"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Hello, My Friend

Over at SI.com, Cliff takes a look at ten signature moments from Joe Torre’s years in the Bronx. Check it out.

And as far as the weekend series goes, make sure to pop by the indispensable Dodger Thoughts, our old Baseball Toaster pals.

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:13 pm

good stuff.

I guess I'll get the ball rolling: best moment of the tenure I think is '96. You can make a case for any of the championships, but to come back from two down against a team that should've beaten you...thats pretty good.

worst moment is '03. I know most will say '04, but that was at least against a team that you can make a strong case was superior on paper. Losing in 6 to the Marlins though...oy vey.

2 ms october   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:23 pm

yeah, good stuff cliff.

i hope this weekend manages not to get too partisan.
i know that's a lot to ask but hopefully we can just enjoy some baseball.

anyway, rather than any specific moments about torre, my feelings now are just: he was the manager when the yankees recaptured a winning track and i am glad for whatever role he played in that process.

3 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:26 pm

I thought the Clueless Joe headline was a classic moment as well. First Day on a tough new job and he's getting called incompetent before he even finds his parking place. The fact he eased into a good relationship w/ the press so quickly after was pretty impressive.

And I also look at the Torre years as a tale of 2 bullpens. The one he trusted, w/ rivera, stanton, nelson and mendoza, and the ones he didn't, with everybdy else. The spectacular success of the former leading to his distrust and poor management of the latter.

And Jeter referring to him as Mr Torre, leading the way for the legions of Jeter fans to be very reverential of the manager for years to come.

4 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:27 pm

[1] Agreed on the '96 Serious. I think its the best "moment" because no one expected the Yanks to get there, and as you say, after the first two games, I think no one thought the Yanks would win it. I could see an argument for the entire '98 season, but that was just a day-by-day feast of awesomeness. It was fantastic, but no real drama, and so not "the best".

The '98 season remains my favorite, though.

I disagree on the '03 Serious, though. The '04 ALCS was much, much, much worse - NOT because it was Boston. The Yanks were thisclose so many times; they really should have won that series. To lose 4-3 after being up 3-0 to anybody sucks.

After the excitement of the '03 ALCS, the '03 Serious loss was sad but not heart-renching in the moment. As my brother likes to say, the real series between the 2 best teams in baseball that year finished when Boone hit the home run.

Makes you wonder how different things would be if the Yanks had gone to the Serious in 2004 . . .

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:33 pm

[3] the one thing about that headline though is that it was taken out of context. Ian O'Connor's column (which you can probably find on the Daily News site) said that Torre was "clueless" as to what he was getting himself into working for Steinbrenner, not that he was a "clueless" manager. Of course no one remembers it that way, but the tone of the article wasn't really mocking of Torre.

[4] I mean '04 was a nightmare come to life, don't get me wrong. But '03 they were just SO much better than Florida, they should've swept them and they ended up losing in 6. It must be how Pats fans felt after the Giants Super Bowl. Going into the '04 ALCS I actually picked the Sox to win in 7, I thought their rotation was just that much better, for it to play out the way it did no one saw coming of course but I did think Boston was the better team.

6 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:36 pm

[4] Agreed. The '03 Series stings more now than it did then, because of '04 and the first-round exits thereafter.

Also, Jon, great point on the bullpen(s) in [3]. If the article had been framed differently, I definitely would have discussed Torre's weakness there.

And put me down for '96, too. That was the climax of my life as a baseball fan. You can't ever recreate the feeling of seeing your team win it all for the first time (in your experience), even if they go 125-50 one year.

7 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:41 pm

I suppose Jeter's Mr. November moment was only squeezed out to streamline the list of great moments to ten, eh?

I remember leaping twelve feet into the air when Boone hit that homer, and thankfully Joe Buck shut the hell up in that moment. Well, maybe he was caught off-guard or just too pissed for words, but it was a wonderful moment...

It's hard to root for either the Yanks or Torre to me in this matchup because both of them made the breakup pretty nasty and really deprived the fans from celebrating the success those two had with each other. I'm really not looking forward to the day when Jeter goes up against the machine when it's his time to hang em up. Hopefully his competitiveness will allow him to realize when his time is up long before it becomes way too obvious to everyone but him.

And, might I add, every time Mo comes out the bullpen is a special moment.

8 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:43 pm

96, when Zimmer hugged Torre after Hayes caught that ball, when Joe started crying. Yeah, that's the one. 2003? Still hurts, mommy.

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:44 pm

found the "Clueless Joe" piece. O'Connor is awful, but its fun to see in hindsight.


10 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:44 pm

7) And, might I add, every time Mo comes out the bullpen is a special moment.

Here, here.

I'm on the Yankees side here. It was time for Joe to go. It wasn't going to be pretty. Hope the Yanks beat the Dodgers brains in this weekend, but if they flop, and only win one game, I hope it's tonight against that cartoon baddy, Padilla.

