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As the pro sports world turns, where will A-Rod, Torre land?

So let's see: Scott Boras is a California guy whose company has its headquarters in Newport Beach, roughly 50 miles (or about 18 hours by car) from Dodger Stadium. His No. 1 moneymaker and celebutante, Alex Rodriguez, has played his last game for the Yankees no matter what Boras says about being willing to speak with any team in free agency.

A-Rod's former New York manager, Joe Torre, appears ready to relocate to the land of cosmetics and Sig Alerts, which may have come as news to Grady Little, who subsequently resigned as Dodgers manager. Of course, Torre's incoming cell call from L.A. arrived only after the Dodgers made an unsuccessful play for Joe Girardi, the guy who is taking Torre's job in the Bronx.

Taken individually, none of it matters so much. Well, it matters in terms of pure entertainment value, spiteful recrimination and the fact that Little, a truly decent guy, just got shafted tremendously this week along Chavez Ravine. In other news, welcome to professional sports.

In terms of the chess moves, though, almost all of this ultimately devolves into how the pawns get pushed around the table. And make no mistake: A-Rod, no matter how much coin he pulls down in the sport, is a pawn. After all the talking, he's still a player on a team, either delivering or not delivering, one game after another. Numbers, wins or losses -- the usual.

Mariano Rivera is a pawn. Jorge Posada: pawn. Torii Hunter, Mike Lowell, Andy Pettitte, Barry Bonds -- at this point in the evolution of the pro game, every player is understood as a hired gun, with loyalty and fan love accruing almost incidentally. There are no company men. Company men evolve at the higher levels and often wear unfortunate ties.

So the Dodgers' delayed but (now) heartfelt pursuit of Torre really shapes up as merely a great move on the board. For one, Torre can manage a little bit. For two, he's the kind of man to whom a player of certain cachet and self-opinion -- not to mention pedigree and history of production -- will gravitate.

And if hiring Torre means having long and interesting discussions with an open-minded and interested A-Rod and Boras, then it's the kind of move that can ultimately set lots and lots of the pawns in motion. It's also a win-win for the Dodgers, pure and clean.

New York's relationship with Rodriguez is its own animal; for that matter, A-Rod's many trips down I Love Me Lane have turned off fans in other area codes. But as for L.A., there's no question about him helping the Dodgers. The team went 82-80, fading down the stretch and backbiting its way to all sorts of anti-glory, but one of the real culprits was its simple inability to score runs. Whatever other melodramas develop along the way, Rodriguez's presence would directly address that.

And Torre can handle him, just as he can handle Bonds or Rivera, just as he handled most of the egos that came high-stepping through New York during his managerial stay there. He did all this while dealing with a Yankees ownership structure that constantly veered wildly in tone, from demanding and pressurized, to distant and pressurized, to (lately) family-style and altogether kooky. The Dodgers' ownership issues are almost tame by comparison.

Rodriguez and L.A. are such a classic fit that it probably won't happen. (Get ready, Chicago.) It's almost too obvious, a TV-ready superstar who can really play going to a team that plays amid a land of actors. The Dodgers have deep enough pockets to do something ludicrous financially, which is precisely what Boras is seeking. The Angels, down the road, have already made some noises about there being a limit to what they'll spend on any one player. That makes perfect sense, and it also just about guarantees they won't seriously court A-Rod.

All of which leaves us where? Why, watching the moves, of course. The Yankees made their move against Torre, which he deftly sidestepped. The Yanks then outmaneuvered L.A. for Girardi, leaving the Dodgers to pursue Torre and perhaps Don Mattingly -- and, by the way, Rodriguez or Hunter or any other large-ego, large-money producer who knows he can play ball the Joe Torre way.

So New York, for all its Steinbrennerian preening, winds up casting off Torre and Rodriguez, two people who, it might be argued, could help a team win some games. Across the continent, the former Brooklyn entry waits, in all its history and its need. Lots of moves, lots of moves.

Mark Kreidler's book "Four Days to Glory: Wrestling With the Soul of the American Heartland", has been optioned for film/TV development by ESPN Original Entertainment. His book "Six Good Innings," about one town's ability to consistently produce Little League champions, will be released in July 2008. A regular contributor to ESPN.com, he can be reached at mark@markkreidler.com.