Busy…busy…busy. That’s my life right now and that of course leaves little time for blogging. But in the same spirit as Forrest Gump who exclaimed, “I gotta find Bubba!” – I have to comment on Torre! The problem is that there is no time. But I did comment on the hiring of Joe Torre when the subject was brought up on one my Fantasy Football message boards recently and so I am just going to copy and paste what I wrote. Here it is:
“I think the Torre move was a good one. If nothing else it communicates to the baseball world and more importantly to the players themselves that the Dodgers are committed to winning a championship. Dodger management talks about how their goal is to win a championship but sometimes those words get lost. Joe Torre will be a daily visual reminder to those players of what their objective is and that is to bring the World Series trophy back to Los Angeles. The Dodgers are in desperate need of real leadership and nobody in recent years has been willing to step it up, including their managers. Torre will fill that role and will be a manager that players look up to and respect. He’s the perfect manager right now for a very talented group of young players who are going to learn a lot from him. He may not be any better than Grady Little or Jim Tracy in terms of in-game managing, but he brings some intangibles that may be the “glue” (as Phil Jackson put it yesterday) that brings this team together in much the same way that Kirk Gibson did in ’88.”
Anyway, that pretty much summed it up. Now, about Grady Little.
I liked Grady Little and for the record, despite my recent ranting about his late-season managing, I was okay with him managing in 2008. Experience is the best teacher and I think he would likely have done some things differently. As far as the things I mentioned in my recent blog article, I’m beginning to realize that many other managers do some of the same types of things I mentioned. In Game 4 of the ALCS, Red Sox manager Terry Francona left Manny Delcarmen in the game a few batters too long, letting the game get so far out of reach that even back-to-back-to-back home runs by the Red Sox in the very next inning only made a dent in the Indian lead. The Red Sox were forced to come back from 3 games to 1.
I choose to remember Grady’s brief tenure with the Dodgers not by the late-season collapse of 2007 but by the magical late-season comebacks of 2006. I will remember the night of September 18th, when the Dodgers came back from a 9-5 deficit by clubbing four consecutive home runs in the bottom of the 9th (two of them off Trevor Hoffman) and after giving up the lead again in the 10th, won it on a walk-off home run by Nomar Garciaparra. I will remember how Nomar’s walk-off grand slam aginst the D-Backs in the last home game of the season kicked off a perfect final week of the season that propelled the Dodgers into postseason. The first playoff game I ever attended was during Grady’s time with the Dodgers.
Despite the way 2007 ended, I will miss Grady. But like Brett Tomko said after finding out that he was placed on waivers to make room for David Wells, “Well, it’s not like they’re bringing in a chump.” This Christmas Grady Little can tell his friends and relatives, “I left the Dodgers and it took a Hall-Of-Fame manager to replace me.” Thank you, Grady for your two years with the Dodgers and best of luck in your future endeavors.
And now hello, Joe Torre. I was excited when I heard that Torre was taking the job as manager of the Dodgers but what made me really excited was when Torre made comments during his introductory speech that resembled the things I said in my recent blog about the Yankees. Joe Torre understands why the Yankees crumbled in the playoffs year after year and he will be advising GM Ned Colletti on personnel moves – something they wouldn’t let him do in New York. I’m as optimistic as I’ve ever been about the future of the Dodgers.