It looks like the Yankees and Joe Torre have finally buried the hatchet (via Bryan Hoch):
Though the relationship between Torre and the Yankees seemed frosty at first, especially after Torre and co-author Tom Verducci collaborated on a book, “The Yankee Years,” the thawing process began last year when Torre attended the unveiling of Steinbrenner’s Monument Park tribute last year.
Torre also said that he has been invited to this year’s Old-Timer’s Day festivities at Yankee Stadium on June 26, an event he plans to attend.
“It means a lot,” Torre said. “Without this opportunity here, my whole professional career would have been different. This was the main part of my career — I know I played for a long time and had some memorable times, but the time in New York, I’ll never forget what it meant.”
Although it has been over 3 years since Torre left and his book was released, I know many Yankees fans who are not quite ready to welcome Torre back with open arms. When he returned for the unveiling of the Steinbrenner monument, our own Steve S. had the following to say:
I wasn’t at last night’s game, but if I was I would have sat on my hands when Torre waved to the crowd. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was very unhappy with the way Joe chose to leave the Yanks. I think it’s inarguable that the Yanks made Torre, not the other way around…..Reading ‘The Yankee Years’ there were sections that were clearly designed to settle scores. He can call it “giving his side of the story” all he wants, but we got his side for 12 years from the local beat reporters and pundits. That book was the work of a bitter man who felt he deserved better…This is the key element of putting his acrimonious exit behind us for me. If the principals involved are no longer mad at him, it would be silly of me to still be upset on their behalf….Welcome back, Joe.
I think that gamut of emotions represents how I feel on the issue. I was quite displeased with how Torre exited New York, and felt that the book he wrote with Verducci greatly exacerbated what could have been a much smoother process. However, I am not one to hold grudges against a man who was a part of some very successful Yankees teams, and if the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman are ready to move on, I am as well. Eventually, Joe will have his number retired by the Yankees, and I plan to cheer and celebrate the occasion when it comes.
But I suspect that there are a number of Yankees fans who are not thrilled with the news that Joe is being brought back into the Yankee family. The playoff failures of Joe’s last few seasons at the helm soured a sizable number of fans on him, and his painful exit served to cement those feelings and make them oddly personal. Fans went from disliking Torre as a manager to disliking him as a person, something that seemed inconceivable as late as 2005. For some of those fans, it may be too soon for him to return to a standing ovation on Old Timer’s Day.
Where do you stand on Torre’s return? Are you ready to welcome him back with open arms?
Photo courtesy of Sipkin/Daily News
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