It has been **** for Yankees fans this past week, after receiving an early exit from the post season by a Tigers team that looks poised to win it all, the plane crash that took Pitcher Cory Lidle’s life and an incident near L.A. where Alex Rodriguez was involved in an airplane accident that could have ended tragically. Through it all, the Yankees will recover and carry on and it won’t be with a new manager. I believe that George Steinbrenner has become a better owner, since his early years, where he was very impulsive and acted on his first reaction too much. This time, he took some time to reach a decision and made the right one. Looking at the list of possible replacements, only Joe Girardi looks like the kind of guy who "might" be able to handle the spotlight of managing the most important team in baseball. The media, fans and owner are watching every game, every inning and every play…right down to facial expressions. All are scrutinized and anyone who manages this team, better be able to handle the criticism (and praise) with dignity, class and a thick skin. Joe Torre has mastered these attributes, which is a large reason they have had more success than any other team over the past decade. Lou Pinella is loved in New York, but he has a volatile temper that may play well with die-hard Yankees fans, some players and some who cover the game…but the media longs for the days of the "Bronx Zoo" and stories that sell. Nothing sells better than controversy, which is what the Yankees "could" have had after their early exit from the playoffs, but the steady leadership of Joe Torre, Don Mattingly, Ron Guidry and others, plus the maturity of the team itself, won’t allow it. Other teams with so many big name stars (and salaries) that have failed to live up to expectations, have crumbled and imploded under similiar circumstances; but not the Yankees. As Detroit is proving, the Yankees have nothing to be ashamed of by losing to them, because I don’t see anyone who can hit against this line-up or out-slug them. The Detroit Lions are showing us the real reason why the Yankees didn’t win the ALDS. The Yankees have a great team, but if you focus on the pitching, Detroit is a much better ball club, which is why it shouldn’t come as a shock that they won that series. Yankees pitching has been a problem for more than 5 years and no major efforts have been made to address it. Until they can get two young, solid starting pitchers and three solid middle relievers to help out when the starters get in trouble, the Yankees will continue to see other teams win the World Series. As I stated in an earlier post, great pitching will always beat great hitting in the post season and the ALDS between the Yankees and Tigers proved it.
Congratulations Joe Torre on your opportunity to serve as Yankee skipper for at least one more season and I wish you all the best next year. To his critics: I hope Joe is given the personnel he needs, so he can win it all next year prove you wrong. He is definitely up there with Miller Huggins, Casey Stengel and the other great managers. I would also ask that his critics look at Joe Torre’s career managing this team from the perspective of ALL the other managers (past and present) and judge whether his 11 of 11 seasons resulted in a playoff birth, Winning 9 consecutive Division Titles, 6 World Series appearance, 4 World Series Championships (3 of which were consecutive) and 2 times being named AL Manager of the Year. Except for only a select few, no one has been so successful in such a short period of time. Saying he can’t manage would be like saying Michael Jordan couldn’t play basketball. Joe Torre needs just keep doing what he is doing and if Mr. Steinbrenner were to foolishly get rid of him, a lot of teams will be firing their managers to try and get him. I doubt the Yankees could have as much success with another manager as they do with Joe Torre, but hopefully, we won’t have to find out for many years to come, when he decides to retire.