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What a Difference a Night Makes
2005-08-17 05:25
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

When the Yankees loaded the bases in the second inning they already had a 3-0 lead. They had four consecutive hits in the inning, there was nobody out, and Cano, Sheffield and Rodriguez were due up. I thought to myself that this could be the game right here. One hit and Randy Johnson will have all the runs he needs. The Yanks weren't hitting Doug Waechter especially hard but Sweet Lou had the bullpen up and working just in case things got out of hand. Cano, who had walked on four pitches in the first, grounded sharply to Eduardo Perez. The portly son of Hall of Fame firstbaseman Tony Perez, Eduardo made an off-balance throw home for the first out. It wasn't a graceful-looking play but it was effective. Waechter then struck out Sheffield and got Rodriguez to ground out to short.

The Yankees would not score again and eventually lost the game in extra innings. Perez, who hit two home runs off of Johnson in New York back on April 19, hit another dinger off Johnson, a two-run shot in the sixth. Then, with one out in the ninth, he tied the game with a solo dinger off of Mariano Rivera, who blew his fourth game of the season. The ball barely cleared the left field fence. A fan wearing a Yankee jersey caught the ball. I could not tell from the replay if he reached into fair territory but it seemed like the ball was only going to hit off the top of the wall. Rivera watched the play unfold and after the ball was ruled a home run, a flash of tension gripped his face. It almost looked like a spasm. His face coiled up with anger and it looked like he was going to say something. Instead he spit. It happened so quickly it was easy to miss. Rivera, who then motioned with his hands that the fan perhaps interfered with the ball, rarely shows emotion but that was a fitting expression. So mad that all he could do was spit.

The Devil Rays won it in the 11th when Scott Proctor walked Johnny Gomes on four pitches with the bases loaded. Gomes, who was hit three times the night before, and had struck out three times in Tuesday's game, was up because Aubrey Huff was intentionally walked to load the bases. Gomes, a powerful right-handed hitter, reminds me a little of Jeff Bagwell. He's got huge forearms, today's standard facial hair, and a head of kinky hair. (Where's your activator, man?) Gomes is compact and though he swings from his heels doesn't come across as just a hacker. He is surprisingly brash for a rookie. After striking out for the second time against Johnson he copped an attitude with the home plate umpire. When he walked against Proctor he flipped his bat merrily and did his best Charlie Hustle down to first. I'm interested to see how he develops. Looks like a good hitter. He could end up being a good nemesis.

Final score: Tampa Bay 4, New York 3. The Bombers lost a game on the Sox who, led by David Ortiz, won in 11 innings, but remain a game-and-a-half behind the A's who dropped their second game in a row to the Orioles. It was a difficult loss for New York because it looked as if they were going to bomb Waechter early. Rivera appears to have hit a bit of a slump, which he customarily does around this time of the year. He made a bad pitch to Perez. It was supposed to be in on the hands but hung out over the plate. However, it was the lack of offense that really cost the Yanks the game. Sheffield and Rodriguez combined to go 0-10. Give Waechter credit: he threw strikes--Tampa Bay walked only two batters all night---and worked quickly. Randy Johnson was not dominant but he was very good, allowing just the home run to Perez in seven innings of work. He got out of some trouble early on with the double play ball, but settled down and pitched well.

Comments
2005-08-17 06:13:21
1.   bp1
Nothing to say about Womack here that hasn't already been said a dozen times. (sigh)

Alan freaking Embree. Geez.

What's with all the first pitch swinging? Where's the team that works a starting pitcher to death, to get to the bullpen in the 5th? We coulda used Giambi last night, I think. At least he'd make the pitcher work for his outs.

The Yankees threw up a real stinker last night. With Al "full count" Leiter going tonight, who knows how this series will turn out? We can't throw away many more games.

This is what a tight pennant race feels like. I'm not sure I have the stamina.

