When Torre vanished from the Yankees, whether in good terms or bad, along with him he took a legacy that almost revolved around the great politician that he is. A legacy that will be enshrined in Yankee wonderland.
Many of us remember the way we were, and the way Torre was treated in his entrance in pinstripes. Remember the back pages of the dailies in late 1995 that tagged him as "clueless Joe."
I am going to go out on a limb and say that those headlines were really reading, "This Poor S.O.B," or " Joe, For God Sakes Man Turn Back While You Still Can."
Old Joe said no because he had an ace up his sleeve. Make that four aces. I, for one, was shocked when he not only won the the World Series, but also at how he handled the hot poker of a media circus.
Joe had won the whole Tri-State area over with one championship.
For almost a decade, Torre was New York. The first eight years of the Torre tenure in the Bronx produced six American League titles and four World Series championships. He took NYC like Hitler took Poland—brutally quick and with no regard for the feelings of the opposition.
Now, in the absence of Joe Torre, there is a very deep and profound hole that needs to be filled by the next Yankee manager. Torre's footprint is of substantial proportions, and I believe that it is safe to say he is a very tough act to follow.
The Yankees believe that Joe Girardi is their man. A young man who's name is also Joe and, like Torre, is of Italian American heritage. Girardi, like Torre, is a former catcher.
Girardi will attempt to fill that huge hole left by Torre's footprint, so that he may one day make his own imprint.
All the tools that a manager needs to not only compete but to win have been given to Joe Girardi. He already knows what is expected of him, but the question is, can he deliver?
Can he succeed with a 70-year-old, 170-pound monkey from the west coast on his back, whispering in his ear every once in a while "This is my house" or " My shoes you will never fill."
To replace Torre last season must have been rough enough for Girardi, but you know that old cliche that says "You gotta take the good with the bad."
What that means is that New York is notorious for extremes (feast or famine). When things are good, they are the very best, when they are not, they are the very worst.
So now Girardi's job is to take the helm once again, and this time around, he needs to replace Torre for good.
Ironically, on the last year before our beloved stadium gets torn down, our whole 2008 season starts crumbling before our very eyes.
The team got hit with a tsunami of injuries. No team last season could have taken all those injuries and still have found a way to finish off with a respectable 89 wins, except the Yanks.
Then, the man with the pointy hat (aka The Pope) emerged from the Yankee dugout to give a Papal Mass to thousands of adoring Catholics.
Then, the All-Star Game paid it's last visit to the Yankee Stadium, paying homage to all the memories that this grand stage has manufactured for us during the 20th century.
As you can clearly see, the cards were stacked against Girardi maintaining the status quo in the Big Juicy Red Apple.
Now the situation is very different, and I'll tell you why.
Girardi, like Torre before him, has had the Steinbrenner family to reinforce a mediocre pitching staff to one of the most feared rotations to ever have pitched for this storied franchise.
Yes, you heard correctly. This starting rotation may be the best five to have ever pitched for this iconic team.
Girardi also will be the first Yankee skipper to have the privilege to manage the Bronx Bombers in their private Yankee Galaxy, the new Yankee Stadium. That should relieve some of the whispers from the past decade that are haunting Joe.
I also will point out that the Yankees will only get better with the arrival of A-Rod in the middle of May. That lineup will be potent enough to match the great pitching on this team.
They say 2009 is "the year of change". Well, change is what the Yankees are all about heading into the season.
My name is Joseph Jove. Lose that ghost over your right shoulder, Joe. This is your team now.