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Yankee Panky # 29: After the reign
2007-10-23 06:34
by Will Weiss
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

"All things end badly, or else they wouldn’t end."
— Bryan Brown, as Coghlan in "Cocktail"

I apologize for the Bill Simmons-like "Cocktail" reference to open this column, but I thought it appropriate, given what’s gone on here in New York over the past week. The last five days have been borderline apocalyptic for many Yankee fans, between the end of Joe Torre’s managerial tenure and the Red Sox coming back from 3-1 down to advance to the World Series. I was tempted to post on Saturday, following Friday’s media frenzy regarding the Torre news, but decided to be patient to gauge whether the tone would change once the analysts had time to move past their knee-jerk reactions.

The newsrooms had to be jumping Thursday afternoon and evening. I was involved in that atmosphere, and I’m continually amazed at how quickly the outlets can pump out information on so tight a deadline. Each local paper had a unique take on the scope of the event. They got into the meat-and-potatoes of the Tampa summit; put 12 years of success — or perceived success, depending on your perspective — into historical context; played the “who’s right, who’s wrong?” card; went into the public relations mess that the Yankees find themselves in based on how Randy Levine and Hank and Hal Steinbrenner handled the conference call; and more than anything, played up the cause-and-effect of Torre’s departure on players like Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez.

The media excelled in presenting Torre’s exit as a case of history repeating itself. Torre noted this in his own press conference — how the Yankees were seen as bullies and not demonstrating the greatest people skills, going back to their dynastic years of the 1940s and 50s. Newsday, as part of its 16-page special section, made the apt comparisons of Torre’s exit to those of Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel, while the Times’ Richard Sandomir one-upped Joe Gergen, noting that Torre’s ouster occurred 47 years to the day of Stengel’s.

I enjoyed reading the contrarian viewpoints presented by the Times’ Murray Chass, whose Friday column gave the impression that he sided with the Yankees and Steinbrenner. On a second read, I can see where he makes sense, especially on the premise that Steve Swindal's exit left Torre vulnerable. Chass said that if a player can hit .220 and get a raise, then by that standard, Torre should have also, but Torre did not live up to his boss’s expectations. Did that merit a raise? By that logic, no. The Yankees, first and foremost, are a business, and the contract was presented in a corporate, business-like manner. Michael Kay also played the pro-Yankees card on his 1050 ESPN Radio show, adding that Torre being gone will not affect the moves made by the Yankees’ top-tier free agents.

I’m not going to get into the press conference, because Cliff Corcoran did an admirable job breaking down the inferences in this space Friday. Like many of you, I was riveted. I’m also thankful that the Yankees allowed YES to carry it live. Given what was presented as an acrimonious departure, I was curious to see how the Torre presser would be played.

Deadspin wanted to see Torre go Tasmanian Devil and rip the Yankees, but knew that he would be mature, measured and direct in his presentation. As many writers noted, the class and deftness in handling the throngs of reporters is what’ll be missed most. Several reports stated how in 12 years here, he became a New York icon. Initially, I thought that was a stretch, but now, reviewing everything, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to how important Torre was to the Yankees’ return to prominence.

For me, the highlight of the entire weekend was Torre’s interview on Mike and the Mad Dog. You had Francesa, who loves the Yankees, and Russo, an unabashed Yankee hater who on countless occasions in the past five years has commented how Torre “loves money.”

Their half-hour interview was riveting, from the questions they asked — Russo kept his composure and asked pointed questions, but not in any way pushing an agenda other than engaging Torre to provide information to the fans — to Torre’s answers. It was a side of Torre that I hadn’t seen when covering the team. He sounded relieved to be rid of the unrealistic expectations that he tried to live up to and protect his players from, but could not.

The most telling aspect of his relief was when he discussed Ian O’Connor’s column on Steinbrenner, and his belief that the team may have orchestrated it. Who knew Torre was a conspiracy theorist? I don’t believe it’s out of the realm of possibility, especially when O’Connor and Randy Levine both went on MMD to defend themselves.

PROS OF THE COVERAGE
• The number of angles presented. The item that I don't believe wasn't visible enough was the role, if any, that Brian Cashman played. Steven Goldman had a pointed blog on Friday, and Newsday's Ken Davidoff had his own take Sunday.

