Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Perceptive Thoughts on Perspective

One is the most stories franchise in American professional sports history, while the other is younger than the Olsen twins. Perhaps this explains why the aftermath of the Marlins' World Series victory over the Yankees has focused far more on the losers than the winners. Even the estimable Rob Neyer uses the Series result as a springboard to discuss the long-standing national hatred of the Bombers.

In New York, meanwhile, the grim post-mortem is already underway. George Steinbrenner, we read, is enraged by his team's "failure" and vows changes. Already, bench coach/Pedro Martinez whipping boy Don Zimmer has left, though of his own accord, lobbing hand grenades at Big Stein on his way out the clubhouse door. Is there anyone to cheer for in the Bronx?

Well, the New York Times's Ira Berkow offers an excellent piece today in praise of Yankee manager Joe Torre's ability to keep the game in perspective. Why, asks Berkow, is Torre so successful?

Because, say people close to the team, he gets the best out of the players. He does that by not being confrontational -- unlike, oh, a certain owner. He never embarrasses a player in public. And, in most instances, he remains calm -- intense, yes; thoughtful, yes; but also calm. The players pick up on this. They trust him, and trust his actions and reactions. They are more relaxed, while remaining competitive. Tight players fail.

Hmm. Who in Philadelphia could stand to learn that lesson? I wonder. . . .


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