Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Who's that manager?

The Latest from Los Angeles:



We'll set aside for a moment how I had to fight the urge to punch myself in the face for putting a picture of anyone (let alone Torre) in a Yankees uniform on my blog. It makes me feel a little bit dirty.

Grady Little resigned as manager of the Dodgers yesterday. Can you blame the guy, really? I mean, he's not exactly a slouch as a manager. All of the teams he's managed had a winning record. He took the 2003 Red Sox to the ALCS in his second year at the helm (those of you piping up with "But...Pedro!" right now, sit down and be quiet). In his first year with the Dodgers, he took them to the NLDS (somewhere they'd been only twice before since winning the '88 World Series). On top of that, he's one of the most genuinely nice guys you're ever going to meet. And yes, I know that firsthand.

The problem? He's not Joe Torre.

I understand why those four words make such a strong argument. I know you can't compare Little, with his four seasons of managerial experience, to the man who steered the mighty Yankees dynasty for 12 years - into 12 postseasons and six World Series (four of which resulted in Championships). It's apples and oranges. But he deserved better.

There are reports of end-of-season unrest between veteran and rookie players and a blowup between Colletti and Little. The latter is said to have lead to Grady deciding to step down. I hope that's true. I hope that Little resigned of his own accord and not because Dodgers upper-level management realized there might have been something better out there. A classy guy like Grady (who was quoted trying to debunk any rumors that the decision to leave wasn't entirely his own) deserved that much.

When Torre declined Steinbrenner's offer, I'll bet there wasn't an owner or GM out there that didn't daydream for a moment or two about good old Joe donning their team's cap and filling out lineup cards. I bet there wasn't a manager out there who didn't wonder in the back of his mind about his job security. Unfortunately for Little, his wondering turned into reality. But you know what? That's baseball. That's business.

There is no deal yet between Torre and the Dodgers. Ned Colletti was barely willing to admit that the two parties had spoken at all. But these stories never come from nowhere, so I'd say, should all the details of contact and coaching staff and whatnot get sorted out (and we all know how easily THAT can go awry), Torre may very well be steering my boys in blue come March.

How I feel about that is something I'm still working out. He IS a friggin' Yankee, after all.