Friday, October 19, 2007

The Bronx is Earning

What to say about the firing of Joe Torre? Of all the great managers of the Yankees, Miler Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, and Billy Martin, he was the only native New Yorker among them, and during his 12 years with the Yankees he helped make the Yankees really feel like the “New York” Yankees, rather than the a collection of ball players who happen to play in the city. He was a reminder that calmness and sober reflection, as well as excitability and hot-headedness, are also traits of the native New Yorker.

Given the difficulty of maintaining players nowadays, and the greater competition, Torre would get my vote as the greatest of all Yankees managers, with 4 World Series victories, and 12 post-season appearances. But somehow the Yankees have never seemed to recover from losing the post 9/11 Series in 2001, in the 9th inning of the 7th game, certainly one of the best series ever, or from the crushing defeat they received at the hands of their eternal enemies in 2004, and the lack of 21st World Series triumphs spelled the end of the Torre era.

In any event, I wish Torre all the best, but the next loss to mourn for Yankee fans will be Yankee Stadium itself, slated to be dismantled next year to make way for a parking lot, its architectural and historical magnificence a victim of its lack of luxury boxes. This is a heinous act of cultural vandalism (which is unfair to the Vandals, who sacked Rome without destroying the Coliseum.) Old Yankee Stadium was stalwart in enduring the decades of the Bronx’s decline, but was unable to survive the borough’s new-found prosperity.

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