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It’s the day of Jennifer Steinbrenner’s (second) wedding. Hal Steinbrenner, the youngest of the Steinbrenner boys, and his date Kay Adams are walking arm in arm at the reception, when Kay notices one of the guests — Yankees manager Don “Donny Baseball” Mattingly. Kay is totally excited to see one of her heroes. The following conversation ensues.

Don MattinglyJohnny Fontane

Hal: You know, my father helped Donny in his career.

Kay Adams: Really? How?

Hal: …Let’s listen to this song.

Kay Adams: [after listening to Donny sing Billy Joel's "New York state of mind" karaoke for a while] Please, Hal. Tell me.

Hal: …Well when Donny finished playing, he went to work as bench coach for the Yankees, under Joe Torre. And as he got more experience, he decided he wanted to manage. Now, Donny is like my father’s godson. So my father went to see Torre, with an ultimatum: win the ALDS or you’re fired. But Torre didn’t win. So the next day, my father went to see him again, only this time with Luca Brasi. Within an hour, Torre decides he doesn’t want to manage the Yankees anymore.

Kay Adams: How did he do that?

Hal: My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Kay Adams: What was it?

Hal: Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father offered him a one year contract at $2.5 million less than he made the year before, with performance bonuses.

Kay Adams: … (look of horror on her face)

Hal: …That’s a true story.

[cut to Donny singing again for about 10 more seconds before going back to Michael]

Hal: That’s my family Kay, it’s not me.

Ok, so maybe my “The Godfather” reference is a little over the top. But does anybody really think Joe Torre could have accepted Steinbrenner’s one-year offer to manage the Yankees? Does anybody think the Yankees wanted him to accept?

You have to admire how the Yankees handled this one. They offered Torre a lot of money, so that they could say to the media, “we offered him more money that any other manager gets paid!” They offered him performance bonuses so that they could say to the fans, “we demand results!” And they broke the story just hours before the Red Sox game (gravy).

Don CorleoneGeorge Steinbrenner

But here’s the thing. These are the Yankees. This is the team that this season paid Jason Giambi $23 million. Whether Torre makes $5 million or $7.5 million doesn’t matter a damn bit — except to Joe Torre. All he hears is, “we’re offering you zero job security and a paycut, and you successor will sit next to you every day as a reminder of just how quickly we can replace you if the team struggles.”

If you’re Torre, you know the pay cut wasn’t offered in the spirit of reducing spending. It’s a slap in the face, plain and simple. So you reject the offer, because you don’t need this. You’ve had reporters camped out on your lawn for a week. You’ve had to endure endless questions about your job future ever since The Boss opened up his big mouth to some Jersey reporter. There are other jobs out there and, no, they’re not as glamorous as managing the Yankees, but they’re not as big a pain in the ass, either. You’ll take one of those.

Which, of course, is exactly what the Yankees want Torre to do. That’s why they made him an offer he couldn’t not refuse.

16 Responses to “Yanks made Torre an offer he couldn’t not refuse”

  1. The prototypical leadoff hitter to which every number one guy should aspire is Brett Butler. Each year you could pencil him in to hit around .300, get on base nearly 40% of the time, and steal enough bases to distract the pitcher. He knew how to bunt, and in close games he had a knack for fouling off strikes until he walked so that the heart of the order would have a shot at driving him in. Wish he could have played for the Braves his entire career instead of setting the table for our division opponents.

  2. Paul Moro says:

    Butler was a good one. Rock Raines was great. And of course, Rickey. And I imagine guys like Wee Willie Keeler would’ve be considered such (though I have no idea where in that order he hit).

  3. yawn. youre off the bookmarks list

  4. Paul Moro says:

    Umm… OK. Do I know you?

  5. Sarah Green says:

    I guess that means it’s time to exploit another hot baseball wife. Get me some T&A, stat!

  6. Do you really think that the Yanks are going with Donnie – a man with no managerial experience at any level?

  7. Well, Peter Gammons thinks so. And if Peter thinks it, it must be true.

  8. Brian Sadecki says:

    I bet they go with Girardi. Part of the old guard plus experience.

  9. Coley Ward says:

    Brian, maybe you weren’t listening. Peter Freaking Gammons thinks it’s going to be Don Mattingly.

    Done. Deal.

  10. Sarah Green says:

    Who says experience is a plus with this club? Maybe the Yankee FO just wants someone they can boss around…

  11. Paul Moro says:

    Brian, it’s not like Girardi has that much experience either. It’s one year. Plus, Girardi and the NY media I don’t think will mesh very well…

  12. Paul Moro says:

    Coley, get off Gammons’ jock. Yes, he has more inside info than any of us could ever dream of. That doesn’t mean he’s always right.

  13. Sarah Green says:

    Paul. If Peter Gammons isn’t right, that’s not Peter Gammons’ fault. It’s just that sometimes, the universe is wrong.

  14. Brian Sadecki says:

    Perhaps you guys are forgetting that he was manager of the year. That’s definitive!

    It all makes sense. Fans like him. He was a catcher. He’s a “lifer.” I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to handle the press. He’s a part-time broadcaster so he knows how to look into a camera and say things.

    Plus, he’s worked with Michael Kay so someone has to reward him for that.

  15. no, i definitely didn’t forget that he was manager of the year. but he only managed a year. if you’re citing his “experience” over mattingly, shouldn’t he have, you know, more experience?

    and if girardi couldn’t get along with his bosses in florida, it’d be interesting to see how he does with the steinbrenners.

  16. Brian Sadecki says:

    He does have more experience. Just not a whole lot.

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