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Seeing Torre's situation from different angles

October 10, 2006|Shaun Powell | Newsday

Excerpts from columnists around the country on whether the New York Yankees should keep Manager Joe Torre:

Jeter could lead the way but chooses to stay quiet

Clearing out the rubble of a ruptured baseball season is never a pretty or pleasant task, but such is life as the Yankees know it these days. Little by little, and I'm talking both in terms of numbers and status on the team, players filed in and out of a soulless Yankee Stadium clubhouse the last few days, grabbed their gear, and split.

Some did pause long enough to give a shout-out about their beleaguered manager. Joe Torre deserved as much. The only player with a voice in that clubhouse has chosen not to use it, at least not publicly....

Imagine if [Derek] Jeter demanded a New York media forum and, with red eyes and moist cheeks, explained very sternly yet intelligently how much Torre has meant to the Yankees and the city and the development of Derek Jeter.

Imagine if Jeter took it a step further and sent a message to The Man, via the TV cameras, with this ultimatum: "If Joe goes, then I go." What then? Well. All hell would break loose, that's what. Lines would be drawn and sides taken.

Jeter would shake up the city. Steinbrenner's mock turtleneck would ruffle. And somewhere thick among the mansions in Westchester, a manager would get choked up once again....

Look, Jeter is a terrific Yankee and model citizen. Count me among his many admirers. However, he avoids controversial situations with amazing consistency. He never stood up (or down) for Alex Rodriguez when things got thick. He has never taken issue with Steinbrenner's sometimes insensitive press releases. And now, when his manager needs him, Jeter is out of town.

Perhaps, by saying nothing, Jeter is saying something. He's saying he'd rather be left alone, strange behavior from a captain, yet quite typical for this one.

It appears that minorities need not apply for job

The Rev. Jesse Jackson receives considerably less attention than the irrepressible Reggie Jackson when it comes to New York Yankees baseball.

I have to wonder, however, how many New Yorkers, if any, have bothered to touch base with the Rev. Jackson, or with the Rev. Al Sharpton, or with any staunch advocates of minority causes during this rampant speculation that Joe Torre is out as Yankees manager and is to be replaced instantaneously -- as in no other candidates need apply -- with Lou Piniella.

To the best of my knowledge, all 27 men who have managed the Yankees have had a common pigmentation, one that is the same hue as a shiny new baseball....

Come now, 27 for 27? Persistently hiring a cavalcade of white males is not a very admirable way of batting 1.000.

You would think this point of view might pop up in New York a little more frequently than it seems to, particularly given the fact that Willie Randolph, one of the great ex-Yankees, has just managed the rival New York Mets into the thick of the fight for the NL pennant.

Randolph couldn't wait around any longer for the Yankees to give him a shot.... [Frank] Robinson and [Dusty] Baker both probably would make pretty good managerial material for the New York Yankees, given the chance. Neither one should waste a great deal of time waiting by the phone.

Manager shows he's just not tough enough

He became an institution. Joe Torre was the Empire State Building. He was the Brooklyn Bridge.

He was easy to root for because somewhere along the path of his life he found it better to treat people with dignity. Joe Torre is a gentleman.

Sadly, the job description isn't St. Joe. It's not Joe Pa in Pinstripes. It's not even, as Derek Jeter still calls him, Mr. Torre.

The job is manager of the New York Yankees, and the job description is simple.

Win the World Series. This year.

And if you don't win it all? There better be a damn good excuse.

This time, there is no excuse.

And after six years of falling short, the stunningly pitiful performance the Yankees staged in their ALDS loss to the Tigers reportedly will cost Joe his job.

We'd love to put up a sturdy defense. We'd love to argue Joe should stay on, must stay on, and that, at the very least, he deserves to go out on his terms.

Those would be the words of a reckless romantic. We watched the games in Detroit. The Yankees not only lost by a combined score of 14-3, they didn't compete.

They looked like a team too willing to lose. They needed to get their butts kicked and Piniella will do it.

Even with someone else, result would be the same

Dear George:

Nobody tells a guy who spent $200 million on the hired help what he can or cannot do. So go ahead, fire Joe Torre if it makes you feel better.

Just ask yourself something first. What would Lou Piniella or any other manager have done differently?

Scream more? Hit and run less? Use the hook on one pitcher a little earlier or another a little later? Because even if Torre -- or Piniella, or the ghost of Connie Mack, for that matter -- had done any or all of those things, the result would have been the same.

If you're compiling a list of the people who let you down the past half-dozen seasons, his name doesn't even make the top 10.

T.J. Simers has the day off.

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