Friday, October 19, 2007

Thanks, Joe Torre

Maybe I'm being a bit disloyal, but I'm ready for a change.
Joe Torre could do no wrong in the minds of many Yankees fans. The Daily News says it all on its cover - tons of success during his time at the helm.
He's a beloved figure who brought honor back to the Yankees franchise. From the time I began watching them in 1980 or 1981 through my college graduation, they were an average team at best. You could show up any day or night of the week and buy a good ticket, and watch the game with 27,000 others in a stadium less than half-filled (imagine being able to do that at Fenway during ANY game). Sox tickets are gold. Back then, Yankees tickets were no big deal.
I remember entering every season with unequivocable optimism - Mattingly, Winfield, Guidry, Righetti, Randolph - those were the stars. The rest of the cast came and went every year , and looking back at some of those rosters of names, they're filled with people I haven't thought about since my baseball card collecting days.
I remember being heartbroken in 1994, when the Yanks were running away with the AL East, only to have the player strike cancel the World Series.
I remember luckily scoring a pair of tickets through Ticketmaster for Game 1 of the 1995 AL Wild Card and sitting with my father in the bleachers during the first home playoff game at Yankee Stadium since I began following the team. I remember the heart-crushing 11th inning of Game 5 in Seattle, and Ken Griffey Jr. rounding 3rd to score just ahead of the tag at home.
Sox fans - think Aaron Boone in 2003. That's how I felt.
I remember openly weeping when the Yankees finally won it all with their dream team of 1996, Torre's first year as manager. Jeter, Pettitte, Wetteland, Bernie, O'Neill, Tino, Rivera, Posada. These guys were heroes to Yankees fans.
Sox fans - think 2004. That's how I felt.
But I see this like a mutual fund report - whatever the language is about past results not guaranteeing future performance.
It's time for some restructuring. Under new management is often an indicator that an organization is actively changing. One (well, me) might hope that change is evolution rather than regression.
After 2000, 4 World Series titles in 5 years, the Yankees and the Yankees fans became complacent. It was too easy. It was a given. Even in 2001, it was expected that they win (and...they were America's team that year with the events of 9/11, and the whole world getting behind New York. Even Byung-Hung Kim's meltdowns were part of the destined story. The Yankees were supposed to win again. Somehow, they didn't).
From that point onward, the only exciting playoff success I can recall is the 2003 series with the Sox. Winning that felt like the series. It was just kind of odd that they lost the World Series. I bet most Sox fans don't even remember who beat the Yanks that year (it was Florida, with Josh Beckett on the mound for the final game).
Let's see what another manager can bring. It's been seven years of playoff disappointment for the Yankees and their fans. For Yankees Nation, that's far too long.
I'm ready for a new dance partner. The Torre era is over. Thanks, Joe.

1 comment:

Jamen said...

Jason...openly weeping??? Now that's unbelievable.