- Dodgers 7-Rockies 2:
If, during all those long years of the Red Sox-Yankees battles, any loyalist for the Yankees wondered what their team would look like with a quirky, spacey, aggravating, forgetful hitting savant named Manny Ramirez manning left field and hitting, hitting, hitting his way into everyone's hearts and making them ignore the defensive lapses, tantrums, demands and bouts of laziness, it's being played out right now with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The calmness that the Dodgers are showing is identical to that which the Yankees showed all those years as Torre guided them through any and all firestorms whether they were baseball or life-related. An eight game losing streak and season-long inconsistency? No reason to panic. Injuries to chunks of the pitching staff? Why worry? Someone else will get the job done, somehow. The Diamondbacks are pulling out all the stops to improve their club by dealing for help in their bullpen and lineup with stunning swiftness? No problem, for all of his bizarreness, Torre will handle Manny as he goes through his "Manny being Manny" act heading toward another big contract after crowbarring his way out of Boston. The infighting with rookies and veterans at odds in the clubhouse that doomed Grady Little and ended the Dodgers playoff hopes in 2007? Torre'll take care of it. The impossible Jeff Kent? Torre will placate him as well as he can.
Anything else? Torre, Torre, Torre. Four championship rings, controls the clubhouse, leads his men. Rookies? Veterans? In-season acquisitions? Lack of hitting? Lack of pitching? Injuries? Press? Naysayers? Mocking from the other coast and staggering Yankees at his unappreciated skills? It doesn't matter. The one thing that's being proven this year is that despite his strategic ordinariness, Joe Torre handles his team and guides them through anything with the one thing that any manager has to have to be successful----he doesn't panic. Referred to as "The Godfather", Torre is the man behind the desk using his brain, experience and reputation to keep everyone in line and as a result, the Dodgers are heading for the playoffs and didn't panic when the world crumbled around them.
If anyone has ever wondered (publicly or privately) what would have happened had Torre been running the Red Sox for the years 1998-2003 instead of Jimy Williams and Grady Little, the result is on display right now in 2008 with the Dodgers. It adds to the irony that not only is Manny on his team, but so are Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Lowe. Anyone who questions the import of a manager need only look at how the Dodgers are finishing the season with the same placid, stoic personality of their manager. That's why the Dodgers are winning and a major reason why the Yankees aren't.
- Diamondbacks 3-Reds 2:
This isn't being written because Lyon almost blew the game and the Diamondbacks season; nor is it being written to second-guess how decisions are being made in the Diamondbacks dugout; but after watching how the aforementioned Torre has handled his club through their various crises and how Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin has been relying on that absurd "book" that's become so prevalent, why would he remove his ace and put such an important game in the hands of that shaky bullpen and run the risk of ending his team's season? If Webb had thrown 115 pitches, okay, but he'd thrown 96; are you telling me that he couldn't throw twenty more pitches to close the game out himself? Is he or is he not the team's best pitcher and guy who's supposed to carry them in times of distress?
Now Melvin is implying that he's considering making a change at closer and replacing Lyon with (I would assume) Chad Qualls. Melvin's quote was that he felt he'd given Lyon "enough rope"; once a manager starts thinking he has to have a certain amount of "rope" before going to his closer, then it's time to get a new closer. And Lyon shouldn't even have been in that situation to begin with because Webb should at least have started the inning and gotten yanked if and only if he got into serious trouble. Webb should've been the closer last night and the near disaster could've been averted completely.
- The promotional ads for the Colorado Rockies: