Win Number Eight

A few observations on Game 1 of the MLBCS:

In a quick reversal, I am not afraid of the Rockies anymore. Oh sure, they are going to fight back hard. But let them come. The Red Sox can claerly handle it. The Sox are relentless and last night, they laid-down a multi-course beatdown. Based on the team's attitude and offensive production, I fully expect the Red Sox to win again tonight at Fenway. They will drop one or more games in Denver, but that is expected as well.

Jim Caple, ESPN:

"We were definitely a little rusty -- that's for sure," Colorado reliever LaTroy Hawkins said. "Just looking at the way we threw the ball. Our timing was off a little bit. But I guarantee you it won't take long to get that timing back.'"

I sure hope so because this was just an awful game. It got to the point that baseball's P.R. department felt it worth noting that Stephen King was seen in the stands reading a copy of Newsweek. Reading a copy of Newsweek? This game was such a dull and long affair that I'm surprised King didn't sit down and write a sequel to "The Shining" during it.

Tim McCarver's worst comment last night on Fox was his attempt to compare last night's blowout to the blowout Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, in which the Yankees beat the Sox 19-8. McCarver reminded viewers that following that smackdown, the Sox won four straight games to complete the greatest comeback in the history of American professional sports. Comparing a Game 1 blowout to a Game 3 ALCS blowout is simply not practical or useful. The Rockies are not going to suddenly become the Gas-House Gorillas. Actually, the Red Sox are playing that role right now.

Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe:

Entitled Sox fans, however, would do well to remember the 1960 New York Yankees, who beat the Pittsburgh Pirates by scores of 16-3, 10-0, and 12-0, but still lost the World Series in seven games.

Retire, Dan. Please. You're sounding like Tim McCarver. I'm not asking you to become Fox News and worship the Sox, but can you please stop bringing-up irrelevant facts until they become relevant. If the Sox lose 3-1, and then win 11-2 again, it can then be discussed. But that's a Suzyn Waldman comment. It is a swipe at the Sox that fails to acknowledge the facts on the ground. And the reports from the front lines say that the Sox are going to blow away the Rockies in Game 2.

Bob Ryan, The Boston Globe:

The simple truth was that this was all too easy. The Rockies are not that bad. Nobody is that bad. What we had here was a classic convergence of forces. If you must have an enforced layoff, you don't want to be facing a team that is currently swinging the bats as if there were some kind of "Damn Yankees" thing going on.

Wait a minute. Wasn't that what we all suspected was going on with the Rockies? Have the Sawx made Satan a better offer?

Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN:

[The] Red Sox, who lead the league in 5 o'clock shadows, looked like they had enough energy left for a bar fight against shrimpers. There was that much of a difference in swagger. That's not a rip on the Rockies, who will recover from their Game 1 dry heave, but further evidence of just how good the Red Sox are.

"We made Francis work a little bit,'' said Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who didn't play in the 2004 World Series.

A little bit? That was the longest four-inning, 103-pitch outing of Francis' life.

"Not many people last until the sixth inning against us,'' said Red Sox starter Josh Beckett.

These Red Sox aren't exactly the same character-driven circus of three seasons ago. They're not the Idiots. They don't "cowboy up." What they do is hit and pitch opposing teams into submission. They grind you down like rock to fine gravel. That's what they did to the Rockies. Three runs in the first, one in the second, two in the fourth, and seven in the decisive fifth. You could hear the screams all the way from Denver...

So dominant were the Red Sox, that about the only employee on the payroll who didn't have a hit Wednesday evening was Wally the mascot, who, by the way, arrived at the Fens in an oversized limo. Speier probably would have walked him anyway...

The Red Sox tied a World Series record with eight doubles. And those 13 total runs and the 12-run margin were the most in Game 1 history.

Jerry Crasnick, ESPN:

And a single blowout isn't necessarily a sign of things to come. The 1996 Yankees lost the World Series opener 12-1 to Atlanta, then dropped Game 2 in the Bronx before recovering to beat the Braves in six games. In 1960, Pittsburgh beat the Yankees in seven games despite suffering losses of 10-0, 12-0 and 16-3.

Good Lord. Enough. Never mind that Josh Beckett dominated like Bob Gibson last night. Can that guy get a little more respect? Derek Jeter gets put on a pedistal by the national media for playing hard. Why not Josh? Goddammit.
On the other hand, just about every scout or big-league talent evaluator you came across this season pronounced the American League worlds ahead of the National League. The "varsity vs. junior varsity'' line will appear routinely in newspaper columns across the country after Boston's 13-1 walkover in Game 1.