2005-08-17 06:29:14
2.   Alex Belth
Oh, you'll summon up the stamina. But I know what you mean. If the Yanks don't make the playoffs, there will be about a good ten games that fans can point to this season that the team should have won, for one reason or another.
2005-08-17 07:27:37
3.   STONER
3,4,5 hitters go 1 for freakin 15 - you ain't gunna win games with that type of non-production and OK, Mo goes through this slump each and every year and comes out of it after a week or so - Proctor?!?!? Geesus, throw a freakin strike, you got guys out there with gloves on their hands who just may be able to catch a ball...mind-boggling. After he throws the 4th ball, he gestures angrily and stomps off the mound like a little brat - man, if I'm Torre, I kick him square in the ass.
2005-08-17 08:20:17
4.   sam2175
Alex, seems like the Red Sox fans have specifically targetted your blog. "New York Chokees apparel"? No worries, I personally find it hilarious.

The game was lost indeed by the offense. And Rivera needs a break, and Scott Proctor needs to be told to either throw strikes or go to Columbus in favor of Colter Bean, who apparently does throw strikes. And Alan Embree needs to be buried somewhere in the pen so that Felix Rodriguez, who is definitely not Felix Heredia, gets some work.

2005-08-17 08:45:12
5.   Jen
I had a sinking feeling when Mo struck out Cantu but missed his target.

With Tino at bat in the 10th, I believe that Giambi was on deck to hit for Bubba. But who was going to go to the outfield if Jason had to pinch hit?

On days that Flaherty catches, Giambi must be in the lineup.

2005-08-17 08:50:32
6.   Dan M
Jen, my thought was that Womack moves to CF, Sheffield goes to right, and they lose the DH. The only way to use Giambi at that point meant giving up the DH, unfortunately.

Having spent a lot of time in the region formally known as New England this summer, I find the "Chokees" t-shirts to be really stupid, as they actually diminish the Sox' accomplishment. It's as if they're saying, "Well, the only way the Sox won the ALCS was 'cause the Yanks totally choked. Otherwise, we were smoked." Almost as dumb as the "Irish" green Sox hats w/ the shamrock on the back, which are actually green and red, and thus are more Italian than Irish.

2005-08-17 08:53:37
7.   littlebobbya
Can anyone tell me how a Major League pitcher can walk in the winning run with two outs. If Proctor couldn't get the ball over the plate give the ball to the batter and let him throw it up in the air and hit it. Really just throw the batter a big fat meatball right down Broadway and take your chances that he will hit it right at someone.
If he parks it out in the stands the result is the same except that you lost by 4 instead of 1.
2005-08-17 08:58:13
8.   Shaun P
I'm with Jen 100%. In fact, unless he's dying, there's no excuse for Giambi not playing every day. Even if he goes hitless, at least the man works the count.

There's no excusing Proctor's lack of control, but when it does happen, you've got to get the guy out of there. I remember a game I was at in 2000, in Fenway, where Nelson or Stanton blew the lead (and the game) by walking three or four straight. Whichever one it was literally threw 16 balls in a row. I was the guy on the right field roof cursing at the top of my lungs.

If you take Proctor out, I'm not sure who you bring in - F-Rod has walked 13 this year himself, and Franklin shouldn't be on the roster. Perhaps Joe figured that Proctor would get out of it, and then he could pitch 4 innings if the game stayed tied? Small was clearly being held in reserve in case Leiter implodes today.

Sigh. Free Colter Bean! Save Scott Proctor! DFA Wayne Franklin!

2005-08-17 09:29:58
9.   Alvaro Espinoza
I'm a little surprised no one has questioned Torre's decision to IBB Huff, load the bases and leave no margin for error for a guy who balked the potential winning run over to 3rd before he even threw a pitch and yielded a 5 pitch walk to Yankee killer Edgar Martin..., er, I mean Eduardo Perez.

Not saying I hated the move. I think Torre was damned either way. But I would have rolled the dice that Huff would smoke an out a la Cantu than to set-up an obviously rattled Proctor to fail.

Credit where it's due: last night belonged to Perez.

2005-08-17 09:35:21
10.   Oscar Azocar
I am sick of Scott Proctor. In retrospect, Torre should have gone to F-Rod to start the inning, but hindsight is always 20-20. Even so, there is absolutely no excuse for Proctor's 4 pitch walk. Toss one in there underhanded!

