Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.
Joe and the Yankees: It ain’t so. No more Joe.
Now, it’s no insult to offer a man five million dollars to run a baseball team. For a man in Joe’s position, it was no great honor either.
Last year he made 7.5 million. He was offered a 1/3 pay cut. For what? For leading the Yankees to their 13th consecutive post-season appearance? For taking the Yankees from the bottom of the division at 21-29 to the playoffs? He will be high on the list for Manager of the Year.
But as I say, it’s the Yankees loss, and, maybe, just maybe, the country’s gain.
So, I nominate Joe Torre for President. That’s right: Put Yankee pinstripes on the White House.
And why not? Certainly he can do a better job than Chimpy McFlightsuit.
And, it seems to me that Joe Torre possesses the very qualities needed to shape up and lead our nation.
He knows how to put together a good team ---the right people for the right job. When he came on in 1998, he brought Don Zimmer, Mel Stottlemeyer and Willie Randolph to help him coach. He brought in Don Mattingly for a hitting coach.
Foreign relations experience? You bet. He’s had to manage Hideki Matsui from Japan. Jorge Posada from Santurce, Puerto Rico. Chien-Ming Wang from Tainan, Taiwan. And A-Rod from Ego-Land.
On the job experience: He’s held office for twelve years ---much longer than most world leaders.
Domestic relations? He has successfully dealt with teams from Boston, Chicago, and Cleveland. He has had to deal with his own Chairman of the Board.
Can he deal with ‘hostile enemy combatants’ ? Have you ever been to bat day at Yankee Stadium during a Red Sox series? In the Bronx, no less? There’s some real hostile fans there. Torre is Mr. Cool all the time.
And what president has ever had to deal with the likes of George Steinbrenner? He’s more like Saddam Hussein than Saddam Hussein is.
Communication skills: While in office, President Bush has given the fewest number of press conferences of any president in recent years. Joe Torre holds a press conference practically after each and every game, win or lose.
No Press Secretary. No spin. No retractions. No post-press conference press releases explaining what he meant to say. It’s just Joe and the camera.
So, we need to pinstripe the White House.
He has done his job quietly, confidently, and successfully for twelve seasons. Ten division titles. Four World Series. And one over the New York Mets, too.
In the twelve years before Joe arrived:
There were nine managers, with Billy Martin and Lou Pinella having repeat runs.
World Series titles: Zero
American League Pennants: Zero
Division Titles: Zero
So, who can take Torre’s place? I know there is talk about Mattingly, Joe Gerardi, Bobby Valentine, Tony Larusso. All good choices for various reasons.
But I have my own suggestions for the Steinbrenner clan:
George W. Bush. Yes, Bush.
On the plus side: He goes to his Right very well. And he speaks funnier than Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra put together. And he was the owner of the Texas Rangers. Could be a great punching bag for the New York sports press. Will need a job come 1-20-09.
On the minus side: When he owned the Rangers, he traded Sammy Sosa. And he's not very bright.
Upside: If he loses the Republican nomination, he could be ready to take the helm by the spring of 2008. He’s used to the New York press corps, and may have the guts to deal with Steinbrenner. Knows how to get to Yankee Stadium by subway, if he needs to.
Downside: He recently stated he's rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series.
Upside: Rumored to be leaving the Tonight Show in 2009, so he might be available. No real experience in baseball, but grew up in Boston watching the Sox lose. Has his own fleet of cars, any of which can be used to drive relief pitchers in from the bullpen. Can warm up the crowd with a great ten minutes, while the pitcher warms up, too.
Downside: May be too likable to be a baseball manager in NYC.
Lives near by in Montclair; certainly has the experience and might still have an old uniform or two lying around in his house. Maybe he can catch a game or two if Posada needs a rest.
The Fans themselves:
Maybe Steinbrenner can save some money by going a season without a manager. Give the fans at the stadium and at home on the web the ability to make all the calls themselves. When a pitching change is needed, ask the fans to vote online. Certainly the technology is there. When a steal is needed or there a sacrifice bunt, go to the web.
So, it goes.
Ballgame over. Joe Torre over. The fans lose. The Yankees lose.