Joe Torre was offered a five million dollar contract to return as manager of the New York Yankees next year (with the possibility of an additional three million) and he turned it down. A friend at work suggested that this offer was a public facade to cover up the fact that the Yankees were simply firing Torre and wanted him to be able to save face.
Truth be told, it's a shame that Torre won't be around for the post-Steinbrenner years (which ostensibly begin next year, if reports about his sons taking over are correct), because while the Boss was in charge, it honestly doesn't matter who managed that team. It's funny, I recently rented ESPN's miniseries "The Bronx is Burning" and it paints Steinbrenner as a pigheaded jerkoff. I tend to agree. Even Billy Martin, who was more strong-willed and obstinate than Joe Torre could ever be, had to kowtow to the Boss's authority and watch, handcuffed, as Reggie Jackson was brought in to an environment that had madhouse written all over it. Steinbrenner ran the team like a television network. It wasn't just about winning, it was about drawing people to the stadium with larger than life personalities. Reggie Jackson, Ricky Henderson, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez. Each of these players brought with him a name both famous and infamous. Steinbrenner's looking for pennants and championships insofar as they yield ratings. It was a circus in 1977 and it's a circus thirty years later.
Baseball managers have a tough job these days. In fact, with owners and general managers doing all of the meaningful negotiating, it's amazing that they have any pull in the clubhouse at all.
All that being said, however, the idea of Tony La Russa coming in and taking the reins is a good one. But ultimately, does it really matter?
Oh, and as much as I love Don Mattingly and regard him as my favorite player of all time...I question his readiness, as he himself did, to take over as manager. Plus, it can be painful watching him talk as a manager. Yeesh.