LA’s sports pundits have recently found reprieve from “the Kobe Coaster” by the move of future Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre out west to manage the Dodgers. Though every So Cal native has to be happy with LA’s ability to land a manager of such caliber, the Dodgers organization has not received praise by this development, but only flack. This makes sense of course if you believe that the Dodgers treated the kind hearted and simple souled Grady Little poorly, but the evidence is beginning to point the other way. According to both Little, and Colletti it appears that this month’s managerial turnover was more Grady’s decision that it was the seldom trusted McCourt’s. I will miss Grady; I liked him as a man, I respected him as a manager, and I enjoyed his soft and unique personality.
But Torre is an upgrade. His wit is sharper, his credentials superior, and his ability to manage in a stressful city and a boiler room for a clubhouse garners him the utmost respect. So why all the criticism being aimed at the Dodgers?
In a scathing article on ESPN.com, J.A. Adande unloads on the Dodgers for thinking that Torre will be the panacea for the club. And he would be right, except that I don’t think that anybody expects Torre to be the cure all for Boys in Blue. If that’s the extent of the Dodgers moves this year, fans will not be pleased. Nobody is foolish enough to think that Torre is the missing piece, especially Coletti and the McCourt’s. And if McCourt did think that I don’t believe that Torre would let him keep thinking it for long; Torre wants to win, and since he wants say over the player roles and acquisition its safe to say that more things will be upgraded than the coaching staff.
Personally I would be more tempted to put false and unreasonable hope in Joe Girardi than in Joe Torre. The same part of me that was happy when we re-signed Nomar (the better part of me knew it was a bad idea, and I took the liberty at the time of saying so) would have been much happier with Girardi; who didn’t already have his identity with another team, who did great things with a miniscule payroll, who would have the possibility of being with us for decades. But that part of me would have been wishful thinking; Joe Torre is a better and more sober choice.
So let’s call a spade a spade, the Dodgers have a great manager who only has a couple more years in him, who is new to the NL, and who has the chops to take care of the clubhouse and the pressure of the LA atmosphere. Is this most important and exciting Dodgers event since Gibson in ’88… I don’t see how. Dodger fans are happy with the celebrity signing, but even in Hollywood baseball is about more than PR. The only thing that will make Dodger fans really happy is another trip to the fall classic. We want to say that we play this great game the right way; and after years of being close, we might be just another step closer.
Sorry Grady, we’ll miss you.
Now let’s win some games.