Must we wait until Sep 1 to see Colter Bean?? Will he be brought up when the rosters expand anyway?? Will it be too late by then!!??

I also had a bad feeling when the Yanks had already scored a run in the 2nd, loaded the bases with 0 outs, then the offense went flacid for the rest of the night. No reason why they shouldn't have scored another run w/the bases loaded and 0 outs.

2005-08-17 09:40:54
11.   bp1
One more comment on Tony Womack, then I purge him from my consciousness.

Is it written in his contract that he has to get to an 0-2 count each at bat? It sure seems that way to me.

Now we read this morning that Kevin Brown might be back in September. Whoo freakin hoo.

(sigh)

Sorry. Last night's game has left behind a lingering bitterness. It was a pod-team game. They looked like Yankees, but there definitely was something weird going on.

BP

2005-08-17 09:46:18
12.   brockdc
Message to all Yankee fans with outfield wall seats:

DON'T DO THAT!

2005-08-17 09:51:42
13.   brockdc
I know, I know: The Yanks' offense blew at least one chance to break the game open last night. But if Tino's called safe (he was clearly so), none of us are pulling our hair out by its roots today.
2005-08-17 10:14:26
14.   carl
How confident is everyone they make the playoffs? It seems to me a team pushing for a playoff has to have these games, And they seem to have lost too many of them.
2005-08-17 10:31:49
15.   Alex Belth
I have to say I'm really on the fence as far as the Yankees chances of making the playoffs. For the longest, I've felt that they will not make it. But still, they are close enough, and warts and all, good enough to get there. Since I'm ultimately a pessimist, I'll say they won't make it, and we'll have a series of games like last night's that we can spend the winter harping about. Why not? We had so much fodder to keep us going with what Steven Goldman dubbed the worst off-season in team history, why shouldn't we have just as much stuff to point to during the season as well?

Tonight could prove to be painful. Steve Lombardi suggests to wait two hours until Leiter can get out of the fourth inning before turning the game on.

Speaking of which, Steve's site, "Was Watching," is really great isn't it? It's my favorite Yankee site going.

2005-08-17 10:39:42
16.   NetShrine
Alex - thanks for the kind words.

Bronx Banter is still the gold standard. I have a long way to go to be in your class.

- Steve

2005-08-17 10:46:30
17.   Max
>>I'm a little surprised no one has questioned Torre's decision to IBB Huff, load the bases...<<<

Alvaro, I assume you were kidding, right? Torre is receiving about as much of a flogging on the net as he ever has all season...last night's game was the lightning rod for a season's worth of frustration with Torre and the Yanks' maddening tendencies to shrink this season just when they're about to shine.

I hated what Torre did last night in extra innings, though it would have been nice to see the offense generate one more run, just one. I usually dislike references to the "magical" teams of '96-00, but yes, those teams would have found a way to scratch out a run against pitchers named Waechter and Orvella.

The weird, bipolar nature of this season continues to manifest itself in all sorts of small ways. Yesterday, after the Yanks' 5th straight win highlighted by an A-rod homer, a thread was started on another board about how A-rod is the best Yankee since Mantle. Today, after an 0 for 5 beauty, we learn that A-Rod is batting 3 for 29 with RISP since July 18th.

2005-08-17 11:04:08
18.   singledd
The difference between the magic 96-00 team and this one is small.... or rather small-ball. That team was happy to score one run. Happy to move runners over, steal a base, take a walk. It seems this team wants to always blast their way out of a deficit.

I hate Womack, but once in a while I'd like to see Cano, Sheff, ARod, Giambi or Posada slap at a ball. Putting wood on the ball is more important then moving huge volumns of air.

While I don't like many of Torre's moves this year, we do have 25 guys who are paid to play quality baseball... some of whom are even paid to throw strikes.

The Yanks remind me of the Sox teams of 3-5 years ago. Very good at loading... not so good at pulling the trigger. We had 9 innings to make sure the 11th didn't happen. The one guy, or manager, responsible for the last run is not the culprit, but rather the dozen or so ABs that should have sealed the game.

