Here’s my take on the whole Joe Torre situation: My feeling is that George Steinbrenner wanted to fire Joe after the 2003 World Series v. Florida followed by the 2004 ALCS failure v. Boston. The problem is that Joe had way too much support within the organization and within the city. So what did George do? He actually did something Red Sox fans have been hoping he would do… he destroyed his own organization from the inside out. It wasn’t the first time he’s done it, either. George started bringing in high priced mercenaries(Giambi, ARod, Damon, Clemens, Mussina, Sheffield) to take the place of aging/retiring veterans(O’Neill, Brosius, Tino Martinez, Luis Sojo, Wells, Cone, Key). He then started in on Torre’s support staff. He took away Joe’s right hand man, Don Zimmer by feuding with him until Zim had enough at the end of 04. He then badgered Mel Stottlemyre into retirement at the end of 2005. By doing these things, and allowing a year or two to pass without a World Series title, Joe lost some of his traction within the organization and within the city.
This is the point that then allowed the Yankees to make their ‘offer’ to Joe of a one year contract with a paycut. This ‘offer’ was completely for PR purposes, that allowed the Yankees to say to the public… ‘see, we really wanted him back, we offered him a great deal.’ They didn’t make a counter offer to Joe when he declined a one year deal. Also, if you value what a manager has brought to your organization, you should NEVER offer him a ONE year deal, it should be at least two. That gives stability to the organization, whereas a one year deal means he’s just a lame duck waiting to get fired. It also didn’t help that they waited 12 days after getting eliminated to have their first conversation with Torre.
Look at it from Torre’s perspective: You take this club to 12 straight postseasons, 10 straight division titles, 4 World Championships, have to put up with Steinbrenner through all of it. Now your boss tells you that IF you are going to come back, you have to take a 29-33% pay CUT and you only have ONE year of security… and we’re firing your second pitching coach. Hell, they gave him no choice but to decline the offer, or be seen as a man who is swallowing his pride, putting his tail between his legs, and whoring himself out just for the money.
Big ups to Joe Torre for his class, managerial aplomb, and grace that has been on display for the last 12 years. Now, with all that being said, I pray that the Yanks fall flat on their faces. It is said that what goes around comes around, that it it generally frowned upon by most people when you treat others like dirt. I only pray that this is the case, because it has appeared in the past that the Yankees can buy their way out of any comeuppance that is due.