That's more like it. Stick with that narrative. There is a talent gap between the AL and the NL that needs to be acknowledged. Sad but true. I want a close series. However, I doubt I'm going to get it.
So now the Rockies will try to be more aggressive and pound the strike zone and get ahead in the count. And if that doesn't work, ducking and covering might be advisable...

For the sake of injecting some drama in this World Series, the Rockies better hope for a quick turnaround. In October, it's amazing how quickly yesterday's fairy tale can turn into today's roadkill.

Ken Rosenthal, the field reporter for Fox Sports had some astonishing and inaccurate comments last night in the early part of the fifth inning. He said that the Rockies beat the Cubs and the Diamondbacks. Um, didn't the Rockies beat the Phillies, and the Diamondbacks beat the Cubs? Anyway, he goes on to say that the Cubs were "overrated," and that the Diamond backs "weren't very good." So there you have it. After all this talk of the Rockies bringing their red-hot winning streak to Fenway, a member of the Fox broadcasting team throws the entire National League under the bus.

Another tidbit: I can't prove anything, but I think Tim McCarver tried to re-write history last night on Fox. He made a comment that following the 19-8 blowout loss to the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, some Red Sox players personally congratulated the Yankees, and wised them luck against the Cardinals in the World Series. That's not possible. The 2004 NLCS was a dramatic 7-game series, overshadowed by the dramatics of the ALCS. Game 3 of the ALCS was played on October 16th. At the same time, the Cardinals had their backs against the wall, unable to beat the Astros. They turned things around on October 20th and 21st when they won games 6 and 7.

I faintly recall the stories of Red Sox players personally congratulating Yankees players being false. It was Red Sox co-owner Larry Lucchno who briefly drafted a concession statement that night. So what the hell, Tim?

Also, am I correct about that? I can't imagine Orlando Cabrera, Kevin Millar, or anyone from that 2004 team stopping by the visitor's clubhouse to with them luck in the World Series.

Oh well. Let's get back to the game that was played.

Jason Stark, ESPN:

You can mark down that 13-1 score as the most lopsided Game 1 blowout in World Series history. And if you want to chalk that up to rust, eight-day layoffs, jet lag or sea-level readjustment issues on the part of the Rockies, go right ahead.

But it sure seemed as if it had a lot more to do with (A) the Christy Mathewson of his generation (aka Josh Beckett) and (B) the hottest lineup ever to march to home plate in the annals of 103 Octobers.

Wait. Did we just say "the hottest lineup ever to march to home plate in the annals of 103 Octobers?"

Yep. We sure did. Which means ... hotter than the '27 Yankees. Hotter than the '36 Yankees. Hotter than "The Big Red Machine." Hotter even than the 2004 Red Sox.

Seriously. We can say that because this makes three straight postseason games now that these Red Sox have scored in double figures: 12 runs in Game 6 against Cleveland, 11 more runs in Game 7 against Cleveland, and another 13 runs in Game 1 of the World Series.

So let's see now. How many other teams have ever rolled up more than 10 runs in three consecutive postseason games? That would be ... exactly ... zero.


Over the last four games -- games started by C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook and Wednesday's innocent victim, Jeff Francis -- the Red Sox have outscored the Indians and Rockies by the narrow margin of (yikes) 43-6.

That's 43 runs in 33 innings. Not to mention the second-largest run differential any team has piled up over a four-game span in postseason history (behind only the '96 Braves).

And what those Red Sox thumpers did Wednesday -- against a team that was 21-1 over the last five weeks, and against a pitching staff that came into this World Series with a 2.08 postseason ERA -- was flat-out ridiculous. For instance:

• The all-time World Series record for extra-base hits in a game was nine -- set 82 years ago by the 1925 Pirates (in a game started by Walter Johnson). The Red Sox not only tied that record. They'd tied it with two outs in the fifth inning.

• The most runs ever scored in Game 1 of any of the previous 102 World Series was 12. The Red Sox racked up 13 before they'd even made their 15th out.

• And no team had ever staged a two-out rally in which it went an entire turn through its lineup -- all nine hitters -- with every one of them reaching base in any inning of the previous 597 World Series games ever played. But the Red Sox did that in the fifth inning of this game (on five hits and four walks).