• In Newsday, Jim Baumbach's timeline of Torre's hectic Thursday was excellent.

• Newsday's Anthony Rieber coming clean as the man who wrote the CLUELESS JOE headline back in 1995. Hilarious stuff.

• The breadth of quotes from former colleagues and competitors. For me, one of the most telling and surprising nuggets came from two-time ex-Yankee reliever Jeff Nelson, who did not exactly get along with Torre. He told Davidoff, "If I’m the owner, and I'm not, I'm the type of guy where you say, 'You manage the team as long as you want.'"

• The acknowledgement by ESPN that Torre's story was bigger than Game 5 of the LCS. (More on this later)

CONS OF THE COVERAGE
• The latest salvo in the Yankees vs. ESPN battle: The Worldwide Leader broadcast Thursday's conference call live, against the wishes of the team. I'm sure it made for interesting TV, which is what ESPN wanted, but it crossed the ethical line. I'm interested to see how ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber analyzes this in her upcoming post.

• Reporters staking out Torre’s house and news helicopters tailing his car from the airport.

• Local news (not sports) anchors commenting on the situation as if they know and understand the significance of it. Few people ask the sports reporters and anchors to comment on the news, right? Leave the news to the newsies and the sports to the sports folks.

• I'm singling out this column, not because it upset me, but because two paragraphs ruined the whole thing for me: Shaun Powell, in Friday's Newsday, had two graphs midway through the column where he opined that for the first time in a long time, Torre's situation wasn't about the money. He wrote: "Torre did his job well. He also did it with class, and when it counted, the Yankees refused to return the favor. It's that simple. In fact, this might be the first documented case in which a man who was offered $5 million, the highest salary of anyone in his profession, was screwed. It also was the first documented case in sports in which, finally, it wasn't about the money. It was about the insinuation that came with the pay cut. It was the Yankees, who generate millions, suddenly and suspiciously becoming tightwads. It was the Yankees selling Torre short and showing him no class." ... You can't say it's not about the money, and then write three sentences that derail your argument. Powell is a solid columnist, but he and his editors missed this.

• The mudslinging that ensued. Sure, you knew it was coming and you knew it would sell papers, but Sunday's Post exclusive featuring Hank Steinbrenner's quote that he will never live down: "Where was Joe Torre's career before he came here?" was the epitome if why players may look at the Yankees now and steer clear of signing with the team. Joel Sherman has a strong retort in today's Post.

• Advocacy. I'm old-school in this way. I don't care if a paper or a writer endorses a candidate. It leads to bias. Kevin Kernan saying that the next manager should be Don Mattingly, while it may be indicative of the majority opinion and fall in line with the traditional "eyes and ears of the public" view of reporters, is wrong. And it presents the managerial issue as if Mattingly's hire is a foregone conclusion, when there are numerous reports indicating the opposite.

STORIES TO WATCH, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER
• The ever-evolving A-Rod contract saga.

• Girardi, Mattingly, or Peña? (Ten bucks says Bill Madden writes a column endorsing the return of Lou Piniella.)

Until next week … let the comments fly, and Rocky Mountain High.

Comments (64)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-10-23 09:35:21
1.   Sliced Bread
In his HBO interview with Joe tonight, I'm hoping Bob Costas presses Torre some more about Cashman.

Joe was gracious regarding Cash, saying he believes he had his support in Tampa, but I still wonder to what extent?

Interesting that before the poop hit the paddles, Cashman classified the team's talks with Joe as a "renegotiation." Yet we now know there was no negotiation.

Cash maintains he and everybody in the room wanted him to accept the offer. Of course they did. But why didn't they negotiate with the man?

Why did Joe have to ask for the meeting?

I'm very curious to what extent Cashman stood by Joe. Perhaps Joe's departure says it all, but here's hoping Costas pursues that thoroughly.

2007-10-23 09:43:16
2.   Will Weiss
1 I said last week that Cashman's silence spoke volumes. He has to be looking to save his own job. It's not all that different to how Torre treated the Bernie Williams situation in February and March.
2007-10-23 09:48:33
3.   standuptriple
I hope Costas asks questions with potential rather than tossing Joe softballs. Torre has always been very smooth with the media.
2007-10-23 09:53:34
4.   Sliced Bread
2 the main difference being Joe could only offer Bernie what the team was willing to offer: a minor league deal. I have no doubt that Joe would have had Bernie back in a heartbeat.

