Good for Tim McCarver for realizing that his comparison of the Yankees to Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union was a bit much:
McCarver, a close friend of Torre’s, said Monday in an interview from
Florida that his analogies between the Yankees and the Third Reich and
Stalin’s Soviet Union were “inappropriate.”
Bad for McCarver for still beating the Yankees-need-to-do-more-to-honor-Joe-Torre drum:
But he added, “In my opinion, the underlying point here remains true:
Yankees management has erased Joe Torre from their history.” He said, “I
don’t think the Yankees have embraced the image of Joe Torre.”
I think the funniest thing about all of this is that McCarver’s particular choice of words here — “embrace the image” — puts more fascist/Stalinist imagery in my head than airbrushing people out of pictures does. I get this feeling that McCarver won’t be happy unless there are large, teeming crowds holding up giant images of Torre’s head with the words “Our Dear Leader” under it while Torre waves from a balcony in a military uniform, basking in the cult of personality that the Yankees have created for him.
OK, really all McCarver wants the Yankees to do is to retire Torre’s number: “Retiring his number would mean embracing his legacy,” he said. I don’t suppose this is insane — the Yankees retired Yogi Berra’s number when he was managing the Mets — but it’s not like Berra (a) wrote a tell-all book before then; or (b) only had his legacy as a manager to justify his number being retired. Billy Martin’s number was retired before he was done managing too, but he wasn’t managing anyone else at the time.
Maybe Casey Stengel is the most appropriate example. His number was retired in 1970, after he was done managing but before he kicked the bucket. If that treatment was good enough for him, it’s probably good enough for Torre, no?