Tag Archive | "Joe Torre"

Could Bobby Valentine make his way to Dodgers’ dugout?


In the aftermath of the news that Joe Torre will be making up his mind about his Dodgers future by the end of the season, an interesting rumor is now circulating about his potential successor.  And no, it does not have to do with current hitting coach Don Mattingly, who is assumed to be Torre’s heir apparent.

According to a Tweet by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, now that Bobby Valentine is no longer in the running for the Marlins managerial job, he could be a leading candidate to be the Dodgers next manager if Torre does indeed depart.  This was also first mentioned earlier this week on the blog Rowland’s Office.  While the author does not claim to have any inside information, there is logic behind this.

First off, Valentine is a former Dodger, having played with the team in the early 1970s.  In addition, he is good friends with former Dodger manager and current Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda, who was Valentine’s first minor league manager in the Dodgers farm system.  Don’t think they’re close?  One of Valentine’s dogs is named after Lasorda.

Working under owner Frank McCourt (and the tumult surrounding his divorce) likely wouldn’t be an issue for Valentine.  If anything, McCourt would probably like his fiery style as a change to Torre’s calm demeanor.  But there are no clues as to how Valentine feels about “psychics.”

Keep in mind that his boss in Texas when he managed the Rangers was none other than future president George W. Bush.  And he is used to dealing with the media circus from his days spent managing the New York Mets.

Finally, why else would Valentine suddenly be out of the running with the Marlins?  After all, these rumors have come and gone over the years, and it’s no secret that this would be Valentine’s dream job.

For now, Mattingly is still considered the front-runner for the job.  He passed on potential managerial jobs with the Indians and Nationals last fall in order to stay with the Dodgers.  And if it helps, he received a nice endorsement from former Yankee teammate and current Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti – high praise from a rival team.

Either way, it should make for an even more interesting summer in L.A.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Chris Lardieri covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for Examiner.com and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. He previously wrote for 1766, the Rutgers Alumni Magazine, and popular blog, ‘The Outer Loop’.  Be sure to follow Chris on Twitter for more MLB and sports observations.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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Dodgers’ Joe Torre unsure of return


Lost in the aftermath of last night’s crushing 8-6 loss in 10 innings to the Yankees last night were comments that manager Joe Torre made before the game on Sunday.  Torre told the media that he has yet to make up his mind about his future as Dodgers manager, but that he will make a decision by the end of the 2010 season, possibly by September.

Torre, who is in the last year of a 3-year, $13 million contract, had broken off contract extension talks with GM Ned Colletti during spring training in March.  He also added that the key factor in his decision is his health.  Torre survived prostate cancer after being diagnosed during the 1999 season, when he managed the Yankees.

This news comes at a time when Torre has come under fire for the Dodgers’ recent slump, and on the heels of the season-long saga over the pending divorce of team owner Frank McCourt and his estranged wife, Jamie

One aspect of Torre’s statement should bear noting – the McCourts’ divorce trial is scheduled to begin in August, which should lead to a resolution as to who owns the team by the end of this season.

A report earlier this season also indicated that Torre might not want to return for the 2011 season, given the team’s uncertain ownership future and divorce-related payroll constraints.  Torre later denied this rumor, but the doubt still lingers.

Should Torre leave, the likely successor is another former Yankee (and current Dodgers hitting coach), Don Mattingly.  For what it’s worth, legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully gives Mattingly his seal of approval.

So the questions still linger.  But at least Torre doesn’t have to deal with Alex Rodriguez ignoring him anymore.

Chris Lardieri covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for Examiner.com and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. He previously wrote for 1766, the Rutgers Alumni Magazine, and popular blog, ‘The Outer Loop’.  Be sure to follow Chris on Twitter for more MLB and sports observations.

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Joe Torre taking heat, now faces Yankees


Joe Torre has been getting killed on Los Angeles sports-talk radio and now has to rally his Dodgers against the evil empire that used to employ him: the New York Yankees.

The Dodgers finally broke a six-game losing streak with a big 10-6 win against the LA Angels of Anaheim on Thursday night.

The Angels have taken all but one of the six inter-league games played so far this season and that only made things worse for the Dodgers skipper.

When base running and fielding mistakes made his stars look lackadaisical, Torre suffered more than the usual criticism.That’s because Angels manager, Mike Scioscia is renowned for drilling his players from the lowest level of the minor leagues on baseball fundamentals.

Matt Kemp criticized by GM for fielding errors

Torre and the Dodgers have had an up and down season. Early on they slipped to eight games below .500 only to see themselves rally and take the top spot in their division.

But coming off the lackluster play of the previous week and a half and knowing the World Champs are at the door for the weekend can’t be pleasant.

