Last week, the New York Yankees dodged the perception that they wanted to fire their long-time manager Joe Torre by giving him a low-ball offer that they most likely knew would be rejected.
The organization’s rationale for the one-year offer went something like this: For the New York Yankees, anything short of a World Series victory is a failure. Joe Torre had failed to reach that goal for the past seven years straight. This is unacceptable. From the NY Times following Torre’s departure became official:
”The point is, the objective of the Yankees since the ’20s has been to win a championship every year, just like the objective of Lombardi with the Packers or Belichick with the Patriots,” Hank Steinbrenner said.
”Our goal is to win it every single year, even though we know, obviously, you can’t win it every single year. But nothing less than a championship is considered really acceptable.”
Fine. If you want to be elitist, be elitist. We expect nothing less from the Yankees. But if that was truly your rationale as to why Torre deserved a big paycut, at least be consistent.
Here’s what Hank Steinbrenner said a couple days ago while speaking to reporters:
“I think the most important thing is, whoever we hire (as the next manager), give ‘em a chance because he’s not getting the ’96 Yankees. He’s getting an even younger team and, for the most part, a team in transition. Give him a little while.”
“We want to win the World Series every year,” Hank said. “We’re not stupid enough to think we can do it.”
Huh? Since when do the Yankees have teams “in transition”? Also note the slight dig on Torre. Hank’s alluding that Torre was given a championship team on a platter when he took over in 1996, but that this won’t be the case for his successor in 2008, which is of course ridiculous. The Yankees will have a championship calibre team in 2008. I’m not sure how Hank can try to make it seem like this is not the case.
Look, I understand why Torre was basically let go. But I do not understand how ownership can backtrack so quickly. If Torre failed by not bringing home a championship in 2007, why should the new manager be held to a different standard? Is it the salary? Or is it that Hank will personally have a hand in hiring the new guy and doesn’t want to be criticized if it does’t pay immiedate dividends?