The Boss is back
And I ain't talking about Springsteen (although, come to think of it, he's back too... The new record is excellent, and I've got tickets for the Nov. 12 show at MCI Center. Any of y'all going to be there? Ah, but I digress....)
Yankee Stadium is all a-twitter this evening with talk about the latest George Steinbrenner thunderbolt. This is what he told the Bergen Record about Joe Torre in a story that ran this morning: "His job is on the line. . . . He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."
Now, before I get to Torre's response this afternoon, let me say this about Torre: He possesses an amazing ability to deal with the dark side of being manager of the New York Yankees -- the incessant and voluminous media attention, the sensationalism that characterizes that coverage, the clashing of egos that is a byproduct of having so many of the highest-paid and most accomplished players in the game in one clubhouse, and especially the pressure of working under Steinbrenner. The Boss may have toned down his act somewhat in recent years, but as this morning's diatribe shows, he certainly has not lost his fastball. I cannot think of another person in baseball, if not the entire world, who would be as well-equipped as Torre to deal with all these different forces.
So that brings us to today. Torre walks into his pregame news conference, and he knows what's coming. And he was funny and genuine and honest and human. And even for Torre, it was impressive.
Here is part of what he said: "For me to be sitting here and answering additional questions that I wouldn't have had to answer. . . . that's part of what you do here. Is it comfortable at times? No, it's not."
Asked if he was impervious to the constant speculation about his job by this point: "If I knew what impervious meant, I'd probably give you a direct answer. But you're not surprised by [anything that] comes down the pike. You don't always get used to it. but you understand it if you want to work here."
When it was pointed out that, apparently, his job would be safe if the Yankees won this series: "'Til the next series, right?"
I'll save the rest for the 35-cent edition, as Svrluga calls. But feel free to weigh in with your opinions about Torre. Does he deserve to be fired if his team, with by far the highest payroll in baseball, bows out in the first round for the third straight year? Or should the fact he has taked the team to the playoffs in each year of his tenure, with four World Series titles, count for something?
And of course, here are your lineups for Game 3:
For the Indians:
CF Grady Sizemore
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
DH Travis Hafner
C Victor Martinez
1B Ryan Garko
SS Jhonny Peralta
LF Kenny Lofton
RF Trot Nixon
3B Casey Blake
(RHP Jake Westbrook)
For the Yankees:
LF Johnny Damon
SS Derek Jeter
RF Bobby Abreu
3B Alex Rodriguez
C Jorge Posada (moved up in the order, with Matsui dropped)
1B Jason Giambi (first start in series)
DH Hideki Matsui
2B Robinson Cano
CF Melky Cabrera
(RHP Roger Clemens)
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