my posterior. I felt the same way when Showalter was let go as well as reading up on how guys like Dick Howser and Clyde King were treated.

    28. Raf
      June 27th, 2010 | 9:31 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      And how A-Rod, who had finally turned a corner that year

      Finally turned the corner? In 2006? The defending AL MVP was turning a corner?

      Torre would have destroyed the bullpen, the way he always did.

      This, along with Girardi’s track record of “pitcher abuse” when he was with the Marlins is an oft repeated meme that has no basis in reality.

      He would have marginalized Nick Swisher for being wacky.

      Swisher for reasons unknown to everyone but Girardi was to start the season as the 4th OF. If Nady hadn’t gotten hurt, the superior player was going to start the season on the bench. That’s all you need to know about Girardi.

      Anyway, Swisher isn’t the first “wacky” player to play for the Yankees. During the Torre era, they had guys like Denny Neagle, Jose Canseco, David Wells, Jim Leyritz, among others. Paul O’Neill threw temper tantrums, so did Kevin Brown. Gooden and Strawberry had their off field issues. Torre is currently managing one of the spaciest players that the game has seen in Manny. Swisher and Burnett would’ve been fine

      Joe Torre was very set in his ways, with his guys, and he would have stuck to his same old, same old.

      If you think that’s the reason they didn’t win it all from 2001-07, then we are so far apart that it probably wouldn’t make sense to continue this conversation and we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      why are you fighting so hard to defend Torre’s record?

      Because I hate lazy reporting. Torre wasn’t the greatest manager, never was, never will be. Lucky in that he managed to step into a couple of great gigs. And to boot, Girardi has barely been better, if at all.

    29. June 28th, 2010 | 1:17 am

      @ Raf:
      Raf, throwing money around is not what the Yankees are about, maybe that’s where the confusion lies. Tex, Aj and CC weren’t about throwing money around neither was Gossage or Jackson in the old days, it was about spending money wisely. The Yanks weren’t getting what they paid for out of Torre, could they have handled it better, yes they could have, but the decision to make a change was ultimately a good one. That’s the important point.

    30. Raf
      June 28th, 2010 | 1:51 pm

      @ Joseph Maloney:
      I have no problem with the Yankees offering Torre a 1 year deal. I have no problem with the Yanks wanting to go in a different direction. They say “thanks Joe, it’s been real” or they make a reasonable offer, sure fine cool. Making an offer that chances are they knew was going to be rejected is a waste of time, and a slap in the face to someone who had been there for 12 years (to be honest, it was very “corporate like” the way this was handled). And to add to it, if they really wanted him back, they would have negotiated after he turned them down. They didn’t and that’s fine, but don’t be a weasel about it.

    31. MJ Recanati
      June 28th, 2010 | 2:12 pm

      @ Raf:
      I don’t really have a true dog in this fight but I will say that I don’t see the big deal about the “weasel” aspect to it. Yes, the Yankees could’ve simply told Torre that they were going to go in a different direction or they could’ve just fired him outright but it really doesn’t matter in the end. The end is never going to be clean and tidy, it just doesn’t happen that way. The only way it ever works out as neatly as you seem to think it should’ve ended is when the individual retires or removes himself from consideration. It’s all semantics anyway. I don’t see why the Yanks owed Torre anything after 12 years…he got paid handsomely during that time, didn’t he?

    32. June 28th, 2010 | 2:44 pm

      @ Raf:
      Re: Turning a corner: I was referring to A-Rod’s slump in the summer of 2006. You may remember – we heard about it every day for like, two months, between the hitting and the fielding? Torre was his usual passive-aggressive self, talking about it constantly. Then, when A-Rod finally went off on a tear, the SI story came out. I thought Joe should have lost his job for trying to sabotage his own player like that. That was the first clue that Torre’s “what happens in the clubhouse, stays in the clubhouse” mantra was nonsense.

      ” During the Torre era, they had guys like Denny Neagle, Jose Canseco, David Wells, Jim Leyritz, among others. Paul O’Neill threw temper tantrums, so did Kevin Brown. Gooden and Strawberry had their off field issues.”

      I remember. Torre made sure to embarrass many of those guys you mention in his book. Like talking about Kevin Brown in the fetal position. More of that Torre class in action, I guess. As for Manny, I’m sure Joe’s taking notes on him for “The Dodger Years.”

    33. June 28th, 2010 | 2:56 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      I never understood the whole mantra of how Torre should have gotten to leave on his own terms. Or what the Yankees owed him. How many years were they supposed to reward him for the four rings?

      Besides, Torre himself has said that he knew that Game 4 of the 2007 ALDS would be his last game at the time Remember Suzyn Waldman crying on the air about Joe saying goodbye to his coaches that night? Why is that part forgotten when we hear this nonsense about the $5 million “insult”
      ?

    34. Raf
      June 28th, 2010 | 3:48 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      I don’t see the big deal about the “weasel” aspect to it.

      Numb because it’s par for the course with a Steinbrenner controlled team? :D

      lisaswan wrote:

      I was referring to A-Rod’s slump in the summer of 2006. You may remember – we heard about it every day for like, two months, between the hitting and the fielding?

      I remember it. I thought the hue and cry to be pretty silly then, and if you look at my WW comments during that time, I’ve said as much. Rodriguez was the defending AL MVP (won as a member of the Yankees while playing in NY) that happened to be having a slump. It happens. It’s not because he couldn’t handle pressure, it’s not because he can’t play in NY. It’s not because he and Jeter weren’t BFF’s. It was a slump. Every player has them from time to time.

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