The former Mets, Braves, Cardinals and Yankees skipper has Los Angeles in second place in the NL West at 28--22
Dan Patrick:When's the last time you were thrown out of a game?
Joe Torre: It was probably in defense of a player. Or a coach—[hitting coach Don] Mattingly has a way of getting me thrown out once in a while.
DP:That's because he wants to manage, Joe.
JT: Yeah, it didn't hit me until the second time I got thrown out.
DP:So he'll be whispering in your ear, "Joe, you've got to get out there...."
JT: [Laughs] He'll yell and then hide behind me. That's what it amounts to.
DP:How's your speed from the dugout to the plate?
JT: I'm two years removed from a knee replacement, so it's a lot better. One game, I was managing the Yankees and I was going to argue. I started stumbling up the steps and fell. By the time I got to the umpire we were both laughing, so it didn't do me any good.
DP:How will you know if you want to manage next season?
JT: When in spring training [the team and I] couldn't really get together on what my role would be later on, I said, "Let's just put this off." I'd rather wait [to decide until] later in the year because I'm turning 70. Of course I said this 10 years ago, too. But I'm happy I still have the energy to do this and I'm enjoying the baseball aspect of it. But certainly in my life, I have a daughter who's 14 and there are things I certainly would like to do other than this.
DP:If they found a meaningful role for you, would you turn the reins over to Don next year?
JT: It hasn't been cut and dry that it's going to be Donny. But I certainly believe he's ready to do that. I think you hit on the word that if it's something that is meaningful. That's what I'm looking to do when I stop doing this, something meaningful in the game. I just enjoy it, it's been my life.
DP:How scary is retirement?
JT: I don't know. I talked to Bobby Cox before last year and I said, "Are you going to quit?" He says, "Yeah, but the only thing is, what do we do now?" And you know there's sort of that void. It's like Pavlov's dog—you ring that bell and you go to spring training and it all starts up again. You know when people talk about a Fourth of July weekend, you've never been a part of that because your whole life has been around baseball. But I'm anxious to find out at some point. Whether it's this year or not, I don't know yet.
DP:Who was the last coach outside of baseball that you got advice from?
JT: I know a number of football coaches. When I took over the Yankees in 1996, I was reading Bill Parcells's book. You always wonder what you're going to do different from the last place you were, because you just got fired. I was sort of thumbing through it because it was more like a textbook and I hit on a chapter that says, If you believe in what you're doing, stay with it. And it sort of got me back to a comfortable spot, even though I had gotten fired three times. I'm glad I did, because eventually in this game if you try to be somebody other than who you are, you're going to get exposed. I think that's probably unbeknownst to Bill Parcells, but it made a big impact on me.
Danica Patrick is the most popular driver in the IndyCar Series, but she was booed by fans last week after blaming her team for a poor Indy 500 qualifying run. "This year, with things not being quite as good as they have been in the past, I'm frustrated," said Patrick, who finished sixth on Sunday. "I'm already more on edge than I was last year. It's not going to take as much to put me in this position where I don't say the right thing. I know that I need to do a better job with that and I will."
Joe Gibbs coached the Redskins in four cozy Super Bowl locales, so I asked what he thought of the Meadowlands getting the Big Game in 2014. "It'll be great for football," he told me. "We played the NFC Championship Game there [against the Giants in 1987], and you couldn't throw three feet against the wind. I would say that teams that go to the Super Bowl that year better make sure they can run it, because they're going to have to."
Line of the week
Chris Webber (left) on reports that LeBron James might sign with the Bulls: "I remember Chicago screwing Phil Jackson over, messing over Michael Jordan and messing over Scottie Pippen. I don't know if that's the place you want to be."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Point guard John Wall on his NBA draft prospects.
2. Kevin McHale breaks down the NBA playoffs.
THE FINE PRINT: The Dodgers are suing Jon Lovitz for failing to pay for his season tickets. Lovitz: "I gave the money to Andre Ethier. Yeah, yeah, that's it. Ethier."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (DAN PATRICK)
ASP/CAL SPORT MEDIA (DANICA PATRICK)
ICON SMI (WEBBER)
BRAD MANGIN (TORRE)