By Mike Steffanos
I know some Mets fans (and Mets bloggers) have a real bug up their a**es about the former manager of the cross-town squad, but I've never had a problem with him. I never thought he was the genius that some tried to portray him as, nor did I judge him as the fortunate doofus that his detractors saw him. He was certainly the right person at the right time for those late 1990s squads, and you don't "luck" into multiple championships. On the other hand, he was hardly a great in-game manager.
I'm sorry, though, but I find it hard to shed tears for a man who was in a position to be "insulted" by a contract that guaranteed him $5 million for another year in the salt mines. I don't blame Torre for walking away, but the hyperbole of some in the media would have you believe Joe is some sort of martyr. The irony of this is that it was in large part due to some in the media that the perception of any season that didn't feature a championship being a failure had a lot to do with Torre's ouster.
Joe was a genius when he had the best pitching in the game to do battle with, and became much less smart when the club got away from what made them so good in the first place. The role players were replaced by people like A-Rod and Giambi, and the pitching just wasn't as good. Interesting that Torre is leaving at a time when the Yanks seem to be going back to what made them most successful during his tenure. The way the Yankees and Red Sox are set up for the next few seasons, I feel sorry for fans of their AL east rivals. I do not, however, feel sorry at all for their extremely rich ex-manager. I suspect he will be just fine. By the way, if that $5 million job is available, I'd like to say that I'd be willing to put up with a lot of abuse from Tampa as long as those paychecks keep coming.
Good Luck, Ryan
I was sorry to read that the excellent Ryan McConnell is stepping down as the author of NJ.com's Always Amazin' Mets blog. I'll miss his even-handed style and great insights. Good luck, Ryan, we hope to hear from you again down the road.
I still haven't had the time to catch up on all of the back email. Please excuse my tardiness. I promise I will by the end of the weekend, even if it kills me. It just might...