2005-08-17 11:19:09
19.   bp1
Steve, Alex, Cliff, and the rest of you bloggers out there - a tip of the hat to y'all. I wish I could buy youse a beer at a game someday.

Playoffs? Well - yeah. I'm an optimistic sort and I think we'll figure out a way to gain a wildcard invitation to the post season. It seems as if our rotation is settling out a bit and actually isn't that bad. I think Chacon will be better than Pavano, and if Wright pitches as well as Wang, then we're ok. Brown and Leiter are a wash. Moose has been good as of late. The only remaining question is if the Big Unit can stay healthy and maybe start to show some of the domination that we expected. Four out of five solid starters? That's not too bad.

I'd like a little bit better defense, and a bit more ability to manufacture a run when needed, but still - I'm not ready to throw in the towel.

BP

2005-08-17 11:52:25
20.   unpopster
Re: Brown's potential "availability" in September, I cringe at the thought.

After watching what very well may have been the worst managing job ever done in an extra inning game, I wake up and read this crap in the paper? Brown could be back? UGH!

Does anyone remember a certain mid-September game in 2003 when the then-relegated-to-the-bullpen Jeff Weaver came into a close game and proceeded to blow it for the Yanks. At the time the only questions in the Yankee universe were what pitchers would make the post-season roster. After Weaver's meltdown, I thought to myself -- quite confidently, in fact -- that this game was Weaver's ticket to an early off season and that Torre would never dare add him to the roster. Of course, I was wrong and Weaver eventually gave up an extra inning homer in the WS to basically end the Yanks' WS hopes.

Wow, deja vu all over again. IF (and that's a big IF) the Yanks make the playoffs this year, I can only see a September call-up for Brown resulting in a post season meltdown a la Weaver in 2003. Would Torre be so stupid as torepeat that same mistake with Brown? After last night's managing, I think we all know the answer.

I officially say "NO TO BROWN EVER IN A YANKEE UNFORM EVER AGAIN!". Not even to help The Unit sweep the dugout!

2005-08-17 11:56:50
21.   Fred Vincy
I'd say the IBB to Huff was hard to defend. Huff is a .269 hitter against righties (.290 career), while Gomes has a .352 OBP vs. righties (.328 career). Isn't it obvious that Gomes had the better chance of winning the game, especially given Proctor's problems finding the plate? We criticize Torre for over-crediting our veterans, but this time it seems like his mistake was over-crediting the other guy's.
2005-08-17 12:15:47
22.   rbj
Unlike some here, I don't think Torre is the reason the Yankees aren't in first. I think having four starters go down with two others being inconsistent is the reason.
But even I was screaming at the tv not to IBB Huff. I cannot stand intentionally walking the bases loaded. It gives you no margin of error. I figured the game was over when Eduardo hit that home run off of Mo. Ya beat Mo, you deserve to win.
2005-08-17 13:08:25
23.   Max
Just so I'm not misunderstood, I'm not one of those blaming this year's underachieving Yankees on Torre, though the makeup of this year's team is exposing his weaknesses as a strategist, no question. That's an indication of the failings of the front office and Tampa, though, as much as it is of Torre.

I find the endless criticism of Torre and all the circular arguments (when the Yanks lose, it's because of Torre...when they win, it's in spite of Torre) earsplittingly shrill and self-serving. The stridency is more about people looking for a scapegoat, than it is about looking for a rational way to address this team's issues, short-term and long-term.

As others have said, the players still have to perform, and no one could have foreseen the train wreck that has befallen the pitching staff (even taking into account the FO's curious faith in castaways like Wright and Brown).

If future solutions include a new manager, then I'd love to hear some rational discussion of who that might plausibly be, and what the benefits and tradeoffs are. Knee-jerk invocations of "toughness" and "feistiness" and a call for such names as Sweet Lou, Valentine, or Showalter are not what I would consider rational solutions, but Steinbrennerian spasms of desperation worthy of his '80s heyday.

2005-08-17 13:09:57
24.   Rich
If the Yankees don't make the playoffs, this season will be remembered as the season in which Torre was exposed as being the awful manager that most people knew he was before he was handed the keys to a Yankee team that was ready to win in 1996.