Oh, you’ll read all the sweet stories about how Torre’s mainstay players in pinstripes adore him and can’t wait to see him again, but unfortunately none of them play for his team.

Despite that, Torre and fans are entitled to better than they were getting from the players who wear Dodger blue. Every little mistake can take its toll when the pitching situation continues to be fluid.

With two rookies seeing a lot of time in the rotation due to vets being on the DL (Padilla and now Billingsley) reliance on timely hitting and execution of plays is even more important.

Torre’s style is one of an adult talking with other adults in a calm, measured manner. But the losing streak provoked a rare closed-door meeting with his club on Wednesday night. It’s unclear if the law of averages took over or Torre’s little chat with his players had an effect.

And here come the Yankees with their World Series championship rings barely tucked away in their vaults. Sporting the best record in the majors this year and two games ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East, the team has had its share of pitching issues with A.J. Burnett mired in a slump and Javier Vazquez yet to distinguish himself as a fifth starter.

But Torre would kill for the Yanks pitching woes just as he would love to have the calming presence of Rivera, Jeter, Posada and Pettite in the clubhouse. But they aren’t walking through the door anytime soon.

Torre must somehow inspire his team to show the Steinbrenner brats that they care about him enough to make a good showing in the three-game set.

I’m sure at this point he’d settle for no base running mistakes and no balls getting past Matt Kemp in centerfield.

Chris Lardieri, LA Dodgers Examiner has more on the team and their owners, here.

Box score of Dodgers victory over Angels, here

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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Dodgers get swept out of Boston


The Dodgers were swept in three games by the Red Sox, with the final nail in the proverbial coffin being a 2-0 loss last night in Fenway.  They now sit in third place in the NL West, behind the Padres and Giants As if that wasn’t bad enough, the schedule only gets more difficult: a Freeway Series rematch with the Angels (who swept them just over a week ago) in Anaheim. 

After that, the Dodgers welcome the World Champion Yankees to Chavez Ravine for the first time since 2004.  It will also be the first time that manager Joe Torre will face his former team since departing New York after the 2007 season.

And to top it all off, the Dodgers will then face their rivals, the now second-place Giants. a team whose pitchers have allowed opponents to hit a league-best .230 against them.

So what’s happened to the once-hot Dodgers?

First, their pitching, which was hot in May (with a 20-8 record) has cooled off (just 9-9 so far in June).  Rookie John Ely, who was a nice shot in the arm in May, has now cooled off.  He is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in June, and has allowed 6 home runs and 10 walks this month.  This is up significantly from the no home runs and 6 walks he had allowed through May.

A second problem has been injuries.  Chad Billingsley and Carlos Monasterios, two starters who helped the team during their hot stretch in May, are now both on the 15-day disabled list – the former with a groin strain and the latter with a blister on his finger.  This has not helped an already-thin starting rotation.

Finally, the Dodgers bats have suddenly gone quiet.  They have scored just eleven runs in their last four games, and batted just .194 (19-for-98) in the three games in Boston.  RF Andre Ethier has also cooled off – since coming off the DL, he has hit only one home run.  He is only batting .208 in June, lowering his overall batting average to .318 (down from .380 through May).

If the Dodgers can manage to stay above water for the rest of the month, things could get better.  They face the last-place Diamondbacks the first weekend in July, and also meet up with the Giants and Padres later in the month.  They are 18-5 against the NL West this season, which could help turn things around.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Chris Lardieri covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for Examiner.com and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. He previously wrote for 1766, the Rutgers Alumni Magazine, and popular blog, ‘The Outer LoopBe sure to follow Chris on Twitter for more MLB and sports observations.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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Bitch-Slap-of-the-Week – Chicago Cubbies


The Windy City was already looking ahead at potential dates to schedule a victory parade in case this would be the year for the Chicago Cubs.

With a National League best, 97-64 record, the Cubbies were in position to rescue Steve Bartman’s reputation by bringing a World Series title back to Chicago . . .but Joe Torre and the L.A. Dodgers had a different idea.

Their plan included embarrassing and bitch-slapping the listless Cubs, sending them packing after a dominating three-game sweep. The series was never a contest with the Dodgers outscoring the lethargic Cubs 20-6.

The only “curse” this organization has, is not knowing how to show up for the playoffs, and until they do, they will continue to add to their 100 year streak without the victory parade.

The Cubs are 0-9 in their last nine playoff games and have not had a post-season victory since 2003, but Bartman, who may be hiding in a remote cave in Afghanistan with Bin Laden, certainly cannot be blamed for this one.

This was more than a standard spank, this was a classic bitch-slap.

Expectations were sky high and the team decided not to show up for the entire series and were dominated. Cubbies, you are the runaway winner of the Sports Climax Bitch-Slap-of-the-Week.

Copyright ©2008 Sports Climax

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