Tuesday, October 9, 2007

An Open Letter to Joe Torre

This is long, rambly, and, well, I probably really shouldn't be that attached to the Yankees, but I had to do it.

I know, in all likelihood Joe Torre will never see it, but if there's any chance at all, (psst: pass it on?!) here goes:

Dear Mr. Torre—

This is going to sound a bit odd, but right now, if I could, I’d run up and hug you.

I know, I know, it’s odd, slightly inappropriate and liable to get me arrested, but it’s the truth.

See, I am too young to have known any other Yankees’ manager.

I’ve watched coaches for the Devils, Nets and Jets come and go, year in and year out, and half the time I’m not even sure who’s behind the bench, but for the past twelve years I’ve known that if I peer into a Yankee dugout, you’d be there.

I don’t even really know what to say. I’m sitting a few hundred miles away from Yankee Stadium in Syracuse, New York, where the air hangs heavy like a funeral shroud, and there are tears on my face.

My parents told me time and again that I shouldn’t get so attached to the Yankees, but I was never really any good at following instructions.

I’ve watched, wished, hoped, dreamed, cried, shouted, cursed, threatened violence, gotten violent, cheered and seen the improbable and the impossible.

The games I remember best are ones like the Aaron Boone game and Bernie’s catch of Piazza’s long fly ball to beat the Mets and Jeter’s flip to Posada to nab Giambi…but also ones that you may have forgotten:

I remember being down 6-1 to Toronto in the eighth in a pretty meaningless game, and listening to John Sterling call it as Bernie and Posada each went yard, with Grand Slams.

I remember coming back from a 9-0 deficit and winning the game against Texas…don’t even remember what year, just that we did it.

I remember beating Texas in a 21-6 game, and thinking I’d never see anything like that again (I was wrong).

I remember seeing Alfonso Soriano’s first major league at bat and thinking he was a guy that was going to be around for a while.

I remember back in the days when I still had to be in bed by ten, listening to the end of Yankee games on the clock radio I had in my bedroom, as John Sterling magically called “Yankees win! Theeeee Yankees win!”, soothing me to sleep.

I remember that the morning after I’d have to get my brother up for school and I’d try to come up with as creative a way as possible to tell him how the Yankees won or lost a game…I remember telling him once that the ‘fire put out the rain’, a reference to Bernie hitting a game winning HR in extra innings, as rain was coming down in buckets.

I remember watching game one of the 1998 World Series with my parents, having to tell my dad that Tino’s batting .125 in the playoffs was actually really bad, then seeing the count go full…and then…well, you know what happened.

I remember the very first Yankee game I went to—May 1999. I remember walking into Yankee Stadium and thinking I’d stepped into Heaven. I remember I had a strong dislike of Manny Ramirez then (as he played for Cleveland)…it’s good to know some things never change!

I remember Don Zimmer and Mel the pitching coach. I remember Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton. I remember Chili Davis and Miguel Cairo and, hell, I even remember a random game in 1998 or 1999 where Mariano Rivera got the start.

I remember being in summer camp, and getting an email from my dad on 18 July 1999, with the Yankee score. I remember thinking first that the reporter was using ‘perfect’ in the metaphorical sense, then realizing he wasn’t, and then shouting it aloud to everyone, whether or not they cared.

I remember you, Joe Torre, being the constant. I remember what people said—that you were lucky, that the Yankees were a Porsche but any other manager would have driven the car off of a cliff.


I don’t know how else to put into words how much you managing the Yankees has been a part of my life.

I’m just a fan. I can’t speak for anyone on the team, or even any other Yankee fan.

Yes, there were decisions I didn’t agree with, things that might not have sat right, but I would tell myself that I’m not the Yankees manager. You don’t stay manager for long if you’re not any good, and well, if you pass the decade mark, you’re pretty damned good.

God, I know it’s corny, but I can’t imagine the Yankees without you there. I thought it would be hard to imagine the Yankees without Paul and Scotty B and Tino, and it was, but imagining the Yankees without you there is just damned near impossible.

I wish I could have been at the Stadium tonight, chanting your name, with the rest. I don’t care about what anyone says, but you were not good for the Yankees, you were amazing.

You gave us all something amazing these past twelve years. I was proud to be a Yankee fan in 1996; more than ever I am proud to be a Yankee fan in 2007.

So, I guess what I’m really trying to say is, Thank You.


I can thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee fan, but I’m thanking you for never, ever making me doubt it.

Thank you,

Rebecca.

