Tag: Joe Torre

Scott Miller’s Starting 9: Stretch Run Will Tell Tale of Yankees Present, Future

1. Yankees vs. Schedule-Makers

Not that the Yankees are holding open auditions these days, but 52 times this season, Joe Girardi has handed the ball to a rookie starter and steered him toward the mound.

No other team in the majors has started rookie hurlers as often this summer, and only three times since rookie rules were established in 1958 have the Yankees entrusted a larger number of their games to those classified as such: 1991 (54 times), 1986 (54) and 2007 (52).

Click Ahead to Other Topics

• Numbers not adding up for the Orioles
• Finally, the Dodgers find some late-inning magic
• Joey Bats shows his not-so-glamorous side
• The numbers crunch is growing in the Bronx
• Mariners make dizzying history in Boston
• Stephen Strasburg keeps the Nationals guessing
• Is Billy Butler’s glove key to Royals’ renaissance?
• It’s time to start planning for next year for a few teams

Yet each time this seeming pinstriped version of Christians-Lions threatens to become gory (especially with Masahiro Tanaka, who has started 18 times, out)…it doesn’t. The Yankees steal a few wins, the Orioles get swept by a bad Cubs team in Wrigley Field, and, presto, the Yankees’ pulse quickens.

That the Yankees started this week in second place in the AL East, only six games behind Baltimore, is either a testament to their steely resolve and fortitude, or an enormous indictment of the Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox.

Debate that as you may (correct answer: A lot of both), but now comes the next round of heavy lifting for the Yankees: A key stretch of schedule in which 21 of their next 30 games, taking them through Sept. 25, is against clubs with winning records.

Starting Tuesday, nine of their next 12 are against winning clubs: the Royals, Tigers and Blue Jays. Throw in Tanaka‘s scheduled simulated game Thursday in Detroit, and this is the latest week that could make or break the 2014 Yankees.

What we’re watching is Girardi‘s best job of managing yet and a Yankees club that should leave even the most ardent optimists scratching the stadium giveaway caps sitting atop their heads.

A “future” with Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran really is more of a past. CC Sabathia did what he was supposed to, helping to bring another World Series title to the Bronx (2009), but he’s not going to be leading a staff in his twilight years. And just think, only six more months remain before Alex Rodriguez pops his head out in Tampa like Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania.

What general manager Brian Cashman has been unable to do in the years since the latest dynasty ended in 2000 is establish a pipeline of prospects that replenishes the major league club.

As Derek Jeter enters the final month of his career, the roaring question is: When will the next Jeter emerge from the Yankees’ system? That “Core Four”—Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera…all were drafted or signed and developed in the Yankees’ system.

As for the present, the Yankees have used a franchise-record 31 pitchers so far this season. Only the Texas Rangers (36), hit by a Noah’s Ark-sized flood of injuries, have employed more.

Still, including old warhorses Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano, Yankees starters were 6-4 with a 2.77 ERA over their past 18 games heading into Michael Pineda’s start in Kansas City on Monday.

That’s a far better reality for this group than the Yankees had any right to expect. Now strength of schedule comes into play with the force of a USC linebacker.

Of course, the Orioles have helped New York remain alive. No sooner had the Birds opened a commanding nine-game lead in the AL East before they ran smack into the Javier Baez Wrigley Field Wrecking Co.

The result was a 4-5 road trip. Chris Davis is now down to a .190 batting average, the lowest mark of any major leaguer with at least 400 at-bats. And Manny Machado is lost for the season to knee surgery.

So can the Yankees erase the rest of the Orioles’ lead? Or even wipe out a 2.5-game deficit in the wild-card standings, where they trail both the Seattle Mariners and Tigers (emphasizing the magnitude of this week’s series)?

A lot may hinge on the one game this week that doesn’t count, a simulated game scheduled for Thursday that will see Tanaka test his injured elbow, which has had him on the DL since July.


2. The Orioles By the Numbers

Just when the Orioles appeared to be running away from the pack in the AL East, they were whacked by the Cubs and sideswiped by news that Manny Machado will be lost for the year due to surgery on his right knee. Last summer, his season ended early with the same procedure on his left knee.

