People of the Year — 3. Joe Torre

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After the Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs, new top dogs Hank and Hal Steinbrenner (sons of George) made the decision to offer Torre an “incentive-based salary package�—more wins, more bonuses. That’s a nice way of putting it. A 33 percent pay cut is another. Sure, Torre would have still been making a base of $2.5 mil, but as Journal News beat reporter (and author of the wildly popular LoHud Yankees Blog) Pete Abraham pointed out, “In the culture of the clubhouse, having a manager on a one-year contract who just took a cut would be emasculating.� In a press conference at the Hilton Rye Town, near his home in Harrison, Torre put it more bluntly: “I took [it] as an insult.� And so—after 12 seasons, 1,173 wins, and four World Series championships—Torre bolted.

Prediction for 2008: At press time, he had just agreed to manage the Dodgers. Say it ain’t so, Joe! We hope he’ll reconsider. After the Mets spectacular end-of-season collapse, we wouldn’t mind seeing him take over Willie Randolf’s job. What better way for us New Yorkers to keep the best mind in baseball all to ourselves?

Adapted from “People of the Year,� InTown Westchester, December 2007

(Nick Wass / AP Photo) 

Note to Yankees: Eat more steak at Morton’s in ’08

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This photo comes via the Morton’s steakhouse in White Plains, which entertained Roger Clemens and Andy Petitte last Saturday night. The two were there cheering on the Texas Longhorns and psyching themselves up for the do-or-die game against Cleveland (which they won). Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone on the team (certainly not Ron Villone, who replaced Clemens) ate there at any point on Sunday, which may help explain the 6-4 loss to the Indians on Monday. At least, that’s my theory.

Also, as my colleague Liz Johnson pointed out, doesn’t that guy in the tux next to Petitte look an awful lot like Paul McCartney? Any chance we can blame the Monday night loss on The Beatles, too?

(Photo courtesy Morton’s)

Joe Torre wins No. 2,000, hopes to make it to 2,001

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It’s no secret that the Greatest Sports Franchise in the History of Everything has been struggling this year, and there were fleeting moments these last two months when I wouldn’t have objected to the New York Yankees firing manager Joe Torre.

But the truth is this: The Harrison and Mahopac resident has done enough in his managerial career with the Yankees to earn the benefit of the doubt, and despite some terrible play the first two months of the season, the team is starting to show some of the swagger and poise that helped the Yanks claim four titles in five years to close the 20th century.

In addition to documenting Torre’s 2,000th managerial win, Journal News reporter Peter Abraham cites a particularly impressive statistic in his unstoppable Yankees blog on LoHud.com.

Watch out, Red Sox fans. Yes, the standings show that the Yanks are tied for third, 10.5 games behind the “Sawx.” But with Joe at the helm, this season is a long way from being over.

(Associated Press file photo by Frank Franklin II)

Bernie Williams redefines ‘home run’

Take a curtain call, Bernie!

While outfielder/classical guitarist Bernie Williams and the New York Yankees this weekend continued mulling the possibility of reuniting in 2007, The Journal News’ Len Maniace reported about the Armonk resident’s five years of volunteer contributions to Hillside Food Outreach.

The charity operates out of a White Plains warehouse and delivers food to needy families and individuals throughout Westchester County. In the Dec. 17 article, Williams discusses a memorable early morning food delivery:

<blockquote><div>The woman got very excited and woke everyone in the house and the kids got excited. It was like a little party. It was funny to see, but I could see how we were able to bring a smile to their faces, in spite of their harsh situation.

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Bernie Baseball also helps with Hillside’s fundraising efforts, whose annual marquis event has attracted fellow Yankees, including manager Joe Torre, who resides in both Harrison and Mahopac, and relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, who lives in Purchase and owns a New Rochelle steak house.

In honor of Bernie’s generosity, Suburbarazzi adds his name to our poll for best bald look. Piermont resident William Hurt, in dead last place, is about to have another reason to be Hurt.

For next year’s Christmas show, perhaps Phil Rizzuto should sing ‘O, Holy Cow!’

In today’s Journal News, my colleague Peter Kramer wrote a really fun piece about Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman and her starring role in the Westchester Broadway Theatre’s production of “Christmas Inn.”

Kramer mentions how the Elmsford show’s script was tailored for the former “Man of La Mancha” star, with her character Maxine musing that she “could have been spending Christmas with one of (her) boyfriends in the Bronx,” and pining for “those Stadium franks in the Bronx.” Subtle!

The show features Waldman singing traditional Christmas music, including “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Silent Night.” But if Waldman’s lines are already tailored to reference her other job, why stop there?

My fellow Suburbarrazi Ted might regret mentioning my likelihood of writing song parodies, because let’s strike up the band to the tune of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)”!

Yankees hoping that they aren’t fired
They lost, fueling Pinstripe woes
High-priced contracts prematurely expire
And folks wind up on the O’s

Everybody knows free agents and some help from Joe
Help to make next season bright
Those Red Sox, with their bank account blown
Will find it hard to sleep tonight

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