He's No Average Joe

**This article can also be found on Peter Abraham's Yankees LoHud Blog**

They say you don't know what you got until it's gone. Boy are they right. 2008 saw a changing of the guard in the Bronx. Joe Torre was no longer leading the men in pinstripes, Joe Girardi was.

After 12 seasons as Yankees manager, Torre had worn out his welcome. We said goodbye to a man that brought pride,power and respect back to the pinstripes. He made Yankee Stadium the place to be again. He gave so many people so many memories. He gave us everything he had. There was that magical '96 season. Or how bout one of the most dominating teams ever in the '98 team. Or what about 2001 when he gave us strength after the 9/11 attacks. He was as much a face of the recovery in New York as anyone was. He gave Aaron Boone an inspirational pep talk in 2003, right before his homerun in Game 7 won the Yankees the A.L. pennant . That was the last great Yankee moment. For all those reasons and more, I thank you Joe.

I thought I wanted change after the 2007 season. Making it to October was something of the norm around here since Torre took over. I expected nothing less, I admit, Joe spoiled me. He was a good manager and he was the right man for the job all along. He got those Yankee teams through the rough times, he got them through the good times, but most importantly, he got them to October. It's no coincidence that the year he leaves, the Yankees fail to make the playoffs and the team he went to go manage for, went to the LCS. After all this time of questioning his ability to manage, it was Joe that got the Yankees that far, not their open checkbook. The way he handled every situation was all in good taste and it was all in the best interest of the Yankees. Some of us just never knew it unil now.

Now that I see Torre in a different city and see how much he is loved out west, makes me want him back in the Bronx. It doesn't feel the same here without him. I grew up to be such a big Yankee fan because of him and what he did for the team and how he made the Yankees a proud organization again. His pinstripe days are behind him now but that's ok. Those memories will last a lifetime. He will always be a Yankee in my book. One day that no. 6 will get retired right along with the other Yankee greats......that's where he belongs.
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