CLEVELAND _ Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Cleveland Indians skipper Eric Wedge seemed to get almost as many questions about Joe Torre as the American League Championship Series before their teams squared off in Game 5 on Thursday night at Jacobs Field.
“I hope that however it came down that Joe is happy,” said Francona, whose team ended the Yankees’ run of nine straight AL East titles this year. “I think he deserves respect and you’re going to hear people in baseball, every area of baseball, say very, very kind and respectful things about Joe the next couple of days and they’re all deserved.”
Francona was asked a couple of more questions about Torre then tried to steer the topic back to Thursday night’s game with a bit of humor when asked if he might phone his division counterpart.
“You’ll have to forgive me but (Torre’s situation) really isn’t on the front burner,” Francona said. “Tonight’s game is sort of big for us. If we don’t win it, then Joe might be calling me.”
Wedge’s Indians beat the Yankees in the American League Division Series, winning in four games just two days after owner George Steinbrenner told the Record of Hackensack that Torre would likely be fired if New York lost that series.
“I think Joe Torre is one of the greatest managers of all time,” Wedge said. “I’ve got a great deal of respect for him as a human being as well as a baseball man and what he’s accomplished. I think he should manage as long as he wants to manage.
“I know there’s a business side of it, but from what I understand, for him to look at that and say no, good for him. He’s earned and deserves to do whatever the hell he wants to do.”