Question of the Day: What should Joe Torre's top priority be in his new job with MLB? [Updated]
Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on Joe Torre's new role as Major League Baseball's executive vice president for baseball operations. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Steve Gould, Baltimore Sun
Many Orioles fans would probably like Torre to push for division realignment to give their team a break from playing so many games against the behemoths of the American League East. Others would say Torre's top task is making video review more widespread or holding umpires accountable so we don’t see so many botched calls.
But I'm going to ask him to fix something admittedly less important because, well, it really bugs me.
It's time to drop the silly incentive that the league that wins the All-Star game gets home-field advantage in the World Series. It ends up affecting only two teams in any given year, and should not be applied unless players are selected to the game because they are truly the best of the best, not because every team must have a representative, no matter how undeserving. Please, Joe, this one's got to go.
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Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
Let the debate begin anew: With the first badly blown call of the new season, the debate over instant replay will be revived. Why does baseball allow for disputed home runs to be reviewed but not disputed singles?
For now, replays are limited to determining whether a home run was fair or foul, whether it cleared the fence or whether a fan interfered. So, when Armando Galarraga lost his perfect game last season on a badly blown call at first base, there was nothing that umpire Jim Joyce could do but say, "My bad."
Commissioner Bud Selig says he won't expand the use of replay in part because of his concern over the pace of the game. He doesn't want a pitcher waiting for three or four minutes, several times a game, while a call is reviewed.
Torre could use his managerial experience to help Selig understand what plays should be reviewed beyond home runs, and how long each review could take without affecting the pace of the game. Torre could help set guidelines for managerial behavior as well -- if you can challenge a call via replay, should you be able to charge the umpire too?
If Selig is correct that there is no consensus within the game to expand replay, then perhaps Torre's work would be moot. But Selig never has submitted a plan to expand replay, and Torre ought to help develop one for consideration -- for the sake of Galarraga, at least.
Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune
Anyone who survived and thrived more than a decade working for George Steinbrenner is more than qualified to work any job. ANY job, in ANY business. And make no doubt about it, Torre's new duties as baseball executive VP will include even more than those in the public job description.
But his top priority in the beginning is repairing and rebuilding the sometimes-fractured relationship between those who sit in Park Avenue offices in New York and those who sit in dugouts in San Diego and Seattle. He is uniquely qualified, a personable baseball lifer whose great reverence for the game will result in immense influence. He brings with him a believability that is respected from the field to the front office and a passion that dictates fairness.
And although his job will be in "baseball operations," his most important duty will be "public relations liaison." The best part: He won't even have to work hard at it, because it comes naturally.]
Photo: Joe Torre fields questions during a news conference Saturday to announce his new position as Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press