In the case of Joe's departure, one has to imagine that Cashman was in position to get more for Joe, that is, if retaining Joe was really what Cashman truly wanted.

What I'm getting at is: Bernie had no reason to blame Joe, or be disappointed with Joe for the way things worked out for him.
But it seems to me that Joe would not have been out of line to expect more from Cash.

Again we don't know to what extent Cash stuck his neck out, and I'm very interested in hearing more about that from Joe.

2007-10-23 10:03:46
5.   Zack
I don't see why Joe should expect more from Cashman. If Cashman thought a one year deal was best, then thats that. Cashman already basically got Torre back three years ago, so I suppose if anything, Torre owes Cashman some loyalty.

But, ignoring that, I would like to see Costas actually ask some pointed questions rather than pulling the NY Media worship approach...

2007-10-23 10:09:51
6.   Dimelo
The thing about how Levine was represented in the papers is that it bares a lot of resemblance to how the papers represented Larry Lucchino, after his "Evil Empire" comment. So if there are synergies and I can't stand Lucchino, therefore I can't stand Levine.

Levine is our very own Larry Lucchino, and for a reason I still can't clearly explain...I hate the thought of it.

Will, I have to say you've done a fabulous job every week, this week being your best work, IMHO. I look forward to your piece every week.

2007-10-23 10:09:55
7.   monkeypants
4 "I have no doubt that Joe would have had Bernie back in a heartbeat."

This is, I think, not a strong recommendation for Torre.

2007-10-23 10:15:37
8.   51cq24
4 it seems to me that the offer to torre was the result of much negotiation between the members of the front office, some of whom obviously wanted him back more than others. and presumably cashman was one of the ones pushing for him to come back. if that was the case, and the final offer was nonnegotiable because it was already the result of much negotiation between cashman, levine, steinbrenners, etc, is that all that insulting? does joe deserve to be unanimously endorsed within the front office? if they come to an agreement on a generous offer to him, is that really an insult just because it isn't as good as he thinks respect dictates?
2007-10-23 10:18:08
9.   51cq24
i other words, i very much doubt it was a concerted effort to develop an offer that joe "just couldn't accept," as the media has seemingly accepted as obvious, in which cashman just let everyone else do what they wanted with no input. i think it much more likely that it was the best offer they could agree upon among themselves. and really, it was a very nice offer.
2007-10-23 10:19:17
10.   Will Weiss
6 I appreciate the compliment.
2007-10-23 10:20:04
11.   Max
8 Should it have taken ten days to have developed such a "generous" offer?

I think hardly anyone in the front office wanted him back. That was their prerogative, but they should have acted faster. The time they took, and the completely compromised nature of the offer, really bit them in the rear from a public relations standpoint, deservedly so.

2007-10-23 10:22:37
12.   cult of basebaal
8 9 that's certainly the way i feel about it ... right now, the yankee FO is in transition, it's not clear where the decision making lines are going to end up being drawn, how much real ultimate power does george still wield, how much pull does hank currently have and how much will he have in the future ... cashman couldn't bring joe back by his own accord, i don't think, not even if he wrapped up in donned pinstripes and threatened self-immolation in monument park ...
2007-10-23 10:24:36
13.   51cq24
11 why not? he was under contract, and they had no reason to act rashly right after another early loss. if they were going to decide not to offer him anything, they probably should have done so quickly. BUT THEY DID OFFER HIM SOMETHING, AND IT OBVIOUSLY TOOK A WHILE TO AGREE TO THE TERMS.

and what is this nonsense that a manager all of a sudden can only be judged by the regular season? that the postseason is just a crap shoot and it's irrational to judge anyone by it? stephen goldman said it very strongly in his most recent blog, the davidoff article cited here relies on it, and i've seen it all over. does that mean that a manager can't have an effect on the outcome of a short series? because i can think of quite a few decisions torre made that seemed wrong at the time and in retrospect, and that certainly could have changed the outcome of some of the short series.

2007-10-23 10:25:23
14.   cult of basebaal
11 ummm, well, if the FO was split between people who wanted joe back and people who didn't ... yes

joe was technically still under contract, i don't see any problem with an organization taking it's time to find consensus and come to a decision ...

