Over at Dodgers.com, Ken Gurnick felt the need to explain that Joe Torre won’t be coming to the Dodgers in 2008 now that he’s a free agent. (Sidebar: as you may or may not know, I live in New York City. Do you have any idea how many TV stations covered his press conference today live? By my count, eight: ESPN, YES, SNY, MLB.com (live on the internet), and the local NBC, FOX, ABC, and CBS affiliates. I didn’t even check CSPAN or the Food Network, but I’m sure they were discussing Torre’s impact on Canadian Parliament and lemon quiches, respectively.)
Anyway, first of all, thanks to Mr. Gurnick for taking a story that absolutely didn’t exist (Torre to LA? Where has this come up anywhere except for in the recess of his mind that says “uh-oh, I have a deadline coming up”?) and giving me something to populate this blog with.
Second of all, much as we really, really, don’t like Grady Little, I really didn’t want to see Torre in Blue either. Torre and Little are actually very similar types – pretty good at managing people, and pretty rotten at managing baseball lineups. It’s pretty common knowledge that Torre ruins bullpen arms by picking the 1 or 2 guys he trusts and using them 8 days a week – what do you think would happen if he got his hands on Broxton? No thanks. We’ve already got a laid-back, players’ manager who makes questionable lineup decisions. No need to make a lateral move.
Besides, all due respect for what Torre’s accomplished in New York, it’s pretty obvious that he was helped out just a little by all the, you know, talent. People forget now, but he was regarded as a pretty mediocre manager in his stops with the Mets, Braves, and Cardinals – St. Louis actually fired him in mid-1995, before he took the Yankees job. You know why? Those teams sucked. Do you remember the late-70′s Mets? Of course you don’t, because the reason the mid-80s Mets were so good was because they were able to take players like Strawberry and Gooden in the first round, thanks to their terrible finishes under Torre. This is a guy, who in 15 opportunities before going to the Bronx, finished in first exactly once – and he just happened to have the best player in the league on his 1982 Atlanta team, 26-year-old NL MVP Dale Murphy. Then he goes to a team who just happens to have Jeter, Rivera, Posada, etc. etc. entering their primes and look at that, all of a sudden he can manage. Amazing what talent can do, isn’t it?
Oh, and the most depressing part of Gurnick’s article? This:
Colletti selected Little over four other candidates — Jim Fregosi, John McLaren, Manny Acta and Joel Skinner. Since then, McLaren has become manager of the Seattle Mariners, Acta was hired to manage the Washington Nationals and Skinner is rumored to be in the running for the vacant Pittsburgh Pirates managing job.
I would kill up to nine people to somehow get Manny Acta. Not only did he guide a Nationals club that most predicted to be historically bad this year to a 4th place finish with under 90 losses, well, just read this. This is exactly the kind of guy I want leading my team. This guy gets it. Griddle does not.