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Sports Psychology, Baseball, The New York Yankees And The Impact Of The Loss Of Legends

Posted by: Dr. Granat on October 31, 2007

Joe Torre, father figure to many players, outstanding gentleman and a baseball
coaching legend is now gone and on his way to the west coast and to the
Los Angeles Dodgers.


Don Mattingly, a very popular Yankee, a fine player and a class act is now gone and
it appears, that he, too, may end up in Los Angeles as Joe Torre’s bench coach.

Alex Rodriguez, already a legend and perhaps the best hitter in the game right
now, apparently didn’t like playing in New York that much and has
decided to play for the team that will pay him the most money. So, he, too, is gone, as
is Larry Bowa.

To make matters worse, presently, there is also a possibility that Mariano Rivera,
perhaps the greatest closer of all time, will also leave the Metropolitan area.

George Steinbrenner, a legendary owner, also appears to longer be running the club.
Like him or not, George Steinbrenner was committed to putting a winning team on the
field. His teams has a very fine record while he was running the club.

The Yankees do have some fine young pitching talent and a number of good players
on their roster. However, I do not think they can compete with the Boston Red Sox,
which is now an outstanding franchise. They appear to be capable of winning their
division for many years to come.

Losing so many legends will have a profound impact on the Yankee organization.
The present management team does not seem to understand the fact that luminaries
like Torre, Rivera and Mattingly inspire and motivate players, particularly younger
players. There is no question that Joe Torre was a powerful and yet calming paternal
figure for many of the players. He had an extraordinary record and he did a superb job
of managing athletes with large egos. There was little conflict on the team with Torre
at the helm.

Joe Girardi appears to be a bright guy, but he lacks the sage like qualities that
helped to make Joe Torre an outstanding manager. Girardi will be viewed as a peer
by many of the Yankees and I don’t think he will be able to keep the clubhouse calm
the way that his predecessor was able to.

While the Yankees played poorly against the Cleveland Indians during the post
season, they staged a miraculous comeback in the second half of the season. They
were outstanding since the start of July and Joe Torre must be given some of the
credit for leading the team throughout this spectacular run.

Legends and legendary figures can captivate and motivate fans and players.
Losing five or six figures who are baseball icons will be too much for the Yankees
to recover from psychologically for several years.

In my view, it may take them some time to return to the playoffs and to the World

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist in River Edge, NJ. He is the Founder of and the coach to many top athletes.

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