2007-10-23 10:26:33
15.   monkeypants
11 I am still not clear why the whopping ten days was such a big deal, despite the media frenzy. Torre is STILL under contract until the end of the month; the FO announced that no decision would be made until the meetings. The meetings were held, and with two days an offer was made and rejected.

This is interesting, to me anyway: Pete Abe, who has pretty much taken the FO to task during this whole saga, posted this on October 20:

"Anger always fades. But the alienation of Joe Torre could be something that haunts Randy Levine and the Tampa Trio for a while. They are getting slammed everywhere. It took less than three weeks for the Yankees to go from a heartwarming tale of a wildcard revival to a pack of evil clowns who kicked kindly Papa Joe out the door.
You know what's amazing (not to get all John Sterling on you) but there is almost always a contrarian in the media crowd, somebody who goes against the grain. But I have yet to see anybody who thinks getting rid of Torre, especially the way they did, was a good idea.

It's all perception and spin, of course, and the Yankees are taking their lumps for now. "We're licking our wounds," somebody told me yesterday."

Even ol' Pete seems, whether he meant it or not, to say that there is not much substance behind all of this angst.

2007-10-23 10:30:49
16.   ms october
0 I also did not like the endorsement for Mattingly in the NY Post article - it muddies things too much.
It will be interesting to see how the ombudsman responds to the airing of the call.
Yeah - we don't know what Cashman's view about bring him back even was; how tied his hands were in the process; how much his own job is on the line; and who he reports to.
It doesn't seem Torre expected more from him, but maybe we will find out more with Costas.
2007-10-23 10:41:50
17.   Sliced Bread
5 Swindal got Torre back. He honchoed the deal, and, if I recall correctly, Cashman was still fighting his own battles with Tampa when Joe re-upped.
2007-10-23 10:45:08
18.   Shaun P
I'm not sure what is going to be worse about this offseason. The whole Torre thing, which I'm already very tired of. The crazy rumors that are sure to come about what highly-paid All-Stars the Yanks are going to go after now to make sure they win next year. (First one - Melky, Kennedy, and Wang for Santana? Yeah, right.) Or how if Boston wins the Serious, both stories will just go on for that much longer, justified because "Boston won again".

Someone wake me up when its February 15th, ok?

2007-10-23 10:50:05
19.   monkeypants
18 Well put.
2007-10-23 10:50:55
20.   Max
11 13 Even in the business world outside of the ravenous media hordes of Yankee beat reporters, there is such a thing as a sense of urgency. In fact, the media attention warranted the sense of urgency and affected the story. For at least four years, Torre has been under siege, and in his press comments at the end of Game 4, he came as close to directly addressing his fate as he ever has.

So this was a story that was going to overheat the moment the Yankee season ended.

It's nice to sit in a bubble and say "we're going take the time to make the best decision and not let popular opinion sway us". There is nothing in the way the final offer was crafted that indicated any sense of urgency, or sense that it should have taken that long to develop such a peculiar offer -- an offer for which there was no alternative proposal, no room for negotiation. So it's not like management had to sit around crafting scenarios.

It's nice to decry everything as perception and spin, but perception and spin make a difference in the outside world -- otherwise, the Yankees wouldn't be a billion dollar global brand. But it seems perception and spin are convenient battle axes as long as you're not on the other side of the blade.

I ask the question again: no matter what side of the debate you are on, why are you surprised about how this has played out? And why are even past Torre critics like Cliff and Steven Goldman expressing sympathy with how Torre was treated? Do you guys dislike him so much that you can't see the other side at all?

2007-10-23 10:55:26
21.   monkeypants
20 "Do you guys dislike him so much that you can't see the other side at all?"

I don't dislike him so much, though I have been an even more vocal critic. But, in response to your query:

1. I have a hard time "feeling sorry" for people who make millions of dollars playing a game.

2. Whatever I think about Torre, I am appalled at how much attention this "story" has gotten, the shabby level of journalism, and the histrionics of the fans. Good heavens, a major league replaced their manager--an innocent man wasn't sentenced to death.

