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Torre via Costas
2007-10-23 20:01
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Joe Torre sat down with Bob Costas for the final segment on last night's REAL Sports With Briant Gumbel on HBO and shed some more light on some of his comments from the end of last week.

One item from the interview that I found particularly interesting, but was somewhat obscured by the fact that it was communicated by Costas in a voice-over segue rather than via a direct quote from Torre, was the fact that Torre disagreed with the organizational mindset that considered anything short of a World Championship a failure. Torre, who made just one playoff appearance in his first 31 major league seasons as a player and manager, still believes (correctly, in my opinion) that simply making the playoffs should be considered, in the words used by Costas, "a significant success." I can't image that went over particularly well with the Tampa contingent, however.

Torre also admitted that he had already begun cleaning up his office at the Stadium, "early on [in the season] . . . when I had a bad feeling . . . that I wouldn't be back."

The primary revelation, however, was that the single-year term was the real deal-breaker for Torre, as he answered affirmatively when Costas asked him if he would have taken an identical deal--pay cut, incentives, and all--if it had been for two guaranteed years.

Torre's meeting in Tampa never even got that far, however, as Torre was the first person to speak at the meeting and was met with silence when he was done making his points. Randy Levine broke the silence by pointing out that Torre would actually earn more under the new deal if the Yankees were to reach the 2008 World Series, but, as Torre told Costas, he wasn't as upset about the cut in his base salary as by the implication that he needed incentives as motivation to succeed in the postseason, pointing out that his last contract already had a million-dollar bonus for a World Series win, anyway.

Going beyond his initial statements that he was "insulted" by the incentives and their implications, Torre told Costas he was hurt by the fact that the front office didn't attempt to involve him in the decision regarding his return. That's one reason why he flew to Tampa for a face-to-face meeting despite being told by Brian Cashman that the offer was likely non-negotiable. Torre attempted to involve himself in the decision in that meeting, but was met with silence and a hard-line stance on the contract he was offered, and that contributed to his decision to decline the deal. He felt he had been excluded from the team's decision-making process.

The juiciest part of the interview came when Costas read Hank Steinbrenner's remarks to him. One could see the fury in Torre's face as Costas read Hank's words (I swear his lip was twitching). Joe took a good swipe at Hank in response, but did it in his usual smooth, laid-back fashion. "For some reason he thought I was disrespectful because I was insulted," Torre said of Hank, "but the insult came from the incentive-based situation, and unless you understand what sport is all about and how important winning is to you, I don't think you understand the insult part of this thing."

As for his refusal to talk about coming back to the Stadium for any ceremonial purposes, Joe continued to refuse to comment. One was able to discern from his dance around the issue, however, that he is upset and would like to tell the Yankees where to stick it, but, true to his reputation, is going to let himself cool off before he makes any public statement about when he might be willing to return. "I'm not saying there's no anger there," Torre admitted. "I'm sad. I'm sad."

In other news, Don Mattingly and Joe Girardi have both had their interviews and accompanying conference calls with the media. Tony Peña goes today. Listening to both Mattingly and Girardi, I actually find myself leaning more toward Mattingly than I had before. Mattingly sounded genuinely excited about the possibility of managing and said that he's been managing in his head throughout his four years as a Yankee coach as well as during his player days. He also talked about being influenced by Billy Martin and Lou Piniella in addition to Joe Torre. In contrast, Girardi sounded jaded and guarded, if not a bit grumpy. Even Torre, a manager often criticized for looking somnambulant on the bench, talked about the importance of the 2007 team's youthful energy to their second-half comeback. Mattingly sounds like a man who would foster that energy. Girardi sounds like a man who might stifle it.

Comments (259)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-10-24 00:31:08
1.   paranoidandroid
12 straight playoff appearances. That is something very, very special. He's totally correct that just getting to the postseason is a big indication of success. It's huge.

A team like St. Louis in '06 shows that October baseball allows a marginal team that goes 11-8 to win the World Series. Getting a shot at winning it all happens when you earn a playoff spot. That is over the course of 162 games. That is more difficult than going 11-8 over a three week stretch.

Now winning enough to get to the postseason for 12 straight years is far more impressive than what LaRussa did last year.

I'm a Dodger fan. Send Torre over here. We have a Little problem with leadership on the left coast.

2007-10-24 03:43:37
2.   RIYank
I wonder whether there's really any content in the words, "Anything short of a World Championship is a failure." Obviously, everyone agrees that if you don't win the Series, you could have done better (and someone else did do better). And obviously, if you made the play-offs you did better than most, and if you make a whole lot of post-seasons in a row, that's much better than other teams do. Besides these comparisons with other teams, which are obvious and which Torre, Jeter, and the FO must agree about, what exactly is it that they supposedly disagree about when one side says that getting to the WS and losing is failure and the other says it isn't?
2007-10-24 03:51:07
3.   RIYank
Shaun P (carry-over from last night):

I wonder if Cashman has vetted the candidates the way a White House would vet a nominee for the Court? The White House pretty much knows in advance how a guy is going to vote if they get on the Court (Souter being a rare exception).

Interesting. I wouldn't be surprised if Cashman does do something like that. It's a lot easier to get a manager who is inclined to make the 'right' moves than to pick a manager and try to teach or force him to make the 'right' moves.

(I think the real White House is not really all that good at this -- not just the current one, but in general. Nixon didn't get what he wanted, that's for sure.)

2007-10-24 04:58:55
4.   yankz
I imagine Girardi's Marlins team had more youthful energy than the current Yankees, and he managed to do pretty well with that team.
2007-10-24 05:00:29
5.   Sliced Bread
I'm with you re: Mattingly, Cliff. I made the switch in my mind maybe two weeks ago.

Girardi, much to his credit, would, when the poop hits the paddles, likely tell the hamfisted Steinbrothers where to stick it --but that's probably not what's best for a team in transition.

Mattingly seems to have a better disposition for handling the temperamental (emphasis on mental) Steinbrenners. Heh. Donnie's more like Torre, which makes him appealing to the Steinbrothers. Funny that.

Think about the flawed logic here. In the Steinbrenner World Series-or-bust mentality, Mattingly is an all-time loser, a career failure, yet somehow he's the best man for their club? Hilarious, if it wasn't so saddening/maddening.

2007-10-24 05:08:48
6.   Sarasota
Each time Torre speaks Big Stein and especially now little fat Stein look more petty and shortsighted. Torre with Costas was riveting.
2007-10-24 05:24:24
7.   nemecizer
This whole thing is turning into quite a drama, eh?
2007-10-24 05:33:06
8.   Dimelo
I'm still confused how some people feel that Torre was given a fair offer.

After watching last night, reading Cliff's perspective, then I still remain convinced even more so that Torre was WRONGED by the Yankees FO.

I used to feel that it was World Series or bust, but I look back to the glory years - 1996 - 2000 - as an anomaly versus what the FO looks should be the norm.

Man...I'm going to miss Torre. One thing about this off-season is that it gives me a chance to recharge my batteries as it relates to Yankees baseball. If the season were to start tomorrow, I don't think I'd want to watch. I'm glad I have 5 more months...I sure need it.

In the meantime, it's go G-MEN...BEAT THE FISH IN LONDON!!!!

2007-10-24 05:34:33
9.   Knuckles
I'll be reasonably happy with either Girardi or Mattingly, though having my all-time favorite player manage my favorite team just as a new regime of trigger happy owners takes over makes me a bit leery.

Also...I've been managing the Yankees in my head since I was about 10; do I get an interview?

2007-10-24 05:40:56
10.   51cq24
0 hold on. on the one hand torre is saying that he would have taken the incentives and the pay cut if he'd just gotten another year, and that his current contract had an incentive for winning the world series. on the other, he talks about how very insulting the incentives were to him.

and why should torre be involved in the team's decision-making process regarding his own return?

i really think the issue here was not whether the front office's expectations were reasonable or unreasonable. the issue was whether they could do something between firing him (not re-signing him) and giving him the contract that he wanted. presumably they spent a lot of time negotiating among themselves to produce the offer they made. but it wasn't the offer torre wanted, so he didn't take it. he is insulted for this and for that and maybe not for this, just for that, but this was very insulting anyway... he wanted 2 years and was unwilling to accept 1. who is the one not negotiating?

2007-10-24 05:43:12
11.   51cq24
9 "I've been managing the Yankees in my head since I was about 10; do I get an interview?"

yeah i was wondering if anyone else found that statement comical, not impressive in any way.

2007-10-24 05:45:02
12.   rbj
As LaRussa also needed a two year deal, using the same reasoning as Torre did, I'm more inclined to believe Joe than Hank. Now if the Steins simply wanted a different manager, that they felt the team had gotten a bit "stale", fine. Just be honest about it.
2007-10-24 05:49:49
13.   williamnyy23
What I can't understand is how on one hand Torre can mention he had an incentive to win the WS in his current contract, but then state he finds the concept so offensive. Also, if Torre was willing to take a one year extension at the beginning of the season, why would a one-year deal with a second year option suddenly be such an insult? Finally, if Torre doesn't agree with the Yankees management philosophy (neither do I, by the way), why should he expect a long-term commitment. Heck, what that tells me is that incentives are definitely the way to go.

The more I think about it, the Yankees were foolish for offering Torre a deal, but not because I think it was an insult. Instead, it seems to me as if they were forced into making the offer due to the correctly perceived public backlash that would have occurred had they simply severed ties. Ultimately, I think they wanted Torre back for at least one year to avoid the controversy and make it easier to pursue their other off season plans. Ironically, it really looks like Torre cut off his nose to spite his face because he winds up as the only party who has lost something significant. For the love of Hank and Randy, he turned a job he professed to love.

As for the new manager, I am also becoming more convinced of Mattingly's candidacy. I think Donnie's work ethic is a major plus, and can easily see him developing into a manager who can combine the old school approach with a more numbers-based philosophy.

2007-10-24 05:54:05
14.   Alex Belth
Here, here on Mattingly.
2007-10-24 06:04:47
15.   Sliced Bread
13 Joe cut off his nose to spite his face? Perhaps, but funny that the Yankees "braintrust" are the ones who appear hideously disfigured, and in need to "save face" -- while Joe's old mug looks more worthy of a monument with each passing day.

Speaking of appearances, in every image I've seen of Cashman lately, he looks scared to me -- not in the "oh, shit, here comes Farnsworth" sense of scared, but more unsure of himself, and his position than ever. Oh, man, is he ever "on the hook," as oldman George himself likes to say.

2007-10-24 06:07:50
16.   ms october
ROCKIES! ROCKIES! ROCKIES!

11 It was comical in a way. I think he is trying to convince the media that he has been preparing for this for some time.
He has actually been coaching longer than Girardi - just and its a huge just Girardi has been the head guy and Mattingly obviously never has.
I think Mattingly has a bit of a hard time figuring out what he should share with the media and what he shouldn't - that is part of why Giradi sounded more polished than him.
In the picture of Mattingly with Cashman, Mattingly looks nice, but not like the Mattingly we know and love.

2007-10-24 06:08:10
17.   51cq24
13 "can easily see him developing into a manager who can combine the old school approach with a more numbers-based philosophy"

do you have a reason for that? (that's an honest question, not trying to be rude)

2007-10-24 06:11:53
18.   Sliced Bread
5 to clarify for the record...
there's no way I could have made the switch from Girardi to Mattingly "two weeks ago."
It just feels that way.
Two weeks in dog years.

This is gonna be a looooong winter.

2007-10-24 06:21:47
19.   Sliced Bread
Yeah, Donnie's "managing in my head" thing seemed naive, but I think he'll quickly develop the confidence and sophistication required to deal with the press.
The most important thing is that the players will respond to him. I don't think anybody doubts that.

Anyway, God help whoever gets this job.

2007-10-24 06:22:50
20.   jgpyke
Torre is dead wrong. If you spend money like the Yankees do, with the roster they have, then anything short of the WS is absolute failure.

What I do love about the Yankees, though, is that they are living proof that you can't "buy a World Series." People like to claim that the Marlins did that in there first WS win, but their payroll was chickenfeed compared to what the Yanks plunk down on an annual basis.

Time to hose out the clubhouse, folks.

2007-10-24 06:25:41
21.   williamnyy23
15 After 20+ years cementing his reputation as an all around good guy, Torre could have demanded a raise to $20mn and still come out smelling like a rose. Hank and Levine aren't going to win a media popularity contest with Torre, so they should probably stop trying. Levine of all people should know that sometimes politics clouds reality. If everyone wants to make Joe out to be a martyr, then so be it. At the end of the day, the Yankees are moving forward without Joe Torre.