11 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 2:52 pm

actually this is even better than the O'Connor piece. Alex, Cliff, you should try to track some of these people down. Especially this Ron Chambless character:


12 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:02 pm

[5] That may be true, but headlines are the first impression of all periodicals' they are the reason why you do or don't pick them up. Knowing even a little of Torre's background coming into that season, few people would put it past the Daily News to submit snark as a general reaction to his hiring. Certainly many people took it that way when comparing Torre's managerial record to Buck Showalter's at the time; Buck, with Stick in the console and Bob Watson aiming the weaponry had helped save the franchise from it's early 90's miasma while Torre had been kicking around for years as an Average Joe. That headline subtext basically screamed "WTF, Are You Kidding???" Pure NYC attitude. I remember thinking "damn, why not give the man a chance; there must be a very good reason they chose him at this very moment, even if he does kinda suck..." >;)

13 Dimelo   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:10 pm

Yeah 2003 sucked, I agree. I'm completely over 2004, if you look at 2004 and remove all emotions out of the equation, it really was the Red Sox year and they were the better team. Sometimes that's what happens with really good teams, you just can't close them out.

I didn't think the Marlins team was better, I felt it was series loss based on circumstance - game 5, Wells goes down, Pettite isn't around to pitch then game 6 just sucked. I still get mad thinking about 2003.

2001 hurts too, just because of 9/11 and it would have been such a great story for the city. It would have been the best ending for that core group of guys as well.

14 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:11 pm

[12] yeah fair point, I mean after all Gerald Ford never REALLY told the city to "Drop Dead"...but thats not what it says in the history books. So yeah you're right.

Again this was written by Ian O'Connor, who is basically King Hack so that should be considered too.

15 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:17 pm

[13] Yeah, losing a World Series seems to suck more in the long term than losing an earlier round. Stakes is high, as they say.

16 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:18 pm

[10] I'm on record as saying that it was time for Torre to go like yesterday, but I was extremely critical of the way the organization handled his departure. The Yanks are hardly ever good with goodbyes (save for at least a couple of historic baseball moments), and in recent years I find my fandom less enthused because of it. This off-season has practically relegated me to cameos on the board.

While I'm at it, I hope baseball is never forced to put a salary cap in place. Look at the state of football and basketball; those leagues have a few stand-out stars throughout the season that they promote heavily in light of actual teams; from what I recall, they are both team sports. But because the salary cap limits who they can sign or keep, the dynamics of those teams are short-lived and change drastically. It's one thing to prevent big markets from bullying little markets and hogging the glory, but it's another to basically create a nomadic environment where you can only root for certain players as opposed to the teams they play with because they can't stay on that team for very long. Baseball would suffer a similar fate to Florida if they were forced to dismantle after every World Series win.

17 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:18 pm

13) Agreed, Big D!

18 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:26 pm

I never had a problem with starting Brown. I didn't think there were any other options. Duque had the tired arm and Mussina and Lieber would have been on short rest.

A-Rod batting eighth reminded me of Giambi batting seventh in 2003, which worked out. It might have been worth a try.

19 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:27 pm

[13] Yeah, that and Arizona proved not to be the classiest or gracious of winners. Oh well, it's like what Dennis Green once said...

20 Dimelo   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:27 pm

[16] Well said.

21 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:28 pm

[13] I've completely rationalized all my pain over 2001 in Enrique Wilson not being on the flight that crashed in Queens, and Mo being very happy about that and seemingly using it to deal with the loss himself.

What's good enough for Mo is good enough for me.

[14] et al - I find it fascinating, and not surprising, that the headline didn't match the article. Neat bit of historical trivia.

22 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:33 pm

[19] i was talking about this with a friend of mine the other day. I have somehow blocked out large portions of the 2001 World Series (coincidentally enough, mainly from games 1, 2, 6 and 7. How about that?) Did the Diamondbacks really play New York New York after game six or was that something I invented after the fact?

23 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:37 pm

yeah I'm good with 2001 because of the Wilson thing and the fact that that whole month was a hell of a run that I wouldn't trade for anything. I was sad when they lost mostly because it was so obvious that it was the end for guys like Tino and O'Neill. But the run they went on was nothing to be ashamed of.

but yeah I agree with [19], Arizona really was obnoxious about the whole thing. What can you expect with guys like Schilling, Brenly, and Gonzalez...insufferable was their middle name. I still remember after they blew out Game 6, right as the Yanks made the last out in the 9th the PA started blasting "New York, New York" for about 10 seconds then you heard a record scratching and it went into "Celebrate."

Normally I'd say "well thats kinda obnoxious" and thats it, but when there were about 3,000 people who had just gotten killed downtown it came off as more than a little tacky.