2007-10-23 11:00:17
22.   Will Weiss
20 I think you mistake the criticism of Torre on Cliff and Steve's part. Their criticism was relegated to a baseball standpoint only; to his work as an in-game tactician. As a manager of egos and the media, his skill was unrivaled. Cliff and Steve would be the first to tell you that. I can see the other side. From a business perspective, the offer was fair. The delay in making the offer was probably due to placing it into legal jargon and gaining approval. We don't know. Torre's quote on MMD, when he said that he asked the Brain Trust if they wanted him back next season and why, and he got what he believed to be an insufficient answer, said it all: "I guess they wanted me back, but only to a certain point."
2007-10-23 11:01:25
23.   cult of basebaal
20 i can see the other side ... i just don't agree with it at all ... i wanted him back, but i don't feel that he was insulted by either the process or the offer ...
2007-10-23 11:03:05
24.   cult of basebaal
22 right ... the whole thing seems to be a compromise among people with different views and the old adage about compromises is that a good one means nobody is happy
2007-10-23 11:05:11
25.   Sliced Bread
22 I think the most revealing q&a from the MMD interview was:(paraphrasing)
Joe, would you have preferred if they just said 'we're moving in a different direction?"
joe's response (paraphrased) "yes. that would have been more honest."
2007-10-23 11:06:28
26.   Simone
Agreed. Levine = Lucchino. Levine with his political background should know better than to show weakness. Now that the NY media realizes that Levine is so sensitive and paranoid, they will make him the target of their comments just to provoke a reaction. Should be fun!
2007-10-23 11:06:37
27.   Will Weiss
25 And for as much as I disagree with much of what he writes, Murray Chass was dead-on with his theory of the effect of Swindal's departure. This entire scenario is not surprising. That said, I don't know if Swindal could have saved Torre this time.
2007-10-23 11:34:29
28.   rbj
22 $5 million is a very fair offer -- except when you're already making $7.5. Then, I can only see a 1/3 reduction as the equivalent of a demotion. Plus, even LaRussa needed a full two year deal, for the same reason.

Different question, dunno if it's been asked already, but how would people feel if the Yankees' AL pennants & WS wins were more spread out, say being in the WS every other year rather than having won so much early on. Would that make Torre look better?

2007-10-23 11:40:35
29.   RIYank
13
It's not that the regular season is different from the post-season. It's that the post-season is such a small sample. That's why it's a bad idea to make assessments on its basis. It would be like choosing some other, random small sample and making your decision on the basis of that one.

A manager can have an effect on the outcome of a short series. But the difference between two managers is going to be very small and very unpredictable in a short series.

Don't choose an equities fund manager on the basis of the performance of his stock choices over eight days in October, either, by the way.

2007-10-23 11:42:33
30.   Will Weiss
25 I caught that quote also. The whole interview was outstanding. Arguably Mike and Chris's best work.
2007-10-23 11:54:54
31.   rilkefan
25 joe's response (paraphrased) "yes. that would have been more honest."

It's revealing of Joe's attitude, but it's not actually relevant information for the current discussion. And not nearly as revealing as what his counter-offer was, or would have been if he had given one.

2007-10-23 12:01:04
32.   Max
21 It's certainly your right to feel too much is being made over a rich, successful man, but how far could we extend this argument? Should we be spending all this time on a baseball blog instead of feeding starving children in Africa?

I don't mean to be flip, but there have been a lot of stories written about how the behavior and pay of modern athletes has affected viewership and ratings of various sports. Yet one of the richest and most successful managers has attracted quite a bit of sympathy.

It would be nice to attribute it all to media manipulation, but I think it's also fair to say that the man represents certain values that resonate greatly with Yankee and non-Yankee fans. (those values and his image have only gained over his tenure, as well) He may no longer be the right manager, but his value as an icon is substantial (I saw him get a standing ovation at Fenway after coming back from cancer, so I know this first hand).

I think it's fair to say management underestimated (or was flat out clueless) about what they were up against, which is why they're being criticized. Ironically, I think George understood this better than anyone, which is why the speculation about his diminished health and decision making influence seem so credible.

22 Will, I appreciate the contrarian viewpoint, and I would have actually welcomed more writing along the lines of "was $5 million really an insult given the situation?" But I think management shot themselves in the foot (specifically Levine's and Hank's statements).

