Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tired of the Torre saga

It's official: The Monk is tired of the Torre saga.

I'm tired of hearing Torre whinge about how he wasn't wanted.

I'm tired of hearing the national and local media dump on the Yankees for not re-signing him.

I'm tired of hearing the eulogies (bordering on hagiographies) for Torre's performance as manager.

I'm tired of hearing the moronic parallels (the White Sox re-signed Guillen for three years, the Cards re-signed LaRussa for two, the D-Rays re-signed Maddon) -- these are the Yankees, the premier franchise in North American sports and they have different and higher standards than stiffs like the ChiSax and Drays.

The whole situation is ridiculous. Torre should have been sacked the day after the RedSawx 10-3 win over the Yanks in game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. He managed the team to the worst choke in sports playoff history. He made strategic (in)decisions that cost the team games 5 and 6. He led the team that suffered the worst humiliation in baseball history -- and the Yanks for all their success have had a large number of playoff humiliations (1926 WS [Ruth caught stealing to lose game 7], 1960 WS [lose series, outscored Pirates 55-27], 1963 WS [swept by Koufax-led Dodgers, scored 4 runs], 1976 WS [swept by Big Red Machine], 1980 ALCS [best team to lose in LCS until 1993 Braves], 1981 WS [choking 2-0 lead with three-straight one-run losses], 1995 ALDS [up 2-0, lose series], 2002 ALDS [whupped by upstart Angels]).

Torre should have been sacked after he lost the team last year and the Yanks were demolished by the Tigers. That didn't happen either, primarily because Cashman stuck up for Joe.

The Monk likes British notions of accountability -- the head of the department that screws up gets canned or, more frequently, resigns and takes the responsibility for the failure. The RedSax were actually the better team in '04 (seriously: Schilling, Pedro, Lowe v. Mussina, Leiber, Brown = no contest), but the Yanks had whacked them three times, had them down twice more and failed. It was not like the '07 ALCS -- the Sawx didn't just turn it on and wax the Yanks like they crushed the Indians this year. Instead, Moooooose pitched well in game 5, Leiber pitched well in game 6 (he was burned on a bizarre homer by Bellhorn), game 5 came down to a couple of bounces here and there.

The fallout for Torre = a three-year 19.2M contract that paid him like a prima donna NBA coach.

As Torre makes the rounds discussing his alleged mistreatment (Costas Now on HBO, which will re-air all week; Letterman next Monday), remember this from Jon Heyman's column:

. . . for the record, it should be known now that [the Yanks'] recent offer was actually better than the one discussed in spring, months before the team bowed out in the first round for a third straight postseason.

Back then, has learned, the Yankees and Torre were talking about a one-year $4.5 million extension with Steve Swindal the son-in-law who signed Torre to his lucrative $6.4 million-a-year deal, and Torre was receptive to the offer. But that extension fell apart after Swindal was arrested for a DWI on Valentine's Day and Swindal's marriage to George Steinbrenner's daughter, Jennifer, subsequently disintegrated.

In other words, Torre's engaging in a bunch of spin and the media is buying it because its storyline is pre-ordained -- the big bad Steinbrenner crew wanted Torre out and insulted him to reach its goal.

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