Joe Torre is as New York as Broadway and the Meatpacking District combined.

He’s an Italian man that was born there, played there, managed there, earned his fame and fortune there, became a champion there, and damn if he ain’t going to die there, too.

When Torre bolted from New York—perhaps not voluntarily—after bringing the Yankees six American League pennants and four World Series titles in 12 seasons, it’s not all that surprising that he landed in Los Angeles.

It’s about as far away as he could get from the circus that engulfed his name when, in the 2007 ALDS, late owner George Steinbrenner said Torre’s contract would not be renewed if the Yankees didn’t advance past the Cleveland Indians.

Well, bugs swarmed Joba Chamberlain and the media swarmed Torre.

In four games, the Yankees were gone, and Torre was gone.

While the passion for managing remained, Torre had accomplished too much in his career to take some middling job.

If he was going to return to the dugout, it had to be for a franchise that threw around some name recognition.

And it just so happened that the Dodgers needed a new skipper after Grady Little resigned following the 2007 season.


A Rebirth in Los Angeles

Torre and the Dodgers: It was a no-brainer, really.

After 12 summers of running New York, Torre’s persona had swelled enough that he was Hollywood-caliber before ever landing on the West Coast.

Torre’s credibility and pedigree strutted into L.A., and immediately gave a once-proud franchise some direction.

Before Torre stepped foot in Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles had won one postseason game since the famous 1988 World Series title.

One postseason win.

A Jose Lima gem against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. That’s it.

Torre immediately worked wonders with the Dodgers, taking a young core of talent and molding them into a championship contender.

Torre took the Dodgers to the NLCS in 2008 and 2009, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies both years. 

But Torre’s mark had been made. He set a standard that hadn’t been in L.A. since Lasorda left the dugout.

And then 2010 came.

Restricted by lousy owners and their egregious expenses, which were exposed by their public divorce, general manager Ned Colletti handed Torre a team that was short on pitching and had almost zero shot from the beginning to contend for its own division, much less a pennant.

In the final year of his deal, Torre didn’t get a prosperous postseason, but rather a somber summer.

By the time September baseball rolled around, the Dodgers had long been left in the twilight of the season, and Torre announced he wouldn’t be back.

Why would he? For a man that has done it all, what did this job have to offer him anymore?

But knowing Torre, he wasn’t about to retire so easily.


Torre in Orange and Blue?

When Torre returned to Yankee Stadium this week to honor George Steinbrenner—his first return to the The Bronx since 2007—reporters asked him if he would consider taking the New York Mets job.

With the Mets becoming a running joke around the league, the public opinion is that manager Jerry Manuel will not be back next year.

Torre said there’s “no question” he would take a phone call from the Mets and consider returning to New York to manage in Queens.

This peeved Manuel, who wondered aloud why Torre would comment on a job that’s currently occupied. Torre later apologized to Manuel, and said he was not entertaining the Mets job. 

Torre had to say that because the Mets still have games to play. Manuel is still the manager, and it’s one of those unwritten baseball rules that you don’t comment on a job that isn’t currently open.

But make no mistake: If Manuel is fired and the Mets offer Torre the job, he will sit down with his wife and give it serious consideration. 

That’s the obvious part of this. Sure, at 70 years old, some people probably think Torre should pack it up and enjoy the rest of his time with his family.

He’s done enough in baseball.

But, that’s not the question here. Torre’s the only one that can decide when he’s had enough.

No, the question here is this: How would Torre be perceived if he did take that Mets job?


Fairly or Unfairly, How Would Torre Be Perceived?

We aren’t talking about fairness or truth.

Torre could very well have genuine interest in continuing to manage, whether that is the Mets or somebody else.

But how would the New York media perceive Torre? Would they think it’s some ploy to steal the headlines from the Yankees, some sort of revenge for getting run out of The Bronx?

If Torre took over the Mets, then suddenly they are on the back pages, and the Yankees are not.

It wouldn’t even matter if the Yankees had won a second consecutive World Series.

Torre at Citi Field would be the hot topic, the juicy storyline that never sleeps in New York City.

Regardless of Torre’s motivations, taking the Mets job could make him out to be a bit of a drama queen.

It could appear that Torre’s as interested in making news and being in the spotlight than he is about winning.

Of course, nobody really knows how Torre feels about all of this.

But do you think for a second that winning with the Mets and stealing the attention of the city from the Yankees wouldn’t be one sweet carrot on top of the winning and the money? Let’s not be so naïve.

This is an interesting dynamic for Torre, more so for him than any other man because of what he has accomplished in baseball and how his tenure with the Yankees ended.

Torre is a sure-fire Hall of Fame manager, and has always been revered. He has been portrayed as a man of class, integrity, and grace.

There is not one thing in baseball that he hasn’t done, and there’s not one thing in baseball that he has left to prove.

So, that begs the question: If managing the New York Mets would stir up the notebooks once again in the Big Apple and create a potentially damning situation for Torre’s image, would the move even be worth it for a man that has conquered New York, and then some?

Follow Teddy Mitrosilis on Twitter. You can reach him at

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