It means the Rockies had just gotten manhandled by one of the most patient, relentless lineups ever to show up in any World Series. And if the NL champs don't throw more strikes, they're going to meet the same fate as the Indians and Angels did in this postseason. Which ain't good, by the way.

MLBCS Game 1
Red Sox 13, Rockies 1

It's The MLB Championship Series!

I'm not going to say World Series, because the world has nothing to do with it. So I call it the MLBCS instead. And it is the forth MLBCS of my lifetime involving the Red Sox. Considering all the 'pain' the Red Sox have suffered in the 20th century, that's not a bad record at all. Since 1967 they have been the most loved professional sports team in New England. And win or lose, you have to love them. They have been good neighbors, and fine entertainers.

So the final series is upon us, and what happens? Rudolph Giuliani tells a Massachusetts crowd that he is rooting for the Red Sox to win. I think there are three possibilities here:

1. He's lying. It's like him telling the GOP that as he saw people jump from 1 WTC, he turned to Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and said, "Thank God that George Bush is our President." It's a flat-out lie, and it is pointless.

2. And if it isn't a lie, then he's truly mad.

3. This is reverse-psychology. He is trying to jinx the Red Sox. So he tells a room full of Red Sox fans that he is on their side. After funding four Yankee championship parades up lower Broadway, and giving the Yankees tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded welfare, there's no way he is actually going to voice support for the Sox. He wants the Sox to lose.

I can't blame him. This is the season to hate Boston-area professional sports. We have Gregg Easterbrook writing that the Patriots are pure evil, and the nation is tired of the Red Sox being everyone's favorite, lovable underdogs. The fact is this time, the Sox are not underdogs. They are favored to win the championship considering the large talent and experience gaps that exist on paper between them and the Rockies.

I am scared of the Rockies. I really am. They are fearless kids who have won every game for the last month. The Red Sox have found their groove again after losing three straight. But will the comfortable and confident Sox be able to beat the red hot kids from Denver? Tonight will give us a lot of clues and indicators.

I'm scared. The Sox have to win at least one game at home. But the more they pressure the Rockies, the more the Rocks will fight back. The Rockies will not be broken in this series. They can only be held back just enough to give the Sox close victories. Here are my predictions:

Game 1: Sox win. Beckett delivers 7 solid innings for the victory. Not many runs score in the Boston drizzle. Final score 3-1.

Game 2: Rockies win. Schilling goes 6 innings, but Boston's middle relief gives-up the game. Sox offense goes cold. [Hard to imagine that happening at home, but I am expecting some heartbreak in game 2. If not, then disregard everything below.]

Game 3: Rockies win. Sox need more time to adjust to the cold mountain climate. The bullpen does not hold the line. Bottom of the order + Daisuke batting = automatic outs.

Game 4: Sox win 6-4. Lester delivers an inspiring victory going 7 full innings. Youkilis, Manny, and JD Drew go yard. Some amazing outfield catches, too.

Game 5: Sox win behind the arms of Beckett and Paps.. Sox squeeze by 2-1. Denver crowd is stunned.

Game 6: All hands on deck. The Red Sox clinch the series at home behind an amazing effort from just about everyone except Paps. A blowout. Sox win the MLBCS.

Sox in 6.

Just be sure to mute your televisions. You don't need to hear a word that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver say.

Win Number Seven

What will it take (or how much money would be required) for Tim McCarver to shut up?

I'm in full wingnut mode after last night's win. I'm channeling Malkin, Pam, Coulter, Reynolds, Bill-o, Goldstein....all those fuckers. Someone sedate me.

So Cleveland....

It's Tribe Time now?

Cleveland Rocks?


You were lucky to win games three and four. You were soundly beaten in games five and six. And the Sox were the lucky ones in game seven.

I admit it. The Sox were lucky in the final game. How else do you explain a victory by a team that hit into three double-plays last night? How else do you explain Kenny Lofton getting a green light, and then a red light at third base? How about the major outfield blunder by Julio Lugo? Or Kenny Lofton being called out at second when the replay showed he was safe? The baseball gods shut the door on Cleveland last night after the 6th inning.

The curse of Kenny Lofton continues. Thank goodness.

OK. I'm done with ya. Now go home and wipe away your tears with those free towels that you got at The Jake. And enjoy your winter by the lake. You are now officially the chokers of the American League. Not us. You.

ALCS Game 7
Red Sox 11, Indians 2

Here's another guy who needs to go away...Harold Reynolds. I'm like George W. Bush. I want my team surrounded by fawning journalists. Haters need to go!