Also, I mentioned this in another thread, but was a one year offer really out of the question? Could management have said that they wanted Torre back for one year as his final year for the last year at Yankee Stadium, at his current pay (or a very slight cut), with an incentive for winning the WS? I think this type of offer would have been harder to spin as unfair. And had it been presented a certain way, Joe might have considered it more seriously. Or am I completely off?

2007-10-23 12:06:46
33.   monkeypants
32

It's certainly your right to feel too much is being made over a rich, successful man, but how far could we extend this argument? Should we be spending all this time on a baseball blog instead of feeding starving children in Africa?

We should be helping the starving children, but that distorts the point. I'm not losing any sleep over this blog, nor are well-paid journalists tracking all of our posts, etc. Our chat room debates have been more or less in proportion; the media response to the Torre not-re-highing (it was, of course, not a firing) has been out of proportion, in my opinion.

It would be nice to attribute it all to media manipulation, but I think it's also fair to say that the man represents certain values that resonate greatly with Yankee and non-Yankee fans. (those values and his image have only gained over his tenure, as well) He may no longer be the right manager, but his value as an icon is substantial (I saw him get a standing ovation at Fenway after coming back from cancer, so I know this first hand).

Some good points, and perhaps you are right. On the other hand, coming back from cancer certainly warrants our applause. Turning down an offer to continue managing may or may not warrant our admiration. The entire saga does not, however, warrant anyone's outrage. Again, in my opinion.

2007-10-23 12:11:11
34.   williamnyy23
25 Do you really believe that? I am sure if the Yankees didn't even offer a contract then Torre's friends in the media would have been just as angry. Also, I could see Joe saying how he thought 12 loyal years of services would have warranted at least an offer. I fail to see how outright dismal is more acceptable than an incentive laded deal that at worst would have made him the highest paid manager by 40%. It's ironic that Joe mentioned honesty because in this instance, I don't think he is practicing it.

29 The Yankees mandate is to win the World Series. Joe Torre made it clear that he doesn't view not making the World Series as failure. Whether you agree or not, it was clear that there was a disconnect. What's more, the Yankees didn't dismiss him for not winning playoff series. They simply wanted to ammend his payout for that reason. That's an important distinction.

As for hedge fund managers, they very often lose their jobs on the basis of less than 8 days performance. Just look at some of the high flying funds that went belly-up in the sub-prime crisis. Years of good performance went out the window with one very badly placed bet.

30 It was entertaining, but it would have been more interesting if they had asked him some difficult questions. As they normally do, M&MD treated Torre very gently, even parting with a sentimental good-bye.

2007-10-23 12:13:59
35.   williamnyy23
33 I think people are confusing pride with integrity. While Joe certainly has a lot of integrity, it was pride that prompted him to turn this deal down. And, as we all know, pride comes before the fall.
2007-10-23 12:20:42
36.   Yankee Fan In Boston
32 "But I think management shot themselves in the foot (specifically Levine's and Hank's statements)."

i think george's statement in the middle of the playoffs was the catalyst in this situation. from that point on, the media was waiting for the other shoe to fall. they were in fact spitshining that shoe, drooling over the juicy story they would be able to dig up, regardless of the outcome.

2007-10-23 12:23:32
37.   williamnyy23
36 It is worth pointing out that Joel Sherman proposed a deal very similar to the one the Yankees offered a day before Torre turned it down. The concept behind the Yankees deal wasn't really outlandish, but the notion of the evil Levine and saintly Joe just made a much better story.
2007-10-23 12:25:26
38.   Shaun P
29 Very well put.

"Don't choose an equities fund manager on the basis of the performance of his stock choices over eight days in October, either, by the way."

Ah yes, classic advice, right up there with "never get involved in a land war in Asia" and "Never go in against a Sicilian, when death is on the line!"

2007-10-23 12:26:34
39.   Will Weiss
34 That's a fair point about the interview. I don't think they threw him lobs, though, either.
2007-10-23 12:28:20
40.   Will Weiss
38 Tremendous props on the Princess Bride reference. Have you built up an immunity to iocane powder, too?
2007-10-23 12:33:52
41.   Yankee Fan In Boston
38 inconceivable!
2007-10-23 12:36:16
42.   williamnyy23
39 I kind of do think they threw him lobs, especially Francessa. I think it would have relevant to ask Joe why he deserved to be paid twice as much as the next highest manager as well as why he would walk away from his players based on principle. These questions would have elicited interesting answers.

