The Joe Torre era came to an end for the New York Yankees yesterday. Torre’s tenure ends with a whimper – a poor post-season showing and first-round elimination for the third straight year. Despite that, the Yankees made a more-than-fair offer to Joe: 5 million for next year with added incentives for each milestone that the Yankees reach: a mil for the Division, another mil for the Division Series, another for the Championship Series, and a payoff for a World Series title – with an option for a second year.
In light of how things have gone since 2001, I can’t say as I blame the Yankees for making that offer. Torre parlayed the good will of four championships in the late-90s into becoming the highest-paid manager in baseball by a WIDE margin. What did the Yankees get for their buck? Not much bang. Six straight years of post-season disappointment following the bloop-and-error-aided 2001 WS loss. Joe didn’t think so, and so he moves on.
I appreciate what Joe did while he was here. Four World Championships are nothing to sneeze at. However, many knowledgeable Yankee fans – who watch this team day in and day out – will tell you that the four championships could have (and should have) easily been seven or eight.
So what happened? There is a theory that managers are only successful for a certain amount of years because once the familiarity sets in, managers become partial to “their guys”. They play favorites over doing the right thing (something Joe Torre was guilty of the last few years), and the complacency starts to set in.
Joe’s dugout naps and lack of a pulse were OK when the Yankees were winning. When they are getting screwed repeatedly by bad calls and being blinded by bugs, suddenly it’s not so cute. It’s an old saying, but it is true – sometimes you DO need to make changes just for the sake of making changes. Casey Stengel, Joe McCarthy, Miller Huggins – all eventually parted ways with the Yankees because that’s the way it goes. Nothing lasts forever.
So long Joe…it was fun while it lasted and what you did while you were here is definitely appreciated…but it’s time for a change.
Some good advice from the legendary Ray Stevens.
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