24 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:37 pm

[16] Very well said.

If you go with Buster Olney's take at ESPN.com today, its the book that did Torre in w/r/t how the Yanks' front office/execs feel about him.

The departure was sure messy, on both sides, but that book did not help matters. At all.

Sometimes I wish I could forget the messy end, the book, and all the problems from Game 4 of the '03 Serious onward, and just focus on all those happy memories. Gotta take the good with the bad, though.

Meanwhile, is there an app that will block the image of Don Mattingly in a Dodgers uniform from my TV screen? The Torre stuff I can cope with, or ignore. I dread the first time I see Mattingly on the TV in Dodger blue. Or any other non-Yankees uniform. I'm not sure I can ever get over that. (Not saying the Yanks should have hired him to manage - they should not have - but, its Donnie Baseball! It'd be like Mo not wearing pinstripes. Absolutely unimaginable.)

25 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:47 pm

I've always regarded the 2001 World Series as the won the Yankees won 3 games to 4. I wouldn't trade in those three games in New York for a win in the series.

2003 also didn't bother me (except the Weaver game) because the 2003 ALCS was so epic. 2004, however, was another story because it was so poorly managed. Also, it was that series that unfairly gave Arod the unclutch label for the next five season.

By 2008, it was time for Torre to go. I actually thought the one year deal was too generous, so obviously think Torre was in the wrong for portraying himself as a martyr. Still, you could forgive the initial reaction to feeling as if you were jilted. By writing the book, however, I think Torre really damaged his relationship with the organization and fans. Until Torre publicly apologizes for the book, instead of rationalizing, I could never cheer for him, and I suspect many other Yankee fans feel the same way.

26 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:47 pm

[24] bullseye on Donnie Baseball, Shaun.

27 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:50 pm

Another interesting side story about Torre's hiring is that only days after holding the press conference, George was in Showalter's house trying to convince him to back out of an agreement with Arizona and comeback as Yankee manager. Had Showalter accepted, Torre would have been kicked upstairs to an executive position.

28 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:51 pm

[24] I think I'd rather see Mattingly in Dodger Blue than fail as Yankee manager.

29 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:56 pm

[25] I don't think he really owes anyone a public apology. If he were to privately call up a couple of the guys and let them know that he was sorry for the way they came off in the book (A-Rod, Wells, Mo for the Mussina quotes) that would be one thing. But I don't think he needs to say he's sorry for speaking his mind.

Where he loses me is when he gives as good as he gets, but then still wants to be above the fray. Well no it doesn't work that way.

30 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:56 pm

[5] Actually, re-reading the article now, O'Connor was even harsher to Torre than I remembered. He does basically call him clueless in both contexts.

31 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:57 pm

[25]I really didn't think the book was that bad. The only person in the organization that I thought came off badly was Cashman. And maybe because the book confirmed alot of my suspicions about Cashman, but it really didn't bother me.

32 Dimelo   ~  Jun 25, 2010 3:57 pm

[21] Shaun, I totally forgot about that. I agree, that's a good enough reason to rationalize the loss. True dat!

33 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:06 pm

[31] It was critical of Cashman, the Steinbrothers, Levine and several players. What made it worse was it took a hypocritical tone. Writing the book was a mistake, and Torre should apologize for it. That's what he demanded from Wells for his ill conceived book.

34 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:10 pm

[33] It was much softer on George than I thought it would be. I haven't read it in a while, but I don't remember anything sticking out to me on Hank or Hal. The one player I do think he crossed the line on was Damon.

35 Raf   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:13 pm

[3] Torre always had his "favorite toy" in the bullpen, it seems the usage of his relievers was pretty consistent through the years.

[13] The way I figure it, the Yanks have owned the Sox so many times, it was only a matter of time before the tables were turned. Even so, the ledger is nowhere near squared.

2003 sucked, but that's the way the game is managed nowadays. I figured Weaver wouldn't have any trouble against the bottom of the Marlins order, what with him getting out more difficult hitters in the previous inning. Gonzalez's HR was a well placed shot, no doubt.

2004 stunk too, but Rivera gave up two leads (went for the kill in game 4, and the "formula" for game 5), and there were several calls that while called correctly, went against the Yanks. the 2004 ALCS was the perfect storm of bad luck, bad bounces, and calls going the other way.

Regarding Torre, both sides could've handled it better, but it was shady the way it went down. At any rate, I'm sure Torre would've missed the playoffs in 2009, and may have won it all in 2010. I don't think Girardi would've or had made much of a difference.

36 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:13 pm

[33] Well Levine deserves whatever public flogging he gets, I'm on the record as believing that. Do I think it was hypocritical of him to write the book? Yes, I do. But thats totally subjective.

Torre was within his rights to demand an apology from Wells because the book was written while he Wells was still on the team and he brought an undue distraction into the clubhouse and onto his teammates. It's not the same thing.

