Monday, June 28, 2010
Latest Yankees-Dodgers Clash, Centered Torre vs. A-Rod Feud
The reality of the Dodgers purchasing space on nearly 300 billboards around the Los Angeles basin before the beginning of the season advertising a renewed rivalry in baseball, one known as the East vs. West rivalry dating back to the purist era of baseball, was for relieving traditionally the most dramatic rivalry in America’s pastime.
A legion of old timers, such as the elderly folks, still can recall 11 World Series meetings involving the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees, each with a combined 33 titles and endless postseason drama. Back then, of course, the series were masterful performances as Hollywood vs. Broadway compelled a glamorous and a seductive landscape in sports.
While the Dodgers and the Yankees meet in the newborn era of the famous clash from the old-school days, a rational supposition is that the Los Angeles billboards earlier in the season were mistakenly written incorrectly. The slogan pronounced “Rivalry Renewed,” but would have been easier to decipher if the signs had stated “Torre vs. A-Rod in a Heated Feud.”
It was known all along that this was the most appealing interleague meeting this season, a dream competition the world desired to see deeply in the fall classic last season. But it’s not charming because of the wonderful memories or everlasting drama—perhaps the most drama involves Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
With all the Dodgers drama, as the payroll has massively decreased due to a messy feud and divorce between owner Frank and Jamie McCourt, the obsolete trauma isn’t disappearing anytime soon. The inconvenience dents a renowned franchise with troubles centering the fraudulent and sleazy Manny Ramirez that has become a disruption within a franchise once respected for incredibly winning the World Series in 1988.
Lately, the talk of the town evokes further disruptions, at least it has this weekend when Rodriguez came along with the Yankees for a three-game series in Los Angeles. It’s impossible for the Dodgers to downplay and keep the truth hidden.
The Dodgers welcomed the Yankees for an emotional reunion at Dodgers Stadium, when Torre reunited and reminisced with his former players without shaking hands and exchanging modest words with Rodriguez, which inflamed a ruckus more enormous than McCourt’s long-suffering divorce.
As he tries protecting his unstable credibility after he paid a staggering $19 million in court fees, Torre tries to avoid reporters as he expects to hear answers about his broken bond with Rodriguez. For the first time, there’s a sense that an irreparable relationship between Torre and Rodriguez is fixed, that their issues and disputes are behind them, finally in position to show remorse and move on.
If so, it’s a remedy for what had transpired in the past, ever since Torre was offered an ultimatum by general manager Brian Cashman and Hank Steinbrenner, who is notoriously known for threatening managers and mismanaging employees’ status. Just so you know The Boss fired Billy Martin five times.
He is the most respected and beloved skipper who now sits in the Dodgers dugouts, summoning relievers and deciding the starting rotation. From New York to California, he migrated to the Hollywood stage when he was targeted by the Dodgers general manager Ned Coletti, who hurried and hired the brilliant Torre to fill the managerial vacancy in Los Angeles.
He quickly adapted to the sunny and clear skies of Los Angeles, soaking in his refreshing restart near the beaches, a scenery which he avoided headaches and stress. Having been pressured to reach certain standards and an agenda, he was the most polarizing baseball manager in New York and had to work under a dictating and stubborn-minded Steinbrenner family.
No one questions the Yankees agenda in attempting to win a World Series every year, but we were curious to know why exactly Torre was fired after 12 seasons, leading the Yanks to 12 postseason appearances and won six pennants and four World Series. Meanwhile, he and Rodriguez ended a pity feud by resolving the messy turmoil Sunday evening in Los Angeles.
If someone had admitted before the season that A-Rod and Torre wouldn’t reconcile, we wouldn’t had witnessed Rodriguez encounter Torre near the batting cage before Sunday’s game. When the Yankees took the field and were in the middle of pregame workouts, they hugged, talked briefly and shook hands.
He clearly was amiable during the conversation. He hung on to Rodriguez’s hand. And his former third baseman smiled. First time since the ugly separation, both realized how insane and babyish it was holding grudges and having ill-humored outlooks.
Seven home runs away from 600, he amended his problems with his former manger Torre, who’ll turn 70 three weeks from now, putting the spiteful book to rest, “The Yankee Years,” a detailed narrative that revealed the true colors of Rodriguez. A few years ago, he was arrogantly seen at parties and was irresponsible, barely performing at a consistent level.
Instead, he underachieved and faltered in the postseason by finishing hitless and useless, but earned an enormous paycheck from the highest market with the richest payroll. That prompted Torre to lash out in his book a year ago, when he boldly stated that A-Rod was identified as “A-Fraud” in the Yankees’ clubhouse and had an envious persona of the well-known, beloved face of the Yanks Derek Jeter. It wasn’t pretty after departing from the Yankees to start a livelihood at Chavez Ravine, but at least now it feels as if there are no harsh feelings.
“He came over and he was who he always is,” Torre said to reporters. “It was never uncomfortable with Alex. I just told him again, I said, ‘I hope you got my message about sort of getting that monkey off of your back.’
“He’s a good kid. He’s a good kid and, to me, I think too much is always made of this stuff. I think we know in our hearts what goes on.”
For the entire weekend, it was very eccentric when he exchanged hugs, handshakes and friendly words with Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, future Hall of Famers who played under Torre during his 12-year tenure and were accustomed to his presence.
Every player with long tenures who are still wearing pinstripes misses Torre, but understands that baseball is a business as the Yankees normally make offseason moves to overhaul a rotation and batting order and minimize failures, erecting around big-name players by pampering them with a huge salary.
The good news is that Torre and A-Rod found a remedy for all their issues. But the bad news is that the Dodgers blew a four-run lead in the ninth as the Yankees surged for the shocking 8-6 win in a mind-blowing comeback.
More importantly, Torre and A-Rod put the rift behind them.