Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Real Reason

I must confess. The reason I have been compelled to start a blog is not the summer season but instead the state of the New York Yankees. This team is my least favorite team in pro sports. As sad as it is to admit I nearly hate them more than I like the greatest team in pro sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The thing about the Yankees that has gotten to me lately is the supposed innocence of Joe Torre. I have never liked Joe Torre and for good reason. At his previous managing stops he was absolutely dreadful. Well, dreadful may not be the best word but it is close. In parts of 14 seasons Torre had a winning percentage of .471 with 1 playoff appearance (source: Baseball-Reference). Then when he manages a team with exceptional talent (i.e., money) he turns into the Lombardi of baseball. At least Lombardi helped revolutionize football. The only revolutionary thing Torre's done is take verbal abuse from his boss and then sign extensions.

Would someone please explain to me why everyone is getting their panties in a bunch defending Torre when the team is tanking? Because it is the great, soft-spoken Torre people feel like defending him when word leaks his job may be in jeopardy. What makes his situation any different from other coaches? Dick Tomey is fired from Arizona after being one of its most successful coaches, Rick Adelman is let go by the Kings after being its best coach, Jeff Van Gundy is shown the door after doing a decent job with the Rockets in the ultra-competitive West and no one defends them. These are only three examples, but there are numerous ones.

Whether it is fair or not, when a team is not performing the coach/manager is the first on the chopping block. In pro sports the players are to blame a lot of the time but the coach is the one that takes the fall. In this instance, Torre is no different. The players are not playing (literally and figuratively with all of the injuries) and in the end the manager needs to take the heat. The injuries are a common defense for Torre but when the team payroll is over $200M and the bullpen has been terribly mishandled someone has to take the fall. In this instance Torre is the fall guy and I am convinced that when he gets another gig his sub .500 record will return. Unless of course he inherits the payroll of the Boston Red Sox.

(Photo of Yankee Stadium from the New York Yankees Website)

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