Sports

Viewing Torre from afar

While his columnist ex-colleagues at the L.A. Times fall over themselves to pronounce Joe Torre just what the Dodgers need, J.A. Adande is now a national columnist for ESPN. His take, freed from the hometown yoke, is that it's a bigger story in New York than here, and that Torre isn't really the key to anything for the Dodgers.

Torre's time in Dodger Blue will never come close to matching his accomplishments in pinstripes.

And the city's long relationship with the Dodgers, celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, no longer generates the same passion as its newer love, the Lakers. Sometimes it seems the Dodgers season is just something that happens in between Kobe Bryant trade updates.

The Dodgers aren't hurting for attention. Their attendance of 3.8 million this year trailed only the Yankees. They just don't dominate the discussion any more, don't get the city's heart racing or keep Dodger flags fluttering from cars on the Santa Monica Freeway.

It's not just about the flash, the star power and the almost daily dosage of drama the Lakers provide. Nothing short of a championship will satisfy this city's sports fans. And while the Lakers and the USC football team revived their glory days earlier this decade, we're almost to the point where a whole generation has grown up, left for college and come back while the Dodgers maintained the exact same status: without a playoff series victory since 1988.

And no manager, Joe Torre included, is good enough to transform the Dodgers into a championship team.

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Truth is, the Dodgers aren't really in need of Torre's greatest assets. What made him so effective in the Bronx? His ability to insulate the players from George Steinbrenner, and his ability to keep the pack of news hounds at bay. Neither will be necessary in L.A.

Adande's former boss, ex-LAT sports editor Bill Dwyre, also sounded skeptical of Torre's worth on KPCC's Patt Morrison show.


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