Brown: Torre makes right choice in Yankees debacle

Carolyn Brown

It is hard to walk away from something you love, your passion or even what it is that you have been called to do in life. For many, it is so hard to walk away that they choose to never walk down that path. For Joe Torre, this path was easily laid out before him. He did not need any reflection on his career or on what his future would hold with the Yankees. The management gave him an offer, and he was able to not accept what was put before him. Was Torre’s offer a terrible offer that would have made him look like he had no pride if he had accepted? Many probably think so.

After leading the Yankees to four straight World championships and 12 straight postseason appearances, no one can argue against Torre’s ability to coach a Major League Baseball team. Will he ever manage again? Maybe – his career in baseball has probably not fully ended. He may even someday lead another team to a World Series championship. So, why did Torre say goodbye to New York?

As we all sit and ponder this question, an answer that probably comes across everyone’s mind is the low money offer in the proposed contract. Like most issues in professional sports, we ask ourselves if it was all about the money with Torre. As much as we don’t want to believe that a classy guy like Torre would turn down an offer because he was not offered enough money, it had to have an affect on his decision. Or was it pride? Did he know he is too good of a manager to accept such a low offer? The Yankees have always been and still remain one of the best teams in Major League Baseball. So why did Torre leave? There are so many questions that we can raise as to why Torre really left, and most of them will probably remain unanswered. However, Torre knew that it was time to leave New York, even though his success could have continued for many years. And, that is why I wonder how he knew it was time to throw in the towel when there are so many coaches out there who continue to trudge on when in reality their careers are over.

At the professional and even the college level, coaching is key in all aspects of any sport. If the game changes, the coaches need to change, and that is the underlying problem to many unsuccessful athletic programs across the country. If you do not change with the game, how can you expect to be successful? This is also where owners and athletic directors’ jobs are extremely pressured. How do you fire a coach who is not performing at the appropriate level but has been coaching for a particular team for many years? I guess you offer the coach a bozo contract that is not worth coming back for. There is an easy way for an owner to get rid of a coach.

Take college for example. Besides the high-revenue sports like football and basketball, many athletic programs go forgotten because they are not bringing in any money. Therefore, athletic directors do not need to worry about the programs because there is no benefit, so why worry about coaching and whether or not a better coach could benefit the program? Season after season, loss after loss, the program slumps from a winning team to a team that cannot even produce a win. So why don’t all coaches out there act like Torre and decide it would be in their best interest to put this part of their life behind them? I know that salary has something to do with it, but shouldn’t pride also play a part? Wouldn’t you want to finish on top like Torre did? Winning four World Championships is something to be proud of, but taking a contract that completely undermines you as a coach? Not so much. Continuing to coach a sport that has become beyond your skills? Not so much. My advice: have some dignity and get out while you are ahead.

I commend Torre on being able to do something that many coaches out there need to do. There comes a point in time where coaching stops being a passion and becomes actual work, and that is not how it should be. Sure, coaching is considered a job and should be considered a great amount of work, but when it comes to the point where you know it is not working for you anymore, maybe you should consider Torre and how he was able to decline an offer to coach one of the best major league baseball teams of our time. It is hard to know when to say goodbye, but sometimes it is what you have to do.

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Carolyn Brown is a senior from Oklahoma City, Okla. She can be reached at [email protected]