Going For Joe

I find myself in a strange position this first week of October: There’s baseball on TV, and I am only counting the days until hockey coverage begins. In every fall since I’ve been able to carve out sports-watching time (read: after the great sleeplessness of having two toddlers), I’ve been able to cheer for some combination of New York hardball teams. This season was one to forget across the entire Tri-State area: this may be the first year I didn’t blog once about Major League Baseball until after the regular season reached its regular and final conclusion.

There were highlights: I completed my annual Willie Stargell pilgrimmage, enjoying Chicken on the Hill, sporting my Cooperstown Classic t-shirt with a large snowman on the back, watching the Pirates get demolished by Joe Torre’s Dodgers. I watched with interest as Will Venable started in a game for the Padres, joining fellow Princetonian Chris Young in the lower left hand corner of the nation. After those small flashes, though, there weren’t many other bright spots. Kind of a sad season for baseball around here.

But here’s a parting thought: anyone who blamed Joe Torre for the sad state of the New York Yankees should carefully check this week’s NLDS box scores. The Dodgers are doing more damage to the Cubs than a decade’s worth of Bartman incidents. Torre has a hodgepodge of slightly muted stars, cast off from other teams – Manny Ramirez, Juan Pierre, Nomar Garciaparra – and he’s made them into his team. So perhaps I am watching baseball, slyly, out of the corner of my eye, hoping that Joe Torre is vindicated for the wonderful years he poured his heart and soul into the Bronx.