A tale of two skippers 

June, 5, 2007
Reggie Jackson knew celebrity before people with less talent or intelligence than any living squid -- Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton come to mind -- became tabloid front pages, and he is right. "These people who want Joe Torre fired and replaced by someone like Lou Piniella have no idea what this job entails these days," Reggie says. "There are a couple of people who might be able to handle it -- the guy in Atlanta, the guy in Detroit, Tony La Russa and maybe there are a couple of others [Mike Scioscia, Bruce Bochy, Terry Francona, Willie Randolph] and that's it. Come on."

The injuries, age and celebrity Torre has confronted this season with the chance -- and that's all it is right now -- that the Yankees won't make the playoffs for the first time in a full season in 14 years is remarkable. He has not thrown his players under the D train. He has not ridiculed his general manager. He has been respectful of his owner, who has treated him very well.

Torre has remained the Yankee ballast, along with Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, and -- in contrast with Piniella -- has made George Steinbrenner's decision to retain Torre after losing in the playoffs last year seem far wiser than those who wanted change for the sake of something to talk about. Piniella is a wonderful manager, a fascinating person with a passion for the game. But this ugliness in Chicago makes him look like a Larry Brown, and he is in a situation in which he has to pull together with Jim Hendry, the organization and the players.