Thursday, June 24, 2010

Facing Torre Brings Back Old Memories For Yanks

Bryan Hoch wrote this nice piece about how the Yankees feel about facing their former manager and how it's bringing back some fond memories. There are a lot of good quotes in the article, but here are a few from the core fore:
"He was like a father figure to me," Posada said. "A guy that took care of me like his own child. I'm going to thank him forever, and the organization, obviously. But the way he treated me was very special. I will always remember that."

The Yankees play against Torre's Dodgers for the first time this weekend at Chavez Ravine, and it is a series they have curiously anticipated since the schedule began filtering around the clubhouse. No matter how the marriage ended, some still cannot view Torre as anything but a Yankee.

"We've been through too much to not kind of feel like [Torre is] a Yankee," said Andy Pettitte, who will start the series finale on Sunday. "So, for sure, I still feel that way about it. He was not only my manager, but he's just somebody you could talk to. Not about baseball. I just talked to him about life. At a very young age, he was just always there."


Mariano Rivera credits Torre for helping him get through the aftermath of Sandy Alomar's crushing home run in Game 4 of the 1997 American League Division Series. But earlier that season, Rivera remembers Torre guiding him to help fill the gap left by closer John Wetteland, the '96 World Series MVP.

"I was struggling a little bit in the beginning," [Mariano] Rivera said. "He said, 'Don't worry what you do. As long as I'm here, you will be my closer.' Even though I knew that if I did what I kept doing wrong, I wouldn't be the closer, that was enough for me to feel confidence and keep doing the rest.

"I ended up with [43] saves that year. He was tremendous, that kind of man. Always there for us, no matter what the situation was. Joe is more than a friend. He is a mentor."


"It's someone I learned a lot from," Jeter said. "I learned a lot from the way he handles people, how he deals with people. People always say you treat everyone the same -- you don't treat everyone the same. You treat everyone fairly, and I think he was pretty good at that."

Mo also had this to say when asked if he thought Torre would have that "queasy feeling" he used to say other managers felt if Mo came in to close a game:
"I don't know if he will have that [feeling]. He knows me so much," Rivera said. "Maybe he'll have it. But I'm looking forward to the opportunity. The bottom line is that you just want to see him and give him a big hug."
While many are pissed at Torre for the book, 2004, or whatever else they didn't do in his last five seasons in pinstripes, but my memories of Torre will always be positive ones. No other baseball team in the modern era has come close to experiencing the kind of success that Torre's Yankees did and it was a fun time to be a fan (especially pre-2004).

What are your thoughts as this highly anticipated series is about to kick off?

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