Dodgers manager Joe Torre weighed in yesterday on facing the Yanks and managing against many players who once called him their Manager. Here’s what he said-
“It’s going to be weird for me, just the fact that I’m going to be pulling against guys I’ve never pulled against before,” Torre said. “But that’s my job, and once you get buried in the game and know what you need to do, that’s what you do.”
Torre has family flying in from New York and Cincinnati for the weekend. Family, however, is exactly how he characterized his relationship with the core of Yankees that remains from the teams he managed to championships in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
“They’re like kids to me in a lot of ways,” Torre said. “Watching them accomplish what they accomplished last year after being together for such a long time was pretty amazing. You don’t normally keep even a small core together for that long a period, especially on a ballclub like the Yankees that has a habit of mixing and matching. For them to be just about as significant in the late 2000s as they were in the late 1990s is not easy to do.”
I can’t say that my personal feelings will be as mixed as Joe’s. We enjoyed 8 great seasons from 1996-2003 with Joe at the helm, but from 2004-on there wasn’t much magic left in the Torre reign. I thought Joe was really exposed after Don Zimmer left, who balanced off Joe’s passive nature. I was in the camp that felt a dismissal was appropriate a year or two earlier than when it actually happened in late 2007. But what really bothered me was Joe’s exit. The high profile way he left the team served no purpose other than to try to make Joe look like a victim and try to make the Yanks look bad. There was a sense of entitlement to hang on to his job, and that’s not how it works in professional sports, especially when it comes to the Yanks. His book ‘The Yankee Years’ betrayed clubhouse confidences with former players and was downright cruel to George Stienbrenner, who was in no mental condition to defend himself. Needless to say I’m no longer wishing him well (which I would have, had his exit been more graceful) and I’m looking forward to the Yanks having a big series facing their former skipper.
BTW-Don’t be surprised to see Joe managing across town next year, should the Mets have a rough 2nd half.
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