17 I think his work ethic has a player and coach is pretty well documented. As for why I can see him developing into a manager who will try new things (including sabermetrics), well, I have a couple of reasons.

The first is Mattingly seems to desperately want the job (which I think is a positive as well). In bringing passion to this new pursuit, I think Donnie will be open to new things, including suggestions from Cashman, who has definitely moved toward sabermetrics. After all, that's the same passion Mattingly brought to hitting. In spite of his success, he was always tinkering, whether it was utilizing video, changing his swing or taking tips from others. Mattingly was always open to learning…so much so, that his propensity for changing his stance became a running joke.

Secondly, Mattingly has developed a new bat, based on some interesting modifications. This may seem insignificant on the surface, but I think it shows that he is open to new ideas. I honestly think Mattingly is so eager to win the World Series that he'll do anything toward that goal. Ironically, just as Torre was hungry to make the W.S. when he was hired, I think Donnie will bring the same drive (remember, Mattingly, like Torre at the time, has never made the World Series). Basically, I can see Mattingly turning into the Mr. Nice Guy that Torre was, while being more passionate (thanks to his relative youth and lack of accomplishment) and open to new ideas. I was a little leery of Mattingly at first, but I think I was just being protective of him. I think I am ready to give him a chance.

2007-10-24 06:28:35
22.   williamnyy23
20 One other point of interest is that if there has been one person who embodied the "if we don't win the World Series, the season was a failure" philosophy, it has been Derek Jeter. While I have never agreed with that philosophy, I find it hard to absolve Joe of that mandate when everyone else in a position of influence seems to feel that way.
2007-10-24 06:32:39
23.   Sliced Bread
22 thing is, Jeter's probably the only person in the world who really believes "World Series or bust" in his heart and mind. That's what drives him.

It works for him, but it's no way to run a ballclub.

2007-10-24 06:36:45
24.   Sliced Bread
If the idiots who now run the Yankees really believed that "World Series or bust" crap, they should have done the honorable thing and resigned long ago. After all, aren't they responsible for the teams ultimate failure?
Fuggin' nonsense is what it is.
2007-10-24 06:40:25
25.   rsmith51
I think Mattingly might be more "moldable" than Girardi for Cashman. I am sure Cashman and Co. has some issues with Torre that they are looking to fix with the new manager. Has there been any talk what those are?(I have heard the bullpen problems, but that's about it.) If Mattingly can address those areas, it might be a very good match.
2007-10-24 06:42:06
26.   rsmith51
24 Too be fair, they did offer Torre a one-year deal to continue even with W.S. or bust. Of course, they won't be resigning if they don't win it this year, I am guessing.
2007-10-24 06:45:36
27.   ms october
25 I would be interested to hear what Cashman and some of the other baseball people think needs to be done differently - less reliance on some vets? more aggressive?
2007-10-24 06:49:09
28.   RIYank
So, I asked in 2 what exactly it means to regard a season in which a team goes to the WS and loses as a "failure". Several people apparently know what it means, since they seem to agree with the sentiment. But nobody has said what it means.

What exactly would a manager or a player or a GM do differently depending on whether he thought a WS loss was a failure? Or how would his actions differ?

So far, it sounds like empty words. Public Relations. Can anyone say what it actually entails?

2007-10-24 06:49:29
29.   yankz
23 Agreed. I try to have that attitude for things I can control in my own life. It's tough, but it's definitely a good motivator.
2007-10-24 06:50:45
30.   RIYank
Hm, I don't think I want Sliced to answer my 28 question, since the answer "It's nonsense" is pretty much what I am suggesting. I'd love to hear from someone who thinks it isn't nonsense, though.
2007-10-24 06:53:21
31.   monkeypants
24 This is all so tiring. So now they are "idiots" for not bringing Torre back--because he gave a nice interview with Costas?

I for one was not looking forward to Torre's managerial tendencies for yet another season, so I am glad that he turned down their offer.

I am not going to comment on whether their offer was "fair", or whther Torre should have been "insulted," or whether the not-re-hiring was "handled the right way." Those "discussions" are now well-rehearsed and tedious.

2007-10-24 06:58:02
32.   Sliced Bread
27 Pitching, pitching, pitching. More athletic. Shorter contracts for the old guys.

Hitting wise, I'd like to see them think smaller. Choke up against the better pitchers, slap the ball the other way.

The patience at the plate has served the Yanks well, but when the hitters swing they always seem to be going full throttle. I'd like to see them ease off a bit, and try to take smaller bites.

That's Donnie Baseball, but Girardi understands this very well too.

Joe, I think, was more inclined to let the players do their own thing, which is fine, but I'd prefer the new manager to drill the benefits of small(er) ball into their heads, especially the young bucks like Cano and Melk. Anybody who thinks Melk should be hitting more homers isn't helping him or the team.

2007-10-24 06:58:39
33.   monkeypants
27 28 30 Maybe the answer is more complex, since the question is surely more complex. We are all assuming that the mandate is "win this year or you fail." Perhaps the FO (or at least some individuals) argued: "we have failed to win the WS for seven years despite the highest paid players AND coaches in the game, so it's time to move in a new direction."

Now, whether that new direction (that is, new manager) is given a few years to bear fruit is another question altogether.

2007-10-24 07:02:29
34.   51cq24
28 i don't know what you're trying to get at. we all know that the world series or bust idea can't make a team win, can't make a manager change the way he manages, can't make hitters more patient and pitchers throw quality strikes. but when looking back at a season, the yankees' front office can say "this wasn't a success because we didn't win the world series" and then judge why the team didn't win. if they think that joe torre had something to do with the postseason loss (and we all know that that's at least possible), then they can decide to offer him less than what he would get had he made the decisions that would have given the team a better chance of progressing towards a championship.

it's one thing to say that the front office unreasonably expects a world series and then judges players and managers based solely on the fact that a world series was not won. it's very different to say that the front office unreasonably expects a world series and then judges players and managers based on what they did to enable the team to win or not win the world series.

2007-10-24 07:05:18
35.   Sliced Bread
31 Look, if you've been constantly advocating Joe's dismissal for a long time, and I think you have, that could also be perceived as tiresome around here.
It's how you felt, and that's fine.
I think the Steinbrothers and Levine are dipshits. That might already be tiresome to you, but it's not going to change how I feel or express myself. Sorry.

I try not to repeat myself around here, but that's not easy, especially if you're engaged in a discussion with someone you didn't encounter on another day.

In time, I may back off my assessment of the men who run the Yanks, but until then, you might want to avoid posts that begin "Sliced Bread."
I won't take it personally.

2007-10-24 07:08:23
36.   ms october
32 Agreed. The first sentence is essentially in the GM's domain.
I agree about hitting - they need to work on that against the better pitchers so they can be more comfortable doing it in the playoffs. I too would like to see them take more of what they are given - that is if Paul Byrd is throwing BP on his first pitch hit it; if it behooves you to work the count, work the count, etc.
I agree about melky - his goal should be to hit 300, hit 30 doubles and steal at least 20 bases.
I heard John Smoltz say that power pitching and contact hitting wins playoff games - while there is surely more to it, I think there is something to be said for having at least some of that.
2007-10-24 07:13:00
37.   Shaun P
3 (True, Nixon didn't get quite what he wanted, but since then, Souter is the only one who really surprised people. Kennedy did a little, but only in one area.) I can't wait to hear what Cashman says at the press conference when the new manager is introduced.

27 32 You had me up until the "small(er)" ball part, Sliced. I think this sentiment that the Yanks play an Earl Weaver type of "wait for the 3 run homer" ball is a load of crap, completely unsupported by the facts. The Yanks were among the league leaders in SBs, CS %, and sacrifices - the key small ball indicators. Who led the league in batting average? The Yanks. Who had the 5th fewest Ks? Yanks. Who finished 3rd in the AL in singles? Yanks.

Were they also 3rd in BB and 1st in HR, 1st in OBP and 1st in SLG? Yes, but I think that just shows what an incredibly balanced offense they were.

Who on the team goes up there thinking "gotta hit a home run"? The three guys who should - Giambi, Duncan (that is the majority of their games), and A-Rod - the only guy on the team who can hit 50+ homers. You can't tell me Melky, Cano, Abreu, Jeter, Posada, Damon, etc go up there thinking, "Gotta hit a home run".

This whole small ball/homers things is just a red herring.

2007-10-24 07:17:02
38.   RIYank
34
but when looking back at a season, the yankees' front office can say "this wasn't a success because we didn't win the world series" and then judge why the team didn't win.

Okay. So, suppose I look back at a season and think, "All things considered that was a good season, but it wasn't perfect", and then I judge why the team didn't win the WS and think about what could be done to make them better. What is supposed to be the difference between what I thought, and what you said?

Here's an entirely separate question: whether the team lost in the play-offs because of the manager. I think the answer to that question is, No. But it's a different question.

2007-10-24 07:26:39
39.   Sliced Bread
37 Yes, the Yanks hitters did a lot of small and big things very well. The numbers don't lie.
I guess I'm talking more about making adjustments at the plate, and reducing some of the ugly swings we saw. That's not to say their approach was always "gotta hit a home run" but how many times did we see Melky, Cano, Abreu, Jeter, Posada, Damon, swinging and missing from their heels on pitches they could have slapped for a hit?
It happened enough for me to observe an adjustment in approach was called for.
Every hitter has lapses, but as a whole, when the team was struggling (see the start of the season, and the postseason) they were failing to take what the pitcher gives, and seemed to be trying to exert their muscle too much. That's all I'm sayin'.
2007-10-24 07:28:22
40.   JoeInRI
My take on all this, if anyone gives a shite, is that Torre wasn't wanted by Levine and the Bros. Steinbrenner. The contact reflected as much. But, I seriously doubt that Randy, Hank or Hal are astute enough to know what it takes to win a WS, nor did they have specific reasons why Joe had to go.

Winning in the post season is a crap shoot and from 96-03, the Yankess were generally pretty fortunate at it. Luck runs out eventually.

2007-10-24 07:28:29
41.   Andre
I don't think Joe was saying that incentives are insulting. I think he was saying that the notion he "needed" the incentive to win was the insulting thing.

He would have taken the deal, pay cut plus incentives, if they had given him 2 guaranteed years and not implied that he needed more motivation to do his best. I think he felt that he had been doing his best over the past 12 years.

If you believe (as I do) that getting to the postseason is the most you can "expect" of a really good manager (if you can really expect that at all) then you have to agree that Joe did the best he could with what he was given. If you believe that the mark of a truly good manager is winning the world series, then you'd have to agree with the steins that although Torre was great for 4 years of his tenure, he was a failure for the rest.

I side with Joe on this one (as I've said before).

I am not looking forward to management change. I doubt it will be a smooth transition. Time will tell but I wonder how everyone (on either side) will feel next year if we don't make it to the postseason at all.

2007-10-24 07:28:37
42.   williamnyy23
28 At the very least, it means that if the team fails to win the World Series with some regularity, those in management will paid less than otherwise. I think that's a fair position to have, mostly because the WS means a lot more revenue. Any executive who has a hand in managing the team (GM or manager or anything) should be held to that standard. Considering the Yankees are usually paying industry leading salaries in the first place, I don't see that has a particularly tough philosophy.
2007-10-24 07:28:55
43.   weeping for brunnhilde
32 (A very predictable) hear, hear!
2007-10-24 07:30:20
44.   51cq24
38 i agree, it's the same thing. "the season was a failure because we didn't win the world series" is just a stronger statement than "the season could have been better but was still good." i don't think the first prevents a team from analyzing the good things a manager or a player does when the team falls short of a championship. i think it just makes it much clearer that the team's goal is always a championship. and i happen to agree with that goal.

i agree with your answer to the 2nd question. this year, at least. but looking back over the last few years, i think it's a much closer question. regardless, i don't think that is the question they asked and answered among themselves when assembling a new contract offer for torre. i think the question was whether he did everything he could do to make them win in the postseason. which i think is a reasonable question to ask.

that is, it is definitely unreasonable to expect to win a world series every year. but it is reasonable to have that as your goal every year and then analyze why you didn't win after you lose.

