Monday, October 09, 2006

It’s time.

There is a lot of speculation that the Yankees will fire Joe Torre. From the headline above, you can guess what I think about it.

The bottom line is, Joe didn’t get it done. I know it sounds insane to say that about a guy who holds four World Series rings, but it is the simple truth that the last of those rings came in 2000. That is an eternity ago in Yankee time.

Let’s think about Joe’s postseason results since 2000.

2001: The Last Night of the Yankees Dynasty as Buster Olney has now famously called it with his book of the same name. Torre was one inning away from a fifth ring, and maybe you can’t pin this one on him so much as you can give it to the Diamondbacks.

2002: First round loss to the Angels, 3 to 1. That, by any stretch of the imagination, is a failure.

2003: Lost in six games to the Florida Marlins in the World Series. Not a complete failure, but short of the ultimate goal.

2004: The greatest collapse in sports history to the team’s ultimate rival. This isn’t just failure, but failure on a historical level. And you have to think that most any other manager gets the boot after this. Torre’s past rings saved him here. I don’t want to use the phrase “A good manager would have prevented this” because Torre is an excellent manager, but that’s the general sentiment I’ve always had about that collapse.

2005: The Angels again, ALDS, in five.

2006: The Tigers, ALDS, in four. As you know.

The bottom line is Torre has consistently been given the tools other managers only dream about, and he has failed to make it out of the first round three of the last five years. He lost four straight to the team’s arch rival in the ALCS. Lost in the World Series twice. (And, we now forget, how close they came to losing in the 2003 ALCS.)

Unless you buy into Billy Beane’s Moneyball theory that “Whatever happens in the playoffs is complete luck” you have to agree that Joe Torre has failed in the postseason for the past six years.

And you can’t blame it on the players without the blame falling on the Manager’s head. That is the understood and accepted truth. There will be speculation that another manager (a feisty Pinella?) could have gotten production out of A-Rod. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. But the Yankees’ post-season failure has been occurring since before A-Rod donned pinstripes, and it continues after.

I’ll say it again: with the tools he has been given, you have to believe that not winning the World Series is a failure for these teams and therefore a failure for the team’s manager, Joe Torre.

And that’s why I say it’s time. Even if it hurts for me to say that. Bye, Joe.

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