The Commish Online                                                                                
OK to Hate the Yanks Again
March 17, 2008

Joe Torre has headed west for the greener pastures of Los Angeles, a laid back sports town where a Dodgers fan can forget about a loss in the amount of time it takes for the roof of his convertible to retract.  When Torre was the leader in the Yankees' clubhouse, players conducted themselves professionally, surrounded by a workmanlike atmosphere where, despite being the Bronx Bombers, players like Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter actually (gasp!) respected the opposing team, no matter how small the payroll.

Joe Torre turned controversies into mere quibbles: always facing the media, always backing his players, but somehow doing so without demeaning the opposition.  Yankees fans may have found him to be a bit boring, wishing there was a bit more excitement in the World Series Championships he helped bring to the city.  For detractors of New York baseball, however, Torre was the worst kind of person you wanted to see manning the pinstriped ship: a reserved, respectful man with quiet success who was simply impossible to hate.  Indifference to Torre and the Yankees of the 90s and early 2000s?  Sure.  Hatred?  Hardly.  Despite having some hard-to-root-for guys along the way, Torre always seemed to smooth things over like an ice cold lemonade on a sweltering day.

Fear not, hate mongers.  George Steinbrenner may be gone, but his son Hank Steinbrenner is already making George seem like a fuzzy ol' grandpa.  Hank has wasted no time feuding with the Red Sox, putting up a stance against Alex Rodriguez during contract negotiations, and giving Joe Torre a not-so-nice kick out the door, preferring to credit his dad for hiring Torre than crediting the manager himself for New York's success of late.

Along with Hank comes Joe Girardi, the new manager with the so-called "fire in his belly" as stated by Hank Steinbrenner.  Personally, I would rather have championship rings on my fingers than fire in my belly.  Who needs all that heartburn anyway?  That fire has already caused Girardi (former catcher, no less) to question the Tampa Bay Rays' motives during a spring training game in which a Yankees' catcher was run over while BLOCKING THE PLATE.  Girardi doesn't feel that players should do that (read: play hard) in spring training, but he had no problem with Shelley Duncan's "aggressive" slide, spikes high, obviously reeking of retaliation.

In short, for the millions of you patiently waiting for the right time to start hating the Yankees again, there's no better time like the present.  With Hank Steinbrenner, Joe Girardi, six postseason series losses out of their last seven, the recent Roger Clemens brouhaha, Andy Pettitte's "I only used once" story, and Jason Giambi's apology press conference without ever stating the subject of the apology, there is plenty to root against in the Bronx once again.