2007-10-24 07:30:30
45.   YankeeInMichigan
23 It certainly didn't work for Jeter this year. But has anyone suggested that DJ needs incentives in his contract?
2007-10-24 07:31:14
46.   ms october
37 There are no stats to back this up, but I got the feeling that at least some of the people on you second list approached their post season ABs like that (especially Posada).
I am well aware that the post season is a small sample size, but you have to make adjustments in that window to win.
2007-10-24 07:31:56
47.   JL25and3
22 Derek Jeter has never suggested that he should lose his job because of the Yankees' failure to win another championship.
2007-10-24 07:32:11
48.   williamnyy23
35 You are entitled to your own opinions, but calling two very successful men "dip shits" should come with some backing. A good discussion has give and take, not simply a statement of opinions without some reasoning or logic. You might not agree with the contract they offered Torre, but jumping to the less than flattering conclusions you have advanced would seem to require more substance.
2007-10-24 07:33:50
49.   Sliced Bread
39 The biggest problem with the Yanks, of course, is the pitching.
But they're improving.
2007-10-24 07:34:48
50.   weeping for brunnhilde
39 What you see, sliced, is also what I see, and it's something that jumps out when you watch other teams/hitters do it well.

Sort of like how when you watch another shortstop you really, really see how limited Derek's range is. You watch other teams line basehits off of pitchers' pitches and you start to get jealous.

At least I do.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-10-24 07:34:56
51.   Bama Yankee
37 To me, leading the AL in small ball indicators is like winning a race against catchers. Does it mean you are fast or the other guys are just slower? I'm not sure. How did we stack up against the teams in the NL?

I would like to see the Yankee utilize the squeeze play a little more often (there's probably been more triple plays in baseball than Torre squeeze bunts over the last decade).

I'm not suggesting that the Yankees turn into a NL team, but I wouldn't mind seeing them do a better job of moving the runners over. Working on these things during the regular season helps them be better prepared to use them in the postseason (when the pitchers are better and runs are scarce).

2007-10-24 07:36:16
52.   51cq24
41 isn't the incentive itself the thing that implies he needs extra motivation? the incentive is fine, but the idea behind the incentive isn't? then when would an incentive be ok? when torre gets a 2 year contract. why is it different then?

if you can only "expect" a manager to get his team to the playoffs, does that mean that you can't expect him to do his best once in the playoffs? does he have no effect whatsoever on the outcome of the playoffs? does he get a free pass no matter what he does in the playoffs, because it's unreasonable to expect any more than just getting there?

2007-10-24 07:37:34
53.   Sliced Bread
48 Well, justifying my opinion would require me to repeat my views on how they handled the Torre situation, so I won't.
2007-10-24 07:37:53
54.   YankeeInMichigan
41 Exactly. Levine made it very clear that the reason that they were putting in the incentives was that Torre had not brought them a World Championship in seven years. That was insulting.

The one thing that I do not understand about Torre's position is the notion of a two-year deal being so much more stable (for the manager and players) than a single-year deal. Everyone, including Torre and the players, knows that that a Yankee manager's job is on the line every day. Multi-year deals never provided much stability for Martin, Lemon, Michael, ....

But to Torre's credit, he has been consistent on this stance. The extension that he almost signed in the Spring would have effectively put him in two-year contract.

2007-10-24 07:38:07
55.   RIYank
44 Okay, I agree with all of that!

I'd add: anyone who doesn't have winning the WS as his goal is nuts. That's obviously the goal of every team. For many it's completely unrealistic, but it's still the goal.

So, if "failure" just means you didn't achieve your goal, then of course making the play-offs but losing is a failure. But I simply don't believe that anyone associated with the Yankees doesn't see that as a goal.

2007-10-24 07:38:23
56.   ms october
39 Definitely. And we have pretty much all known that was a weakness the last few year - that is why I have personally been more disapointed with the hitting in the PS rather than then pitching. But as you say they are improving which will help a lot.
2007-10-24 07:40:19
57.   Yankee Fan In Boston
24 if the FO is honestly committed to the "world series or bust" credo, they will reach a deal with rodriguez, regardless of whether he opts out, regardless of the $$$ it would take.

without him, their chances of "busting" increase considerably, don't they?

2007-10-24 07:40:26
58.   51cq24
47 no, but if jeter were in torre's position right now, would he think the contract offered was such an insult that he would be unable to accept it, or would he understand and take it, and be even more motivated than usual next year? i don't know the answer, and i don't think it matters whatsoever what jeter would think. but that is the relevant question, not the one you answered.
2007-10-24 07:41:43
59.   JL25and3
52 That's pure sophistry. No one has said anyone should stop trying, or even be satisfied with losing. It has nothing to do with the attitude once one is in the playoffs.

It has only to do with how you judge performance afterwards. Many of us feel that a 162-game season is a better assessment of performance than a 5-game series.

2007-10-24 07:42:34
60.   ms october
54 My take is that Torre believes he would have been fired after the 2006 playoffs if he did not have another year left, so HE thinks that having 2 years rather than one would keep him from being fired in 2008 if the Yanks got off to another slow start. Obviously, who knows if that is true, but to Torre it made a diffrence.
2007-10-24 07:43:32
61.   JL25and3
{58] Well, he's not offering to give back any of his salary. Nor, for that matter, are fans discussing him as a persistent failure based on his inability to win a championship in 7 years.
2007-10-24 07:45:10
62.   pistolpete
0 'Excited' is one thing. Preparedness is another.

Give me preparedness any day of the week. I'm still in the Girardi camp, even after the two calls.

BTW, has anyone brought up the fact that it may have been Jeter who could have ultimately caused Torre to be let go?

I'm referring to his 'World Series or bust' mantra that he's been repeating since a few years after he won his first ring. Seems like the team came to adopt the same attitude a few years later, and here we are.

Not saying he's directly responsible, but I tend to think this notion became a lot more popular when the Captain kept repeating it year after year...

2007-10-24 07:45:42
63.   JoeInRI
52 Well, you're assuming that the FO knows how to incent Joe Torre. Different things motivate different people. It's merely my opinion that the offer got the desired result: Joe said no.

I think it's ludicrous to assume that Joe has not been "trying" to win these last 5 years. These teams had inherent flaws; starting pitching and the disappearance of their legendary plate discipline in the post season, chief among them. Joe managed as he's always managed. Last century it was good enough, apparently.

I believe that it was time for Joe to go. I think everyone was done a disservice in the way it eventually played out.

2007-10-24 07:46:12
64.   williamnyy23
41 If you believe that, then Joe shouldn't have been given a raise all the way up to $7mn in the first place. If a manager can't be expected to make the difference in the post season, then Torre deserves little or no credit for winning 4 World Series and should never have been rewarded accordingly. You can't have it both ways. In many ways, the incentive contracts helps to bridge the divide (a guaranteed salary for the regular season and incentives for the more random post season).
2007-10-24 07:46:33
65.   YankeeInMichigan
40 Postseason success may be a crapshoot, but it's a crapshoot with weighted dice. The team with the better pitching has a sizable advantage. The Yankees had superior pitching staffs from '96 through '03. They have not had them since.

Granted, their situational hitting prowess has also seemed to vanish. But hitters relax when they have confidence in the guy on the mound. You saw what happened in Game 3 when Hughes started dealing.

2007-10-24 07:48:14
66.   williamnyy23
45 I wouldn't be suprised if his next contract does have them. That's kind of how things work...as you get older and slip a little, incentives take over for guaranteed salary.
2007-10-24 07:49:41
67.   Sliced Bread
48 Oh, and by some standards Kevin Federline is a successful artist.
Are you suggesting successful people can not be defined as dipshits due to their success?
2007-10-24 07:49:52
68.   JoeInRI
64 You're both missing my point. The essence of the contract offer on it's face is that Joe is somehow complacent once the post season starts. That, frankly, is bullshit.
2007-10-24 07:50:36
69.   JL25and3
32 I've been agreeing with you on most of your posts recently, but I'm not in favor of a new small-ball mentality. (Anyone else remember the new-look "speed and defense" team in 1982? What a disaster...) If you want to squeeze a few more times, maybe - but I don't want a "productive outs" philosophy to take over.

And, btw, I firmly believe Melky does need to hit more homers - or, at least, provide more offense in some way - if he's going to be an everyday outfielder. Where I agree with you, though, is that he shouldn't be trying to hit more homers. That doesn't work for anyone.

2007-10-24 07:52:44
70.   51cq24
59 ok, so $5 million for 162 games. no guaranteed money for the postseason, but a bonus if you make it to each stage. isn't that kind of what you're advocating?

61 no one asked torre to give back his money at any point. they offered him a deal that was worth less than his last offer, but was still significantly higher than any other manager's. again, you're extending this to something completely different.

2007-10-24 07:54:11
71.   JL25and3
62 Every player, and every manager, should be trying to win every game, and should consider the championship their only goal. But afterwards, one can look back and judge performance somewhat differently.
2007-10-24 07:54:50
72.   williamnyy23
47 No one suggested Torre should lose his job either. In fact, he didn't.
2007-10-24 07:59:14
73.   williamnyy23
67 No, I am suggesting that calling someone a "name" isn't very useful in a debate, but if absolutely necessary, should come with some support.
2007-10-24 08:00:57
74.   pistolpete
72 Apologies for basically repeating what you said previously - I read the original post, logged in a few hours ago & never saw anything past comment 8 or 9 before I made my own post.
2007-10-24 08:01:28
75.   JL25and3
70 Not so different. You're arguing about details and saying it's not a perfect 1:1 correspondence - and no, it's not. But the basic point is this: no one, not even Derek Jeter, is making the case that he's been a failure for the last 7 years. No one has argued that his salary is excessive because they haven't won a championship. (It is excessive, and has been for years, but not on that basis.) If his contract were up, everyone would understand that his salary should reflect his 162-game performance, not his 5-game flop.

As for his getting incentive clauses: perhaps. But they wouldn't serve as a substitute for his base salary. (I'm not sure if those incentives would be legal in a player contract, but that's moot for our purposes.)

2007-10-24 08:05:34
76.   Max
59 I like the word sophistry.

I'm also done with the twentieth discussion about what an insult and what an incentive is, even though I know I've contributed in an animated fashion to such discussions in the past. I think everyone's positions are pretty hardened at this point.

I still wonder if a full pay, one year deal with a nice incentive (there's that word) for winning the World Series wouldn't have worked, to properly usher Joe out -- I didn't want him back for two years. But I'm probably the only one wondering at this point.

Finally, I feel like I never got a chance to properly let my defenses down for a minute and thank Joe for the time he gave the Yankees, and say how proud I was of the way he handled himself at his final press conference...it was a bittersweet but very moving and riveting hour for me to see him reflect on his career, even while fielding questions about his departure.

I'm looking forward to the new manager, but Joe really demonstrated in the final presser all the qualities of patience, integrity, honesty, and class that made me proud to be a Yankee fan. I hope he has just a few more public interviews, and then quietly considers his next steps. He may be justified in being a little bitter, but he'll hopefully let go and take some time off with his family, and eventually come back rejuvenated and ready to do whatever is ahead next.

2007-10-24 08:06:30
77.   Sliced Bread
73 but I wasn't "debating." I was only expressing an opinion. Again, why should I repeat my views to support an opinion?

For example, if you want to state that Randy Levine is a great businessman, would you feel compelled to repeat why you feel that way about him?

Oh, and please don't...

2007-10-24 08:09:01
78.   williamnyy23
68 Again, just because you think that way (and it might be reasonable to do so), doesn't mean other do, or more importantly, that the Yankees brass does. The way I read the contract is as follows:

1) Torre was paid an average salary of $6.33mn in his last contract as a reward for making 4 of 6 WS. From a business/revenue standpoint, making the WS is the same as making it.

2) Not only has Torre failed to make a WS since 2003, but he has only won 1 playoff series. That has led to a signficant loss of revenue.

3) The Yankees decided that Torre did not deserve to be extended at the same salary level, which had been given to him as a reward. Instead, they lowered his base and offered him incentives for winning series. That way, Torre's salary would be tied toward the team's revenue.

If you believe the playoffs are a crapshoot, then the Yankees should not have rewarded Torre for his success in the playoffs. If you think Torre did deserve that reward, then you have to accept he deserved a cut.

By offering Torre incentives, the Yankees were saying that Joe packs it in during October. Instead, they were saying that management should be paid according to the success level of the team, which directly impacts revenue. I see absolutely no problem with that philosophy. If Torre disagrees with it, it was within his right to walk away. To claim that he was insulted, however, is pretty weak, in my opinion.

2007-10-24 08:09:28
79.   Bob B
It's clear that the Stienbrenner mindset of winning the WS is all that counts flies in the face of recent history. Since 2001 you've had the Angels ( a wild card team) beat a Wildcard team (the Giants), the Marlins (a wildcard team) beat the Yankees,The Redsox (wildcard) beating St Louis, Chicago beats Houston (another wildcard Team) and last season the Cardinals with barely a .500 record beats the Tigers. At best, a gambler looking at this would probably opt to bet on a wildcard team to make the World series every year.
2007-10-24 08:09:54
80.   51cq24
hey, it's not like joe torre was a perfect manager in the regular season. this year he gets a lot of credit for getting them back on track. but a lot of us think that he was at least partially responsible for the awful start. and he certainly relied too heavily upon some relievers throughout the season.
2007-10-24 08:13:50
81.   williamnyy23
77 Why should you provide backing to support an opinion? Well, that's kind of how an exchange of ideas works. Randy Levine's business successes for the Yankees have been well documented (in news stories as well as by me and others here). If you aren't aware of them, I am willing to support my statement. I wasn't aware, however, that Randy Levine or Hank S. being dipshitS was an established opinion. I've never heard you or anyone else refer to them in that manner before.
2007-10-24 08:16:39
82.   williamnyy23
80 Exactly...it is futile to debate whether Torre deserved to come back for another season. I strongly feel as if has been managing on borrowed time for two years. Having said that, I can see the argument for his continuing as manager. There is strong footing on both sides of the argument.

Where this debate has gone, however, is toward whether the Yankees insulted Torre or not. Perhaps that just an easier battle for Torre supporters to fight?

2007-10-24 08:17:09
83.   YankeeInMichigan
39 You are saying that when the team starts struggling, the players start losing a grip on their offensive approach and the entire offense begins to unravel. Isn't it the responsibility of the hitting coach to bring the hitters back into focus?

This pattern began in the 2004 ALCS. Who was the hitting coach then? (Hint: He interviewed for the manager position yesterday.)

2007-10-24 08:17:34
84.   51cq24
79 if the mindset were that you have to win the world series AND have won the division, then you'd have a point. i don't think anyone would care if the yankees, as a wild card team, were in the world series now.
2007-10-24 08:18:48
85.   Sliced Bread
81 I've been calling them dipshits for days. So much so that I've been accused of being tiresome.
At the risk of enforcing that assessment, I think Levine and the Steinbrothers look like dipshits for the way they handled the Torre situation.

If that's not what you consider an "established opinion" now, wait until it really gains steam. I think it will.

2007-10-24 08:19:35
86.   JL25and3
78 I really don't get the whole pay cut justification. If you feel he hasn't earned his pay over the last few years, then I think it's absolutely foolish to re-hire him at all. If he's been a failure, get rid of him. I've always thought that was completely justifiable, even if I thought it was wrong. But the idea of a compromise contract for a half-assed manager is a terrible idea.

Which also addresses 80 . Sure, you can argue that he wasn't a good 162-game manager, but then why would you want to re-hire him at all?

2007-10-24 08:20:58
87.   JL25and3
85 I agree. Whether they are dipshits or not, they certainly made themselves look that way.

Furthermore, I don't see why I need to withhold judgment on any of them. What have they ever done to earn the benefit of my doubt?

2007-10-24 08:21:55
88.   RIYank
65 Yank in Michigan:

The team with the better pitching has a sizable advantage.

I just checked the last ten WS. The team with the better pitching (judged by higher ERA+) won six out of ten. That's an advantage, but not exactly 'sizable'.

The Yankees had superior pitching staffs from '96 through '03.

They did have a better staff than the Marlins in '03. But they lost. In '00 they had a worse staff than the Mets, but they won. In '99, the Yankees' pitching was worse than the Padres', but they won.

I didn't check all of the post-season series, just the WS, so maybe the pitching advantage is more noticeable if you look at all of the match-ups in the post-season. But off-hand it seems to me that the popular view, that pitching is the key in the post-season, is a myth, or at least exaggerated.

2007-10-24 08:22:42
89.   51cq24
82 i don't know, since i agree with you that it's a huge stretch to argue that he was insulted by this offer anyway. i think it's just that torre is such a likable person that when you see that he is insulted you think he must be justified, and it's hard to see it any other way.
2007-10-24 08:25:03
90.   51cq24
86 what i don't get is the all-or-nothing view that is so widespread. you have to either give him what he wants or fire (not hire) him outright. you have to either think he's good or bad. there's no room in between?
2007-10-24 08:25:26
91.   RIYank
82 Where this debate has gone, however, is toward whether the Yankees insulted Torre or not. Perhaps that just an easier battle for Torre supporters to fight?

Huh?
So, you are saying that some people on this list actually believe that Torre should have been re-hired, but they aren't defending that claim; instead they are defending the claim that the Yankees insulted him, because that is an easier battle to fight?

That's what you are saying, right?

2007-10-24 08:29:10
92.   51cq24
88 i think it's more about having consistently good pitching 1-4 and in the bullpen. and i don't really think it's fair to compare the yankees' staff with the mets' and padres' national leaguers. and the padres was in 98.
2007-10-24 08:30:43
93.   tommyl
I have to admit, after reading a bunch of the earlier posts I'm not as down on Mattingly as I was last night. I think my biggest concern with him is really that he's an unknown quantity. Sure, he might embrace sabermetrics and reduced pitch counts and spreading things around, but he might also bunt every chance he gets, give the ball to reliever X every game and pitch Hughes 120 pitches every start. In the couple of games I've seen Donnie manage when Joe was suspended or away I noticed two things:

1. He seems to bunt/hit and run a bit too often early in the game. Usually giving up outs for a single run, I hope he moves away from this.

2. I did notice his BP management was better than Joe's. I seem to vaguely recall an instance where he went to Vizcaino in a higher leverage situation earlier in a game (I think I even commented at the time I was impressed with the move).

I wish we had more of an idea of Donnie's managing philosophy. In particular what's his level of patience for rookies and how long would he stick with a BFOG vet. Is there any info on this anywhere?

And yes, the "managing" games in my head line was just a poor choice of words. Every commenter on this blog has been doing the same. Hell, I could argue Cliff and Alex should be getting interviews.

As an aside, did anyone else listening to the audio chuckle when Donnie starting saying he played for a bunch of managers, starting listing them and then when he got to the fourth one or so just said, "and a bunch of other guys." It reminded me of that old scene in Seinfeld when Steinbrenner starts listing managers and every other one is Billy Martin.

2007-10-24 08:31:49
94.   RIYank
92 Right, sorry: actually, what I meant was that in '99 the Braves had a better staff than the Yankees, but the Yankees won.
I don't understand the other thing you said. You want to compare starters 1-4 plus bullpen, so you'd like to drop the #5 starters from the comparison, is that your point? Or what?
2007-10-24 08:33:05
95.   ms october
Torre said he was insulted - so HE was insluted. Some of us believe he has the right to feel insulted - some of you don't.
I believe there are some dipshits involved -the two things are related for ME.
I hope Torre's appearance on Letterman is it - I am ready to move on from disecting this situation - I don't like the way it played it - but it played out the way it did.
YankeeinMichigan - I am interested to hear more of your opinion 83 about Mattingly as batting coach since 2004 ALCS and what you think it means.
2007-10-24 08:36:56
96.   tommyl
92 94 ERA+ should correct for league and park factors. I do agree that you should drop the #5 starter, or perhaps regard him as the long man and maybe disregard the last couple of guys in the pen. The reasoning being that in the PS you go to a 4-man rotation and in a close game only your top 2 or 3 relievers will pitch.
2007-10-24 08:37:45
97.   51cq24
94 no i meant that an overall era+ doesn't necessarily tell you how the teams matched up 1-4. also, any 1 season is a pretty small sample size. i don't know the answer exactly, but it always seemed to me that the best part about that team was the high quality consistent throughout the pitching staff.
2007-10-24 08:41:06
98.   RIYank
96 So, if you drop the Braves' fifth starter (Odalis Perez, who was terrible) and the Yankees' fifth starter (Irabu, who was quite good), the difference becomes even more pronounced. The Braves were a lot better at pitching in 1999.

I don't really feel like doing that for the other nine WS. And in some cases it would involve a lot of calculation -- Baseball Reference gives the teams' ERA+, but to recalculate it dropping one pitcher would be a real pain.

2007-10-24 08:42:57
99.   williamnyy23
86 While you may not see the logic behind it, that doesn't mean others don't, namely Levine and Hank. It is very possible to want to retain an employee, but at a lesser salary (especially when that salary still outpaces the industry). This happens all the time in sports. Again, you may feel your option would have been to either get rid of Joe/extend him without a paycut, but there is a significant middle ground that can't just be ignored.
2007-10-24 08:44:36
100.   RIYank
97 Overall ERA+ vs Starters 1-4 and bullpen. The difference is that you have to drop the fifth starter. No? What's the other difference?
Small sample size: I don't follow. Those are the ERA+ for an entire season. That's a pretty big sample. I think it would be very difficult to argue that the Yankees had a better staff than the Braves that season. Cone was great, but Millwood was awesome, and the Braves had Smoltz and Maddux with great years and Glavine with a good one. And Rocker and Remlinger in the bullpen. Yikes.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-10-24 08:45:56
101.   williamnyy23
91 I am claiming that Torre supporters (i.e., most media members) are framing the debate as a battle between good and evil because it's a lot easier to win an argument based on the likeability of Joe Torre versus Randy Levine. By framing it that way, Torre supporters can ignore the fact that Torre would still be managing the team if he accepted the offer, and instead focus on the idea of the "insult".
2007-10-24 08:46:34
102.   RIYank
Hm, of course, that was Mo's OMYGAWD year, so I won't say the Braves' pen was obviously better....
2007-10-24 08:49:03
103.   RIYank
101 That is most definitely not what you said.
You said that the 'Torre supporters' are debating whether Torre was insulted, because that is easier to win than the debate over whether he should have been re-hired.

Maybe you want to disavow what you said and instead say something else?

2007-10-24 08:49:13
104.   51cq24
100 you might be right. what i was getting at is that 1 or 2 very good starters (like kevin brown in 98) can bring up the overall era+, and that that doesn't necessarily reflect the overall quality of each pitching staff day-to-day. and you are arguing now about the one particular year each starter had. like millwood. he had a great year. but that's a pretty small sample size, isn't it?
2007-10-24 08:51:01
105.   RIYank
104 Ah. Yes, that is a small sample size for judging the 'goodness' of a pitcher. So it may be that the Yankees had better pitchers that year, only they had better pitchers who happened to have worse seasons.
2007-10-24 08:57:02
106.   williamnyy23
103 Not at all...I don't think my clarification in 101 disagrees with my original statement. It just explains it better.

I absolutely believe the "was Torre insulted" debate is a lot easier to win than the "should Torre remain the Yankee manager" debate. I strongly believe that Torre did not deserve to be re-hired, and feel I could argue that point a lot more successfully than the "Torre was insulted position" because the latter is simply a matter of Joe's image and emotions.

2007-10-24 09:00:09
107.   51cq24
105 also, you are talking about just 2 series. what about the other 14 they won from 96-03?
2007-10-24 09:11:59
108.   Ravenscar
Re: Mattingly vs, Girardi, it's funny. Over on Primer (baseball think factory) the consensus seems to be that Mattingly sounded in his audio as if he was nowhere near as qualified as Girardi, and that changed a number of people's minds in the OTHER direction.
2007-10-24 09:12:52
109.   JL25and3
OK, enough of that argument, again. Here's a historical aspect of the Torre story that hasn't been mentioned: the Ned Hanlon connection.

Ned Hanlon was the greatest progenitor of baseball managers in history. Wilbert Robinson, Hughie "Ee-Yah" Jennings and (especially) John McGraw were real proteges of Hanlon's, but he also managed a host of others, including Miller Huggins for a couple of years, and even Connie Mack for a year. That group in turn produced Stengel, Durocher, Frisch, Ott, Al Lopez and many others.

Almost every ML manager can trace his lineage back to Hanlon. But Torre was the last active manager who could do it in only three steps. Torre played for Bobby Bragan; Bobby Bragan played for Hans Lobert; Hans Lobert played for Ned Hanlon. There may be others again - Art Howe and Ken Macha both qualify - but for now, he's the last.

My favorite lineage takes one more step, but it seems much purer to me. That's because, at each step along the way, one older manager is a major influence on the younger: Ned Hanlon, John McGraw (and Wilbert Robinson), Casey Stengel, Billy Martin, Lou Piniella.

2007-10-24 09:15:35
110.   Ravenscar
re: 108 - I really screwed that up. I was going on what I read HERE two days ago. Well, for what it's worth, opinions do differ. How's that for brilliant?
2007-10-24 09:29:14
111.   ms october
109 So who is the next step?

What is the probabability for Girardi, Mattingly, Pena (I wonder if they interviewed them in alphabetical order)?
I say Girardi - 40%; Mattingly - 45%; Pena - 15%.

2007-10-24 09:30:49
112.   Mattpat11
In the days of mediocrity...er, I mean parity, when teams makes the playoffs be default. I really don't consider making the playoffs a significant success.
2007-10-24 09:41:10
113.   Zack
I really can't face another day of the Joe Torre Great Insult of 2007 Debate, Its turning into the Great Cashmoney Isn't Money Debate of, er, 2007. I don't really care if Joe was insulted or not, hes no longer the manager so for me, I'm looking at who will be managing the team and who IS a Yankee at the moment. At least the WS has a normal schedule this year instead of the crap they devised for the ALCS...
2007-10-24 09:46:39
114.   Zack
No idea if it was posted b/c I can't handle going through the comments to read all the bickering, but Pete Abe has this quote from Hank, on the new manager: "I think the most important thing is, whoever we hire, give him a chance. Because he's not getting the '96 Yankees. He's getting a younger team, and for the most part, it's a transition period, so give him a little while."

To me, that is exactly what he should be saying and a pretty goo indication, at least for now, that he's not his old man.

2007-10-24 09:48:20
115.   JL25and3
113 Except that the Rockies haven't played in a month or so.
2007-10-24 09:48:35
116.   YankeeInMichigan
88 When I said "superior," I did not mean necessarily superior to each of their opponents, but rather superior to most of the league. According to data posted last week by Steve Goldman, the Yankees' ERA+ from '96 through '03 ranged between 1st and 4th in the AL. From '04 through '07, it ranged between 7th and 10th in the AL. Certainly other factors (including timely hitting, blown calls, bad bounces and possibly even managerial strategy) contributed to the Yanks' relative postseason success through 2003 and their failure afterwards, the ERA+ correlation is significant.
2007-10-24 09:50:06
117.   YankeeInMichigan
114 ... yet he was giving Torre a "win it all or else" ultimatum.
2007-10-24 09:50:32
118.   Sliced Bread
114 funny, what Hammerin' Hank Steinbrother said is pretty much exactly what Joe said in response to Hank's hilarious line "where was Joe's career when my father hired him?"
2007-10-24 09:51:22
119.   ms october
114 That is a good quote. How's things where you live?
2007-10-24 09:52:26
120.   ms october
119 * the part about giving the new manager a chance.
2007-10-24 09:52:59
121.   Shaun P
49 51 et al - We seem to have moved past this, but I totally agree the pitching is the number one thing that needs to improve the most. I would also love to see the squeeze play more often, especially because the Yanks have enough "fast" guys (Damon, Jeter, Melky, Abreu, A-Rod, even Cano) to execute it very, very well.

The hitting . . . I'll say this, and nothing more. I think overall the Yanks hitters are doing a number of things 'wrong' in the postseason. I think its the aggregate of those things, as opposed to a couple of them, that is really hurting them.

93 I'm really, really hoping Cashman did what the Devil Rays and Red Sox did when they interviewed Joe Maddon. I got this from a BP Q&A with Maddon, and I'll except just part (with a little paraphrasing by me at the end):

"[S]ome of the topics [the Sox] wanted me to rate in importance were: . . . how to handle a bullpen, and how to handle the media. . . . [T]hey asked about how I'd handle certain situations. . . . [The Devil Rays wanted to know] my thoughts on how to run an offense, how to put together a bullpen, . . . interaction with players . . . [I]t was similar, yet different. [The Sox were exercise-oriented, the Devil Rays did it in Q&A style.]"

2007-10-24 09:53:54
122.   Schteeve
If I were in Joe's shoes, I would have done the same thing. If I were in Levine et al's shoes I would have done the same thing.

So, Joe is gone. It's a little sad. Let's move on.

2007-10-24 09:56:24
123.   JL25and3
114 Looks to me like pretty much the same team, except that it will almost certainly have better pitching.

I hope you're right, though. We'll see.

2007-10-24 09:56:40
124.   Schteeve
112 You have no choice. Outcomes in the postseason are the result of small sample size and luck influenced bs. That's why Billy Beane's shit doesn't work in the postseason.

The principle way to judge how good a team is, is by it's regular season record relative to the rest of the league.

2007-10-24 09:57:52
125.   Sliced Bread
114 I take that back 118 .. What Hank says there is similar to what Joe said when asked to offer advice to his successor.
He acknowledged not every manager would be as lucky to get the '96 Yanks first year on the job.
2007-10-24 10:01:14
126.   51cq24
124 no choice? we all know that the postseason is a small sample size and depends a lot on luck. but mattpat doesn't seem to be comparing the postseason with the regular season, but rather making a statement on the regular season only. i don't necessarily agree with him, but i don't think you have to think the postseason is the best indicator of a player or manager's performance in order to think the regular season isn't.
2007-10-24 10:04:17
127.   51cq24
126 i think the best way to judge a player or manager to consider the things he has actually done, whether in the postseason or regular season.
2007-10-24 10:04:36
128.   51cq24
126 i think the best way to judge a player or manager is to consider the things he has actually done, whether in the postseason or regular season.
2007-10-24 10:10:42
129.   monkeypants
35 et al. My "problem" is not so much with content as to form. I would like to think that my recent comments in defense of the not-re-hiring of Torre have been even-handed albeit exasperated. I don't mind that others disagree. I do find the rhetoric tiresome. "Idiots", "dipshits," "idiot accountants," "fat Stein," and like terminology does little to elevate the conversation or promote the discourse. I tend to enjoy the Banter more when it doesn't sound like the staged "debates" on Fox.

But yes, you are correct--it is a free board and I can just choose to ignore what people have posted. Then again, we often self-police on this board. I apologized the other day for continuing the Rockies-religion discussion when it was clear that the thread had grown tiresome to many of the readers. I have similarly refrained in the last couple of days from posting too much on the Torre drama, since (in my opinion) this horse is dead and rotting. If there ever was any there there, it's not there anymore.

I'm done now. Make fun of the owners with school yard precision if it makes you feel better. Wake me when there is a real story.

2007-10-24 10:14:20
130.   bp1
125 Seems Hank and Joe don't get along so well, eh? Certainly Hank is doing nothing to pave the way for "Joe Torre Day" at the new stadium. There has to be a reason for them to be taking shots at each other outside the fact that Joe and the team are parting ways. These statements sound personal - and well aimed - from both sides.

I'm not sure I'm gonna like the Hank Steinbrenner era, but maybe in 20 years the stadium will be chanting his name like they did his old man's. Or maybe he'll be investigated and suspended for doing really dumb and crappy things to his players.

Interesting days ahead.

2007-10-24 10:23:22
131.   Sliced Bread
130 Oh, I think Hank will hold "Yankee Cigarette Day" at the Stadium (free pack for the first 18,000 fans over 21) before he approves "Joe Torre Day."

Interesting days ahead, indeed -- but if Hank wants to live 20 more years he might want to kick the habit.

2007-10-24 10:32:21
132.   YankeeInMichigan
95 Mattingly's culpability in the 2004 ALCS collapse was first suggested by Steve Goldman in early 2005. Baseball Prospectus' Mind Games book (edited by Goldman) points out that, from the 8th inning of Game 4 on, the Yankees abandoned their offensive approach and resorted to hacking. Goldman, in the Pinstriped Bible, suggested some of the responsibility for this collapse should be placed on the teflon batting coach.

I recall that, on the off day following Game 2 of the 1999 WS, Braves' hitting coach Don Baylor called a special practice, in which he drilled his team on the patient approach needed against the Yankee pitchers and especially against Game 3 starter Andy Pettitte (who, at that time, lived more off the corners than he does today). The session payed off, as the Braves' hitters waited on Pettitte's early-count near misses and took an early lead. (Of course, Chad Curtis and the Yankees eventually came back for the victory.)

Mattingly, during his tenure as batting coach, was effective in tutoring individuals (notably Giambi, Matsui and Cano), but he never seemed to take a leadership role in the team approach to hitting. Such leadership would have been useful in moments of crisis, especially in the postseason.

Mattingly's failure to take leadership in the area that he knows best concerns me as he pursues the ultimate leadership job.

2007-10-24 10:35:25
133.   Sarasota
131 Hank Stein is the gift that keeps on giving......he obviously is dumber than he looks. The Dark Ages have arrived.
2007-10-24 10:35:28
134.   Bags
Just my opinion -- not looking to offend anyone, and you all are welcome to use whatever language you choose -- but i tend to agree with 129 .

One of the things i love about this place is the general lack of name calling. Sets it apart from most of the rest of the sports blogosphere.

Again, just one man's opinion...

2007-10-24 10:54:55
135.   Sliced Bread
129 Well put, but never in the course of Bronx Bantering about Torre (back when he and the subject were still alive to you, that is) did you make an R-rated reference about him, or his abilities to manage the team?
At the height of your frustration with Torre you never let anything remotely similar to "dipshit" fly here?
Hey, if that's the case, I tip my cap.
If not, hopefully, you'll forgive those of us who've resorted to foul language as we've expressed our feelings about the way the way the Yanks handled the situation.
2007-10-24 11:11:12
136.   Schteeve
127 Judging managers and players by the same standard seems nuts to me.

I don't think there is any good way to judge managers. They are at the mercy of their players.

Leyland was a motivational genius last year. What, did he bump his head and forget all that good shit this year?

It's crazy how much time people spend talking about who is going to write out the lineup and change the pitchers.

2007-10-24 11:13:33
137.   monkeypants
135 I don't know if I did or didn't, but it certainly wasn't programmatic. I will be the first to admit my profound frustration with his managerial style, but I don't think that I ever called him "that sunken-eyed" old fool, or the like.

In the more recent discussions of the Torre not-re-hiring I have "defended" the management inasmuch as I think that a dominant narrative emerged that is (in my opinion) oversimplified (evil Steins v. saintly Joe), that both sides (in my opinion) seem to have been intransigent in terms of negotiating poistion (even though the dominat narrative only emphasizes the owners' stubbornness), and that the decision-making process was likley complex--more complex than it has been painted.

You can trace back through my numerous comments in the last week or so and I am pretty sure that I never called Torre and "idiot" or the like; I certainly never tagged him with epithet that insulted his physical appearance or his mental ability.

The issue is not whther not references are "R-rated"--I'm not offended by "bad words." Rather, I am put off by the frankly low intellectual level of the discourse.

As for the "way the Yankees handled the situation"--again, I think much of this has been overblown. I enjoyed (for a while) discussing/debating what options the Yankees did/did not have, and whether they "wronged" Torre in some way. But it's not much of a discussion when the starting point is "those dipshits in the FO are at it again." This tends to control the discourse in way not dissimilar to "when did you stop beating your wife."

2007-10-24 11:16:04
138.   RIYank
107 also, you are talking about just 2 series. what about the other 14 they won from 96-03?

Huh? I wasn't talking about just two series. See 88 .

2007-10-24 11:17:30
139.   RIYank
YankeeInMichigan:
Plainly, other things being equal, it is better to have better pitching.
I just mean to be expressing skepticism about the popular view that the best pitching is what wins in the post-season. Better pitching is important! So is better hitting. Aside from those truisms, I have my doubts. (But I'm willing to be convinced.)
2007-10-24 11:21:38
140.   RIYank
106
I absolutely believe the "was Torre insulted" debate is a lot easier to win than the "should Torre remain the Yankee manager" debate.

But that's not what you said! You said that that's what "Torre's supporters" had shifted the debate to, because that's the one that was easier to fight.

Here's an alternative hypothesis:
The people who have been focusing on "the offer insulted Torre" are doing that because that's what they believe. They think it's debatable whether he should have been re-upped at all, but they think it's much clearer that whatever the decision was it was handled wrong.

My hypothesis attributes no nefarious motives to Bronx Banterers arguing one side. Yours does.

2007-10-24 11:31:34
141.   monkeypants
140 I have a similar but somewhat variant hypothesis. The shift in the discussion grew out of a group dynamic that itself was both part of and produced by the dominant narrative. Hwne the Yankees' were going down in flames, everyone thought that he would get canned. Reporters literally staked out the Yankee offices waiting for it to happen; writers like Pete Abe used terms like "funeral" to describe the atmosphere in the club house; everyone was resigned to the inevitable.

But then things didn't happen immediately. Now in reality, the total time elapsed was actually quite brief (in my opinion), but the reprise heard over and over was that that "if they are going to just fire him, they should do it quickly." Still, the dominant view was that firing (or more accurately, not-re-hiring) was inevitable.

