Maccabees Games

A look at the New York sports scene and the sporting world at large.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ode To the Bronx is Burning Part Deux

George: Now Joey, a one year contract with a pay cut for taking us back from oblivion in May is a fair deal, don’t you think so Joey?

Torre: Don’t call me Joey, George – call me Mr. Torre.

George All right Joey, I’ve always been a fair man and a one year contract with incentives just to get to the World Series, not win it mind you, that’s not important to me, is very very fair. Don’t you think so Larry? Joey, this is really Larry’s decision, I’m just following my Lieutenant’s orders.

Torre: Which Larry, George, Larry Macphail or Larry Levine, the dress designer, I think they are both dead. I’m not even sure if Levine was ever alive. Do you mean Randy Levine or are you asking Bernie lying dead there on the couch? Maybe you meant Gabe Paul, he’s dead too you know.

George: No, no, both Hal and Hank are very fair. They told me I’m being very fair. Getting to the World Series is more than enough – it would taste great.

Torre: No George, it’s less fulfilling then coming back from 14 and ½ in May.

George: No Joey, I’m the Boss and it tastes great...

Torre: Less filling George.

George: Dammit Joey, it’s my team and I’ll say and do what I want.

Torre: not on a one year contract, you won’t.

George: you’re fired Joey.

Torre: Shove it George - I already quit!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


The New York Yankees’ handling of the rehiring of Joe Torre will have negative repercussions for weeks to come. The fallout may last as long as a nuclear winter.

Joe Torre will be remembered as one of the top 5 greatest managers in Yankees’ history and as one of the 20 greatest in baseball history.

It’s not that Joe was a great tactician. Even in the early years where Torre would mix and match his own players with the opposition to perfection, a lot of the moves were lucky. His abuse of relievers ended careers and seasons far too early. His dealings with individuals players such as ARod, Sheffield and Lofton may or may not be questionable

But Torre’s treatment of his players as a whole and his motivation of potential and actual prima donnas was masterful.

The culmination of Torre’s outstanding Yankee career was this very last 2007 season.

The 12th consecutive playoff appearance in 12 years as a Yankee manager was almost miraculous. As unbelievable as the season of Bucky Dent crushing the Red Sox culminating one of the greatest comebacks of all time, being 14 and ½ games back in May is a lot more difficult for a player than it would be in August.

One doesn’t have to look too far to see what a big lead in September does to opposing teams. The Mets saw in just a few days how a lead can evaporate. The Phillies and the Rockies can testify how miracles can easily happen in a short time and how adrenaline can have a team storming back from obscurity.

Even in the playoffs, momentum can elevate or destroy a team; see the Cards, Tigers and Yanks of last year or Detroit and Cleveland of this year as well as the Angels of 2005.

But coming back in May, and continuing to play as if you were in the playoffs every day is a marvel, with all the thanks in the world going to Torre.

When the Yanks started to make their comeback and win almost every series throughout the year, it was the beginning of an accomplishment that almost no one would have thought possible.

To keep players motivated when at best you’re only picking up 2 or 3 games a month is no easy task. Picking up 3 or 4 games a week in September is a totally different story.

Most human beings, not just multimillion dollar ballplayers, would give up if they were placed in the same position as the Yankees were in May of 2007.

How did they make the playoffs? How did they almost take the division? Sure the Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers and even the Indians had a hand in it. But the master motivator was Torre.

To offer that Man a pay cut which was essentially a 19 million one is unfair. Torre was coming off a 3 year guaranteed contract to a one year 5 million “vested” contract with “incentives.” This was after being told two years in a row that he was going to be fired by that buffoon Steinbrenner; essentially a total insult.

It’s obvious that the idiotic Yankee hierarchy never wanted Joe back. But to think that anyone with a half a brain would think that this was a legitimate good faith offer, to a manager who will become a legend in Yankee history, is a fool.

The Yankees of Steinbrenner George “goofball” the third, Hank and Hal “tweedleedee and tweedledum” and the sheinu yodeya lishal son-in-law Lopez will watch the press have a field day with them. Randy Levine and Cashman will also get what’s coming to them, though Cashman's hands were probably tied.

In the end,no one will be spared.

They can all watch the value of the Yankees go down in the short term. They can watch some players decide not to come back. They can watch the organization putrefy.

But they won’t be watching what Joe Torre deserves; a chance to close out Yankee stadium, open up the new one and go out on his own terms with dignity and roars from the cheering crowds.

Atlanta is Burning

No one can really say how successful the Rangers will be from their off-season signings or lack thereof, but they did accomplish one thing.

By sweeping and essentially butchering the once exciting Atlanta Thrashers, the Rangers seemed to have left their mark on the second coming of an Atlanta hockey team by inadvertently spiraling them with an additional 6 game losing streak to begin the season 0-6 and unfortunately for their coach, having him fired after the inauspicious April 2007 finish and October 2007 start.

I take no satisfaction from this, but it’s ironic that the Rangers who have started off this season offensively inept, will now try to repair their season by moving Chris Drury to the third line, that 2 number two centers do not make a first line and third line center, especially with the petulant but at times great Jaromr Jagr.

Well the new new season begins tonight against -- wouldn’t you know it -- the once and mighty Atlanta Thrashers.

Let’s go Rangers!