Nice Guys Finish First…in Baseball

Picture it. Saturday night, Los Angeles, California, a raucous celebration in the Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers move on to the NLCS after sweeping the Cubs. I am happy, very happy. Shiny and happy. I’ve been rooting for LA all season. When they weren’t playing well, when the shortstop went down with a back injury, when they traded for Manny Ramirez, when they overtook the Diamondbacks and clinched the division.

Not because I’m from LA or anything. I mean sure, I saw the homerun Kirk Gibson hit in 1988 and was super impressed. I remember how lights out Orel Hershiser was in the 80’s. I had the requisite fat pitcher crush on Fernando Valenzuela; I even followed them when they had Gary Sheffield and Raul Mondesi on the team. The thing that made me happy about the 2008 Dodgers was the management team.

See, I’m a Yankee fan.

I have been following them for life and I have put up with a lot. Hiring/firing former Yankees, a million losing seasons, bad players, bad press, you name it. Then the Yankees got smart (nobody thought so at the time) and hired Joe Torre. Of course this didn’t really mean much, I was happy that they got as far as they did against Seattle in 1995, but I was heartbroken that Don Mattingly was retiring, I was a sophomore in college and the Yankees hadn’t won anything of value since I was an infant in diapers. Joe Torre changed ALL of that. He came in and they won the wild card. Then they won the ALDS, and then they won the ALCS and then boys and girls, THEY WON THE WORLD SERIES. I don’t remember being happier about a sports win ever. He won three more in his tenure with the Yankees, in spite of questionable personnel decisions on the part of the Steinbrenner family and Brian Cashman (Denny Neagle anyone?). He just kept winning. Then, in 2004 it caught up with them. I won’t go into details, but lets just say it all went downhill from there. Three straight first round exits from the playoffs, and Torre is effectively shown the door. No respect, and no thank you’s. Just goodbye, like the cheap slut you never call again after you get the draws, but I digress.

So Joe goes out to LA for a reasonable salary, takes most of his staff with him. He keeps Mariano Duncan and Rick Honeycutt, who played for him with the Yankees, and very quietly went about doing what he does best, taking a hodge podge bunch who may not have the most talent, and getting more than the norm out of them, and he won. He won his division, and now, he has a chance to win the first pennant in LA in 20 years.

Meanwhile, back on the east coast, we Yankee fans are sent into a very long fall/winter where we can only dream of what could have been, and be angered by the fact that the architects of this massive flop will be back for more next year. Joy? No, more like massive pain.

So as it turns out, nice guys don’t always finish last. Sometimes they get to go somewhere where they are wanted and respected, and enjoy themselves. They may even luck up and find a hitting savant in their clubhouse and along the way, they get to shame those who tried to shame them without saying a word. Sometimes life is fair. So congratulations Joe Torre. I hope you win it all. And trust, it will be us Yankee fans who loved you most cheering the loudest.

-Terita

Terita likes three things in life: sports, beer, and watching sports while drinking beer. She also has a Masters Degree in Sports Management, has worked for a pro team, a sports marketing agency and now runs her own sports-based business.

[sidenote: Terita IS sports. Behold her aura of athletic savvy and welcome our newest Parlourista! -JBaker]

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