This is too big a disaster for even Joe Torre to take one for the team
So Joe Torre fell on his sword. That’s what good soldiers do, of course, and Torre is nothing if not the good soldier.
Torre took responsibility for the Dodgers’ disappointing season prior to Wednesday’s game in San Diego, lamenting his inability to make a difference, to raise the team and individual level of play.
Now there is plenty of blame to go around, and certainly Torre will get his share. When a team goes south, that’s the typical fallout.
Yet however he is criticized for the use of his bullpen or early insistence on Charlie Haeger as a fifth starter or his reluctance to admit that Jonathan Broxton had lost his way, or his prolonged loyalty to Garret Anderson or the failure to nurture development from his young core of hitters, mostly he played the hand he was dealt.
Blame will have a universal feel when this team’s final obit is written, starting with ownership, filtering through management and down to the players themselves. Such as they were.
Torre has to take only his own bullets. He showed yet again during the fiasco that was Manny Ramirez in his final days, that he will promote the company line and protect players and management if necessary, regardless of how it makes him look.
His lineups often speak for themselves, frequently littered with role players and other teams’ rejects.
Is he actually supposed to win a pennant with a lineup of Scott Podsednik, Rod Barajas, Ryan Theriot and Jamey Carroll? Really? With Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp off in some hazy second-half funk? Rafael Furcal unable to stay healthy? Corner hitters James Loney and Casey Blake fading?
And a bullpen that was a team strength last season getting the wrong kind of turnaround performance from Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, George Sherrill and Broxton?
It’s not like Torre is some victim here. And as he well knows, a manager ultimately will always be held accountable for his team’s performance, good or bad.
But to take full responsibility for the failure of so many is wrong and unnecessary. When it comes to accepting liability for their 2010 season, the Dodgers will need to pass around a lot of mirrors.
-- Steve Dilbeck