18 comments:

  1. My Dear Rebecca,

    You are quite an exceptional young woman and I value the day I first saw your blog. I was born in the Bronx and I think I said Mickey before I said daddy.

    I like the way the Yanks finished the season how they played the game.. to me that is what counts the most... how you play the game.

    larry

    ReplyDelete
  2. Larry--I wrote somewhere once, in reference to 2001 that it wasn't whether the Yankees won or lost, or even how they played, but that they played.

    They were supposed to be dead in June, but they played on.

    Any other team and it'd be a Cinderella season...but in New York we're all saying good bye to a manager that most of us love.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That was a beautiful post. This is the first time I have read anything you've written and I am just wowed at how well you express your feelings. I have never been able to communicate how I've felt- I seem to always keep it in until I explode. But reading this, it's almost as if a big weight has been lifted off my chest.
    I, like you, have only really known Mr. Torre as the manager from the Yankees. With next year being the last year of the stadium it seems like this is just one of the many things we will be saying goodbye to.
    Well, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think I will email this to my mother so that she can read it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. corel--Thank you.

    I texted my older brother--stoic, unemotional, serious, just old enough to remember the Yankees of the early '90s--and told him I'd miss Joe Torre.

    He replied: Me too.

    Speaks volumes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Doctor's CompanionOctober 9, 2007 at 1:44 AM

    Rebecca-
    Thank you for summing up what most of us are thinking and for keeping your emotional sanity while writing it...I pretty much lost mine when I saw Shelley hugging Doug and crying. April seems so far away...

    ReplyDelete
  6. so this just made me cry. I will always bleed Yankees' blue. I hardly think people understand why we get so attached to a team, but I have, all of these years, its just something I could never explain, and this post pretty much sums it up for me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow. That's terrific stuff from you, just like always. I have chillbumps after reading that. It's been a thrill for me to read your blog and your posts on Pete's blog. You do such a wonderful job, keep it up! I'll likely continue to come around on here and stick in my two cents' about your NFL picks. It's all been so much fun!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Do this next year, Rebecca! This is absolutely awesome writing and it's absolutely wonderful to read someone who LOVES the Yankees.

    I love it when they lose, you may be angry, but you express your sadness. You don't spin around with meat cleavers in your hand looking for somebody to blame.

    It's refreshing and excellent.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You need to mail that to him. I think he'd really appreciate reading something so heartfelt and honest.

    Thanks for sharing that with us.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, guys, thank you. It's very comforting to know I'm not alone in my feelings. I can't manage much more than that right now.

    Keri--I'd love nothing more than for him to see it, but I haven't the slightest idea of how to contact him!

    If you do, please let me know.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well said.

    Mr. Torre is a class act and should stay. Only a fool would see otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Rebecca: Really great post. Perhaps if you email it to Pete Abraham and ask him as to how you could get it to Joe, he might have some suggestions as to how he might actually see it.

    Keep up the blog and best of luck in school this year.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very nice words Rebecca. It's nice to hear it from someone your age who is not spoiled as so many others are. It seems like most Yankee fans in the 18-25 age range have gotten incredibly spoiled in the Torre era and represent the obnoxious side of Yankees fans that I wish didn't exist.

    ReplyDelete
  14. My Dear Young Lady:

    You have talent and more importantly an unjaded and unspoiled view of the Yankees(who I have followed for more than 60 years). Build on and grow the first and try against all the pulls of experience to resist changing the second.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anon--Torre is a Yankee in every way that you can be a Yankee.

    Westchester Dave--I could probably do that, but I imagine he's got enough to deal with as is...

    Mantlemurcer: It's true we are a spoiled lot. Still, all we have to do is think about those other NY/NJ teams, with the possible exception of the Devils, to know just how special the last 12 years have been.

    Anon--I am honored to have reached you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Rebecca,
    What a wonderful letter you wrote.
    You really should send this letter to Joe Torre in this time when he needs the most. Keep the blog running. We will have more great memories and seasons with Yankees here on your blog.

    chih-ming

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for your positive, heartfelt words, Becca. You do indeed have talent, but more importantly, compassion.

    I am hoping that wisdom [common sense?] prevails regarding the Yanks retaining Mr. Torre. We'll see on that, I guess.

    I just got my Blackberry working again [no cable TV yet, so I missed the game last night!!] and am just getting around to catching up [like, writing here and updating on mine =:-0 ].

