Unless you’ve been in a cave, you know full well that the Boston Red Sox won the World Series for the second time in four years.

Of course, if you know that the Sox have won the highest honor in the baseball world, you know that there’s been some shakeups in the New York Yankees organization:

  • Joe Torre out
  • Alex Rodriguez gone
  • Joe Girardi hired as manager
  • Don Mattingly
  • Larry Bowa leaving

Before you know it, there will be other changes. Don’t bet on Ron Guidry coaching pitchers next year or even the staple of the Yankees four series titles, Mariano Rivera, even wearing pinstripes in the 2008 season. Add to that Jorge Posada leaving, and you could see a vastly different Yankees roster on April 1.

It’s clear that the Sox ascendency as the best team in the American League has George Steinbrenner and his son Hank in fumes (it has me in fumes and I’m a Mets fan). Therefore, the Steinbrenners, and their henchmen Brian Cashman needed a scapegoat and they got it in Joe Torre.

Two weeks ago, at a press conference in Rye, New York Torre bid Yankees fans farewell. He expressed a palpable dissapointment and a quiet bitterness that the Bombers ownership had offered him a less lucrative managerial deal after 12 straight postseason appearances.

When asked if he would attend opening day festivities at the new Yankee Stadium set for its debut in 2009, Torre said he didn’t think he would and right away I knew what he was trying to say: “No thanks, I’ll be managing elsewhere.”

Being a Yankees skipper whose career rivaled that of Miller Huggins or Casey Stengel, it is possible that many people didn’t even anticipate Torre going anywhere else after leaving the club. Many likely figured he’d walk off into the sunset; go into broadcasting, working for Major League Baseball.

I think that’s quite offensive. After all, Joe Torre is a tested and approved manager. Before he was with the Yankees, he led the Mets, Braves and Cardinals.

In Torre’s career, the Brooklyn-born catcher was a National League MVP and won a batting title, and played in several All-Star games. The man knows his baseball and the moronic Yankee organization would have been smart to have held on to him.

Torre was never the problem with the Yankees. Culprits for their particularly embarassing dissapointment since 2002 include acquired Jason Giambi, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Tom Gordon, David Wells and the second Yankee incarnation of Roger Clemens to name a few. Their even playing for the Yankees had less to do with Torre than the club’s general manager, Brian Cashman, who sought out and made the deals that led to their signings.

Since his arrival in the Bronx, Jason Giambi has been nothing if not a complete bust. Sure, Giambi may have been key in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, hitting two homeruns to help defeat the Sox, but what he’ll probably best be known for are not accolades but blights on what had otherwise been a promising career. The MVP-turned bum has been a chronic injury and can be remembered for blowing off a starting spot a game in the 2003 World Series to party with then Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, missing nearly the entire 2004 season to a peneal gland growth tied to his use of steroids as well as sitting on the pine during Game 4 of the 2006 ALDS when the Detroit Tigers embarassed and vanquished the Yankees.

And then there was the oft-injured Kevin Brown, a psychopath by any baseball fan’s definition. He was high-priced and ineffective and so far past his prime by the first time he took the mound at Yankee Stadium that the good he did for the Florida Marlins in 1997 was hardly memorable to anyone.

Randy Johnson won some games for the Yankees, but he was also toasted enough times. His first visit to the City as a Yankee culminated in him scuffling with reporters. His two seasons with the club involved missing games with back ailments before he was ultimately returned to the Diamondbacks, the team he helped to beat the Yankees with in.

Say what you will about Alex Rodriguez’ lackluster performance in the postseason, but please acknowlege that post season play can only happen when someone plays in the regular season. Carl Pavano has been a $40 million bomb, pitching in less than 20 games since his signing in 2005.

All of this came because of Brian Cashman’s homework and George Steinbrenner’s checkbook.

Don’t blame Torre–as few in Yankee land are doing. Instead, wish him well as he takes the place of Grady Little, his counterpart in the Sox last real fated season.

I’m a Met fan, but I’ve always included Torre in the list of Yankees I could never be sour with. He was a leader and a New Yorker we all loved, Mets fans included.

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