For those of us who have had a long man-crush on Joe Torre, it is a relief that he is walking away from the Dodgers at the end of this season. It is a relief because the Dodgers are in such disarray because of the McCourt divorce battle. The nasty splitting of the McCourts means that the Dodgers did not have the means to support upgrades to positions that needed them. That's why the Dodgers could not extend Wolf or go after other pitchers they desperately needed. Plus, it seems from this observation deck, that Torre had lost the team and that they were not responding to him. His continued battles (which is probably too strong a word) with Matt Kemp come to mind as part of the symptoms. Torre is probably not to far from the same place Lou Piniella came to in Chicago.
Torre's decision opens the door for Don Mattingly, the heir apparent, who was announced as the successor. Writers are already stating skepticism at hiring Mattingly who has no managerial experience. The Fan doesn't know if experience is more important than presence and the fact that Mattingley was a successful player will hold more sway in his clubhouse than his experiences will. Some of the writers dredged up the incident where Broxton had to come out of the game because Mattingly started walking away from the mound and then went back. The Fan doesn't see that as a valid argument because the incident was a fluke one and the umpires really made a judgement call that was overly technical to a rule that is more than ambiguous.
Mattingly has been in Torre's dugout for half a dozen years now and there should be few decisions that should surprise him. Managing isn't THAT hard a science after all. Sure, there will be the task of setting up the parameters of Spring Training, but Mattingly can get help with that from a bench coach who has been around longer. The key with Mattingly will be how the players respond to him and only time will tells us that. The succession does smack a bit of McCourt having Yankee envy. He tried to buy an East Coast team and when he couldn't do that, he took New York people to California
The interesting question here is if Torre is simply done with the Dodgers or done with managing. Frankly, this Fan hopes he is retiring. He's earned it and he's done enough in the dugout to get his plaque in Cooperstown. But Torre lives for the competition. He loves managing and it wouldn't be a shock if he turned up in the Mets' dugout or someplace else. The Fan can't picture him going to a non-competitive team. That's not his shtick. There wouldn't be a Brewers in his future.
Maybe Torre will write another book. The first one sure made news, eh? But it's a good thing that Torre quit the Dodgers. That situation was poison and it wasn't working for him anyway. Much luck to Donny Ballgame. He's going to need it.