It’s the end of a bizarre season for Machado, who lost it during a series against the A’s in June, was suspended and now says he has abnormal knees, which left them vulnerable to injuries. By having this surgery now, he says, he hopes his knee issues will become a thing of the past

You can’t help but wonder whether Machado’s knees now will compromise his future. He arrived in the majors as such a supreme talent at 19 in 2012. With him and catcher Matt Wieters both out for the season, the Orioles have taken a huge hit.

Meantime, Nelson Cruz leads the majors with 34 homers after Chris Davis’ 53 topped the majors last summer. If Cruz maintains his lead, the Orioles will become only the fourth team since 1920 to have two different players win homer titles in back-to-back seasons, according to STATS, LLC.

The others: The 1936-37 Yankees (Lou Gehrig 49, Joe DiMaggio 46), the 1987-88 Athletics (Mark McGwire 49, Jose Canseco 42) and the 1993-94 Giants (Barry Bonds 46, Matt Williams 43).


3. Dodging the Late-Inning Heroics

That the Dodgers beat the Padres 2-1 last Thursday in Dodger Stadium on its own wasn’t a big deal.

That they did it when Justin Turner bashed a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning? That made it kind of a big deal.

Until then, the Dodgers were 0-46 in games in which they trailed after seven innings this season. They were the only team in the majors without a victory in that situation.

Big deal? Well, to hear radio talkers in Los Angeles, it at times showed a lack of heart, courage, fortitude and guts.

The truth of the matter is the zero wins was the weird part. You’d think that the Dodgers would have snatched one or two by late August. But it’s not like successful clubs always thrive in those situations. The Nationals, leading the NL East, were 6-44 at the time when trailing after seven. The Brewers, leading the NL Central, were 5-41.

Closest to the Dodgers in the NL was the Cardinals, who were 1-43 in those situations (they’re 2-45 now).


4. This Week With the Blue Jays

Toronto was supposed to be contending for a playoff slot right about now. Instead, the Blue Jays this month have made spectacles of themselves.

They’re contesting a new logo introduced by the Creighton University Bluejays because, get this, it looks like a Blue Jay.

And as if losing nine of their past 12 isn’t enough to put a damper on any October hopes, Jose Bautista is showing the opposite of leadership skills. After Bautista was ejected by plate ump Bill Welke in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 2-1, 10-inning loss to Tampa Bay, manager John Gibbons let him have it.

“Bottom line is, we needed him in the game,” Gibbons told reporters. “Say your piece and get the hell out of there. We’re trying to get in the playoffs, we need you on the field. He’s a marked man in this game. Bill Welke? I thought he had a pretty good zone today. It was steady, he was calling strikes. He was looking to call strikes. But we need you in the game.”


5. The Yankees By the Numbers

It was nice to see the final residue of hard feelings between Joe Torre and the Yankees melt away Saturday as they retired his No. 6. His was the 18th number the Yankees have retired, and at this rate, maybe they could use a few bitter breakups with legends in the near future (like the way the Red Sox always seem to roll!).

They’re going to run out of numbers eventually, and assuming it is a slam dunk that Derek Jeter’s No. 2 eventually will be retired, they’re already out of single-digit numbers in the Bronx:

  1. Billy Martin
  2. Derek Jeter (will be retired eventually)
  3. Babe Ruth
  4. Lou Gehrig
  5. Joe DiMaggio
  6. Joe Torre
  7. Mickey Mantle
  8. Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey
  9. Roger Maris

By the way, for those who don’t know, way back when numbers were first placed onto uniforms, they signified the slot in the batting order that player occupied. Thus, Ruth wore No. 3 and Gehrig No. 4.


6. Dizzying Heights for Mariners

Not to make light of Robinson Cano leaving Sunday’s game in Boston because of dizziness—he later said he thought it might be a touch of the flu—but has anyone considered that Cano’s condition might have been results-induced?


7. Nationals Alert

Winners of 12 of 14 and hotter than anybody this side of the Kansas City Royals, the Nationals are playing well enough that manager Matt Williams probably is going to have the luxury of arranging his playoff rotation sooner rather than later.

And his Game 1 starter at this point has to be…Jordan Zimmermann? Doug Fister?

