When There is No News, Things Get Funny

In the absence of real news, the baseball rumor mill heats up and it is often ludicrous. In New York City, the deification of dissed Joe Torre continues at record pace. Hey, HE walked away.

We wish somebody would offer us the embarrassment of a job that ONLY paid $5 million a year - especially if the boss will pay up to $200 million for the tools to work with (twice and often three times as much as the other teams spend), nicer yet to have the best seat in the house, your own private toilet, etc.

Embarrass me please.

One sage (the term is very loose) suggested the Dodgers might dump Grady Little and take on Torre right away - at Torre's price yet.

Now Joe Torre was a so so manager when he was given the Yankees helm. His now way above record, it must be said, came not from his genius, but from the team's spending of which he had to do little (not Grady). In fact, given the chance, Grady Little or one of a million others, would have done just as good.

Money makes the man. Money - Steinbrenner's - made Joe Torre and let us not forget that. Joe Torre, like Tommy Lasorda, will make the Hall of Fame as a manager. Fact is Peter O'Malley and George Steinbrenner are the real ones who should be in the Hall, not merely a designated employee.

While the New York press dithers, one of the real winners could be the Kansas City Royals who went out and grabbed one of the real up and comer managers in Trey Hillman. Who? Well, according to the Lasorda Rule ("he ain't never done it before") Hillman shouldn't have been considered. Just wait, Hillman is a winner.

Ex-KC manager Tony Pena, Yankees first base coach, will get a courtesy interview in New York, but methinks it is more for the fact that new rules require at least one minority to be considered. Pena, a good baseball guy who showed lots of managerial promise, really deserves more than that.

Somebody may give Joe Torre another job, even at his asking price. How will be do without a $200 million payroll?  A slimmer payroll budget could prove to be his "Kryptonite" and he might not be such a superman after all.

There are great managerial prospects out there besides Hillman. We repeat Joe Girardi. He made chicken salad out of you know what with the Marlins.

There is Terry Pendleton of the Braves.

The Angels have a guy who will make a great manager for somebody someday in young Dino Ebel.

The Dodgers themselves have an old player but young managerial prospect in Kenny Huckaby who could easily turn into tomorrow's Walter Alston given the chance.  When Hall of Famer Alston was first picked from  obscurity by Walter O'Malley, the New York writers wondered "who's he".

They, the writers, would have been more comfortable with an early 1950s version of Joe Torre.

And then a dismissed Dodgers manager walked off from the media center stage to instant obscurity because he was offended in not getting a multi-year contract. Charley Dressen went from the cameras to baseball oblivion 'cuz he felt he was insulted. It is said on more serious plateaus that those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. Sic transit Torre.  

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