MAJOR LEAGUE SKIPPER
Without their best hitter, Manny Ramirez, who is finishing up a 50-game PED suspension, Torre's Dodgers have built a big lead in the NL West
Dan Patrick: Do regular-season games ever stay with you?
Joe Torre: In my earlier days of managing, because I was trying to establish in my mind that I could do this. If I neglected to do something [during a game] or if something I did didn't work, I would say to myself, "Well, that's why we lost three in a row." As years go by, you adjust your thinking, because it's better for your health.
DP: So you have to have the mind-set of a closer—forget about what you just did and move on?
JT: You have to. I didn't realize until my years with the Yankees [after stints with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals] that my demeanor affects other people. I remember Derek Jeter saying, "I looked at the bench and saw Mr. Torre, and he was very calm." Once you realize that your personality affects the personality of the team, you have to keep the big picture in mind.
DP: Did you take Manny's suspension personally?
JT: I take everything pretty personal, but I think that's what helps you understand it a little bit more. We've been competitive our whole lives, as managers or coaches or players. I look back at the steroid era—to me, it's about competition. And it became this snowball going down the hill. It's not very big, and then all of a sudden you find yourself on the other side of it trying to keep it from running you over. If these players felt that other people were having an edge on them by doing something, then the thought process is, I need to keep up. And that's sad because we let it get out of hand, and we all have to take responsibility.
DP: Manny is getting into shape in the minors while he's suspended. Some find that controversial, and I think baseball might change the rule that allows that. Do you think suspended players should be allowed to play in the minors?