37 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:13 pm

[34] And Brown and Pavano. Also, was it necessary to write about Clemens' massages? The tone of the book was basically everything good was because of Torre and everything bad was because of the organization. I think Torre's ego took over at the end and he became bigger than the team. Until he stops rationalizing that, I am in no hurry to see him honored.

38 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:14 pm

[33] Having read both, I had no problem with Wells' book, it was entirely in character. Torre's was surprising, but part of the problem with that one was the presentation was bungled. It was a Verducci book authorized by Torre and with Torre as the primary source, but none of it is first-person from Torre's point of view other than his extended quotes. The publisher, I suspect, insisted Torre's name go on the cover as co-author for publicity/sales purposes, but he really didn't "write" a word of it. It's entirely in third person in Verducci's voice,

39 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:15 pm

[37] you really feel like defending Brown and Pavano?

40 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:16 pm

[36] Levine has been instrumental in a lot of the Yankees economic success. As one who enjoys the team's $200mn payroll, I think Levine deserves a lot of praise.

I don't see the distinction with Wells. If Torre really respected his former Yankee players and bosses, he should not have aired their in-house conflicts.

41 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:17 pm

[39] Them personally? No, but the hypocrisy does bother me.

42 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:19 pm

[40] you and I have been down this road more than once. You want to praise Levine's business acumen? Fine, no problem with that. Where Torre publicly took him to task was when Levine injected himself into discussions of on-the-field matters, and he had every right to rip him for that.

43 Raf   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:21 pm

[39] Brown had one good year, one bad year in NY. Actually, he was doing ok in 2004 until he punched the clubhouse wall in Baltimore. As for Pavano, while I'm surprised the Yanks got as little production as they did out of him, it should be noted that he was injury prone as an Expo and as a Marlin, so it shouldn't be surprising that he was the same as a Yankee.

44 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:21 pm

As long as he didn't make it up, I have no problem with the Brown and Pavano stuff. And I'm not nearly as anti-Brown as a lot of Yankee fans.

45 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:23 pm

and the distinction with Wells is that Wells was on the team at the time, he brought an unwanted distraction into the clubhouse. What Torre does or doesn't say from 3,000 miles away a year after leaving the team is not the same thing.

that being said with Wells, the most "offensive" thing in that book was his claim that the perfect game was pitched while hungover. Which a) is funny and b) he had said about 2 years earlier in an interview on Real Sports when he was on the White Sox, so I don't understand why people acted so shocked.

46 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:23 pm

[38] I don't buy the Verducci excuse. Torre took the big check, so he has to claim full responsibility for everything between the covers.

Having said that, I also thought the book was irresponsible from Verducci's standpoint because it read like advocacy journalism. His book combined with the Roberts fiasco is why I haven't read SI in over a year.

47 Raf   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:24 pm

[38] That's the way I understood it as well, it was a Verducci's book with Torre's name on it. But wouldn't Torre have a say about what should and shouldn't be included in the book? Also, if Torre really had an axe to grind with the Yankee organization, wouldn't we still be hearing about it after all these years?

48 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:29 pm

[42] The on-field matters, ironically, dealt with how the Yankees would handle Wells book. According to all the accounts, we don't know what Levine wanted to say about the subject because Torre cut him off with profanity. I don't get why Levine is the villain in that story?

Levine has been very instrumental in many big undertakings that have made the Yankees what they are today. Maybe it's his politics, but I don't get the dislike for him.

49 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:36 pm

[48] He's not a villain per se, but he was completely out of place in that meeting. That was something that should have been handled by the manager, the GM, and the owner. The executive brought in to secure public funding for a new ballpark doesn't really have any role in a discussion regarding whether or not a starting pitcher should be put in the bullpen. Putting Levine in on that call is on George, and George screwed up there.

My dislike for Levine only comes into play when he comments on on-the-field matters, like Chris Rock says: "Stay in your lane." I'd say the same thing if all of the sudden Joe Girardi started mouthing off about something like revenue sharing, deal with what you're being paid for before you start being a renaissance man.

50 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:46 pm

[49] I am of the opinion that the President of the Yankees should have a say in such a matter. At the very least, he shouldn't be shouted down with profanity. Of course, we don't even know what Levine was going to say...maybe he was trying to mediate a dispute, which would definitely fall under his jurisdiction.

51 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 25, 2010 4:50 pm

[22] Yes, they really did. For about four seconds or something.
Motherfuckers that they were.

52 Raf   ~  Jun 25, 2010 5:01 pm

[51] Yeah, I remember it as well. Colangelo brushed it off as a tribute to NY or something like that.

53 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 25, 2010 5:22 pm

just noticed the article header on the Clueless Joe article linked to above:


Wow. Just wow.

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver