"The great thing about baseball is that there's a crisis every day." Gabe Paul
That goes double for the Yankees, especially after another crushing playoff defeat. Before a long winter of more A Rod mishegoss, of trade talk and free agent signings, the first order of business in Yankeeland is the future of manager Joe Torre. The belief is that George Steinbrenner will can Torre and replace him with one of his longtime favorites, Lou Piniella. If that happens, Torre's run as Yankee manager, one of the more remarkable stories in the Steinbrenner Era, will finally come to an end. The Boss was in New York yesterday and issued a predictably terse statement.
According to an article by Joel Sherman and George King in the New York Post:
Steinbrenner was described by sources as trying to cool off yesterday from the Yankees' ouster on Saturday as a way to assure that his decision about Torre is not rash. However, in a brief conversation with reporters at his midtown hotel yesterday, Steinbrenner clearly had not morphed into a Torre ally.
Steinbrenner said, "We will see what happens" when queried about Torre's future. When asked about why he is waiting to make a decision, The Boss responded, "I am going to think it over." Steinbrenner said, "No, I don't have to" give Torre a vote of confidence.
The Yankees' owner will return to Tampa today where he is expected to meet with executives to discuss what to do with Torre.
"It seems like the great job he was doing all year, all that's forgotten," Jackson said in a telephone interview.
"I imagine you could blame a guy for making bad moves, but I don't know how you can blame a guy for the team going 20 innings in a row without scoring a run. I don't know how you get to be a bum when those things happen. Like him or not, agree with his decisions or not, that's what happened."
Torre has enjoyed a terrific run of success with the Yankees, still there have been some fans who are ready to see him go (though I imagine if Torre gets the boot, there will be a great cry from other fans which will only help cement Torre's legend). They are not alone. Some writers, like Mike Lupica, and Tim Machman, think it's time for him to go as well. Over at SI.com, John Heyman writes:
There is no evidence Torre will survive this time. Some folks within the organization say they can see Brian Cashman, his longtime ally, fighting to save him. But even if Cashman, who himself has surely noticed Torre's strategic failings this season, puts up a fight, it's a losing fight now and can't be based on anything beyond abject loyalty, nostalgia and a sense of debt.
Torre became a Hall-of-Fame manager here with a stunning four titles in five years. But he was always better with personalities than strategy. This year, he failed on both accounts. Club officials have noticed how Torre failed to get the best out of Rodriguez, and Torre's frustration showed on his lineup cards in the playoffs, insulting the superstar player Cashman acquired by batting him sixth, then even moving him to eighth. By Game 4, when Rodriguez was in the No. 8 hole, it actually seemed like more of a message than a strategy. In any case, it was a desperate act.
Bob Klapisch talks about how Torre has lost touch with his players. Gary Sheffield was puzzeled by Torre's decision to move Rodriguez to eighth in the batting order and bench Jason Giambi in what turned out to be the final game of the season, and could likely be the last game of Torre's Yankee career.