Friday, October 19, 2007

Stop defending Torre

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

At about 4:15 (et) Thursday, you were probably unnerved by a rather large noise.


It was just the nation’s top baseball writers ignoring the basic tenants of journalism to collectively jump on their swords. All in an effort to save good guy Joe Torre.

The thought process was almost universal. Torre, the same man who has been on the losing end of 13 of his past 17 postseason games, was slapped in the face and forced to quit by the evil New York Yankees.

After reportedly earning over $7 million for his latest failure, the Yankees offered the veteran mentor a one-year deal for $5 million with the option of earning an additional $1million for each playoff series he appeared in.

"He turned it down. We respect his decision," team President Randy Levine said. "We appreciate everything he's done. It's now time for the New York Yankees to move forward. We will be doing that very, very quickly."

If Torre and the Yankees reached the World Series in 2008, the manager would have gotten a raise next season and no matter what everyone's favorite cardboard cutout made in 2008, one thing was certain -- he would have been the game’s highest paid manager.

"Under this offer, he would continue to be the highest-paid manager in Major League Baseball," Levine said. "We thought that we needed to go to a performance-based model, having nothing to do with Joe Torre's character, integrity or ability. We just think it's important to motivate people."

Why can’t people slap me in the face like that?

Let's see, you fail miserably over the last four seasons and have the opportunity to get a raise?

Makes perfect sense to me.

Of course, Torre’s bobos saw it a different way. Since it’s a foregone conclusion, the manager wasn’t going to earn the $8 mil with his patent-pending, sit on your hands managerial style, his acolytes actually had the nerve to cite the most vilified person in sports -- super agent Scott Boras.

“It is difficult, near impossible, to accept a salary cut,” the world’s best capitalist told the Associated Press when asked about Torre‘s situation. “Successful people can afford their principles. They understand if they accept the position, there is a great risk the message to all under him is dissatisfaction.”

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated even had the audacity to compare Torre’s plight with Charlie Manuel, Joe Maddon and Ozzie Guillen, so-called “lesser” mangers that were all given multiyear contract extensions.

“One year? Goodness, Charlie Manuel, Joe Maddon and Ozzie Guillen were given multiyear contract extensions,” Verducci wrote. “No manager of Torre's resume or dignity would have accepted those conditions and Levine, who wanted Torre out for years, knew it. It was not the money; Torre doesn't need it. It was knowing that your employers don't want you, knowing that if another season began 21-29, as this season did, the snipers and leakers would be firing away with impunity. How could he ask respect from his players when his bosses did not respect him?”

Yeah, let’s all pretend the playing field is even like Verducci. Stick our heads in the sand and feign guys like Manuel, Maddon and Guillen were given a payroll that topped $1 billion dollars over the past four seasons.


Torre was called on the carpet for his failures and given the opportunity to correct them. He would have gotten a bump in salary only if he deserved it.

What a novel concept in sports.

“There can be no honeymoon for the next manager based on the comments of Randy Levine,” Westchester Journal News Yankees beat writer and noted Torre apologist Peter Abraham wrote. “If 94 wins and a playoff berth aren’t good enough, the next guy better win 95 games and get in the ALCS.”

Amen and that's the point.

Failure isn’t the objective in the Bronx.

"The point is the objective of the Yankees since the '20s has been to win the championship every year," Hank Steinbrenner said. "For us, that's what it is. None of us think we can win the championship every year, but that's the goal, period."


Anonymous said...

You absolutely have to be kidding me. Your assertion that Joe Torre has "failed" in each of the last four seasons speaks to how little you understand the game of baseball and the fact that you would write a slanderous article about someone of Torre's character reveals what kind of person you are. This is exactly what this country needs - more people aligning themselves with scumbags like the Steinbrenners and Randy Levine. People in the media like you ought to have their pens taken away.

Anonymous said...

When all is said and done, the Yankees will miss Torre. What a class act.

Anonymous said...

Great post.

Nobody with functioning brain cells would cry for Torre and demonize the Yankees when the franchise guaranteed him $5 million and gave him the opportunity to earn as much as $16 million.

The idea that merit-based pay models are acceptable for business executives, attorneys, salespeople, stock brokers, waiters, etc., but not acceptable for Pope Joe I is highly offensive to anyone who actually has to work for a living and who understands the value of money

Watching the media collectiely and brazenly disregard any semblance of objective reporting during the Torre saga is one of the most disgusting things I've ever witnessed and a complete disgrace to journalism.

Anonymous said...

You are a moron. So the Yankees now have to offer each coach an incentive laden contract?

Anonymous said...

I never said I had a problem with merit-based pay models and that's not the point. The point is that this man has proven over the past twelve years that he knows not only what the goal is, but that he can reach it every year. After all Joe Torre has done for the Yankees, it is an insult to ask him to take a pay cut AND to put these incentives in his contract, as if he doesn't know what the expectations are. And yeah, five million dollars is a hell of a lot of money, and so is sixteen. Regardless of how much money you're making, when someone cuts your pay and doesn't offer any security in terms of the years in the contract, that IS a slap in the face and a suggestion that you haven't been doing your job well.

That last comment gets to the heart of why people hate the media. Taking the moral high ground and siding with Torre here is anything but disgusting. You don't have to tear down a good and decent man to get people to read your articles or to get ratings.

Anonymous said...

You are a moron. Only a moron would think that getting offered $5 million guaranteed is somehow an "insult."

Torre more than cashed in on the World Series championships, asking for and receiving raises to the point that he was making $7.5 million when his next closest peer was only making $3.5. You can rest assured that if the Yankees had won the World Series this year, Torre would have once again asked for a raise.

So, I guess your meager intellect believes that Torre's salary should only move in one direction - up. Sorry, it's a two way street. If money-hungry Torre is going to demand a raise every time he wins, it's only reasonable that he be required to take a salary cut when he oversees 7 straight failures, especially when the team has achieved less than it did in the preceding season for 5 straight seasons.

You represent everything that is wrong in this society with your outrageous sense of entitlement and your idiocy in swallowing everything that the media spoonfeeds you,

Torre was vastly overpaid. In he return, he horribly underproduced. Any sane or reasonably intelligent person would have made Torre take a lower salary.

Torre gets no sympathy here.

Anonymous said...

The Yankees made Joe Torre a wealthy man and a winner.

Joe Torre, in turn, offended working people everywhere by labeling a potential $16 million "an insult."

Hmm, I seem to remember the media jumping all over Latrell Sprewell when he made a similar comment about how he "[had] a family to feed" when he was on a $14 million contract.

Joe Torre has "class" only if you take away the "c" and the "l".

Anonymous said...

To Brockwell: The fact that you resort to name-calling as a means of arguing your point pretty well indicates your level of intelligence.

The story is NOT about money. It's about appreciation and recognition of a job consistently well done. When you are criticizing Joe Torre's record, you might stop to ask yourself how many of the other 29 teams in baseball would have been happy to be a part of such a record. Who else in the last twelve years, besides the Yankees, has won consecutive world series?

Anonymous said...

Every player's salary goes up and down according to performance. If the owners think that seven years without a World Series requires a pay cut, why would you feel sorry for Torre? He showed no class by being "insulted" rather than thanking his bosses profusely for sticking with him all these years, and giving him the best job in the country.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely remarkable. Just forget it.