Just another Irish-American Boston cop who now smels of booze.

Leaving the American League trophy on the mound? That's almost...tribal. Nice way to show off what was won in this war.

Joe Torre Ends An Abusive Relationship

And it was abusive. Right to the end.

He was the greatest Yankee manager since Casey Stengel.

Joe made a good move, and he did it with class. He walks away from the Steinbrenner family and the volatile, reactionary New York Sports media. They made sure he got a kick in the ass on his way out, those bastards.

The Yankees never intended to hire Joe for one more year. In his heart, Joe didn't want to work for Steinbrenner beyond his final 3-year contract (2004-2007). It took the brains in the Yankee front-office a few extra days to plan this graceful exit, but the result is good for everyone. Joe gets to leave with class, and the Yankees don't look like meanies or provoke the ire of Yankee fans.

A good move made by a good man
By Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe Staff
October 19, 2007

CLEVELAND - "Good for Joe," said Seattle manager John McLaren, after hearing that Joe Torre had turned down an offer to return as the Yankees' manager next season. "He gets to go out on his own terms. Class act all the way."

That sentiment, which so many around baseball shared yesterday, was certainly one way to look at it.

Another way was that the Yankees' front office didn't have the intestinal fortitude to tell Torre to his face that he was not coming back, instead electing to make him an offer it knew he would refuse.

The Yankees brass - in this case Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, president Randy Levine, and general manager Brian Cashman - made Torre an incentive-filled offer that would normally be offered to someone with far less experience and clout. Torre, 67, turned down a one-year, $5 million base salary - essentially a $2.5 million pay cut. There were also $3 million in incentives for making the World Series next year ($1 million for each playoff round).

According to major league sources, Torre wanted a straight two-year deal so he could close Yankee Stadium and open the new stadium before retiring.

Torre walked away from not just a job, but a job he dearly loved. Many people had told him he should just say he wasn't coming back so he wouldn't give the Yankees the satisfaction of firing him. In the end, he fired them.

My sense is that between now and the time the Yankees name a new skipper, there might be some additional discussion of that "final" offer. After all, the Yankees acknowledged last night that they weren't close to naming a new manager.

All of the usual suspects will be considered, from Don Mattingly to Larry Bowa to Joe Girardi to Tony Peña to Bobby Valentine to Tony La Russa.

Former Yankees minor league manager Trey Hillman, who has been managing in Japan, is said to be the hot name because Cashman is said to be firmly in his corner.

The Yankees spun it that after their intense meetings in Tampa, owner George Steinbrenner was on board with the decision that they wanted Torre back. The twist was that Torre had to accept an incentive-filled deal because of the mantra "It's unacceptable not to make the World Series."

Short of naming La Russa, whose style would likely not go over in the Big Apple, the Yankees will find it hard to justify an inferior manager. Will their offer to an inferior manager also include incentives for making the playoffs and World Series? A Pandora's box has been opened, and now the Yankees have to make the biggest decision of the last dozen years. Of course, before Torre, the Yankees never had a problem hiring and firing managers.

Torre, who won four World Series in six trips, had flown to Tampa with Cashman yesterday when he asked for the chance to meet with Steinbrenner's sons, Levine, and Cashman. That's the way Torre prefers to do business. What he heard apparently didn't sweep him off his feet.

The offer might have said, "We want you back," but the structure indicated they did not.

These were no dummies in that room yesterday. They knew Torre is a man of great honor and pride. Letting him go outright would have created a fan frenzy. There was a rally to support Torre in New York yesterday. Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has been waxing poetic about Torre for days.

Levine and both Steinbrenners have continually emphasized that the Yankees' goal is to make the World Series every year. Hank Steinbrenner even threw out a football analogy.

"The objective of the Yankees is to win a championship every year," he said. "I'm sure it's the same goal that [Vince] Lombardi had with the Packers and [Bill] Belichick with the Patriots. If you asked Belichick the question, I'm sure he'd say the same thing. Our goal is to win every year and anything short of that is unacceptable. We understand it's unrealistic to win it every year, but I'm just telling what our goal is."

If Torre doesn't strike an 11th-hour deal with the Yankees - and don't forget this is not unprecedented (see Theo Epstein and the Red Sox) - his departure will surely affect the organization at all levels. They are opening a new stadium in 2009 and one wonders how many of the superstars of the Torre era, such as Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte, will hang around without him.

