If Joe Torre Is Fired, Why?
I am one of those people who grew up living, breathing, and playing baseball but who has since become a casual observer at best. That said, since I live in New York it’s hard to not get caught up in the apocalyptic reaction to the Yankees’ elimination (and, though it has far less Shakespearian gravitas, the Mets’ currently lovely position).
So here’s what I want to know: if Joe Torre is indeed fired as the Yankees’ manager, as some news reports hint, what would be the reason/s?
The subject of a baseball manager’s importance, especially as compared to a head football coach, has long been debated. Here is an article by Allen St. John of the Wall Street Journal, who writes that “managers’ in-game decisions are second-guessed, but they often make little difference.” Here is a recent commentary by J.C. Bradbury at the Sabernomics website, arguing that the Manager of the Year award “should actually be named ‘the award for the team that was supposed to suck but didn’t.’ The reason behind this is that if a team performed beyond its expectations, then it must have been the manager who played a large part. How much of a part he actually played is hard to determine, but certainly he deserves some credit.”
But I’d like to hear what it is that Torre has done wrong, or not done right, that should result in his firing. Did he:
+ Fail to create a productive chemistry among a team of All-Stars?
+ Fail to insist that Brian Cashman obtain the players necessary to accomplish the feat?
+ Fail to anticipate the strengths and weaknesses of the Detroit Tigers?
+ Make poor pre-game decisions including pitching order, batting order, etc.?
+ Make poor in-game decisions including offensive and defensive maneuvers, especially the decision of when to pull a pitcher?
+ Make the mistake of winning a few World Series off the bat, thereby setting expectations unduly high?
I am guessing that one of the worst parts of being a baseball manager (or, really, of being the boss of anything) is taking heat for things that are beyond your control. On the other hand, Torre has always admitted that he got a lot of glory for things that were beyond his control as well. For all I know, Torre will have been fired by the time I hit the “publish” button on this post — though I doubt it; I don’t think he will in fact be fired this year at all. But if he is, I would really like to know why.