Category Archives: Torre

Diamond Hoggers' 2009 NLCS Preview

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

This series is not short on the big story lines. You have the defending 2008 World Champion Phillies going up against the Dodgers who started out early this season as baseball’s finest team, unbeatable at home; then they dealt with the Manny Ramirez suspension that called for the emergence of other young players on their team.

We’ve got a rematch of the 2008 NLCS in which we picked Philadelphia to roll. And roll they did. This is going to be a different story. The Dodgers survived a much tougher division. The Phillies don’t have a ton of pitching to speak of. Oh, and remember Vicente Padilla Phillies fans? Baseball has a way of showing you a strange irony in guys you cast off. That Padilla guy (who we thought was junk) just came off an outing in which he was pumping 95 MPH gas and couldn’t be touched by the Cardinals lineup. Seven shutout innings later the Dodgers were on their way to punching their ticket to the NLCS.

We like the Phillies lineup more. But the Dodgers aren’t really dropping off all that much. We believe the bullpen edge goes to the Dodgers as well as a slight edge in starting pitching. But the real difference in this series is going to come down to simple X’s and O’s management styles and the fact that Charlie Manuel couldn’t manage his way out of a wet paper sack if he truly had to in a long series. Over seven games, Joe Torre will just make better calls and adjustments. Especially after being bested in a short 5-game set last year for a trip to the World Series. Joe Torre will get his revenge. What is at stake for JT Godfather? A trip back to the World Series wearing Dodger blue to take on his old team, his old general manager, and the ownership group that he left with a sour grape taste in his mouth. As much as history repeats itself in life and in sports, this time it won’t.

A lot of people are talking about a World Series played in California. Many are talking about Nick Adenhart and Harry Kalas being catalysts to get their former teams to the World Series. But for all that talk you’re looking at the very real possibility that we’ll see the Bronx Bombers taking on the guys wearing Dodger blue in what would be a matchup of epic historical proportions.

This will be a long series in which both teams see chances to get the win. In the end, Torre will be the difference as that young roster compiled by Ned Coletti gets to their first World Series.


Prediction: Dodgers in 7 games



Even more excerpts from the Torre/Verducci book

This Joe Torre book co-authored by Tom Verducci is looking more and more like a book that I should check out next time I go loitering at Barnes & Noble. Excerpts continue to creep out as we have tracked down a few of the more interesting takes to sneak preview The Yankee Years for our readers.

Bronx Banter Blog:
-One of my favorite moments in the Verducci/Torre book is about Roger Clemens as he prepared to face the Mets in Game 2 of the 2000 World Serious. Verducci writes that Clemens’ usual pregame preparation included taking a whirlpool bath at the hottest temperature possible. “He’d come out looking like a lobster,” Yankee trainer Steve Donahue told Verducci. Donahue would then rub hot liniment all over Clemens’ body. “Then Donahue would rub the hottest possible liniment on his testicles,” Verducci writes.

“He’d start snorting like a bull,” the trainer said. “That’s when he was ready to pitch.”

NY Times Bats Blog:
-Though he accuses Kevin Brown of “pitching stupid” by taking the ball in Game 7 of the 2004 A.L.C.S. despite an ailing back, Torre expresses more pity than anger at the troubled right-hander. “There were a lot of demons in this guy,” Torre says, and he mentions that after Brown allowed six runs in the first inning of this 2005 game, he stormed into the visitors clubhouse at Tropicana Field, curled up on the floor in a corner of a storage area and told Torre, “I’m going to go home.” Torre told Brown that if he did that -– if he quit on his teammates — he would never be welcomed back.

Brown got up, fired his cellphone across the locker room, put his jersey back on and threw four more innings. The authors do not mention it, but Brown won his next four starts, the final four victories of his career.

-Torre has a telling comment about George Steinbrenner’s mental state when recalling a meeting in Tampa, Fla., in September 2007. Steinbrenner’s health had clearly deteriorated, and Torre drew a comparison to “The Godfather”:“It’s not quite the same (as) when Don Corleone was shot and was recovering and was sitting in the garden. At least he was talking to his son in a very lucid way, explaining what was going to happen. I don’t think George had those capabilities.”

-The Yankees should have talked to Tim Raines before signing Carl Pavano. Raines, the former Yankee who was coaching with the White Sox when Pavano signed, had played with Pavano in Montreal. During Pavano’s first Yankees season, Raines told Borzello: “He didn’t want to pitch except for the one year he was pitching for a contract. I’m telling you, he’s not going to pitch for you.”

