Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Torre Finding Success in LA

I don't know how much a manager really contributes to the success of a team, but my gut tells me that the manager is definitely an important part of success. I always liked Joe Torre and was sad to see him go. It didn't take long for him to find himself another high-profile managerial position, this time all the way on the west coast managing the Dodgers. LA made it to the playoffs this year and quickly dispatched the best team in the National League in 3 games. Even if they lose to the Phillies in the next series, I think this year has to be recorded as an outstanding success for the Dodgers.

The Yankees on the other hand are the complete opposite, not making the playoffs for the first time in years. How much of this year's disaster can be accounted for by the departure of Torre and arrival of Girardi? I've often felt that this year's team was heartless, lacking in both drive and motivation and I squarely place the responsibility for those types of intangibles on the manager.

I'm going to try to be optimistic that Girardi isn't entirely stubborn and thick-headed and that he'll learn from this years colossal failure. His approach this year didn't work, plain and simple. Relations with the media were attrocious and clubhouse chemistry was non-existant. Hopefully Joe G can take a step back, look at what went wrong, and make adjustments and improve himself as a manager by learning from his mistakes. Hopefully.

Meanwhile, Joe Torre did what he does best. Takes a motely bunch of underachievers and pastes them together into a cohesive playoff bound team. Even when one of the most notorious personalities is dropped in his lap, Torre finds a way to get Manny back to being the superstar that he is. Not all of the current Yankee problems are due to Torre's leaving, and not all of the Dodger's success is related to Torre's arrival, but I sure as heck believe that a significant portion of each is all Torre.

Lastly, Torre has always been a class act and has maintained his dignity throughout the fiasco that was his pseudo-firing, the Yankees hardships this year, his team's success, and the end-of the-stadium snub. Several other big league managers would do well to take a page out of Torre's book in this regard.

Way to go Joe.

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