There was a time the quick answer would have been Stephen Strasburg. But Strasburg‘s mysterious inconsistency this summer peaked Sunday during the Nationals’ 14-6 laugher over the Giants.

The game became a laugher only after Washington was able to erase the 5-0 deficit Strasburg dug them in the first three innings. Strasburg, who has struggled with fastball location off and on all summer, inexplicably grooved pitches to Travis Ishikawa and Gregor Blanco, both of which turned into home runs.

Already this season, Strasburg has surrendered a career-high 21 homers, five more than he served up all of last year in only 7.2 fewer innings (175.1, as compared to 183 in 2013).

On the flip side, Strasburg leads the NL with 202 strikeouts.

He is an exceptionally hard worker. He cares. And the strikeouts tell you his stuff is still there.

Simply put, he is an ongoing example that this game is nearly impossible to tame, even by the uber-talented. Strasburg still has not lived up to the overwhelming hype that trumpeted his arrival back in 2010. But at 26, there is still time.

Heck, there’s still time for him to tune things up enough this year to start Game 1.


8. To DH or Not to DH?

We all know the glory days of the designated hitter—way back when thumpers like Don Baylor, Chili Davis, Edgar Martinez and Brian Downing roamed the earth—have long since passed.

But check out the profile of a guy this summer whom you would think would be the perfect DH, Billy Butler.

As pointed out by stats guru Bill Chuck, in 93 games as a DH this year, Butler is hitting .261/.310/.336 with three homers and 35 RBI.

In 29 games as a first baseman, Butler is at .308/.351/.523 with five homers and 16 RBI.

Oh, and most important: Before July 20, Butler essentially was a full-time DH. Since he’s moved to first base, the Royals had compiled baseball’s best record at 24-8.


9. Cool Standings? You Bet

With September drawing near, a check at what used to be coolstandings.com and now is on the FanGraphs.com website:

The current division leader with the greatest probability of winning its division is the Nationals (at 98.9 percent), followed by the Dodgers (92.5), Orioles (89.5), A’s (56.8) and Royals (46.5).

The NL Central? That’s the most fascinating division, according to the probabilities: The Brewers currently lead the Cardinals by 1.5 games…yet the Cardinals (48 percent) have a higher probability of winning the division than the Brewers (47.2).

According to FanGraphs‘ Cool Standings, nine teams can begin looking to next summer, with a zero percent chance at this year’s wild-card slots: The Red Sox, White Sox, Twins, Astros, Rangers, Phillies, Cubs, Diamondbacks and Rockies.


9a. Rock ‘n’ Roll Lyric of the Week

A prayer for Ferguson, Missouri, and for the greater good to be done throughout our land….

“Mother, mother

“There’s too many of you crying

“Brother, brother, brother

“There’s far too many of you dying

“You know we’ve got to find a way

“To bring some lovin‘ here today, ya

“Father, father

“We don’t need to escalate

“You see, war is not the answer

“For only love can conquer hate

“You know we’ve got to find a way

“To bring some lovin‘ here today”

— Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”


Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. He has over two decades of experience covering MLB, including 14 years as a national baseball columnist at CBSSports.com.

Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball @ScottMillerBbl.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2014: Date, Time and Key Inductees

Once a year, tiny Cooperstown, New York becomes the most important sports town in America.  

The transformation occurs when baseball’s year class of historic greats is ceremoniously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, forever cementing their status as heroes and ambassadors of our national pastime.

This year’s class is a truly remarkable one. It features two 300-game winners, a member of the 500-home run club and three managers with eight World Series rings between them.

Here is the rundown of all the information you need to check out the induction ceremony.


2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Where: Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown, New York

When: Sunday, July 27

TV: MLB Network

Live Stream: www.baseballhall.org 


Rolling Stone‘s Dan Epstein made an excellent case regarding how this Hall of Fame class should resonate with today’s baseball fan:

And unlike last year, when the Hall inducted a class made up entirely of guys who died before America even entered World War II, all six of these gents made their HOF bones during the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. In other words, they’re ours; if you’re a baseball fan of legal drinking age, you must at some point have rooted for (or against) these guys, while witnessing and debating and marveling at their respective accomplishments in real time.

While every member of this class is a bona-fide baseball hero, here’s a primer on the accomplishments of a few key inductees.


Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux was one of the game’s smartest pitchers, thumbing his way to 355 wins and an astonishing career 3.16 ERA. 

The numbers during his run of four consecutive Cy Young Awards are a beauty to behold, even in table form.

His control of the ball and mastery of the strike zone were nearly unparalleled in baseball history. In 5008.1 innings pitched, Maddux gave up just 999 walks. He made a fine living painting the black with his array of darting fastballs and change-ups.

According to Maddux, the Hall of Fame call hasn’t changed his day-to-day existence.

“Not really,” he said, via the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Sullivan (subscription required). “Still take the trash out.”

There are a number of wonderful nuggets to be found in Maddux’s career statistics. He recorded a stolen base at the age of 42 with the San Diego Padres. Not bad for a pitcher in his 23rd season of pro baseball.

This is certainly a big weekend for Braves fans, as four of the inductees have been involved with the team at some point in their careers. It’s tough to stratify the greatness of this class, but Maddux just might be the most impressive of them all.


Frank Thomas

The Big Hurt.

One of the great nicknames in all of sports belongs to one of baseball’s all-time mashers. Thomas amassed 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI in a mind-blowing 19-year career.

The two-time MVP put up eye-popping numbers throughout the 1990s and 2000s, thanks to a laser-sharp focus (.301 career batting average) and an imposing physical presence at the plate. 

Perhaps the biggest shock of Thomas’ career is that he made only five All-Star teams, despite hitting over 30 home runs in a season nine times.

Everyone talks about Thomas’ prodigious power but former teammate Paul Konerko noted he had a truly sublime swing.

“Most people look at the size and strength, but that’s really secondary,” Konerko said, via the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Sullivan. “His swing was really good and just designed to be more for average, not for power. But with his size and strength, it turns into more than that.”

Thomas was a terror right up until the very end of his career, mashing 39 home runs at the age of 38 in his first season with the Oakland Athletics and another 26 dingers with the Toronto Blue Jays the very next year.


Joe Torre

You may not like Joe Torre, but you can’t argue with his success as a manager. 

Torre led the New York Yankees to four World Series titles in the 1990s, commandeering the likes of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada. His Yankees made the playoffs in each of his 12 years in charge.

Brad Horn, the Hall’s vice president of communications and education, believes Torre could bring a huge crowd to Cooperstown. Via MLB.com’s Paul Hagen:

And here in New York state, Joe Torre is about as popular a figure as they come when it comes to baseball. We feel like many Yankees fans could just drive over for the day just to celebrate Joe Torre’s election. It just has the right recipe for a very large weekend here in Cooperstown.

Torre didn’t have quite as much success as a manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of his coaching career, nor did he look like a future member of the Hall after stints with the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals. No matter, as his legacy is firmly intact thanks to his accomplishments with the Yankees.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Joe Torre Comments on MLB Umpire Wally Bell’s Passing

Reaction from around Major League Baseball continues to pour in following the death of umpire Wally Bell. Bell passed away on Monday after working the National League Division Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Associated Press reports, via the New York Daily News, that Bell died of an apparent heart attack in Ohio. It passed along comments from executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre, commissioner Bud Selig and fellow umpire Joe West.   

Torre, who managed 29 years before taking on a position with the league, talked about how many different people Bell touched during his time in the game.

“I am deeply saddened and shocked at the loss of umpire Wally Bell,” said Joe Torre, MLB executive vice president for baseball operations.

“Umpiring was his life, and he touched so many people within the game of baseball. Aside from being an accomplished, All-Star-caliber umpire, Wally was a loving dad to his two teenage children. I extend my deepest condolences to them, his girlfriend Renee, the rest of his family and his admirers across Major League Baseball.”

Speaking for each of the league’s 30 teams, Selig said the Ohio native was a terrific umpire. At 48, he had already spent two decades at the major league level.

“All of us at Major League Baseball are in mourning tonight regarding the sudden passing of Wally Bell,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.

“I always enjoyed seeing Wally, who was a terrific umpire and such an impressive young man. On behalf of our 30 clubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Wally’s family, fellow umpires and his many friends throughout the game.”

Finally, West also admired Bell for not only his work as a umpire, but also for his friendship.

