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Torre Turns 10 today


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Yankees: Torre's amazing pinstriped run turns 10 tonight

Sunday, April 03, 2005

BY ED PRICE

Star-Ledger Staff

Joe Torre begins his 10th season as Yankees manager tonight when the Boston Red Sox visit Yankee Stadium for the nationally televised season opener for all of baseball. No Yankees manager has lasted that long in the job in one stretch since Casey Stengel. Torre has 1,781 career victories and needs 65 to pass Bill McKechnie for 12th all-time.

How did spring training go?

I think it went fine. We were pretty lucky with the weather. We lost a day here or there, but I think we were far enough along where it didn't bother us. We've been pretty fortunate injury-wise (before Kevin Brown's back acted up Friday).

There were a number of minor injuries, though, to Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Tony Womack, Mike Stanton, Paul Quantrill and Derek Jeter. Were those a concern?

That's stuff you expect in spring training. It's all part of getting in shape, getting tired before you can get strong. I thought overall it worked out pretty well.

Jason Giambi was a big question mark seven weeks ago. How did his spring go?

I thought Jason -- that was my curiosity coming into spring -- I thought Jason did well. He had more of a calm than I thought he was going to have coming down here, with all the attention that he got all winter. To be able to come down here and be able to shut everything out and then be able to concentrate on what he needed to do -- and that he hadn't done a lot of this over the last year and a half -- I thought he had a good spring.

How was the transition to Joe Girardi as bench coach instead of Willie Randolph?

Girardi, when he was here as a player, was someone I confided in and really had him help me take the temperature of the ballclub on a regular basis. It was a great addition. I'm happy we were able to fill Willie's void with Joe. He's intelligent. He just (recently) played the game. He's not hesitant in asking any question or making any suggestions, which to me is very strong. And the fact that he was a catcher here and figured in our championships certainly gave him the inside track as far as how we do things.

How often do you reflect on this being your 10th year as manager of the Yankees?

I haven't, to be honest with you. People remind me, and it's still unbelievable to me. There's no way, when I was offered this job back in '95 that I would ever dream of ... I don't know how many extensions it's been. It's been nuts. ... It's still exciting for me, that's the big thing. And, of course, to have the good fortune of being able to have this job. It doesn't always work out for people that they get what they want.

How do you feel about the schedule calling for opening with Boston and playing the Red Sox again a week later?

Whatever it is, it is. ... You have to deal with what it is. I just think that the Boston-New York rivalry should be spread out where we can have it all year long. Six games in the first nine -- that's going to eliminate a third of the time we play them before the kids get out of school. To me, we're going to fill up a ballpark, and they're going to fill up a ballpark, on Opening Day with whoever we play.

How do you feel about this team compared to past ones?

I think we have the deepest pitching we've ever had. We had to struggle with which starter we're going to leave out the first couple of weeks, any other year I don't think we would have that problem. That's a good sign, even though it was a tough decision. But again, you manage and you make decisions for 162 games. The postseason is a different situation: you make decisions for this week. But for 162 games you have to try to piece it together the way you feel it's going to best work.

I've managed a lot of ballclubs that couldn't get 27 outs very easily, on a regular basis. When you have five guys who all have the capability of being a No. 1 guy, it makes me feel good and it makes the players playing behind these guys feel pretty good. Plus the opposition doesn't look forward to playing you, which hopefully is a psychological edge for us.

Do you go into a season confident or cautious?

First of all, everything you need to do, or tweak, or whatever has to be down here. And once you start, you have to trust that you're ready. As things develop or go wrong or whatever happens, then you deal with it. I just don't want to get myself where you write a lineup or you put a pitcher out there and you hold your breath. I'll just let it play out and then you make adjustments as you go along.

How is it having Tino Martinez and Stanton back?

It's good. The thing is, when you get new players, you normally explain how we do things and what to expect and all that. We didn't have to do that. With these guys, they help with the new guys. Sometimes you see those new guys looking around for somebody to talk to them. These two guys, they're very supportive. They were the time that we were together before, and I sense that it won't be any different.

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Amazes me that Torre's lasted that long as coach, not because he's a bad coach, but because of Steinbrenner. Torre is the only man in the Yankee organization (other than maybe Mattingly) that I have any respect for. Guy is and has always been a quiet, classy guy. Steinbrenner knows if he ever canned Torre he would get a s***storm from both the media and the fans.

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Amazes me that Torre's lasted that long as coach, not because he's a bad coach, but because of Steinbrenner. Torre is the only man in the Yankee organization (other than maybe Mattingly) that I have any respect for. Guy is and has always been a quiet, classy guy. Steinbrenner knows if he ever canned Torre he would get a s***storm from both the media and the fans.

Good post Mav. 10 years under Steinbrenner may be harder than most records out there today.

56 game hitting streak.

4,200 hits or so.

Break Cal's record for consecutive games played.

All those things are easy. Try working for George for 10 years as Manager. Not so easy.

I put this as # 2 behind 500+ wins for Cy Young. :D

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