-To demonstrate a key difference between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, there is an anecdote about Rodriguez visiting Jeter’s house and flipping on the TV. Rodriguez asked Jeter where he could find the baseball package, and was stunned that Jeter did not subscribe.


Now the Yankees are mulling over their options as far as if their confidentiality clauses have been broken. I have to say, Torre revealing George Steinbrenner to be nothing more then a muttering, stuttering old vegtable right now was pretty shocking to me. I’d say that this pretty much concludes Torre’s exiting act; and would not expect him to ever be invited back to Old Timers day at New Yankee Stadium.

Excerpt creeps out from the Torre book about his last day as a Yankee. On Oct. 18, 2007, 10 days after the Yankees lost the Division Series to the Cleveland Indians, 10 days of public waiting for George Steinbrenner to follow through on his Game 3 warning that Torre would not be back in the wake of defeat, the question Torre proposed was now the domain of the seven other people in the room. Steinbrenner sat slumped in his chair with dark glasses covering most of his face. Occasionally he would take them off, put them back on, take them off, put them back on … He contributed virtually nothing to the meeting except for occasionally repeating the last sentence of what someone in the room had just said. [Sports Illustrated]

Torre slams A-Rod, Steinbrenner in new book

I don’t think Joe Torre ruined anything. How could he possibly ruin it by telling the truth? Sure, Torre may have violated some of the ‘one of the boys’ clauses that come with being part of a clubhouse in the big leagues, this is just confirmation of what many already believed went on behind closed doors.

We’re refferring to a weekend story, Joe Torre is set to come out with a book titled The Yankee Years. In that book Torre talks about Alex Rodriguez having a “single white female” obsession with Yankees captain Derek Jeter and how Yankee teammates called Rodriguez “A-Fraud”.

This book should be a good read. It’s co-written by one of the finest baseball writers in the country, Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci. It is a 477-page firsthand account of Torre’s time in New York and all that came with it. Bronx folk are going to look at the situation and feel that Torre sold them out for a lucrative book deal. Yankee fans aren’t going to be forthcoming in admitting if they enjoy the book or not. They’ll be concerned with how it will affect their current roster, as a fair amount of those guys played for Torre. We look at it as, the guy gave you 12 years of being a father figure to all those big babies in the Bronx. He doesn’t owe you a thing more. And to be honest, of what has leaked so far, it doesn’t sound like he is: a) lying; or b) telling us anything we didn’t assume already.

Despite who is currently wearing pinstripes, Yankee fans should side with Torre; or at least lighten the blow a little bit. He’s going to be a far more proud symbol of Yankee tradition in 25 years then Alex Rodriguez will be.

Your 2008 NLCS Preview

We’ve got a couple of hardcore fanbases that have seen their franchises reach this point, to do battle for National League supremacy. Dodger fans and Phillies fans, well they live and die for their teams; like it or not.

I think the National league had a bunch of ‘ok’ ballclubs this season, but no special teams. This Dodger team wouldn’t have even made the postseason if it weren’t for Manny Ramirez, let alone won their first round. I think they’ll take it. As we predicted, Ramirez did his usual postseason thing against the Cubs, and the Dodgers are now playing for a chance to win the whole damn thing. Amazing how things happen isn’t it?

Ramirez played on a team similar in some ways to this current Dodger team, and they also went to a World Series. The 1997 Cleveland Indians. Except this Dodgers team is even less appealing. They had 1 guy hit 20 homers (Andre Ethier). They didn’t have a guy with 20 saves. They had only one starter get more than 15 wins (Chad Billingsley had 16). Now Ramirez came in and hit at a .396 clip, but still other than Manny there just isn’t a lot about this team that really stands out. They won 84 games, and came in and swept a Cubs team that couldn’t hit to save their life. It was Dodger pitching they couldn’t hit! That tells you about the Cubs and their deer in the headlights mentality in the postseason.

The Dodgers are grossly over-matched. But so were those 1997 Indians who were just 2 outs away from winning it all (thanks again, Jose Mesa). The Dodgers are here, they’ve gotten this far, and they can do this. We want to stress that.

But they are overmatched. The Phillies won 92 games and filtered out of a much tougher division that Los Angeles wouldn’t have been able to breathe in. They’ve got star power, and more than just Manny Ramirez playing for a contract. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino are all players we think the Dodgers would covet.

