Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Eenie Meenie Mynie Joe

By all accounts, the Yankees are done with the interview process and we could have a successor to Joe Torre by the weekend. Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly, and Tony Pena. Not that my opinion counts for much, but I'm hoping that Joe Girardi gets the nod.
If you've ever watched Girardi on a YES broadcast, you know that he knows his stuff. I remember listening to him during the 2004 postseason and I remember saying to myself then that I hoped he would succeed Torre as the next skipper of the Yankees. He came across an extremely intelligent guy. A guy that definitely knows the game of baseball. I remember him saying that the first thing he would do if he were managing game 6 of the 2004 ALCS was to bunt on Curt Schilling and his surgically repaired ankle. Make him field the ground and disrupt his comfort level right from the get go. I think every Yankee fan at the time was calling for Torre to do that. I don't know if he thought he and the Yankees were above that, but that's part of the game. Girardi strikes me as an old school guy and I don't think he'd shy away from calling for a few brushbacks on David Ortiz if the situation called for it. Torre became too passive and I think part of his fall from grace had a lot to do with his lack of "feather ruffling." Don't get me wrong, I love Torre to death and I still think he was the best call for a few more years at the helm of the ship, but since that is out of the question, I've moved on. Girardi has also successfully managed at the big league level. 2006 NL Manager of the Year in his first and only season as manager. He took a young team, one that was pegged to lose 100 plus games, and had them in contention for a playoff spot deep into the season. He's shown he can get the job done. The only negative I can think of is that he didn't really get along with Marlins management. If you can't get along with the peeps if Florida, how do you expect to make nice with the guys in Tampa? That'll be interesting.
I think Mattingly would be too much like Torre in terms of a managerial style. And quite frankly, I don't see him as a manager. I can't really articulate why. He just doesn't strike me as the type. And I've heard a lot of people say that about him. Now I have no real basis to make that judgment on. I've never really heard him give an interview. I've never really seen him "in action" as a skipper. I haven't really heard him talk baseball and strategy and what to do in situations. I'm also not sure a "fresh-faced" manager is what this team needs right now. If they go with Mattingly, a positive would be that he would be the smoothest transition away from Torre. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Can't really decide. It's difficult for me not to back Mattingly as he is my all-time favorite Yankee. Any kid that grew up on the Yankees in the '80s loves Donnie Baseball. Sorry Donnie. I can't give you that love this time. I've also blogged before that the Yankees haven't won squat with Mattingly in Pinstripes. Never made the Series while he played. Haven't been to the series since he's been coaching. Let me break it down. The Yankees went to the World Series in 1981. Mattingly joined the Yankees in 1982, retired in 1995 and they never played in late October during that stretch. From 1996-2003, without Mattingly in the organization, the Yankees win the World Series 4 times, and reach it 6 out of the 8 years. Mattinlgy comes back as coach in 2004 and they haven't been back to the World Series since. It's been one horrendous playoff loss after another. Maybe he's just not a winner? Or maybe he's cursed?
Mattingly has to be the favorite. But if Hank and Hal didn't like Torre as much as it seems, I can't see them being a fan of Mattingly for manager. It wouldn't make sense. Another thing that doesn't make sense is this quote from Hank Steinbrenner (thanks to Bryan Hoch's Bomber Beat for the quote):
"I think the most important thing is whoever we hire, give 'em a chance because he's not getting the '96 Yankees. He's getting an even younger team or for the most part a team in transition. Give him a little while. We want to win the World Series every year. We're not stupid enough to think we can do it. Of course, we'd love to win the World Series next year."
If that's truly how you feel, why the heck did you guys run Torre out of town? Where was his "chance?" Where was the "little while?" Who better to manage a team in transition that Joe Torre? Why rock the boat? And you're not stupid enough to think they can win the World Series every year? Sorry Hank, but you are that stupid. You ran Torre out of town for not winning the World Series. We're not blind. We're not dumb. Your entire comment basically screams that Joe Torre should be the manager. If Napolean Dynamite was ever needed to say the phase "Idiot," it's now.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our new leaders. We're in trouble.