"Joe Torre is like a second father to Andy," said Randy Hendricks in an e-mail when asked whether Pettitte's future was tied into Torre's future. Hendricks, who represents Pettitte, did not elaborate.

Alex Rodriguez will have 10 days after the World Series to accept an extension or become a free agent. Although Rodriguez doesn't quite have the same history with Torre, he came to respect him and enjoyed playing for him.

There's also the possibility that the Yankees will be willing to take a step back to go forward.

Maybe Torre's exit also signals the departure of the players who weren't able to take the team to the top level since 2000. It started with Bernie Williams's exit last spring. It may continue with Roger Clemens. Maybe the Yankees will go with Joba Chamberlain as their closer and part ways with Rivera, who turns 38 next month. Maybe Jose Molina will catch and not Posada. Perhaps Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes replace Pettitte. We're certain the brass must have discussed these possibilities. If anyone would be on board with starting over, it would be Cashman.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona was asked about Torre last night, but wasn't in the mood to engage in too much talk other than about the game at hand. He said he hoped Torre "was happy." He kidded, "We have to win this game tonight or I'll be getting phone calls."

Torre is a free agent now. The New York Mets might be taking notice. The Los Angeles Dodgers might be intrigued. Torre would go over big time in a potential return to St. Louis. There are many teams - those who are not married to Moneyball - that would have an interest in having a future Hall of Famer to give their franchise instant credibility.

"Good for Joe" is right.

Hard to imagine whomever the Yankees turn to as their manager will be any more successful or be held in any more regard, considering the dignity and integrity Torre displayed for a dozen seasons. And, now, at the end.

Meanwhile Joel Sherman of the NY Post doesn't get it. He recognizes that Joe Torre couldn't take one more year working for the Yankees for less pay and knowing that he wouldn't manage a game in the new stadium in 2009. And yet, despite this, Sherman says that Joe should have taken the offer anyway. That's right. Joe Torre's mistake was not sticking with the employer who abused him and planned to abuse him more for one final year.

NY Post Staff

October 19, 2007 -- JOE Torre's worst mistake of October was not starting Chien-Ming Wang on the road or failing to demand a delay when those Lake Erie midges showed up at Jacobs Field.

No, Torre's biggest mistake occurred yesterday when he rejected an offer that while imperfect still allowed him to keep the job that has been so perfect for him. Torre erred in turning down the Yankees' proposal to stay in the position that has made him rich and famous beyond what he could have dreamed a dozen years ago.

He gets to keep the riches and fame now, but not the job. And it is the job, that gave Torre items you cannot buy, notably that brew of purpose and electricity and responsibility that he will be unable to replicate elsewhere.

Torre did not make public his thoughts after he turned down the Yankees' one-year offer with an option that included a cut in base pay. But the read here is that Torre believed: a) he had done nothing to warrant a paycut; b) that the cut and, especially, just one guaranteed year made him an instant lame duck; c) the offer was a symbol of lost faith or an was designed for him to reject. Either way he was burned out to be again trying to prove his credentials to all the same Yankee executives.

If I ran the Yankees, I simply would have given Torre what he needed to stay. He is the best managerial option for 2008 and - within reason - money shouldn't really be an issue with this deep-pocketed organization. In May, after all, the Yanks offered Roger Clemens $24 million, his reps demanded a single-season record $28 million instead, and the Yanks quickly caved in.

Torre has to feel, rightly, he has done more than Clemens for the Yankees and had a better year in 2007.

But the people who actually do run the Yanks - the Steinbrenners - were going to make money an issue. George Steinbrenner has long believed Torre strong-armed the organization to renegotiate to record levels when the championships were coming ($6.5 million on average long term, $7.5 million for a one-year peak).

So in seven straight title-less seasons the Steinbrenner family saw the opening for a pay reduction. The offer, $5 million, was still more than any other manager with bonuses that had Torre reached the World Series would have spiked the deal to a record $8 million.

There was going to be no shame in accepting that deal, no loss of stature. No one was going to think, “Oh, there goes Joe Torre, he took less."

And he was not going to be a lame duck. He is Joe Torre. His gravitas exceeds the length or dollars of his contract. He did not lose his job during horrible starts in 2005 or 2007, so that track record of rallying to make the playoffs was going to give him a full year in 2008 despite the lack of guaranteed future years. He also has to know George Steinbrenner's belief in him is going to rise and fall - like always - on results. He was not going to have less backing from ownership, just more of the same, regardless of his pay.