“Wally was a great umpire, a great partner and a great friend. The umpiring community is deeply saddened by this tragic loss. He will be sorely missed by many,” said major league ump Joe West, President of the World Umpires Association.

Bell had open heart surgery in 1999, but eventually returned to the field, an accomplishment he held in high regard.

His other top moments while working in MLB included two All-Star Game appearances and working during the 2006 World Series. Bell was also picked to work the championship round of the World Baseball Classic earlier this year.

The fact he was selected for the 2013 postseason shows Bell had reached the peak of the profession and had gained the trust of Selig, Torre and Major League Baseball as a whole. It allowed him to become one of the league’s most respected umpires.

If the honor of umpiring in the playoffs didn’t illustrate that, the outpouring of support since he passed away certainly does. Key figures from around MLB clearly thought highly of Bell.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Joe Torre Talks Mariano Rivera, Matt Harvey, Instant Replay and More

When Joe Torre talks, people listen.

I had the privilege of speaking and listening to the Major League Baseball icon at the 2013 Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation Celebrity Golf and Tennis Classic on July 17, the day after the MLB All-Star Game.

The goal of the day was to provide education and raise awareness to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives, as well as to have a little bit of fun on the links. Many stars showed up for the event, including notable names such as Tony La Russa and Bob Gibson, among others who respect Torre and his foundation’s purpose.

In addition to speaking of his rough upbringing and what he and the Safe At Home Foundation have done and look to do going forward, MLB’s current executive vice president of baseball operations talked about the game of baseball.

The former player and manager spoke on a variety of subjects, including Mariano Rivera and his appearance at this year’s Midsummer Classic, what it was like to manage No. 42, Mets starter Matt Harvey and the state of instant replay. Here’s what the all-time great had to say.


All quotes in this article obtained firsthand at the 2013 Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation Celebrity Golf and Tennis Classic, held on Wednesday, July 17 at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, N.Y.

Begin Slideshow

Jim Leyland: Will Detroit Tigers Manager Join the Elite Club?

Jim Leyland is heading back to the World Series. Already sporting an elusive World Series ring, could it be possible he will soon have one for each hand? No other current manager has more than one. With Tony LaRussa stepping down last year (he has three) and Joe Torre’s retirement after the 2010 season (he has four), Leyland can become the only active manager with more than one. But does that make him an elite manager?

To be a member of the club you not only need lots of wins, but you absolutely must have at least one ring. Still there are some managers who own a ring but do not have a great number of wins. So what about two championships? Is that enough for elite status?

Rating managers can certainly be subjective. Wins and championships make it easy, but other factors like game strategy, likeability, evaluating player talent, winning in clutch situations and discipline can be up for discussion. Some managers are task oriented; others are passionate instrumental leaders. The great ones are both, and they win with great players or mediocre teams.

Let’s take a look at the great baseball managers based simply on wins and championships.

Connie Mack, John McGraw, Tony LaRussa, Casey Stengel, Bucky Harris and Joe McCarthy combined many wins with championships. Mack has the most wins with 3,731 and has five championships, but he also has more losses than wins. McGraw is second in wins (2,763) with three championships. McGraw, who was a great player, also had a .586 winning percentage. LaRussa is third in wins with 2,728 and has won three championships. Old timer Bucky Harris, with 2,158 wins and three championships, is right there at the top.

Perhaps the greatest manager ever was Joe McCarthy, who is eighth in wins (2,125), owns a .615 winning percentage and won seven championships. Lefty Gomez once said that after he had pitched a four-hitter in the front end of a double header, he pulled out a fifth of vodka in the bullpen and was almost through it when “Joe Mac” came out to talk to him. He didn’t care if Gomez had guzzled the vodka. He told him “the other starter had hurt his arm and you have to pitch the second game as well.’  Gomez said “there was just no way he could that man down.” The Hall of Famer went out and pitched another four- hitter. Joe McCarthy had that respect.

What about the charismatic Casey Stengel? He may be eleventh in wins (1,905), but he won seven championships. Stengel was such a colorful character that his personality alone made him a great manager. His players loved him.

Miller Huggins only has 1,413 wins but has three championships.