Now the Phillies rotation doesn’t exactly scare us, but they’re more formidable then that of the Dodgers. Cole Hamels is the best starting pitcher in this series. Brad Lidge didn’t blow a save all season long. The Philly bullpen is downright nasty. You have to give the managerial edge to the Dodgers, and by a longshot. We don’t think Charlie Manuel could beat Joe Torre in tic-tac-toe. Not even once. Torre is the biggest advantage for the Dodgers in this series and he’ll help his team compete by himself.

In the end, Philly just has too much firepower for the Dodgers. This would be a major upset if the Dodgers could move on, but we expect Philly to hit them hard and often once the series kicks off tomorrow night in Philadelphia. These fans are rabid and they’ve waited a long time to get here. They’re much more tolerable than Massholes as well.

-Player who will have the biggest series impact: Chase Utley

Prediction: Philadelphia in 6 games.

Breaking News: Joe Torre rejects Yankees $5 million offer

The Joe Torre era in New York is over. Today, Torre rejected a $5 million dollar, 1 year contract from Brian Cashman and George Steinbrenner. Torre had flown to Legends Field in Tampa, the spring home of the Yankees for an unplanned meeting with the Yankees front office hubs.

Ultimately, Torre should take some of the heat–but at the same time he was working with expired milk on the roster for a while. He wasn’t given the replenished young players to go out and win, but tired and over the prime veterans who were overpriced and tough to trade due to their high dollar contracts.

Torre will be remembered for his 4 World Championships and the #6 he wore on his back, which in the future will probably be retired by Yankees management. It was a fine run, and now that it’s over baseball must most likely say goodbye to one of it’s greatest managers of the modern era, if not ever.

The End of an Era? The Beginning of an Era?

The third swing of the game was the biggest homerun of Sizemore’s life.
When one door closes, another opens. As the Indians won last night 6-4, the dramatics and skyscrapers came crashing down, skyscrapers that were once the Yankee dynasty. The Yankees didn’t so much as lose this series as the Indians came and took it.
One gets the feeling that this is not just the end of the Yankees as we know them; and the end of possibly the most dominating run by a dynasty in sports, but perhaps the beginning of a brand new run by a new group.
There aren’t words to describe it all. That’s why the postseason is so special. It’s big time, real life drama. You can’t get these scripts from Hollywood. Tonight, as the Yankees final outs rolled away, the drama in knowing that Joe Torre was done as the Yankee manager was better than in the movie theatres.
Game 4 blogdome, Goodbye Yankees. (Deadspin)


[Box Score]

Tonight seems for Torre

Last night’s win gave the Yankees one more night to fight. Last night’s 8-4 victory probably saved the job of their longtime manager Joe Torre; or at least it provided the spark the Yankees needed to get going a bit. You see, Steinbrenner isn’t stupid. He’s made a career out of giving managers ulcers. Do I think he was serious about firing Torre? Maybe. Probably not though. There is a part of me that that says that Torre felt the same way as I did. He didn’t buy it. That said, it did enough to inspire the troops and have them take the threat to heart. These guys are looking at it as a personal fight for their manager’s life, which is something almost more powerful than the young and upstart Indians just attempting to get to the next level of the postseason for the first time.

“We’re playing for our manager that we love,” Damon said. “We’re playing
for our fans that we love. So we’d like to prolong the season as long as we
can.”

This is not good. This is not good at all. Indians have Paul Byrd throwing in a few short hours against the closest thing the Yankees have to an ace. The Yankees are playing for it all, while the Indians are trying to remain drama free and roll the dice. One more time, Joe Torre tries to survive the throat of the whale that is the big apple that Frank Sinatra sings about.

Torre is New York, you know. He’s the perfect Yankees manager. I know Steinbrenner knows that to be true. The professionalism. The track record. The respect he brings, like a Godfather figure. He signifies all the class that a manager of a ballclub possibly can. He’s a winner. Sure there will be critics that will say he should even have won more championships, but I tell you that already, bar-none, he is the greatest manager of modern day baseball. Without a doubt, the greatest of my lifetime.

So tonight, the Yankees once again lace up their cleats and take the field fighting for Torre’s managerial life. Tonight seems for Torre. You give a veteran team a cause to fight for like this and you’ve got a dangerous thing going. Steinbrenner is smart and calculated like that. In some small ways, I don’t even think Torre seems to mind it. He’s used to it. And at least, he’s going down swinging.