Torre never did this job for ownership's love anyway, he isn't needy in that way. He did it for the juice that came from running this team in this time in this town. As annoyed as he might be at the Steinbrenners, Torre is walking away from that juice as much as the ownership.

He might have deserved more contractual respect. Or you might consider that his contract was done. He was a free agent, like Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. But unlike Rivera and Posada, there are not teams out there that are going to pay Torre close to what he was making or even what the Yanks were offering now. In other words, $5 million is no insult as long as Torre decided it was no insult.

So this needed to not be about money for Torre or his dealings with management. This was about the job he loved, the job that brought him so much of what money can't buy. He walked away from that job. That is a forever decision. That was a mistake.

Win Number Five

Lithuanian Soxfan on Sons of Sam Horn:

Beckett doesn't need to tap a keg; he already tapped the anthem-singer. [ED - Country singer Danielle Peck his ex-girlfriend from summer 2006, and sang twice during the event.]

We'd like to think that Josh Beckett is one well-laid man tonight.

Jackie MacMullan in The Boston Globe:

As for those who theorized he was distracted in that initial inning by the fact the Indians flew in his former girlfriend Danielle Peck to sing the national anthem, Beckett came at that with heat, too.

"I don't get paid to make those fucking decisions," he said. "Thanks for flying one of my friends to the game so she can watch it for free."

ALCS Game 5
Red Sox 7, Indians 1

Yankees Extending The Torre Story

Call me cynical, but it looks like this Times Square rally was staged by Georgi vodka. You know, that Sunnyside Queens importer that thinks they can sell mediocre vodka in New York City if juxtaposed with a female model's butt? I admit, my vodka of choice is Svedka, which is advertised with a curvy female android.

UPDATE: The Times Square rally was indeed staged by the importer of Georgi vodka. That's an old public relations tactic. Put young women in branded tanktops in Times Square to hold signs or distribute printed advertising. The tactic is similar to the way tobacco companies hired girls to smoke cigarettes in parades and on city streets in the 1920s, to make smoking more acceptable among women. This time, there was a less sinister motive. This was a way for a local businessman to show his support for Joe Torre...and sell more mediocre vodka.

Meetings end, no decision on Torre

Still no decision on Joe Torre.

The New York Yankees manager remained in limbo Wednesday after a second day of meetings by team hierarchy failed to reach a conclusion.

"All we're worried about is the process of making sure that we come to the right decision. When we do, we'll get everybody involved," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before leaving Legends Field and heading to the airport.

Owner George Steinbrenner arrived just before 1 p.m. but did not comment as he entered the spring-training ballpark. He told The Record of Hackensack, N.J., on Oct. 6 that he didn't think he'd bring back Torre if the Yankees failed to advance to the AL championship series. Cleveland then eliminated New York in four games, sending New York to its third straight first-round exit.

Cashman said the Yankees are maintaining their position that they will not negotiate with Alex Rodriguez if he terminates his $252 million, 10-year contract. Rodriguez, who has three seasons left on the deal, must decide by the 10th day following the World Series.

"I can reaffirm that if Alex Rodriguez opts out of his contract, then we will not participate in free agency," Cashman said.

Torre has managed the Yankees to the playoffs in all 12 of his seasons and helped the team win the World Series in four of his first five years. But the Yankees haven't won the World Series since 2000 and haven't won the AL pennant since 2003.

If Torre doesn't return, bench coach Don Mattingly is the leading contender to take over. Yankees broadcaster Joe Girardi, the NL Manager of the Year with the Florida Marlins in 2006, is another possibility.

The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., reported Tuesday that Mattingly told a member of the Steinbrenner family he does not feel ready for the manager's job and is uncomfortable with replacing Torre.

Ray Schulte, a spokesman for Mattingly, said the report was "completely false, totally fabricated and took Don completely by surprise."

"If and when a decision is made concerning Joe's future, Don will respond, at that time," Schulte said in a statement. "In the meantime, he wants what is best for Joe and the Yankee organization!"

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.

Who's In-Charge Of The Yankees? Anyone?

No one, apparently.

George Steinbrenner said that if the Yankees lost their ALDS series to the Indians, then Joe Torre would be fired. Well, the Yankees were eliminated a week ago, and Joe Torre is still there.