Then, the Yankees appeared with an offer, which was quickly turned down. The rapidity of Torre's actions combined with his public statements made it clear that Torre was insulted with the offer (or at least that was his public position). Those who felt that "firing" was ineveitable had to accommodate the offer with their unshaken view of inevitablility--thus, it was concluded that the offer was bogus, aimed at insulting Torre and forcing him not to accept it. The media also siezed on this because it satisfied two parallel memes: crazy old Steinbrenner and incompetent/mean young Steinbrenners.

At this point the story took on a life of its own, and the discourse was funamentally shaped. It was not nefarious--in that it was plan or consciously motivated. Rather, I would argue the shift in the discussion was insidious. At least that's how I see it.

2007-10-24 11:34:47
142.   Zack
119 Thanks for asking:
Things are much much better today. Luckily, I happen to live in the seemingly perfect spot for the two major fires, right between them but far enough between them that the smoke doesn't hit us as directly and the chances of either fire hitting us is remote. That being said, they closed my campus for the whole week for air quality reasons and there is ash just continuing to fall from the sky. I smell like a campfire after only a minute or so of being outside.

The county in general is in pretty rough shape, but thanks mostly to lessons learned from Katrina and the last major fire 4 years ago (to the week!), all levels of gov't and all agencies involved have responded rather amazingly. I'm not one to normally praise the government or California bigwigs, but everyone, from Arnie to local responders, has been amazing, saving lives and buildings and reaching out. The Q has, by all accounts, been a well stocked, safe, and upbeat place, a far cry from the Superdome (very differnet conditions I know)...

All that being said, the aftermath of these fires is going to be really hard. The fires will probably still be burning in a week and the air quality will be bad for weeks. Thousands of homes totally destroyed (including Dave Justice's FWIW) and, really sadly, lots of animals left behind :(

But aside from some cabin fever, I'm safe...

2007-10-24 11:37:44
143.   RIYank
141 Ummmm.
So, is this right: you think the people who are saying that either decision (re-hiring or saying goodbye) was acceptable, but that it was handled in an insulting way, are sincere, but that they have been manipulated in some way? Or that they are deceiving themselves?

I certainly think that kind of thing can happen. But as a general rule, I prefer not to attribute self-deception unless the evidence for it is pretty strong.

2007-10-24 11:38:15
144.   yankz
Is it last week again already?
2007-10-24 11:40:22
145.   Sliced Bread
137 You're equating my calling them "dipshits" (I think the other insults you're referring to were not mine?) to false accusations of spousal abuse? Talk about a lack of perspective.

Please don't take my comments about the frontoffice so personally. I'm venting frustration with them, not trying to offend or insult you.

If my comments don't rise to your high intellectual level of discourse again, please, by all means ignore them.

2007-10-24 11:40:23
146.   RIYank
144 I think (hope) this is the post morten.
2007-10-24 11:41:03
147.   Andre
williamnyy23, 51cq24

I'm arguing that the "incentives" in his contract (at least in Torre's eyes) were actually bonuses, not truly incentives.

Sure, it's just semantics, but once you label them "incentives" or "motivational," you're positioning the person in a less than flattering light. "Incentive" implies that the person can do better but only if that carrot is dangling in front of them. Anyone who is competitive should have a problem with that concept.

No matter how much incentive you give someone, they can't guarantee a world series title. However, it's appropriate to reward someone for their contribution in accomplishing that plateau (even given the amount of luck involved - this mirrors reality and is a model that occurs in many facets of life).

Giving a bonus for failing to win the world series should not correlate to requiring a pay cut for failing to win the world series. If you give a bonus for a WS win, you should withhold the bonus if you lose. Cutting base or moving more base into "incentive/bonus" category is a slap.

Maybe this is beating a dead horse, but by your responses to my posts you seem to be missing or ignoring the point I'm trying to make.

2007-10-24 11:41:20
148.   RIYank
And by 'morten' I of course mean 'mortem'. It's a, uh, Florentine dialect of Latin.
2007-10-24 11:44:41
149.   williamnyy23
134 Couldn't agree more. Sadly, it seems as if name calling has qualified as a sound argument on this issue. It's one thing to react that way in the heat of the moment, but it's been nearly a week since Torre declined the contract offer.
2007-10-24 11:45:42
150.   RIYank
147 I think that's a good point. I was trying to figure out how to distinguish two different kinds of 'incentives' while I was driving this morning. So the one kind is the 'carrot' kind, right. Here's how I think of the 'bonus' kind.

When a team hires a new, important employee, be he an outfielder or a manager or GM, they have a problem. It's hard to predict how good he'll be. They want his pay to be commensurate with his contribution, but they don't know in advance what that will be. They're afraid they'll get stuck with, to use a painful example, a Kevin Brown situation. But they are not particularly trying to get away with paying the next Albert Pujols (or John McGraw) a pittance. So they write a contract that ties compensation to performance. It's not an incentive, but just a way of making it more likely in advance that they will be paying for what they're getting.
I certainly don't think anybody could be insulted by that kind of arrangement.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-10-24 11:46:06
151.   monkeypants
141 Along these same lines, Pet Abe writes:

Hammerin' Hank Steinbrenner spoke to reporters down in Tampa again today. After years in the background, turns out he's Regis.

On a new manager: "I think the most important thing is, whoever we hire, give him a chance. Because he's not getting the '96 Yankees. He's getting a younger team, and for the most part, it's a transition period, so give him a little while."

OK, so the new guy should get a chance because it's a transition period. But Joe Torre had to get to the World Series.

I can respect the idea that they wanted Torre out. I subscribe to the idea that change can be good. But why didn't they just say, "Joe, we want to make a change. Thanks for everything." Why did they go through the whole thing of pretending to want him?

Purely from a rhetorical perspective, notice the tenor and the way discourse has been shaped--right from the beginning with dismissive "Hammerin' Hank" down to the conclusion that the negotiations were all just a sham.

But, one could read the statement in an entirely different light and see that it makes perfect sense. The FO/owners were not only deciding between Torre v. not-Torre, but also between the fundamental direction the team. They know transition is coming--hell, we all know that a lot of veteran contracts come off the books in the next couple of years and that younger players (especially pitchers) will play a more prominent role.

In this context, the offer of one more year--to give the old regime one more crack--makes a good deal of sense. When the offer was turned down, the FO now can turn its attention more fully to the future.

Read through this hermeneutic, the one year offer might appear as a clever comprimise between past and future, rather than an cynical machination to kill the manager without getting too much blood on the owners' hands.

2007-10-24 11:47:35
152.   monkeypants
143 Not deception..merely discourse "creep."
2007-10-24 11:51:14
153.   monkeypants
145 No intent to equate spousal abuse with name calling, and I think you know that.

My point is that using such terminology, aside from my aesthetic objections, controls the discourse in a way that stifles discussion.

2007-10-24 11:51:35
154.   Raf
132 Even so, from games 4-7, the Yanks scored 4, 4, 2 & 3 runs. They should have won at least one of them. Twice they had the lead late in the game

The games they lost in 2005, they scored 3, 7 & 3 runs. They should've won at least one of them. The game they lost 11-7, they had the lead as late as the 6th inning but the bullpen couldn't hold it.

2007-10-24 11:54:15
155.   Raf
148 And here I was thinking you were talking about placekickers :)
2007-10-24 11:55:46
156.   Raf
142 Glad to hear you and your family are safe.
2007-10-24 11:56:26
157.   williamnyy23
140 I am sorry if it offends you, but I believe it has been a lot easier for the media to defend a friend against the evil Randy Levine than actually consider that he may no longer have been the best man for the job. I don't see how that applies to you personally, or Bronx Banter. We have had the Joe Torre debate numerous times in the past. Even so, I don't think it's unfair to say one argument is a lot more difficult than the other.

147 I understood your point perfectly. I still dont see how you can divorce Torre's salary from the team's advancement in the playoffs when his raises were most likely based on that achievement. Sports is all about pay for performance...why does a pay cut have to be a slap in the face? And, just because Torre perceived it as one doesn't mean that's how it was intended.

2007-10-24 11:59:44
158.   williamnyy23
151 Please don't tell me you are expecting objectivity from Pete Abraham?
2007-10-24 12:04:14
159.   monkeypants
158 Not at all, that's why I can always count on him in this discussion!

; )

2007-10-24 12:13:47
160.   Sliced Bread
I'm pretty sure I came up with Hammerin' Hank before Pete Abe did, but I won't hold that against him.

His Hank as Regis line was pretty damn good, that is, for those of us who indulge in such humor.

2007-10-24 12:16:56
161.   Shaun P
144 yankz - do you feel like you're beating your head against a brick wall? I sure do.

154 Hmmm. Not that ERA is the end-all/be-all measurement for relievers, but I wonder where the '96-'07 bullpens ranked in terms of ERA+?

2007-10-24 12:18:42
162.   singledd
In 2001, with man on first, Mariano fielded a comebacker and threw away a perfect doubleplay ball. Instead of 2 out, there is 1st and 3rd, and we lose the WS.
How, exactly, is this Joes fault?
For Joe as manager, we should consider that a win.

In the last 3 years, the Yankees ERA+ has been UNDER 100. BELOW AVERAGE.
Not the best. Not very good. Not even good.
Below average.

Maybe someone can look how how many teams have won the WS with an ERA+ of under 100.

20 Dude there is SOOOOOO many things wrong with what you said. But let's just stay withing your own warped thinking.

Last year, did the BEST team in MLB win the WS? The Cardinals won.

Why don't you look at the last 20 years and see how many times the BEST team won the WS.

And lastly, their huge payroll has do do with the way the FO made deals, NOT Joe Torre. Its a crapshhot dude. We saw Carmona at his very best. The Indians saw Wang, twice, at his very worst. How can you pin that on the manager?

2007-10-24 12:20:30
163.   Schteeve
Next season is going to be a circus. What with the emergence of Big Stein 2.0.
2007-10-24 12:26:24
164.   RIYank
singledd 162 , in the last ten years, a team with a sub-100 ERA+ has won the WS just one time. It was the Cardinals, last year, with a 98. That was almost surely the worst team to win the WS in recent memory. Their OPS+ was 101. They outscored their opponents by 19 runs during the regular season! (Obviously, La Russa is a genius.)

The easy resource for this is Baseball Reference. Go to the postseason page -- each post-season team is linked there.

2007-10-24 12:27:23
165.   RIYank
Hey, I just realized, it's pretty cool that post #162 was (at least implicitly) advocating that we look at the regular season to make our evaluations...
2007-10-24 12:31:35
166.   singledd
37 and 39 Shawn... good point. Good backup. I think you are correct. However, I will modify SlidedBreads idea and say: The different approach is valid with 2 strikes and especially with 2 strikes and man/men on.

Before 2 strike, with quality batters like we have, you don't want to handcuff them. However, with 2 strikes, I think most batters must think less about 'driving the ball' and more about contact. With man/men on, your don't wan't to strike out. If you hit the ball, not matter how poorly, there's a good chance someone will advance.

Gonzo choked up about 3 inches in 2001. It was a shitty hit, but it was enough. Had he been looking to 'drive the ball', history may have been different.

When you have man on 3rd and a guy strikes out? OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!! A batter HAS to make contact in that situation. That one situation alone, has lost us a number of games this year, and maybe the ALDS.

2007-10-24 12:32:19
167.   Shaun P
163 Actually, I think it will only be a circus IF the Yanks get off to a bad start, or play poorly the first couple of months.

If the Yanks are doing well, I expect the Steinbrothers will keep their mouths shut.

2007-10-24 12:32:54
168.   monkeypants
164 That's interesting. The standard stat-type response (and one that I have used frequently) is that run differential is the key, so weak pitching is OK if you have overwhelming offense. But that of course flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which posits that pitching is more important in the off season.

I wonder how many great pitching, no hit teams have won it all?

2007-10-24 12:36:40
169.   Shaun P
166 "When you have man on 3rd and a guy strikes out? OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!! A batter HAS to make contact in that situation. That one situation alone, has lost us a number of games this year, and maybe the ALDS."

I tend to agree - when you get a runner to 3rd and less than 2 outs, its crazy to not score at least 1 run - but I wonder exactly how many games that has cost the Yanks over the year(s). Unfortunately, I don't have the time to go through retrosheet data and find out. Anyone up for a research project?

2007-10-24 12:42:19
170.   monkeypants
169 And doesn't it depend on the game situation? If a man is on third and there is one out in the first inning, I sure as hell want A-Rod or Abreu to try to drive the ball. If it's a tie game in the ninth, I would like to think they can just make contact.
2007-10-24 12:42:51
171.   RIYank
168 Monkeypants, first:
The White Sox, of course, were a lousy-hitting team with a tremendous team ERA+, in 2005. (ERA+ 124, OPS+ 95.) But their opponents also were lousy hitters (OPS+95) with VG pitching (120).
Nobody else has won in the past ten years with OPS+
<100.

I would think that run difference is the best predictor, too. But, oddly, the team with the better run difference has lost more often than it's won in the last ten WS! (I suspect this is just small sample size, and I'm not going to check every single post-season match-up to get a bigger sample.)

2007-10-24 12:44:59
172.   RIYank
169 The thing is, if you found out how many games it cost them, you would also have to find out how many games they would have lost if they traded some base hits and some unproductive outs in those situation for productive outs. You see what I mean? It's quite plausible to me that we notice the unproductive outs and they stick in our minds, but the hits they get that later produce extra runs, we don't remember.
2007-10-24 12:45:52
173.   YankeeInMichigan
154 By "late in the game," I presume that you mean the 8th and 9th innings, which turned out to be the "middle innings" in those games. A championship team has got to be able to score a run between the 8th and 14th innings, especially when a couple Wakefield knucklers are getting by Varitek each inning. Mo blew his saves in Games 4 and 5, but the back of the bullpen (Esteban Loaiza and Co.) did a pretty good job holding the Red Sox down. Those games were ultimately lost by the hitters' inability to get the go-ahead run across. After Game 6, Bernie Williams was asked what Curt Schilling was doing differently from Game 2. Bernie responded, "He wasn't doing anything different. We just weren't hitting." In Game 7, the pitching broke down (Vazquez and Brown), but the offense certainly didn't help. In 2005, defense was the biggest culprit (at least in Games 2 and 4), but the offensive approach was missing as well (especially in Game 4).

Regardless, if your point was that pitching was the Number 1 problem, I wholeheartedly agree. The Yankee pitching staffs of 1996-2003 would most probably have covered for the sputtering offenses and won most of the series of the past few years. Recall that, in the 2001 World Series, the Yankee offensive performance was as anemic as any, yet the team still came within three outs of a World Championship.

2007-10-24 12:48:19
174.   monkeypants
171 Maybe using RS/RA is the problem? It tacitly invokes the pythagorean formula--which works very well as a predictor for team success over the long haul. But maybe OPS+/OPSa+ or some other metric is better for predicting shorter series?

I also wonder with RS/RA: huge blowouts will distort the run differential more than shut outs, so a couple of 12 run games will make a team look better on paper than a few shutouts--though both events are probably about as rare.

2007-10-24 12:51:10
175.   YankeeInMichigan
168 171 Start with the 2001 Diamondbacks. How about the 1969 Mets?

Run differential is skewed by blowouts against week pitching teams, which are generally irrelevant in the post-season, where most games are against winning teams' top 3 pitchers.

2007-10-24 12:53:04
176.   monkeypants
175 Not only weak pitching teams, but simply weak pitching. You rarely face the opposing #4 and #5 in the playoffs. Heck, depending on offdays and if your starters are named Johnson and Schilling, you seem only to face the opposing #1 and #2.
2007-10-24 13:01:16
177.   singledd
44 "that is, it is definitely unreasonable to expect to win a world series every year. but it is reasonable to have that as your goal every year and then analyze why you didn't win after you lose."

Very good. I believe it is good to strive for 'perfection', but only under the understanding that it won't be reached much of the time. If you strive for 'perfection', your odds of succeeding are simply better then if you only strive for mediocrity.

It is above motivation to achieve lofty goals. But it (perfection) in itself, should not be judged. Judge the striving... that's important. But the outcome is often out of our control. (Can you say midges?)

However, I really think this is about the FO and not the players or managers. There are some teams that simply to not have the talent to win. The players and managers may indeed be 'striving' to play their very best. In is up to the FO to strive and succeed at puting a winning team on the field.

Here's a simple formula. It tells more about a teams chances of winning then does a manager or any one player.

ERA+ WS
For Javascript folk, thats
ERA+ < average != WS

2007-10-24 13:03:21
178.   yankz
Maybe the 06 Cardinals are just an aberration. I would bet that the average run differential for a world champion is pretty substantial.
2007-10-24 13:04:11
179.   singledd
WTF... how did that happen. EDIT!

ERA+ < average NOT= WS
For Javascript folk, thats
ERA+ < average != WS

2007-10-24 13:05:42
180.   YankeeInMichigan
176 The Yankees didn't exactly knock down the barn doors against Anderson or Battista either. A weakness of the Yankees teams of recent years is that often when they have run into good pitching, they have taken another week or two to snap back into their offensive rhythm. How many times have trips to Oakland kicked off 10-day slumps? Clearly, more offensive resilience is needed in the postseason. You may be shut down by Sabathia and Carmona, but you need to be able to bounce back and pound Westbrook and Byrd.
2007-10-24 13:06:38
181.   monkeypants
178 No doubt. But I also wonder, if one had the time to look at all post season series, if teams whose positive run differential came more from good pitching than good hitting had a better track record of success?
2007-10-24 13:10:44
182.   yankz
Anyone think the NY media is a little overrated? Would Pete and Lupica really intimidate you? I don't know, I've never been there, but I imagine that as long as you're not a moron jackass,the pressure from Steinbrothers would be much worse.

FWIW, Olney votes Girardi: http://tinyurl.com/25khzb

2007-10-24 13:15:52
183.   pistolpete
182 "Girardi's press strategy as a catcher playing for the Yankees seemed to run along these lines: He was always genial and always available and kept reporters at arm's length while not really telling much more than they already suspected, and there was an air about his answers that suggested that he felt that he knew more than you did (and presumably he did)"

Shouldn't ALL managers have this 'air' about them? If they don't, they shouldn't be managing the team!

2007-10-24 13:33:46
184.   Murray
182 Votes? I didn't know we were having an election. Can I cast a write-in vote for Earl Weaver? Just kidding.

130 Yankee Cigarette Day is a good idea, but I think it would have much more marketing impact if it were the first 18,000 fans 21 and younger.

2007-10-24 13:36:24
185.   JoeInRI
If they ever have Yankee Bong Hits For Jesus Day, I'll buy . . .
2007-10-24 13:38:43
186.   Murray
185 Johnny Damon will grow his hair long again for that, right?
2007-10-24 13:40:17
187.   JoeInRI
186 Johnny Damon had long hair?
2007-10-24 13:40:58
188.   yankz
187 Who are the Yankees?
2007-10-24 13:43:16
189.   JoeInRI
188 A pejorative name for anyone living north of the Mason-Dixon?
2007-10-24 13:43:45
190.   Bama Yankee
188 Karim Garcia
2007-10-24 13:44:58
191.   JoeInRI
190 Blasphemer!!!
2007-10-24 13:54:24
192.   yankz
As much as I'd like to see the Rockies sweep to complete the miracle, I think I'd rather see Boston blow a 3-0 lead and lose in 7.
2007-10-24 14:02:55
193.   Bama Yankee
189 The pejorative name usually has something in front of Yankees.

The classic joke down here has always been that southern kids are usually in their teens before they realize that "damn yankees" is actually two words... ;-)

2007-10-24 14:11:22
194.   ms october
Thamks YankeeinMichigan 132 - I have kind of heard that but had not read those sources. I guess part of it is the difference between a coach and an instructor.

142 Good to hear - it sounds pretty bad out there.

182 Considering *1 was such a challenge - probably not - it's definitely the quantity rather than the quality for intimidation.

2007-10-24 14:54:24
195.   51cq24
182 194 yeah i think it's that there are so many. maybe "intimidate" isn't really the right word. frustrate?
2007-10-24 15:47:08
196.   standuptriple
I think I'm going to need some BFOG+ to stomach another RedSox WS win. Go Rockies!
2007-10-24 15:57:26
197.   Chyll Will
The way decisions have been made the last few years, my only question now is how many organizational meetings does it take to screw in a light bulb?
2007-10-24 16:48:23
198.   yankz
Yankees expanding to Israel:

http://tinyurl.com/2hs8jv

2007-10-24 17:01:00
199.   ms october
Anyone listen to Pena's conference call?
"Any day you get to talk about baseball is a good day."
His call was shorter than the other ones.
I like his mentality.

Here's hoping the Rockies have a few runs by 8:30pm.

2007-10-24 17:19:29
200.   yankz
If I misheard, forgive this rant. But I don't think I did.

Question asked to Pena: "How deep has your desire to manage been?"

WHAT THE FUCK?!?! Did he really expect Pena to say anything other than what he did? "Eh, I guess it'd be okay. I don't really care one way or the other."

Seriously, there are non-controversial questions that don't make you look like an idiot.

(If I misheard, then I guess I'm the idiot.)

Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2007-10-24 17:25:46
201.   bp1
Not sure if Hank Steinbrenner's comments have been beaten to death or not, but I thought it odd that he would say something like:

" think the most important thing is, whoever we hire, give him a chance. Because he's not getting the '96 Yankees. "

Maybe I see things through rose colored glasses, but I thought the '07 team was pretty darn good (70-30 at the end, lead the league in all meaningful offensive categories, the rise of Joba, Phil, and Ian, etc.).

What is he trying to say? The '08 team won't measure up? I mean - wtf?

2007-10-24 17:30:37
202.   51cq24
what a joke that they waste so much time when it's supposed to rain later
2007-10-24 17:36:17
203.   tommyl
199 200 You know, there's just something about listening to Tony Pena that makes me smile. That man lives and breathes baseball. I don't know about his strategic inclinations, but I gotta admit it, part of me thinks it would be great to see him managing the team.

BTW, with all the Latin players on that other NY team, Tony could be a great fit there as well.

2007-10-24 17:37:41
204.   yankz
I'd pass up Jessica Alba's hand in marriage to see the Sox blow a 3-0 lead.
2007-10-24 17:40:36
205.   ms october
200 The questions are unreal.

202 They should have let Rudy throw out the second pitch and waste another 10 minutes.

203 Yeah - he makes you even more excited about baseball.

2007-10-24 17:41:46
206.   tommyl
205 Maybe that's what this team needs, sounds like playing for him would be like baseball nirvana as a player.
2007-10-24 17:44:01
207.   yankz
Beckett K's the side. Thank god I'm not watching on TV.

This one's pretty much over.

2007-10-24 17:49:00
208.   ms october
207 And Pedroia leads off with a homerun. Guess it is going to be a Law & Order night.

204 Get ready to give up on her.

2007-10-24 17:53:32
209.   yankz
I blinked, and all of a sudden, it's 2-0 Sox.

Hey, I want them to win. More chance of them pulling an '04 Yankees.

208 "Never give up!" -Michael Scott

2007-10-24 18:00:15
210.   yankz
With the way this offseason is going, Beckett will strike out 27 straight batters and the Sox will win 21-0.
2007-10-24 18:01:38
211.   ms october
206 Baseball nirvana sounds good. I don't know who I want to be the next managaer much less who would make the best manager, but there is something about Tony Pena I really like.

209 I realize it is the first inning of the first game, but I don't think it is a good sign. 3-0 is quite possible. So if you want to see the Sox blow a 3-0 lead - say goodbye to Jessica Alba-yankz

2007-10-24 18:03:19
212.   yankz
211 I'm a little confused, so I'll just link to 204 and leave it at that.
2007-10-24 18:08:07
213.   yankz
Josh Beckett has struck out the first four batters.
2007-10-24 18:08:45
214.   yankz
Our Hero Garrett Atkins doubles!
2007-10-24 18:10:45
215.   ms october
212 Okay, Sorry - just meant I am being pessimistic and think the Red Sox are going to jump out to 3-0 series lead. I too would love nothing more to see them blow the lead - in fact I will turn down the guy who played Reggie in the Bronx is Burning to see that happen, and I am afraid you will have to turn down Jessica Alba as well to make it happen.
2007-10-24 18:12:00
216.   yankz
Jeter fan Tulowitzki gets The Miracle Rox on the board with a double of his own!
2007-10-24 18:14:07
217.   yankz
Beckett has an in-game K/9 of 22.50.
2007-10-24 18:16:25
218.   OldYanksFan
201 This is pure CYA. Yeah, every year that they don't win the WS is a failure, except, of course, the year after DARY 'fires' Torre. So IF the Yanks don't make the PS this year, Little Stein can always point this this statement.
2007-10-24 18:17:02
219.   ms october
Guess it is basically doubles or strike-outs. Maybe that will work.
2007-10-24 18:17:19
220.   OldYanksFan
204 What about the rest of her?
2007-10-24 18:27:20
221.   OldYanksFan
'Give him a little while," Hank Steinbrenner said, "We want to win the World Series every year. We're not stupid enough to think we can do it. Of course, we'd love to win the World Series next year."'

From WW: The Yankees rotation in 1996 was Andy Pettitte, Kenny Rogers, Dwight Gooden, Jimmy Key, and David Cone. From that group, only Pettitte and Cone were outstanding that season - and Cone was limited to 11 starts.

I think the Yankees rotation in 2008 has a chance to match that group - or better it. And, the Yankees offense in 2008 will be better than it was in 1996, for sure.

Hank is just setting the bar low here - so that his hire looks good next season.

Hey William... read this and think. It is OK to call these guys DipShits now?

2007-10-24 18:27:56
222.   yankz
Why do you hate winning, Jeff Francis.

220 Ooh, thanks for the loophole.

2007-10-24 18:28:19
223.   yankz
221 Will all of you please give it a break?
2007-10-24 18:55:31
224.   OldYanksFan
223 Excuse me. You don't think it's relevant that after reinforcing the 'Yankee Mission Statement' that anything except the WS is failure, and using this doctrine to explain how Torre was handled, that within a week he releases this statement?

Read the last line of 201 .

The 'Torre is gone' subject may be a deadhorse, but the new era of DARY is brand new.

Personally, if PhilJobaKen don't get injured, I think this is the best team we've had in a while, especially considering that this winter we do NOT have to go after SP, we do NOT need to sign a big impact guy, we simply need to resign guys who were all on tract to stay a month ago, and get 2 or 3 guys for 1B and the BP.

I think we SHOULD be in good shape. Here's how I read that statement.
"Now that we don't have Joe Torre, we can talk about NOT winning the WS"

You don't think this is relevant?

2007-10-24 18:57:59
225.   ny2ca2dc
221 isn't William the one usually defending, if not the stienbrothers per se, their process, decisions, etc.
2007-10-24 19:01:54
226.   Chyll Will
223 ,224 I just like the fact that the word "dipshit" has been tossed around more than a Nerf today. It reminds one of a car's dipstick with a muddy corn-dog stuck to the middle. Dukes of Hazzard-type of talk. If Roscoe T(?). Coltrane used that word more often, then maybe he would've caught those Duke boys a lot sooner. Dipshit-disphit-dipshit.... >;)
2007-10-24 19:07:27
227.   Chyll Will
226 Guiliani, Guiliani, Guiliani... it rhymes!
2007-10-24 19:11:11
228.   Chyll Will
224 DARY... Dipshits Are Running Yankees? Where can I get that shirt?
2007-10-24 19:16:03
229.   Chyll Will
Okay, it's safe to post again; I'm going to bed (early call-time again) g'nite!
2007-10-24 19:16:33
230.   yankz
224 I think "Hey William... read this and think. It is OK to call these guys DipShits now? "

is petty baiting and unnecessary.

2007-10-24 19:29:54
231.   OldYanksFan
230 Fair enough. What about the rest of the post? And in reference to the above, there has been plenty of name calling here over the year, a lot nastier the D*Sh. I kinda wondered why the Bad Words police suddenly readed it head... especially in defense of DARY
Dysfunctional Accountants Ruining the Yankees.
2007-10-24 19:35:03
232.   Bama Yankee
226 That would be Roscoe P. Coltrane (yes, I know that being an expert on the Dukes of Hazzard probably makes me a redneck according to Jeff Foxworthy)...
;-)
2007-10-24 19:35:36
233.   OldYanksFan
I didn't expect the Rockies to beat Beckett at Fenway, but this just reminds me of the horror I'm in for. Living north of Boston, I won't be able to turn on the TV until April without constantly hearing about the 'World Champion' Red Sox. It's really bad.

I'll just have to hope for some seriously bad blizzards this winter.

2007-10-24 19:42:26
234.   Chyll Will
232 ...zzzzz but you're our redneck, and that's all that matters zzzzz... ( I kinda knew that too, but not really, so I'm just going back to sleep)

231 I know I'm sleepy, but "readed it head.." ?

2007-10-24 19:49:25
235.   Zack
And thus we see the weak spot of the Rockies: crap ass pitching. Game 2 was always their best shot, but when your game 1 start has an era of 4.2 and your facing the Sox lineup, well any Al lineup, you're in trouble.

Me, I honestly can't wait for ST, even if the Sox win the WS, because I am 100% confident that the Yankees, with the big 3 kids, can beat the Red Sox next year. Its just getting to ST thats gonna be hard...

2007-10-24 19:54:33
236.   Bob B
From what little we've heard from the little Steinbrenners it looks like a rerun of the 80's. First we'll get Don, not quite HOF, Mattingly to coach because he's a "real Yankee". Forget the fact that his leadership resulted in 1 trip to the playoffs in his final season. No playoffs but lots of second place finishes. It's almost funny: the Yankee front office is as dysfunctional as the Redsox were under Duquette and now the Redssox are the new Yankees. Anyone want my season tickets?
2007-10-24 19:59:25
237.   underdog
I wouldn't make assumptions on how this whole series will go. The only thing we know for sure is that Joe and Tim and Ken Rosenthal will be inane and wrong throughout most of it.

The Rockies pitching was actually outstanding for a month. But they're facing a hot team on the road, after a long layoff, against arguably the hottest pitcher in baseball. Still... this is awful. I hope they show up for the next game.

2007-10-24 20:05:41
238.   yankz
231 I don't give a rat's ass about the name calling.

236 Fuck yes I do.

232 I posted a Carlton dance video on Bad Altitude. Nobody appreciated it :(

2007-10-24 20:08:58
239.   OldYanksFan
236 Bob... over the last 6 years, Barry Bonds has had some of the greatest years in the history of baseball, even besting the Babe in many categories. The Giants, meanwhile, manage to play in ONE WS.

Do you think ONE player, regardless of how talented they are, cano 'lead' a team to the WS? This is a team sport. This is baseball, not Tennis. Before Donnie got hurt, short of ARod, he's the greatest player the Yankees have had. That's not good enough for you?

2007-10-24 20:10:55
240.   OldYanksFan
236 However, I fear your first sentence may be correct. I pray not.
2007-10-24 20:11:45
241.   yankz
239 "Before Donnie got hurt, short of ARod, he's the greatest player the Yankees have had. "

Messrs. Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle would like a word.

2007-10-24 20:17:53
242.   OldYanksFan
241 I meant SINCE Mattingly.
2007-10-24 20:21:06
243.   yankz
242 Still doesn't make sense, but I gotcha :)
2007-10-24 20:38:24
244.   OldYanksFan
241 In the last 25 years? 1973 AS? 1968 PM?
2007-10-24 20:40:57
245.   OldYanksFan
Well... this should be a good wake-up call for the Rockies. Ya ain't playin' the National League anymore.
2007-10-24 20:44:42
246.   thelarmis
204 don't worry yankz, i got yer back, and i'll grab her hand and hold it for eleventy lifetimes! ; )

245 OYF - from last thread -- go back to www.hudsonmusic.com and click "solo of the week". yeah, don't click on the video screen itself (i did that, too!) -- click just to the right of it on "Papa Jo Jones"'s name and...voila, heaven on your screen! : )

i figgered the scum sux would sweep the WS once they won Game 5 in the Land of Cleve... i also called the 4 in a row when they won Game 4 in '04. ugh. : (((((((

listening to Zappa to try and feel better. i think the Sierra Nevada is helping more though! ; )

2007-10-24 20:49:43
247.   Bob B
239 Gee,I didn't know Donnie Baseball was in the Hall of Fame with Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Berra, Mantle etc. To me he was just the best player on a string of mediocre Yankee teams that won nothing over his "career". And as for Guys after Mattingly I think Tino was better, Bernie was better, Jeter obviously better, Posada better. And I wasn't talking about one player. I was talking about how the Steinbrenner's will screw the team around just as George did in the past. Don't forget, George walked into the 77-78 Yankees and once he got really and truly involved we had the 80's-lots of overpriced overhyped ballplayers who did not finish first one time. Only after George was thrown out of baseball were Stick and Buck able to build the 1996-2001 Dynasty. The whole Steinbrenner family are the proverbial guys born on third base who thought they hit a triple. The Torre fiasco is just the beginning of the nightmare. Even people who didn't want to see him back, and I admit to being only 50-50, know that these guys showed no class and no intelligence and watch, they'll pick Donnie baseball to screw up the last year of the old stadium and the first years of the new stadium. I'm not bitter-I just think these guys are brainless losers. And I don't think much of Mattingly. I've heard him talk and he sounds dumb.
2007-10-24 21:26:08
248.   OldYanksFan
Player ..BA. .OPS+
DJeter. .317 122
Posada .277 124
TMart.. .271 112
Donnie .307 127

Tino isn't even close. Jetes is about even adding SBs, but Donnie was one of the top glove men in the last 50 years.

And Donnie was the best HR hitter in the group, although those dipped after he hurt his back.

I don't have VORP numbers, but anything position adjusted with make Jetes and Posada look better then above. It's probably close, depending on how much defense comes into play. Tino? Really?

2007-10-24 21:28:38
249.   OldYanksFan
Oops. Forgot Bernie

Player ..BA. .OPS+
DJeter. .317 122
Posada .277 124
TMart.. .271 112
Donnie .307 127
Bernie .297 125

2007-10-24 21:31:36
250.   yankz
248 Please don't call him "TMart."
Show/Hide Comments 251-300
2007-10-24 21:35:24
251.   OldYanksFan
247 As far as Big Stein goes, you are preaching to to choir. I literally danced when I heard he was thrown out of baseball. I credit him for ruining the team and the reputation the Yankees had.

The truth is, the only things that saved George from totally destroying from franchise, were, as you said, 'Stick and Buck able to build the 1996-2001 Dynasty', and Joe Torre.

2007-10-24 21:55:57
252.   monkeypants
248 Love Donnie Baseball, was my favorite Yankee as a teen, 1985 was my favorite season of all time. He's not even in Jeter's or Posada's or Bernie's league. They all have pretty similar OPS+, but Mattingly playeed 1B and the other three play(ed) the hardest defensive positions in the game. And even if Mattingly was the greatest 1B glove ever, a slugging mediocre defensive catcher or SS or CF is more valuable. Plus, Mattingly only had a handful of truly outstanding season, followed by some average and real stinker seasons. Jeter-Bernie-Jorge have been much more consistently excellent.

Now Tino? That's another story.

2007-10-24 22:25:19
253.   yankz
OPS+ adjusts for position...
2007-10-24 22:46:05
254.   monkeypants
253 I don't think so, unless I misunderstand the glossary entry on baseball-reference.
2007-10-24 22:49:13
255.   yankz
254 Yeah, I don't know where I got that. Which is weird, I have thought that for a very long time now. In my defense, I have been awake for nearly 20 straight hours.

Wikipedia's definition: "An OPS+ of 100 is defined to be the league average. An OPS+ of 150 or more is excellent, while an OPS+ of 50 or less is poor."

Um...50 is exactly what Tony Womack had in his legendary 2005 season. That's somewhat worse than poor.

2007-10-25 04:37:10
256.   bob34957
5 You said a mouthful: Girardi will be forceful and let upper management know his intentions. Mattingly will be similar to Torre. Question, Does management want to continue on the Torre path with Donny, or get a firey leader like Joe?
2007-10-25 05:57:16
257.   williamnyy23
221 I see no problem with the comment. Depending on the off season, the 2008 Yankees could very well be a transition team. After all, Hank didn't demand Torre win the World Series...he just only wanted to pay him $8mn for doing so. I am sure whomever takes over wont be insulted by those horrible incentives.

224 Your response is ironic because all summer you argued that people questioning Torre were ruing the Banter by repeating themselves over and over. Of course, I agree that all topics should be open to those who discuss them. I am just glad I don't have to be on the ranting end any more.

2007-10-25 06:05:18
258.   williamnyy23
255 More specifically, an OPS+ of 150 is 50% better than an OPS+ of 100 (or league average). Similarly, an OPS+ 50 is only half as good as a league average player. That's not poor...it's god awful, which, is synonymous with Tony Womack.
2007-10-25 06:30:29
259.   williamnyy23
Here's an interesting take on the Torre departure. It seems not every member of the media is a FOJ.

http://tinyurl.com/yonhwg

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