I just don’t understand how Joe Torre -- a guy who claims he can’t stand confrontations because his father was a mean son-of-a-bitch -- can take these difficult times with George Steinbrenner? I just finished reading a story in the New York Post this morning about how Steinbrenner summoned Torre, General Manager Brian Cashman and Club President Randy Levine to a conference call yesterday because the Yankees have been losing consistently to the Royals, Red Sox and Twins.
Steinbrenner didn’t fire anyone, but he wants answers. If you ever met Torre you know that a meeting like that, even if it is only a telephone conversation, is not going to be his best hour. I have the pleasure of working with him for the Samsung Four Seasons of Hope, a corporate philanthropy program that partners with Torre’s Safe At Home Foundation. HWH has arranged many interviews for Torre promoting the SFSOH cause by talking about the physical and verbal abuse his mother, brothers and sisters endured from Joe’s father.
After 28 years of being in business, I can truly understand the pressure Torre faces now. What I don’t understand is how he copes. I know I freak when a client questions me about strategic decisions, lack of home runs and the way we pitch. And I had the nicest father in the world. What does he say? I wish I could listen to his reasoning, his style, his approach. Maybe I can steal a first base tactic. Steinbrenner must have been ruthless. When reporters questioned Torre about the conversation, all he would say is that The Boss wasn’t happy.
The difference between Torre and I is that he has class all the way. I, on the other hand, become so defensive that I am on the offensive. Let me play out the scenario for you.
Steinbrenner to Torre: “What the hell is going on. You guys are playing like a bunch of third graders. You are losing games to the worst in the league.
Torre to Steinbrenner: “I am not sure what is going on. I can fix the pitching but I am not sure why we are not hitting.”
Lois to Steinbrenner: “How dare you question me. I have been giving you World Series Champions for years. Don’t you ever call my team third graders again. You have no clue what it takes to hit a home run. All you have is a big mouth.”
How long do you think I would last with Steinbrenner? I would have put Billy Martin to shame.