Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This just in: Torre not leaving the Stanks

To paraphrase an old saying, "the reports of Joe Torre's demise have been greatly exaggerated."

Word has come from the Big Apple that the embattled skipper of the $200 Million Men will keep his job after days of speculation that New York's loss to Detroit in the ALDS would lead to his ouster.

After 2 straight days of intense coverage following the Game 4 loss that Torre was going to axed by Steinbrenner and replaced with Lou Pinella, cooler heads have evidently prevailed and Georgie has said that Torre will be helming the team for at least the 2007 season.
But the issue has divided the notoriously fickle NY fans & media, with many outlets agreeing that it is time for Joe to go. But, more importantly, almost to a man the Stankees players pledged loyalty to their long-time skipper. No word if 8th-Rod stood up for the man who has made him a scapegoat for the team's struggles, first by dropping him to 6th in the order for Game 1 vs. the Tigers, and then further humiliating the reigning MVP by inserting him in the 8th slot for the Game 4 finale.

It's true that Torre did one of his best managerial jobs this season, overcoming numerous injuries to star players to capture New York's 9th straight AL East crown. But the flaws of too much time in one place (11 years as the Stankee leader) may be creeping in on him and the team. Torre was obviously out-managed by Jim Leyland in the ALDS; that fact was made painfully clear with the way both men handled their pitching staffs. Leyland strategically used his relievers and starters to maximum advantage, knowing when to pull a guy (like in the middle of a count) and when to leave him in (like letting Bonderman come out for the 9th in Game 4.) Meanwhile it was learned that because he allowed his best starter, Chien Ming Wang, to remain in New York for a possible Game 5 assignment Torre was forced to go with playoff horror-show Jaret Wright. To say that move backfired would be a massive understatement: Wright lasted just 2.2 innings, yielding 5 hits (2HRs) & 4 runs in what could be his final appearance in pinstripes. And Wang, who won 18 in the regular season & Game 1 of the ALDS, was sitting in New York waiting for a final start that would never come.
So Torre is safe, but on a short leash for 2007. It's his final year on his contract and Steinbrenner has already issued the ultimatum that it's win or else...
Or else what, he'll threaten to fire him again? Won't matter. This is a classic One & Done thing for Torre. He either goes out on top as a champion (which you know he would love to do to George- leave him hanging) or they lose in the 1st round again and he's gone for good, no questions asked. Or better yet, the Stanks don't make the playoffs at all!
Either way it's sure going to be fum watching the chaotic drama unfold. Plus it take the heat off the miserable Sox situation knowing that the Evil Empire is having trouble in the upper ranks- the Sox already had their offseason like that last year.

Good luck, Joe- you'll need it.
Oh by the way, rumors have already started that ERod is heading to San Diego. Talk about a perfect place for a gutless wonder who can't handle pressure or scrutiny- head to sunny San Diego, man, and just hang loose, try your hardest, and if you don't do well, who the hell will notice?!

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