Thursday, October 18, 2007

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, or Lack Thereof

Be warned. Eternal optimist is angry.

Now that I’ve had time to think about it…

What is there to say?

Part of me wants to play the perennial optimist. Part of me wants to collect a book of everyone’s favorite Torre moments, put ‘em in a binder and mail ‘em to wherever it is that Joe lives.

Part of me wants to walk right on up to Randy Levine and shake him silly. Part of me wants to yell in his face that Joe Torre was the best thing that ever happened to his Yankees, and that he will never, ever, ever have as much class as Joe. Not after the front office pulled that stunt.

It’s not an issue of whether or not Joe should have been brought back, but the issue in which the entire thing was handled, trying to make the Brass look good and Torre a lame duck.

Torre’s a stronger person than that, a classier person than that and a better person than that.

Look, I know that bad front offices are part and parcel, but there’s no reason to be silent. I know New York is New York and if you can’t handle the media you need to get out, but this isn’t about handling the media.

It is, quite simply, about treating people with the respect they deserve.

Could you imagine Atlanta doing this to Bobby Cox? Could you imagine the Patriots doing this to Bill Belichick? Could you imagine the Spurs or the Red Wings doing this to their coaches?

New York coaches might always seem to get the short end of the stick, but, and I’m thinking of Coughlin and Thomas right now, when you consider the recent on-field records and off-field shenanigans of the two, I can’t say it’s not deserved.

You can’t say the same about Torre. He was as much a father to the Yankees as it’s possible to be. No matter what happened in April or May, the team was there, playing in October. Forget about winning or losing for a second, and think about this: no team other than the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Yankees has an active playoff streak of longer than ten seasons.

That includes the Spurs, the Devils, the Patriots…

Yes, Yankee fans are used to winning, but perhaps more importantly, they’re used to rooting for a team that’s always been considered an example of class.

If this is how the Front Office treats a guy that will soon get a plaque in Monument Park, I’m not sure I want to see how they treat Don Mattingly (the odds-on favorite, right now, to take the job) if the team starts 21-29 again.

I love Mo. I love Posada. I love Andy. I would sell body parts, corporeal and otherwise, to keep them on the Yankees….but if, after this, any or all of them decide to walk, I can’t say I’d blame them.

Most of us have put up with Steinbrenner for a long time, and, well, with thirteen straight postseasons, he’s obviously done something right…but Hank and Hal are not King George.

Right now, though, Yankees fans need to do something.

Yankee fans—oy, I’m talking to you, blogger!—need to make it clear that we won’t stand for this.

You want to talk about groundswell, internet, mass communication, whatever, now is the perfect time to put it to use.

The greatest American sports franchise needs to know that the outrage isn’t because Torre isn’t coming back, but because cowardice, hiding behind a contract veil so thin that even the blind can see through it, is not something that will win you any medals.

Or Rings.


  1. I think you're right on that this was handled poorly. But this all started back last year with the way the front office treated Bernie Williams. I have always been a huge Bernie fan and wanted him on the team. But instead of offering him a spot, the Yankees let him dangle and then offered a minor league contract where he'd have to fight for a spot against the odds.

    That turned me off to the Yankees and a Bernie-less year bothered me. I got into tons of arguments on PeteAbe's blog in spring training about bringing Bernie back. So, with the likes of Levine and Trost, this really is no big surprise, sadly.

  2. If this is the way the Yankees want to treat a man who restored pride, dignity, and respect to a franchise that had seen revolving door managers ,20 in the 23 years prior to Torre, then the Yankees are in a sad state. Torre has meant more to this franchise in the past 12 years than words can say. Although I haven't necessarily agreed with some of his on field moves, managing the Yankees is far more than on field maneuvers. The way Joe brought a sense of calmness in the face of many storms during his tenure is a testament to the makeup of this man. No one will ever be able to duplicate that. To be slapped in the face with an incentive laden contract is the pinnacle of disrespect. What more does he have to prove after 12 straight years of playoff appearances and 4 World Series rings? The Yankees would have been better served if they just said that it was time to go in a new direction. Instead they chose to instill the image in the minds of the fans that their offer was fair and that Joe chose to turn it down. That's exactly what they knew would happen. Joe has too much pride and self respect to be put into a lame duck situation. I applaud Torre for leaving the offer on the table and walking away with dignity. The Yankees would be wise to learn from this latest ploy. Let's see how many free agents will line up now to have a chance to play for the Yankees and how many will now choose to leave.

  3. Josh--I was in London and missed all the Bernie hullaballoo...but it would have pissed me off.

    NYYank55: What sucks is that even though the FO might learn a lesson, the fans are the ones getting punished for it!

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  5. Rebecca,

    I am all there with you! this is not the matter of bringing Joe back or not, it's the matter of respecting your players, coaches, manager, and most important, the BASEBALL!

    I love Torre, and I love Yankees. However, after today, I don't know if I'd ever be able to say I am proud to be a Yankees fan, or I'd still want to be one. and you are right! I won't blame Mo, Jorge or any player plays with other team. Cause those front officers have no heart in baseball!

  6. Fah--Don't punish the team for the FO's mistake.

    Yes, it's right to be embarrassed by the front office, but they're not the ones playing the game on the field.

    At any rate, let's see how they handle the rest of the Winter...

  7. I've heard it said that Randy Levine is intent on becoming The New Boss, complete with swagger and shooting from the hip, the whole nine yards.

    Randy Levine is a businessman, not a baseball man. Now, if it is true that The Offer Which Torre Could Refuse was engineered by Levine, it means one of two things, neither of which I find especially palatable:

    [1] We now have non-baseball people making baseball decisions
    [well, again, really], or

    [2] The offer to Torre was a business decision. Not in the sense of cutting costs by a paltry million or two but with some other intent. I have heard it said that sales of Yankee merchandise is down; last year at The Stadium is next year and First Year at the new yard is the year after....

    I wonder if there is a connection.