Supposedly, a decision on Torre will be made this week. But this has been a ridiculous process. The Yankees have kept Torre's fate as a top local sports news story for over a week. This has completely kept the Mets out of the local news. It has reduced the coverage of the Jets' dismal season (yay!), as well as coverage of the football Giants. The Yankees are news hogs.

Meanwhile Steinbrenner has conceded control of day-to-day operations to his sons, Hank and Hal. So about that threat from George that Torre will be fired if the Yankees didn't make it to the ALCS? Never mind. Now Steinbrenner's sons will decide Joe's fate.

The front page of the NY Daily News states that today (Monday) is 'High Noon' for Joe Torre. But it isn't. The meetings (yes, plural) regarding Joe's future won't begin until Tuesday. After all, the Yankees can't allow the Red Sox - Indians game tonight to take away their spotlight.

They might just keep Torre in limbo until November, so they can make their decision really, really big. I wouldn't be surprised if Torre is still on the payroll come Friday.

M writes:

I'm really loving this. The team is a mess right now and I'm pretty sure its being run by a senile old man in his pajamas. He awoke from his slumber long enough to make his despicable threat to Torre...and has since fallen back to sleep. Cashman says the Torre situation needs to be discussed for a few days. Why? The statement was if you lose you're gone. They clearly lost. What the fuck is there to talk about? Obviously nobody's really sure who's calling the shots these days.

I love how Yankee fans insulted the Sox during their manic days of 01/02 when the team was splintering apart...always pointing to the cohesive machine of the Yankee franchise. Well its easy to be cool when you're winning. Its how you conduct yourself when things aren't going so well that we see what you're made of. And all it takes is a few first round exits from the playoffs and the entire organization is in disarray. And the media feeds the frenzy. Afternoon soap operas having nothing on this organization when it comes to drama. What would happen if they actually missed the playoffs. Would Suzyn soil herself?

And what about the ongoing baseball playoffs? Very few people in New York are watching the NLCS or ALCS, apparently. So that means more bar stools for me and my fellow Red Sox supporters.

Shorter* Suzyn Waldman

Suzyn has outdone herself. Forget demanding that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays forfeit a game because they were late and the Yankees had already showered and dressed for the game. Forget her constant dismissal of Yankee opponents as not worthy of victories, and her constant attitude of Yankee entitlement (although that relates to this latest incident). No, on October 8th 2007, Suzyn Waldman took her awful performance as a color commentator to a ridiculously new low level. Following Joe Torre's post-game press conference at Jacobs Field in Cleveland (which followed the Yankee defeat in Game 4 of the ALDS, and subsequent elimination from the playoffs), Suzyn Waldman went on the air and cried.

Here is her full broadcast which you can download here (courtesy

You're going to have to bear with me here, cos' you know me, I cry at Cinderella, and I can't believe what's going on in there. Um....What's going on in that clubhouse and what Joe Torre is saying at the podium - John, this rivals that plane ride from Seattle [sniff], because everybody knows there's going to be a lot of changes here, and people are absolutely saying goodbye to each other. And it's very very tough place to be right now. [Sniff] Joe Torre is at the podium, and um, the first thing he said was that we wanted to congratulate Eric Wedge the way he turned his team around, and if you make a mistake they'll pummel you and that's exactly what they did. Um. Then obviously the first question was about his future. He didn't want to talk about that. He said, "I told the players I was so proud of what they did, they were in a hole, sometimes you get complacent, sometimes you forget how hard it is. We didn't forget.

And perhaps ironically, John Sterling settled Waldman down, by telling her, "all good things come to an end," and that Joe Torre will, "land on his feet," and be fine with his wife, daughter, brother, and his well-earned millions.

Now we know that most Yankee broadcasters are complete wingnuts. Michael Kay on YES TV believes that the Yankees have been the best team in baseball since 1995, facts be damned. John Sterling on WCBS 880 AM is a poor broadcaster because you can tell by his tone whether the Yankees are winning or losing. If he sounds disgusted, then you don't need to know the score. And then there is Suzyn Waldman, John Sterling's sidekick since 2005. They will be broadcasting together on WCBS 880 AM through the end of the 2011 regular season.

Suzyn is quick to pile praise or criticism on just about any player. It's as if John Sterling provokes her (or unleashes her). I have no transcripts, but a typical moment might sound like this.

Sterling: Andy deals....and there's a ground ball to center. Jeter runs to the ball, picks it up, tags second, throws to Giambi...a beautiful 6-3 double play, and Jeter made it look easy. He picked-up the ball bare-handed, tagged second, jumped over the sliding baserunner, and threw to first all in about 3 seconds.


