One of the most famous opening lines in literary history could well describe Joe Torre’s passage through the Bronx as manager of the storied New York Yankees. From 1996 to 2007, Torre managed the Yankees to consecutive postseason play, winning ten American League East Division titles, six American League pennants, and four World Series titles, while earning a .605 winning percentage.
All of this got tossed overboard after Torre published his kiss-and-tell book, mildly titled “The Yankee Years,” ripping into his former employer and certain players, whom he called “prima donnas.” But Torre reserved some of his most acid remarks for A-Rod, according to the NY Post:
Alex Rodriguez, was called "A-Fraud" by his teammates after he developed a "Single White Female"-like obsession with team captain Derek Jeter and asked for a personal clubhouse assistant to run errands for him.
And that’s not all. Torre headed for the sunny climes of California to manage that other team that had fled NY for LA, the Dodgers. In doing so, he made sure to torch any and all bridges to the Yankees. As Yogi Berra said, “when you get to a fork in the road, take it.”
Today, another Joe is managing the Yankees: Joe Girardi. He’s well known to Cubs fans as a capable defensive catcher and game caller. When he was a Cubs player, I met his parents once in a bar on Milwaukee Ave. Or so they said (I had no reason to disbelieve them.) They were nice folks, proud of their son.
Joe Girardi is a nice guy, some would say a player’s manager. But managing the Yankees and all those prima donnas Torre blasted may be too much for Girardi. I get the impression that Girardi is as tightly wound as Willie Randolph was when managing that other NY team, the Mets, in a slow, painful, downward spiral, till he was abruptly and summarily fired.
By the numbers, the two Joes are a study in contrasts:
Which of these Joes would Yankees fans want to see managing the team?
- Joe Torre
- Joe Girardi
- Neither Joe
Question for Cubs fans: Is Lou Piniella overrated as a manager? I’ve never understood his penchant for yanking starters after six innings, no matter how well they’re doing on the mound. I saw two blown Cubs games in which the starters were stellar and the floodgates opened up once Lou decided to yank them after six.
PS - The Dodgers' red-hot record is imperiled now that Manny Ramirez is out for 50 games after testing positive for steroids.