Joe Torre on life in the front office

ESPN.com analyst Jim Bowden caught up with former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who is now Major League Baseball executive vice president of baseball operations, over the weekend in Arlington, Texas, during the World Series.

Bowden: How have you enjoyed your first year working at the commissioner's office?

Torre: I've enjoyed it very much because it's a meaningful position. My wife likes it as well because it's less stressful and she sees me a lot more. I was able to go shopping with her this summer on Saturdays without being interrupted by a phone call from a general manager. There is so much stress in the job of being a major league manager and so much time being away from family. However, even with this new position, she keeps asking me if I'm ever going to retire, and I just don't know because I love my job so much.

Bowden: If the right team approaches you and tries to hire you to manage, is there any chance you go back for one final run?

Torre: Jimmy, there is no chance. I was able to make the decision on my own to walk away from the Dodgers, as you know, and I've managed my last game in the major leagues.

Bowden: Commissioner Selig is planning on retiring at the end of 2012. Do you have any interest in that position?

Torre: You keep asking me bad questions. I'm just kidding, I'm flattered to even be mentioned, but no, I really haven't even given it any thought, nor do I think I'd have interest in the position. I like what I'm doing right now.

Bowden: Commissioner Selig hinted there will be expanded instant replay to included fair and foul balls only and an additional wild card team in the next collective bargaining agreement. What can you tell us about that?

Torre: All I can say is the commissioner is allowed to talk about this. We have to measure our remarks, but I know one thing and for the longest time I was on the committee before I took the job with the commissioner, we have talked a great deal about replay and an extra wild card team. … Personally, I can give you my opinion, not on the replay but the wild card. I always felt that over the years there wasn't enough of a disadvantage to being a wild-card team. At least adding another wild card team in each league would give you another layer to get to the division series, and I think that sort of evens the playing field.

Bowden: How close is baseball to getting an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement?

Torre: Honestly, we're close. I know one thing, it's not for the lack of putting in the time. I'm not part of it, but the bargaining has been going on on a regular basis. I am optimistic something is going to get done. I don't know if it's today, tomorrow or next week.

Bowden: Is it good for the game to have smaller-market teams like the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, despite the low ratings? And which has the better club?

Torre: You realize other teams play good baseball, too, and I think it is good for the game. I think Texas has the better club, but I'm not sure they're going to win.

Bowden: How have you enjoyed working with the umpires in your present position?

Torre: I think … when you're a manager you look at them with a blank face and a blue uniform. Since I get to witness it now firsthand, it's great to see how proud they are to get to the postseason and how hard they work to try and be the best they can be at their position. And, you view them more as human beings with feelings.

Bowden: How proud are you of the performances of Don Mattingly, Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw this year?

Torre: I am very proud of all three. Donnie and his coaching staff have done a terrific job in continuing the development of Matt and Clayton, and I was extremely pleased to see the MVP-type of season that Matty had and the Cy Young season that Clayton had.

Bowden: How do you think the ownership situation will be resolved with the Dodgers?

Torre: I have no comment on that situation.

Bowden: Are you still living in Los Angeles, or have you moved back to New York?

Torre: We're still living in Los Angeles, we love it [there], but we still go back to New York as well, so I guess you can say we're bicoastal.

Jim Bowden served as the senior vice president and GM for the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals, and is an analyst for ESPN.com.