As if his gross mismanagment in the 2001, 2003, and 2004 WS wasn't enough.

Why wait? Fire him NOW!

2005-08-17 13:38:01
25.   Max
Hey Rich, we know how you feel...solution please.

I'm honestly trying to get beyond bickering...I'm open to hearing who could replace Torre immediately and not drive this team into the ground. Are you up for that, or is it more fun to simply call for Torre's head?

FWIW, I live in Boston, and I saw Kerrigan replace Jimy Williams on the Red Sox years ago, for some of the same reasons Torre is being castigated for now (not to mention some political issues with Duquette). The outcome of that was about as ugly as anything I've seen in terms of a team coming unglued (though it didn't hurt to have Carl Everett around to fan the flames with gasoline)

2005-08-17 13:39:01
26.   singledd
23. Max: "I find the endless criticism of Torre and all the circular arguments... earsplittingly shrill and self-serving."

Thank you Max. I love this blog... Alex is very reasonable, Cliff is very sharp. But reading this last night had a mentality that felt like a 1960 lynching in Alabama.

I am a Torre fan, and have been a fan of the Yankees since before the Boss's tenure. The 'Bronx Zoo' feel that followed this team for years was terrible. While I question Torre's moves at times, his character and the way he handles this team is a source of pride.

I live in NH and follow the Sox closely. Last year, with the "worst manager in the bigs... Terry 'Francoma'"... the Sox managed a pretty good year.

Proctor balked and walked a guy on 4 straight, yet Torre was at fault. Rivera is human, his loss still was Torre's fault. The entire team swings away on the first pitch against the league's worst pitching... Torre's fault we lost. It's sick when a manager is blamed and 25 other guys get a pass.

The Yankees are potentially a great team. In actuality, they, as a TEAM, have played poorly often. THAT is why we are behind in the standings. This TEAM has simply failed far more often then then should have.

If this reality is too painful for Yanks fans, they should root for the Sox, the Cards, or whatever team looks like the WS winner.

2005-08-17 13:39:40
27.   JohnnyC
Rich, just buckle up for a bumpy ride through September because it ain't gonna happen. What is blatantly and frustratingly obvious to you, me and many others (I lost my voice last night screaming at the TV when a) someone decided that Perez would take a 3-0 pitch with lefty Huff on deck so it'd be alright to just lay a strike in there b)Rivera pitches a second inning after blowing the save jeopardizing his use in tomorrow's game c) Alan Embree shows up to pitch the 10th d) Scott Proctor follows in short, predictable order and, finally, e) with 2 out, Torre elects to walk the immortal Aubrey Huff, loading the bases for Jonny Gomes whose ability to get on base through a walk, hit, or hit by pitch is self-evident, so that a control-challenged pitcher he has shown no faith whatsoever in can lose the game on four straight balls)doesn't even faze fans like Max, who represents a significant if not majority view. It is our logic that is questioned not these moves...which all happened on one night in one game in the span of four innings. And even more frustrating is the question: who would replace Torre? Did Joe Torre invent baseball? Can anyone be worse than him? Yes, but Mel Stottlemyre has no managerial ambitions, I think.
2005-08-17 13:48:52
28.   Dan M
For the Torre defenders: Al Leiter is starting tonight, Aaron Small is not.
2005-08-17 13:49:14
29.   Murray
The 1996-2000 clubs get lots of credit for scratching out runs. But let us not forget that they also tended to lead the league in runs scored and were usually top three in ERA. They didn't find themselves in many situations where they had to scratch out a run here or there to win.

As for the productive out question, with the possible exception of bunting, the making of "positive outs" has not been an actual skill worth practicing since the introduction of the cushioned cork center baseball in 1912.

This will sound obvious to the point of being patronizing, but here goes: except when bunting, hitters are not supposed to go to the plate with the intention of making outs. Productive outs are a beneficial residue left behind by an otherwise negative outcome, mere silver linings to dark clouds. They are an after-the-fact rationalization, not a valid tactical weapon.

Thus, Tony Womack goes up to the plate without much of a clue about how he intends to get on base against a given pitcher. Isn't it asking a lot to expect him to find ways to make outs that advance baserunners?

2005-08-17 13:49:20
30.   JohnnyC
Terry Francona, the worst manager in baseball, was 3 outs away from eternal damnation in Boston until the truly worst manager in baseball made a series of remarkably idiotic moves, starting with pitching Tom Gordon, his exhausted set-up man, in a game in which the Yankees led by 11 runs(!), that culminated in the most embarrassing episode in Yankees if not MLB post-season history, losing a playoff series after leading 3 games to none with the lead in Mo's hand in the 9th inning of Game 4. You cannot sugar coat that supreme achievement. The players hit, pitch, run, throw, and compete with varying degrees of effort and success but they do not fill out the line-up, they do not determine the roster, they do not distribute playing time, they do not make pitching changes, and they do not put on plays, give signs, or fashion strategy. When and if Derek Jeter, ARod or even Tony Womack do these things, then you can blame them from here to doomsday but, right now, as it should, the buck stops in the manager's office.
2005-08-17 14:15:15
31.   Max
JohnnyC, I'd appreciate it if you could actually address what other people are saying, rather than lump any mildly dissenting view into a subject for your rants.

Did you miss the part where I said I hated what Torre did last night? Frankly, I could care less if Torre is gone after this season, because all managers wear out their welcome eventually, I'm amazed he survived last year's historic collapse, and (just my opinion) he is at best a mediocre strategic manager.

However, I respect what Torre has done and do believe he has some significant strengths and a certain rapport with his players, and would prefer not to throw him out with the bathwater until I see evidence that a move would improve the team.

And I'm very open to any number of possibilities -- but simply saying "anyone would be better than this overpaid fraud" is not rational discussion, it's noise and hyperventilating. I hear more thoughtful discussion on WEEI and the FAN (which are the equivalent of having needles stuck squarely in one's eyeballs over and over).

Where is all the anger that should be directed at the folks that put together this team in the first place? Is it therapeutic to make hyperbolic statements like declaring Torre to be the worst manager in baseball after every loss? Do you believe that sticking anyone in Torre's place would improve the Yankees by 10 games in the standings, with this replacement still being saddled with the current front office and owner?

And yes, I don't like Leiter still being allowed to start. But because I'm not burning Torre in effigy and asking for some ways around the mess we're in, I'm considered a "defender". What a sad state of affairs.

2005-08-17 14:18:13
32.   Murray
Another thing. One of the least appealing things about college sports to me is the cult of the coach, the idea that the team is the mere instrument of its wise old master tactician. In baseball, however, player accountability is, and should be, greater. In baseball, if you shuffled all 30 field managers right now, the impact on the standings might barely be noticeable. Is there a dime's worth of difference between Felipe Alou and Mike Hargrove? I would guess no.

So, although I've never been Torre's biggest fan, I think that the Yankee players deserve way more blame than they're frequently given in this forum for the poor quality of play. Sure, field managers make decisions about whom to play and when, and, yes, coaching staffs exist to help improve player performance and skills. But it is Tony Womack's fault that he's never seen a pitch at which he didn't want to swing. It's Derek Jeter's fault that he's never mastered the subtle skill of positioning himself in the field in a way that allows him to cover more ground at shortstop. It's Al Leiter's fault that he insists on nibbling at the edges of the plate.

I also think that Torre gets way more blame than he deserves for roster composition. The problem with Yankee management is that the front office is opaque, the organization chart of little help. So it is hard to know whether Tony Womack was on Steinbrenner's, Cashman's, Newman's or Torre's Christmas list. I don't know whether it's Torre's distaste for Colter Bean that keeps him in the minors or the whispers of Billy Connors into Steinbrenner's ear. I don't think anybody on the outside knows, and I don't think we will until we get to read Brian Cashman's memoirs.

2005-08-17 14:24:56
33.   Rich
Here's my solution (it's unorthodox, and admittedly risky, but desperate times call for desperate measures):

I would hire Bobby Valentine. I believe he has the ability to opt out of his Japanese baseball contract to take a MLB managerial job.