    I do hope you will continue with this blog on a timeline to be considered: weekly, maybe, except when breaking news hits us [and in the Hot Stove League to come, it will ;-) ]

    Thank you again, my friend.
    Go Yankees!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Letter to Mr. Steinbrenner:

    I think your letter is very heart-felt and sincere. This is the letter that I sent to Mr. Steinbrenner...let's hope all of our prayers and petitions work!!

    Please Mr. Steinbrenner, DO NOT let Joe Torre go!! Mr. Torre has been a dedicated manager and ALWAYS makes his team feel that they can go the distance by managing his team the best he can. Now while I realize this is the third time that the Yankees did not make it through the first round, you also must understand that had it not been for Mr. Torre, the Yankees would not have made it to the playoffs at all. As you know, the Yankees were 21-29, and after the All Star break, they ended their season with an outstanding record of 94-68. Talk about results….what other team can do that. Joe Torre managed the team so well, that they were able to come back from this deficit. The New York Mets were up by 7 games and they did not make it into the playoffs and Mr. Willie Randolph’s position is still secure. Joseph Torre deserves the same respect.

    Mr. Brian Cashman did a great job with hiring Joba Chamberlain and Shelly Duncan this year, and also let’s not forget Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano. There is no way you can even think about letting Andy Pettitte go. He is your ACE. Not only did he do an extreme job during the regular season, but he came through in the post season. Pettitte played a lot of games, and won his 200th game, as the New York Yankees moved to 1.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. Andy Pettitte could have received more wins, but instead he received no decisions, because the bull pen could not hold on. However, since Joba, Pettitte has been able to secure more wins. Now talk about your players that have come through not only offensively but defensively, Johnny Damon has made plays to save the game that not many players could have made, Alex Rodriguez, your MVP, has played better than ever, Bobby Abreu, has played extremely well, Shelly Duncan is incredible, Melky Cabrera always comes through, along with Robinson Cano and Doug Mientkiewicz, all which have helped us to get into the playoffs. What can I say about our Captain, Derek Jeter, other than he is just absolutely fantastic. Your bull pen has improved with Joba Chamberlain, Jose Veras and Luis Viscaino. I am also aware that Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera will be free agents. Please do your absolute best to keep them. Jorge has been spectacular, along with Mo. I know that Alex may be looking for more money, but these players are all dedicated and they ALL know that if it had not been for Joe Torre, they would not have been champions.

    One other thing, the Indians were prepared for the swarm of insects that disrupted the eighth inning of the Cleveland Indians 2-1 playoff victory over the New York Yankees. I am sure this was not the first time this happened, and the Indians were prepared, but this was the first time the Yankees have been invaded by these insects. While the Indians played with the insects on them as the Yankees did, I still feel that they were prepared and had some kind of bug spray on them, because they were not bothered as much as the Yankees were. You could see that every time they tried to focus, these insects were flying in their nose and in their face.

    I know you will need to make some changes, and I also know that Roger Clemens may need to retire, but PLEASE Mr. Steinbrenner, PLEASE allow Joe Torre to stay as your manager.

    I have been a dedicated New York Yankee fan since I have been a child. I was born and raised in the Bronx, and moved to Long Island. I have Yankee plates on my car which read HOT26, only because 26WINS was already taken, and I had 27WINS in reserve for this year. I have autographed baseballs from Andy Pettitte, John Wetteland, Goose Gossage, David Cone, Jorge Posada, Whitey Ford and I have a room completely filled with photographs of the Yankees. My father in law is an excellent artist, and back in 1988 he drew a magnificent picture of Joe DiMaggio, and had it autographed by Mr. DiMaggio. He saved it for the right moment, and last year he gave it to me as a Christmas gift. I also have Joe Torre’s book which was autographed by him, and I want to be able to continue to purchase more, providing they are not too costly. My dream is to one day have an autographed home plate signed by the team, but my point here, Mr. Steinbrenner is that I would not have had a chance to have this memorabilia in the past 12 years had it not been for your ultimate manager, Mr. Joseph Torre. I know you know the record, but on May 7, 2006, Mr. Torre won his 1,000th game as Yankees manager, making him one of only four Yankees managers to do so. Mr. Torre has led the Yankees to 12 consecutive postseason appearances, winning 10 AL East titles and two wild-card berths. His 1,173 regular-season wins are second among Yankees managers behind Joe McCarthy's 1,460.

    Once again Mr. Steinbrenner, please don’t let Joe Torre go, he is a class act, along with your ACE Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera.

    Thank you for an interesting and exciting season and hopefully with Mr. Torre managing the team next year, we will get our 27th win.

    ReplyDelete