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Quote of the Day II: Joe Torre on Yankees expectations

May 19, 2010, 4:45 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for joe torre.jpgWe won four out of the first five World Series. We got in six World
Series. Then all of a sudden the expectations became more than I could
deal with. What do I mean by that? I had a tough time telling my players
when we won a division title and got to the postseason that it wasn’t
good enough, that I was disappointed in them. I couldn’t do that because
I know how hard they worked. That’s where the contradiction was. We
know that expectations are always higher when you play for the Yankees,
but I couldn’t deliver the message if we didn’t win the World Series
that it was a disappointing year.

Joe Torre, talking about his Yankees days with MLB.com.

I think that “we’re the Yankees and only championships are acceptable” stuff you hear all the time is largely P.R. these days. George Steinbrenner believed it when he ran the team, but — and I mean this in the most respectful way possible — George Steinbrenner is kind of a nut.

All professionals want to win, and the Yankees are no different than anyone else in this regard.  But I seriously doubt that Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner believe that not winning the World Series is as mortal a sin as the Yankees’ hype-machine makes it out to be.  They want to win, of course, they’re not happy when they lose, but like Joe Torre, they’re not going to tell their people that they were disappointed in them if they don’t win it all.

I think that whole “only championships are enough” business is something that the team found useful to perpetuate as the team was returning to glory in the 90s, and remains somewhat useful in that, no matter what happens with the Yankees, no one ever, ever questions the team’s motivations like so many other teams’ motivations are questioned.

But I bet, in an unguarded moment, Cashman and those guys would tell you that as an ethos, it’s kind of a pain to live up to for the very reasons Torre points out.

  1. YankeesfanLen - May 19, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    I always admired Joe Torre and his handling of the team and agree with the (somewhat touchy-feely) sentiments he states here. Of course, Ol’ George is somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun in his quest for perfection every year but somehow most of that, bottom line, was for theatrical affect. He ATE UP the NY media like no one else, probably at the time in all sincerity.
    We’re splitting psychological hairs here, I think Derek Jeter, and maybe Brocius and O’Neill and several other along the way maybe had just a little more will-to-win than Joe had.
    Even look at Posada today, literally has a s###fit if he can’t play and always thinks he can do better. It’s a matter of demonstrated temperment ultimately and some show their “Yankee Pride” more on their sleeve than others.
    Rather than carry on for 412 psaragraphs, I’ll just say I’d rather have either of the Joes and Cashman on my side than the Manuel-Minaya simpletons.

  2. RM - May 19, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    Sounds like Joe was burnt out. The Yankees should have dumped his butt sooner. He took over a championship quality team and had a front row seat to a bunch of rings. I think its time to ressurect the ‘Clueless Joe’ headlines.

  3. Don - May 19, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    With a 200 million dollar payroll as they have had through most of this century it is not unreasonable to expect to win..you might want to rethink your opinion on whether or not the Yankees mean it when they say they expect to win.

  4. Alan - May 20, 2010 at 2:10 AM

    No wonder Joe is not at the Yankee helm! If I want a basketball player it will be Kobe or Michael Jordan because they hate to lose and refuse to lose. The Yankees are built the same way. Hey if you want to be on a some loser baseball team don’t be a Yankee. Yankee fans expect them to win and support their team in such a way that money is spent to deliver players who hate to lose. So much is being said about the payroll but just about any player with the desire to win Championships want to play in the pinstripes. They have a much better chance getting it there than anywhere else.

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