In terms of on the field tactical ability, he comes the closest to the finest manager I have ever seen: Billy Martin. The complacency that the Yankees sometimes exhibit would vanish.

The risky part is that the Yankee players are so accustomed to the comfort level that Torre provides that they could revolt. But they are underachieving to such a degree that, as Tom Cruise's character said in Risky Business: "Sometimes you have to say What the F--K."

2005-08-17 15:46:05
34.   Marcus
Red Sox lose 6-5 to the Tigers, which makes last night even more unbearable because if 9th innings didn't exist last night, the Yankees would now be 2 games out of first.

The Red Sox were due for some losses considering their recent 14-2 run was lucky because their opponents averaged nearly 6 runs a game during that stretch. Of course they were averaging 7.5 runs but they were hardly dominating the competition.

2005-08-17 15:54:44
35.   singledd
The truth is I agree with both (32) Murray but think what (33) Rich says makes sense.

Originally, managers played a very small role visa vi the teams performance. They were baby sitters. I read that drinking was a major problem in the early days of baseball, and the manager's 2 main tasks were getting 'em out of bed in the morning, and to the park, and trying to keep 'em in bed at night. Hence, the original curfews.

With a team of stars, personality conflicts are a real issue. The Jackson/Munson problem was bad, and we we never know how it effected players on the field. For all of Martins talents, the team was literally a zoo. Now, Torre is the Scout Master, and these multi-millionaire stars are well behaved scouts. For that alone, I love Torre's influence.

Was Proctor the right choice last night? Would FRod or someone else given up a hit or walk? Would Gordon's arm habe fallen off?
Hard sayin', not knowin'.

If a manager is responsible for being able to turn around 5% of the games, I'd be surprised. Still, that is 8 games. But the other 95% plays the bigger role. Torre has blown some games, but so has Bernie, ARod, Jetes and the rest. I'm more concerned about the 95% then the 5%.

The Yankees have used 25 pitchers this year.
Only 5 of those have ERAs under FOUR. One is overused (Gordon), one is on the DL (Wang) 2 have performed by the grace of God (Small and Chacon) and the other is God.... Mr. Rivera. No matter how you shuffle this deck, you are gonna come up with Jokers a lot.

One of the keys to the past success of Stanton/Nelson/Mo was having a reliable #4 guy in Mendoza. He ate innings that saved the big 3. While I like Small starting, if he is effective in the Pen, he could make Mo, Sturtze and Gordon better. We are going to lose 10-4 on occasion. But these 1-run loses kill, and if Small remains effective, he will be a big help in the Pen.

Al L. is about done, but he still has some stuff... as he showed the Sox. The MoFo just needs to throw strikes and lets the chips (or balls) fall where they may.

2005-08-17 16:08:06
36.   sam2175
I will admit Torre has been dealt a bad hand when it comes to the roster, and I wont say that changing manager, at this point in the season is a good idea. But here are the things that bug me:

1. His blatant favoritism and loyalty to a few players, and taken to illogical extremes. Sometimes they work: look Jason Giambi. Sometimes they demonstrably and hurtfully dont: look Bernie Williams (Cashman shares the blame here equally), Tony Womack (as before, Cash to blame as well), Alan Embree (the recent import). And his advocacy of Wayne Franklyn borders on lunacy.

2. The opposite side is a comical and blatant obstinacy to not use a few players any time they are called up or put in the roster. Felix Rodriguez and Andy Phillips are prime examples. Groom's words only confirms what was common conjecture among fans.

Torre is a calm man, and believes in continuity. If chaos is the other option, then I would take continuity, and I do believe that at this point, replacing Torre would amount to inviting chaos. But this off-season, I would really like to see Yankees invest in a manager who is a good in-game tactician (there is not much evidence Torre is) and someone who knows something about player development (Torre's reluctance to use rookies, and self-serving comments like "In NY, future is now" shows he is probably the worst manager that can happen to a rookie). If we do not settle for proven veteran junk in the off-season, and our farm system continues to improve, we should have a few players to fill a few positions from the farm in the next two years. I dont want Torre around when that time comes.

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