Baseball honors Torre, Piniella, Gaston and Cox at winter meetings
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig joined Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston and Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, who was pinch-hitting for Bobby Cox, at a press conference Tuesday morning to honor the four retiring managers. Among the highlights:
Piniella, in thanking the fans: "With a name like Lou, they can Lou you or boo you, so it doesn't affect you much."
Torre on managing the New York Yankees: "The media has been a little combative in my 12 years in New York ... but it was never boring."
Piniella on what he's going to do in retirement: "Right now I'm enjoying what I'm doing, which is nothing."
Torre, who guided the Yankees to four World Series titles from 1996 to 2000, on the three-year, $51-million contract Derek Jeter finalized with the Yankees on Tuesday: "I don't win those rings without Derek Jeter on my clubs. It's hard to believe the Yankees wouldn't want him back, and I know they were the only club he wants to play for. He's a special young man for me, and he's been a great role model for all the kids."
Torre, who grew up in Brooklyn during the heyday of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry in New York City, said the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry "was like nothing I've ever been involved in ... it was unrivaled." He then relayed a conversation he once had with a Red Sox fan in the elevator of the Yankees' team hotel in Boston, one that epitomized the intensity of the rivalry.
Fan: "You're Joe Torre, right?"
Torre: "Yes, I am."
Fan: "You're going to lose tonight."
Torre: "Well, yes, that could happen."
When the elevator door opened to the lobby, the fan turned to Torre and said: "If I had a choice between capturing Saddam Hussein and beating the Yankees, I'd take beating the Yankees."
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.