Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Steinbrenner vs. Torre: Is it All a PR Stunt? [J. Mark English]

Today's New York Times mocks the drama surrounding the Yankees with the headline: We Interrupt the Mets Postseason to Bring You... and then follows nothing but stories of the Yankees debacle.
Commissioner Bud Selig has put down the curtain on making any clubhouse changes during the playoffs so that fans remain focused on the playoffs. Should Steinbrenner make any sudden moves, and fire Joe Torre, he would be in violation of the rules set down by the Commissioner's office. Personally, Steinbrenner may not have a problem breaking the rules, since they are always out to get him anyway.
Suppose however, he was willing to play within the rules. If that is the case, then all this talk about Torre being fired could just be a publicity stunt to limit the coverage of the New York Mets as they prepare to play in the NLCS. Is this so far fetched? Not really. He's done it before.
In 1988, he fired Lou Piniella (whom ironically could be hired to replace Torre)...and hired Dallas Green shortly before the Mets were set to play in the NLCS against the Dodgers. This set off a media storm which temporarily distracted the press from the Mets, and focused their attention onto the Yankees.
Also, from the Boss's perspective it makes more sense to keep Torre on for at least one more year, since his contract is up next year anyway. Then next year, Torre can ride off into the sunset, while the Yankees look to move into a new direction.
Either way, the Boss has managed to dominate the back pages, even while his team could not dominate the Detroit Tigers.