“It’s just out of respect” • 06.24.10
Within the Yankees fan base, opinions of Joe Torre have changed in the past few years. He didn’t leave the organization on good terms, then he co-wrote the book and now he’s seen in some corners as a traitor.
But for the players most closely associated with him, Torre seems to be the same. Before last night’s game, Derek Jeter said he had already talked to Torre once that day. Of course, as he always does, Jeter called his old manager Mr. Torre.
“I was 21 when I came up,” Jeter said. “It’s out of respect. Not saying I don’t have respect for you guys if I don’t call you mister, (but) he’s been like a father figure to me. It’s just out of respect.”
What do the Core Four and Torre’s replacement remember about him?
“The way he treated me. Not only me getting a chance to play. Obviously I’m going to thank him forever, and the organization, but the way he treated me was really special. I will always remember that.”
“He’s like a father figure. He was not only my manager, he was just somebody that you could talk to. Not about baseball, just talk to him about life. At a very young age he was always there. You all know how much he supported me, through the good times and the bad times. When I struggled, he stood for me. They wanted to trade me, and he put his neck on the line for me. That obviously means an awful lot to me.”
“Joe was more than a friend. He was a mentor. I would say, a guy that always was there, giving me the best advice that he can give. Always supporting me. I remember 97, my first year as a closer. I was struggling a little bit in the beginning. He said, ‘Don’t worry about what you do. As long as I’m here, you will be my closer.’”
“I learned a lot from the way he handles people, the way he deals with people. I’ve said it before about, people always say you treat everyone the same. You don’t treat everyone the same. You treat everyone fairly. I think he was pretty good at that.”
“I was his bench coach and he allowed me to do a lot of things as a bench coach. He allowed me to manage the game and make whatever suggestion I wanted. For that I’m forever grateful. It was his job to decide how many good ideas I had, but there were open lines of communication and he allowed me to say whatever I was thinking. It was great.”
Here’s the audio from Jeter.
And from Rivera.
Associated Press photo
Some evening potpourri • 03.10.10
• I’ve never quite understood the whole “sign a one-day contract and then retire” thing but that’s what Nomar Garciaparra did today and, according to Johnny Damon, it was a “classy move” by both the Red Sox and Garciaparra. Apparently the wounds from 2004 have healed and, now that he’s retired, we’ll all be seeing Nomar again on ESPN.
When some of us asked Damon which team he would do such a thing with when it came time to retire, he went quiet for a second, then shrugged and said, “I guess my longest tenure is with the Royals – and I haven’t played there in 10 years!”
Amazingly, he’s right – six years in KC, two in Oakland, four in Boston and now four in New York for the well-traveled Johnny.
• Torii Hunter is one of my favorite players – both to watch play and interview – and his overall point about African-American players in baseball is a reasonable one to bring up. It just didn’t come out particularly well, as you can see in this story, and even Hunter knows it.
• Joe Torre is off in Taiwan with part of the Dodgers team so Don Mattingly is the interim manager in Arizona. In an interview this afternoon, Donnie Baseball revealed that the Dodgers have talked with him about eventually becoming Torre’s replacement. Remember when the Yankees were choosing between Mattingly and Joe Girardi? Seems like a long time ago now, doesn’t it?
• Unfortunate situation involving the Rays pitcher David Price today. Seems he was hit on the hand by a shattered maple bat, though he was lucky and will escape needing stitches. “It was more of a scare than anything else,” Price said, according to The AP. “I don’t really remember what happened, to be honest. Tried to make a play on the ball and I guess out of the corner of my eye I saw the bat and just threw my hands up. Could have been a lot worse than what it is right now.”
Joe Maddon said what a lot of people around the game are thinking, likening the maple bat to the Claymore Mine, which was an explosive in use since World War II. Maple bats have shown an incredible propensity toward shattering, and their shards are very, very dangerous. “If we’re going to wait for someone to actually get killed or impaled,” Maddon said, “we’re going to wait way too long. Something has to be done.”
• Finally, Major League Baseball announced PED suspensions for several minor leaguers, including two from the Yankees Dominican Summer League team. Josue Rodriguez and Israel Tolentino will both serve 50-game bans for testing positive.
That’s it for tonight. Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting on a long day. Back at it tomorrow, though the clubhouse won’t open until around 1:30 p.m. because it’s a night game. Check in early and often, though, for a few other items before we get to Yankees-Braves.