Joe Torre says the awkwardness is “gone” between he and the Yankees’ organization.
“That’s what I sense,“ said Torre, who put on the pinstripes for the first time since 2007 for Sunday afternoon’s Old Timers’ Day. “I didn’t know how much longer (I’d be here). I probably was wanting to do it one year, and it’s a tough thing to say goodbye here. But that last year I knew (based on) all the questions that started right from spring training, that I wasn’t gonna be able to do that on a one-year basis anymore, and I think they probably wanted to do something else. But the fact that I was there so long, it became uncomfortable on both sides on how to separate, and it’s unfortunate because it wasn’t pretty.”
Torre won four World Series championships with the Yankees as a manager, but the two sides had a difficult breakup after New York was eliminated by the Indians in the 2007 Division Series. Owner George Steinbrenner had told Torre that he wouldn’t be brought back if the Yankees failed to win that series, and they didn’t.
The Yankees eventually offered Torre a one-year contract in the offseason worth $5 million -- with the opportunity to earn incentives based on performance -- but it was seen as an insult to Torre, and he and the organization parted ways.
That prompted Torre to co-write a book with Tom Verducci in 2009 called “The Yankee Years,” in which he criticized general manager Brian Cashman, saying Cashman “betrayed” him during his final contract negotiations with the team.
Torre didn’t return to Yankee Stadium until Sept. 20, 2010, following Steinbrenner’s death, when a monument of Steinbrenner was unveiled in Monument Park.
He has since spoken with the Steinbrenner family and Cashman, and all sides have moved on.
“It’s very comfortable for me,” Torre, who now serves as vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball, said. “I enjoy coming here (for my job) and just feeling free to go in the clubhouse.”