You can’t overlook the great Dodgers managers. Walter Alston has 2,040 wins and four championships, Leo “The Lip” Durocher has 2,008 wins and four championships and Alston’s protege Tommy Lasorda has 1,599 wins and has won three championships. The Dodgers have their very own elite club of managers.

The late Sparky Anderson is sixth on the list in wins (2,194) with three World Series rings. The late Dick Williams won two championships and is twentieth in wins (1,571). Both elite managers.

Recently retired managers LaRussa and Torre are right there with the elite, with Torre having 2,326 wins and 4 championships and LaRussa 2,728 wins and 3 championships. LaRussa coached for 33 years. Torre struggled early as a manager but proved himself in the late1990s, winning three World Series championships in a row from 1998-2000.

We must measure an elite manager by wins and championships, but what about one of the best player’s manager ever, Bobby Cox? He only won one World Series but has 2,504 wins and five pennants. Most baseball people would say he is an elite manager.

As Jim Leyland waits for his attempt at his second World Series ring, he also awaits his shot at history. Leyland is fifteenth on the list of victories with 1,676. He has one World Series ring. The Detroit Tigers are poised to win the championship. Standing in their way will be either the Cardinals or the Giants.

The Giants have their own great manager in Bruce Bochy. With his Giants teetering on elimination, Bochy has 1,454 wins and one ring. He will be a formidable opponent should they get to the Series.  He too would then be poised to accept elite status, but the elder Jim Leyland will be waiting.

Should the Cardinals get there under Mike Matheny, he will have his work cut out for him as a rookie manager. Leyland will be waiting for him too.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

LA Dodgers: Joe Torre’s Group Would Be Best New Owners for Torre’s Former Team

The ongoing circus that is the L.A. Dodgers ownership situation has introduced its latest acts. We’re a long way from learning who will buy the team from the departing Frank McCourt, but at least the field is narrowing.

The Los Angeles Times reports that at least eight bidders (of MLB’s maximum of 10) are still in the running to buy the team from McCourt. Among the contenders are hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen, a group led by former Lakers icon Magic Johnson and another group including real estate developer Rick Caruso and former Dodgers manager Joe Torre.

At this point, many Dodger fans will be glad just to be rid of McCourt, but bringing in a new owner who can provide some sanity is just as important. Of the candidates announced thus far, Torre and his partners would be the best bets for a long-term solution in L.A.

Cohen’s base is in Connecticut, and bringing in owners with no connection to the community is rarely an optimal solution. Magic and his team would be a fine choice with immediate fan support—not to mention that Johnson has already proven his business acumen—but don’t come with any expertise in baseball in particular.

If Torre et al. come out on top, though, they’ll have a trusted, experienced baseball man to run the operation. Although many baseball fans will always see him primarily as a Yankee, Torre’s three seasons with the Dodgers gave him ample opportunity to learn about what this team will need from its owners.

Above all, Torre spent a dozen years managing for one of the most meddlesome, tyrannical owners in the history of any sport. If anyone knows what mistakes to avoid as an incoming team owner, it’s a former longtime employee of George Steinbrenner.

McCourt may or may not have any interest in which candidate will be best for the future of the team, as his choice will likely be based on who throws the most money at him. If he wants to help clean up the mess he’s made of the Dodgers, though, Torre is the right man for the job. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Los Angeles Dodgers: Blue Crew’s Best and Worst Moments From 2010

New Year’s Day is nearly upon us, and perhaps no MLB team is looking forward to a fresh start in 2011 more than the Los Angeles Dodgers.

From the ugly proceedings of the McCourt divorce to the departure of Manny Ramirez to the retirement of Joe Torre, the Dodgers had their fair share of pitfalls in a year that saw them fail to capture a third consecutive NL West division title.

But it wasn’t all bad for the Boys in Blue. The long-awaited emergence of young stars like Andre Ethier, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley gave general manager Ned Colletti plenty of reason to hope that his team will see better days sooner rather than later.

That being said, let’s have a look at some of the most notable ups and downs for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010.

Begin Slideshow

MLB Rumors: 10 Stars the Yankees Mistreated in Contract Negotiations

Throughout the years, the Yankees have established themselves as the most successful franchise in all of sports. Along with this winning attitude has come a slight air of arrogance among the front office.

