Jerry Manuel Questions Joe Torre's 'Integrity'; Torre Quickly Apologizes
Manuel's tenure as Mets manager will almost certainly come to an end shortly after the team's final out on Oct. 3, but that doesn't mean he takes kindly to people openly campaigning for a shot at his job. Joe Torre's been doing something close to that since he announced he won't be returning to the Dodgers in 2011, saying over the weekend and at Yankee Stadium on Monday that he'd listen if the Mets were to call him about an opening in their dugout.
Manuel spoke to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News on Tuesday and pulled no punches when it came to his thoughts on Torre's behavior.
"I find it curious when someone comments about a job somebody already has," Manuel said. "That's not integrity."
If only Manuel's lineup could swing bats with the same ferocity that their manager slings barbs. He's already been through this with Mets minor-league skipper Wally Backman and, clearly, doesn't want to deal with this mess any longer.
Torre was quick to apologize after learning of Manuel's comments.
"I had no intention of making people believe I wanted to manage the Mets," he told the Los Angeles Times Tuesday evening.
In fact, Torre doesn't see himself managing another team, period.
"I'm closing the door on managing the Mets -- and probably everybody else," he said.
"I would doubt very seriously if there would be anything that would entice me to manage again."
Still, Torre's been around baseball for his entire adult life and he knows that it is poor form to openly talk about a job currently held by someone else. What's more, Torre has spent enough time in New York to know that just answering questions is more than enough to become fodder for the city's tabloids and sports radio. He also knows what his name means to baseball fans in New York City. That makes it a pretty good campaign tactic.
The worst thing about all of this is that Torre knows exactly what it feels like to have other people openly coveting and discussing your job while you're still doing it. Very few years went by during Torre's time with the Yankees that there wasn't some discussion of what big name manager was the apple of George Steinbrenner's eye or when there wasn't open contemplation of when the time would come for Torre to pass the torch to one of the several men who served as his coaches/heirs apparent over the years.
You'd think that experience would have been enough to have him simply say no comment and let Manuel finish his final weeks as a manager in peace.