Also, based on the information that came to light today, I wouldn't be suprised if Francessa was aware of Levine's opposition to having the show on YES, and used that as the basis for singling him our for criticism.

2007-10-23 12:39:55
43.   pwicked
Hey Joe, you should have taken the dough! Your high paid starlets could have chipped in the extra 3 mil to keep you un-insulted. They are after all, part of the problem. Methinks you're lucky your last contract wasn't performance based. Seven years and counting...
2007-10-23 12:54:21
44.   Will Weiss
42 You'd make a good journalist.
2007-10-23 13:01:54
45.   standuptriple
42 Nice. I've felt similarly, but don't have the skills to put my thoughts in some sort of context. The "woe is me" line didn't sit well with me from the beginning. But Joe has been a media darling for some time now. Whatever his mojo was, it was amazing.
2007-10-23 13:08:44
46.   yankz
How did this become another "Was Torre insulted?" thread?
2007-10-23 13:09:44
47.   Shaun P
40 That depends. Are we going to engage in a battle of wits sometime soon? =)
2007-10-23 13:10:11
48.   Shaun P
46 Inconceivable!
2007-10-23 13:18:47
49.   standuptriple
Paging The Spaniard and Andre the Giant.
2007-10-23 13:25:06
50.   Will Weiss
I am not left-handed. But in all seriousness, Torre became a media darling because he treats the writers and TV reporters with respect. At the same time, he's very sensitive and if he's asked a question that he believes encroaches on the bounds of ethics or can be construed as an attack, he lets you know. I've seen it. He was accommodating and approchable. And he was stable. That made a huge impression.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-10-23 13:25:09
51.   JL25and3
34 I don't think there would have been anything like this kind of fallout if they'd simply decided not to rehire him. People might argue about the merits of Joe as a manager - but I think everyone understood that that was an arguable issue. People might have thought they were wrong, but not scuzzy.

Btw, this will blow over soon after a new manager is hired.

2007-10-23 13:37:23
52.   standuptriple
Antonio Alfonseca better watch his back. Especially is he has killed anyone's father.
2007-10-23 13:38:39
53.   JL25and3
48 You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
2007-10-23 13:39:29
54.   Yankee Fan In Boston
52 when killing fathers, el pulpo is ambidextrous. (and can also use his feet.)
2007-10-23 13:54:13
55.   Shaun P
50 What a novel concept. Treat people with respect, be nice, let them do their jobs, and they will in turn like and respect you.

Watch Torre now turn stuff like that into millions by making speeches on the corporate lecture circuit. And good for him if he does.

2007-10-23 14:28:33
56.   RIYank
William 34 , I didn't say anything about hedge fund managers. That's a whole different kettle of fish. I said equities funds. (I strongly advise you not to choose any hedge fund manager of any kind!)
2007-10-23 14:49:36
57.   51cq24
29 i think 34 sums up my response. i'd also say that torre knew all along what the expectations were. i agree that it's a small sample size, but it's the most important size for the front office. and also, while it's particularly inappropriate to judge a player's performance by a small sample size, i think it's less so with a manager because he isn't doing anything physical, he's just supposed to be making good decisions. i think that makes a difference. it's not like you can be "pressing" all that much when going to the bullpen. also, although the media presents it otherwise, the yankees are not the only team to judge their managers by postseason success or failure. grady little was fired for one postseason decision. i'd say that most managers of successful teams are judged by their teams' performance in the playoffs when they make it. fair or not (and i think it is), it isn't just the yankees.

i'm sorry if i'm repeating something that's been discussed already, but i was away all weekend with limited access to the internet and didn't really get filled in on everything. everywhere in the media i see and hear pronouncements like "don't let yourself be fooled by the money" or even "nobody is fooled by the deal." yet at least some members of the media were fooled enough to report that joe had accepted that deal on thursday, apparently assuming that he would accept it without getting it confirmed. i left my apartment at 4 thinking, from listening to mike and the mad dog, that joe torre was going to be managing again next year. did anyone ever explain what happened there?

