Almost like sticking a finger in a dam, Joe Torre’s recent attempt to begin the process of reconciliation with the New York Yankees may have created another leak in the 70 year-old manager’s relationship with his current employer, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
On Monday, Torre and soon-to-be new Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly traveled to New York to attend the unveiling of the George Steinbrenner memorial in Yankee Stadium’s monument park. During his visit, Torre made the usual rounds with all of his friends in the New York media, and even went so far as to let slip a casual interest in the not-yet-vacant Mets’ managerial position. In response to having Torre openly covet his job, Jerry Manuel questioned the integrity of a man whose image has been covered in a Teflon coating of class. Lately, however, things have begun to stick.
According to Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers, Torre’s solicitation of another job was not only bad form, but grounds for termination from the position he currently holds. The LA media had already been grumbling about being forcefed Don Mattingly as the heir apparent, so word of Torre already looking for greener pastures while still in Dodger blue predictably raised the ire of the town’s scribes. Of course, the same writers heralded Torre’s arrival in LA only three years ago, despite the knowledge that his contract was essentially negotiated while Grady Little was still the team’s manager.
In an attempt to absolve himself of any culpability for mentioning the Mets’ job, Torre completely disavowed any interest in the position. What was most interesting, however, was the reason he gave for doing so. According to Torre, he couldn’t work for the Mets because it might upset Yankees fans.
To me it doesn’t make any sense to go to the other team in New York after spending so much time with the Yankees. I built up a lot of goodwill with those fans of the Yankees, and now all of a sudden I’m going to make them mad?” – Joe Torre, quoted in The Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2010
When he parted company with the Yankees after the 2007 season, Torre didn’t seem too interested in his legacy with the team, a point further illustrated by the publication of The Yankee Years. Perhaps, it was only after the fallout from the book that Torre realized he had made a mistake with how he exited the scene in New York. Beginning with the Yankees trip to Los Angeles back in June, Torre finally seemed to start seriously considering the way he would be remembered in the place of his greatest success. Who knows, maybe his resignation just days before the Steinbrenner ceremony was designed to solicit an invitation back to the Bronx? In any event, it sure does seem as if Torre has put on a full court press to get back in the good graces of the Yankees Universe.
Who knows if Joe Torre will ever manage again. At 70 years old, it just might be the right time to take a step back and assume a lesser role in the game. If that’s the case, getting back in the good graces of the Yankee would be Torre’s wisest course of action. Of course, by doing so, he could gain a family, but lose a good number of friends along the way.