Everyone is ready to pass judgment when symbols and statistics collide with history.
We saw that last night as Joe Torre became only the tenth manager to win 2,000 games. Numbers like that are impossible to ignore, but Torre still takes more than his share of criticism. Sports talk radio and baseball blogs allow people who have never set foot on a Major League field to snipe at one of the games’ brightest minds.
Some complain about his in-game strategy, but no one can question his record. He has been a stabilizing force for nearly 12 years on a team and in a city where more than a couple of seasons will earn a manager iron-man status.
Torre is the perfect man for a difficult job. He deals with the media better than anyone and has a good working relationship with a demanding owner. He is the calming presence that leads this team, but he is not – as many believe – a passive manager. He deals with his players as individuals and challenges, comforts, and scolds as necessary.
Anyone that thinks he doesn’t bring enough energy to the field hasn’t been paying attention. When it’s time to yell, Torre can raise the roof with the best of them.
His players love him and so do the fans that live and die with every pitch. Strategy can always be questioned, but the measure of a man is his final record. Torre is at 2,000 wins and counting.