The Yankees have made a habit of mistreating their loyal stars when it comes to the end of their careers and possibly their last contracts. Although baseball is a business and they will argue that it is nothing personal, it is concerning that we seem to see this again and again.

Once again, we are seeing this take place with the current Yankee captain, Derek Jeter. Let’s take a look at Jeter’s situation and some other Yankees that have gone through a similar experience.

Begin Slideshow

Joe Torre: In New York, They Call Him ‘Clueless,’ but in L.A., He’s All Class

Making a Hall of Fame case for the legendary player, manager and world series champion

By Howard G. Ruben

For most hardcore Dodgers fans, the ongoing melodrama between Jamie and Frank McCourt has more than frayed our collective nerves, worn our patience and bored us to tears. 

While the battling ex-Bostonians met recently with L.A. Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman about a proposal to settle the case of who owns the team, I had a rare serendipitous opportunity to meet former manager Joe Torre who was sitting outside a local food court waiting for his wife. 

The five minute conversation that ensued more than made up for the endless stories about who did what to whom and who deserves to own one of sport’s most hallowed franchises.

Joe Torre is not only a future lock for the Hall of Fame as a manager; he’s a hell of a nice guy and one of the classiest in sports that I’ve ever met.  He took the time to tell me about his immediate plans (“we’ll decide at the end of the year but would love to stay in L.A.  I am done with managing but would like to be around the game in some capacity.”); showed me the gorgeous World Series ring I admired on his finger (his 1996 world title ring while manager of the Yankees.  “It means the most to me because it was my first”); and to told me how much he enjoyed his all too brief stint managing the Dodgers (“it’s been a lot of fun.  We love it here.”).

  • Torre is the only major league manager to win at least 2,000 games and have 2,000 hits as a player.  His 2,326 wins rank him fifth all-time for Major League Baseball managers.  He has a .538 winning percentage after managing in 4,329 games.  
  • Only three other managers in major league history have won more World Series than Torre—Casey Stengel, Yankees (seven), Joe McCarthy, Yankees (seven) and Connie Mack, Athletics (five).  Torre and Walter Alston (Dodgers) are tied with four.  That’s more than Sparky Anderson, Miller Huggins or John McGraw, all of whom won three.
  • Torre’s early managerial career with the Braves, Mets and Cardinals was mediocre, mostly because he was handed inferior teams.  When he came to the Yankees in 1996, city scribes referred to him as “Clueless Joe.”  He silenced the critics right away, winning a World Series in his first year there.  Torre managed the Yankees from 1996-2007.
  • Managers Leo Durocher (24 years, three Pennants, one World Series), Earl Weaver (17 seasons, four Pennants, one World Series), Tom Lasorda (20 seasons,  four Pennants, two World Series) and Al Lopez (two Pennants) all are in the Hall of Fame and none of them accomplished what Torre did.
  • Torre was overlooked for the Hall as a player, probably because he played a number of positions and never won a World Championship or made the playoffs with his teams.  The statistics, however, are Hall of Fame numbers: nine-time All Star, .297 career batting average, 252 homeruns, 1,185 runs batted in; drove in 100 runs and hit over .300 five times in his career. 
  • In 1971, he delivered one of the best seasons in major league history, leading the league with a .363 batting average, 230 hits and 137 RBI, and running away with the Most Valuable Player Award.

Judged separately, Joe Torre was a great player and a great manager.  His combined career, spanning 50 years as player and manager, is utterly remarkable.  The criteria to make it into the Hall as a player is based on: “the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship and character.  Contributions to the teams he played on are also considered.”

Forget the statistics for a moment, even though they warrant induction.  Consider integrity, sportsmanship and character.  Joe Torre should be inducted on those merits alone.  While his former employers fight and bicker in court over control of a baseball team, Joe Torre can rightfully lay claim to ownership of a baseball career that is above the fray, of championship caliber and filled with the grace of a true gentleman.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Sparky Anderson and the 25 Most Beloved People in Baseball

The recent sad news about Sparky Anderson has unfortunately made it clear that the baseball world is about to lose one of its most beloved people.

Sparky’s one of a kind, no doubt about that. Luckily for us, when it comes to other beloved baseball personalities, he’s hardly alone.

Here are the top 25 beloved people in baseball history.

Begin Slideshow

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress