I don't know about the Bronx burning, but someone is smoldering up there. The only guy whose opinion counts, principal owner George Steinbrenner.

The early departure of the Yankees from the playoffs after losing, 6-4, to Cleveland at Yankee Stadium last night also means -- if George is true to his word -- that manager Joe Torre is finished.

Advertisement

Torre is a Hall of Famer in-waiting. In 12 years with the Yankees, he has won four World Series, six American League pennants and 10 division titles. Under him, the Yankees have never had a losing season and they have averaged nearly 98 wins a season. But there have been just two World Series appearances in the last seven years and no world championships, which is the only trophy on Steinbrenner's mantle that counts. Any other loving cup is a spittoon.

Torre approached this series with the Indians knowing it could be his final one as Yankees manager, even before Steinbrenner's pre-Game 3 ultimatum of win or else. When Torre took the ball from ace starter Chien-Ming Wang, who let down the Yanks twice in this series, the manager consoled the pitcher, telling him not to allow playoff events diminish his 19-win regular season. "This ballclub, they have a great future," Torre said of his team.

And to the Yankee Stadium crowd who cheered the New York skipper, he left this sincere farewell, "These fans are very special. You can feel their heartbeat."

Photo credit: Jim Rogash/AP

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement