Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Classy Guy Departs

He was a very good player when I was a young baseball fan and had had an honorable career playing and managing in the Big Leagues. But at the beginning of the 1985 baseball season, his new job was as the analyst for KTLA's broadcasts of the California Angels, and the new guy (replacing, if memory serves, Harmon Killebrew) just wasn't very good. Except that as the season went on, he got better. And better. In fact, by mid-summer, there were 2 new reasons for watching the Angels on TV -- it was a good year (the Haloes would end the season with 90 victories and only 1 game behind the American League's Western Division Champs) and listening to this analyst was just fascinating. And that's when I became a Joe Torre fan.

10 years later after 2 baseball seasons in Peoria and being frustrated listening to the Cubs, I thought I'd try being a Cardinal fan largely because Torre was their manager. Naturally, he was fired mid-way through the season. By season's end, I'd given up on the Cards, too. But I followed Joe to his next position as he turned Steinbrenner's Evil Yankees into a special team worth rooting for -- behind the Angels, of course. As a subscriber to XM Radio the last couple of years, I've probably listened as intently to Yankees' games as the Angels' -- this despite the Yanks' truly awful play-by-play announcer.

Well, after 12 seasons, 12 consecutive post-season appearances, 10 1st place finishes, 6 World Series, 4 World Championships, and a soap opera's fill of off-the-field highs and lows, it seems that Joe's finally had enough of managing the Yankees. Thanks, Mr. Torre (as shortstop Derek Jeter always called him) for giving the Yankees a human face.

Now we can go back to hating those Damn Yankees.

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