2007-10-23 15:09:40
58.   51cq24
by the way, it doesn't seem like many people have all that much of a problem judging wang by his postseason this year despite past success.
2007-10-23 15:14:19
59.   ms october
57 I haven't heard anyone explain why they got the story wrong - but I assume it is because an offer to Torre was in fact made and he was flying to Tampa so much of the media assumed that Torre would be accepting the offer.

Sounds like more stories are coming out about Mitchell's potential conflict of interest.

On another note, I thought I remembered reading awhile ago that Alex could opt out of his deal any of the last 3 years, and I just saw it again today, so it leads me to wonder and this might be crazy talk - but what if he signs an extension with the Yanks this year and opts out next year for whatever reason - I am not sure what this would even mean. Could the Yanks add something to his contract saying he could not do that without risking that it would be changing the contract in which case they lose Texas's money? I know this is somehwat far-fetched, but I was just wondering about it.

2007-10-23 15:24:11
60.   51cq24
59 you can change the terms of a contract if both sides agree. but if he opts out, obviously the contract will be done.
2007-10-23 15:32:57
61.   51cq24
sorry to continue on about this, but it seems to me that everyone who thinks the yankees were wrong here (apparently the entire media) is saying that the yankees, as an entity (while also talking about how scattered the front office currently is), only had 2 choices: keep torre and pay him at least as much as he had been making, or fire him (announce that he won't be back). at the same time, they go on and on about how unfair it is to judge someone solely by postseason performance. so you can't fire someone who took his team to the postseason 12 straight years, but you also can't reduce his salary because that's an insult. so that means that the yankees could only do one thing to appease the media- keep torre at $7.5 million guaranteed per year. and apparently you have to sign him to at least 2 years because otherwise the players will feel too much pressure, thinking they are playing for the manager's job. by that logic, torre's contract should never end. so the yankees should have given torre an indefinite contract at $7.5 million+. the fact that they didn't is a huge insult.
2007-10-23 18:12:04
62.   RIYank
61 at the same time, they go on and on about how unfair it is to judge someone solely by postseason performance.

I said it is a mistake to judge someone on post-season performance, and I said why. I did not "go on and on about" it, and I did not say it was unfair. This is completely obvious; nothing that I said could be construed that judging Torre on post-season performance is "unfair", and there is no ground whatsoever for saying that I "went on and on about" it. So that characterization is blatantly false.

and apparently you have to sign him to at least 2 years because otherwise the players will feel too much pressure, thinking they are playing for the manager's job. by that logic, torre's contract should never end.

Either you seriously do not understand the point about a multi-year contract, in which case I'm surprised (because it's been explained a couple of times) but I'll be happy to explain it to you, or else you are again willfully mischaracterizing what's been said. I honestly don't know which it is.

2007-10-23 18:56:31
63.   51cq24
62 sorry i know that was in a string of posts that started as a response to you, but i really was talking about things from the media- specifically mike and the mad dog, which i had on at the time. you have said why you don't think it's fair to judge him by the postseason, and i agree that it's a small sample size. when i said "on and on" it was more to illustrate the point that don't see how you can say on the one hand that it would have been legitimate had they just fired him (not re-signed him) without the "pretense" but on the other that it is illegitimate to fire him at all. while i do think that it's a small sample size, i also think that the front office was reasonable in considering it when putting together a new contract offer, for the reasons i listed in 57 and the reasons william listed in 34 .

the reason i've heard given for a 2 year contract is that without it torre is somehow a lame duck because everyone knows he's done after one year. by that logic, was he a lame duck all this year since there was no other year after it? would he be a lame duck in the 2nd year of a 2 year contract? and most of all, would the players, some of whom are threatening to leave because he won't be here, lose some respect for him or start playing with too much pressure because he might not be back? i don't see it. torre has been managing with the threat of being fired hanging over him for several years now. all of a sudden the players can't handle that pressure? and a one year contract would exacerbate it?

2007-10-23 19:01:28
64.   51cq24
in other words, people seem to think the yankees had only one legitimate choice because they've eliminated all the others: sign torre to a contract on his own terms. that is, $7.5 million for more than a year. i'm sorry, but i don't think the yankees owed him that, and i don't think that anything less than that should be taken as an insult, or as a de facto firing (non-re-signing).

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