Sterling: He has done it so many times. He makes it look easy. The captain showing some golden glove skills, and didn't use his glove.


OK, I will try to ignore this duo. It's easy when the Red Sox are on their way to winning their seventh World Series.

Win Number Three

Trautwein's on Sons of Sam Horn:

I love that Angels fan who brought a sign that read: "Thanks for a great season."

Two things:

1. He's astute; and

2. If I sat next to a guy at Fenway who made that sign before an elimination game and brought it to the game, I'd kick his ass.

ALDS Game 3
Red Sox 9, Angels 1

Steinbrenner Blames Bugs, Threatens Torre

The Boss snapped out of his senility to issue the following statements.

Steinbrenner: Torre's job is on the line

By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer 27 minutes ago

Win or else! That was George Steinbrenner's message to Joe Torre before the New York Yankees played the Cleveland Indians on Sunday night.

With the Yankees trailing 2-0 in the best-of-five, first-round playoff series, Steinbrenner reverted to the blustering boss of old and said Torre likely wouldn't return as manager unless New York reaches the AL championship series for the first time in three years.

"His job is on the line," the owner was quoted in Sunday's editions of The Record of New Jersey. "I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."

Torre was hired before the 1996 season and led the Yankees to four World Series titles in his first five seasons but none since. New York last reached the World Series in 2003, wasted a 3-0 lead to Boston in the 2004 ALCS, then was eliminated by the Angels and Detroit in the first round the last two years.

"You're not surprised by whatever comes down the pike," Torre said. "You don't always get used to it, but you understand if you want to work here — and there's a great deal of upside to working here — that there are certain things you have to deal with. We've had ultimatums during the season, early in the season. This obviously is down to a game we need to win, and you'd like to believe everybody's trying to pull in the same direction."

Torre has led the Yankees to 12 consecutive postseason appearances, winning 10 AL East titles and two wild-card berths. His 1,173 regular-season wins are second among Yankees managers behind Joe McCarthy's 1,460.

In the final season of his current contract, Torre is being paid $7 million. He hasn't decided whether he would want to return but has seemed open to it in recent weeks.

"It's too early for me to address that because, you know, the most important thing for me right now is winning Game 3," he said.

Sitting in his pinstriped uniform pants with a blue Yankees windbreaker and an NY cap, he matter-of-factly answered questions for 12 minutes about 2 1/2 hours before game time. He found out about Steinbrenner's comments when he arrived at Yankee Stadium.

"I choose not to read the papers and stuff when we don't do well," Torre said. "I jump in there when we're doing well."

Steinbrenner changed managers 20 times from 1973-95 and nearly fired Torre after last year's four-game elimination. Torre had a humorous response when asked whether his job would be safe in the Yankees did come back.

"Till the next series, right?" he said.

"You have seen managers who have been here before me. I don't think any of them have been on easy street as far as the day-in, day-out operations here," Torre went on. "So whether I think it's right, wrong, fair, foul or whatever is really not the point at this point in time. I'll save all that stuff for later on when there's really nothing left for me to do here."

Steinbrenner also criticized umpire Bruce Froemming for not stopping play when insects invaded the field during Game 2 in Cleveland on Friday. Rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain threw two wild pitches that allowed Cleveland to tie the game in the eighth, and the Indians went on to win 2-1 in 11 innings.

Froemming called it "just a little irritation." Steinbrenner profanely dismissed Froemming's explanation.

"He won't umpire our games anymore," Steinbrenner said.

The 68-year-old Froemming — the longest-tenured umpire in major league history — is retiring after this season. The Yankees complained to baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

"(Selig) just said, 'That's in the umpires' hands.' ... It was terrible. It messed up the whole team, (Derek) Jeter, all of them," Steinbrenner told the paper.

Steinbrenner also predicted Alex Rodriguez will remain with the Yankees. A-Rod has the right to opt out of the final three years of his record $252 million, 10-year contract after the World Series and become a free agent.

"I think we'll re-sign him," Steinbrenner told the paper. "I think he's going to have a good run the rest of the (postseason). I think he realizes New York is the place to be, the place to play. A lot of this (postseason) is laying on his shoulders, you know, but I think he's up to it."

The 77-year-old Steinbrenner, who has appeared to be more frail in recent years, said he will make the decisions on Torre and Rodriguez.

"I have full control," Steinbrenner said.