What should be Torre's top priority in new job?

March 01, 2011

Repair relationships

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. And make no doubt about it, Joe Torre's new duties as MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations will include more than those in the public job description.

But his top priority 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 while 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.

dvandyck@tribune.com

Address replay conflict

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.

Joe Torre could use his managerial experience to help Commissioner Bud Selig understand which plays should be reviewed 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 Armando Galarraga, at least.

wshaikin@tribune.com

Reverse All-Star rule

Steve Gould

Baltimore Sun

Many Orioles fans probably would 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 a 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 has to go.

sgould@tribune.com

Earlier playoff games

Mandy Housenick

The Morning Call

There are so many things that need to be improved in Major League Baseball that it's hard to pick just one thing.

But before Joe Torre can expand instant replay and eliminate the ridiculous rule that the winner of the All-Star Game decides home-field advantage in the World Series, he needs to alter the start times for playoff games.

Officials often complain that MLB isn't attracting young fans like the NFL is.

News flash: Postseason games start too late. Management can't actually think kids are going to be gung-ho about a sport during the most important time of the year when they don't get to watch more than an inning or two. Games need to be starting no later than 8 p.m.

Make. It. Happen.

ahousenick@tribune.com

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