Torre excited by trip to Fenway
Will Dodger blue erase pinstripes?
Joe Torre noticed the difference. It was a major one, too.
There he was, in the visitor’s clubhouse at Fenway Park, putting on his Los Angeles Dodgers uniform — not a Yankees one. It felt strange even though he has been the Dodgers’ manger for the last three seasons. But for 12 years as the Yankees’ skipper, Torre said he was hated in Boston.
Now with the Dodgers facing the Red Sox in interleague play this weekend, Torre said he wondered what his reception would be.
“I’m looking forward to this experience,’’ he said. “This is a special place.’’
When the 2010 schedule came out, Torre said he was excited when he saw his team was coming to Boston.
Of all the managers in the major leagues, Torre knows almost every facet of Fenway Park. He knows how an outfielder should play a ball off the Green Monster or how a single to left doesn’t necessarily mean a runner is going to score from second base. But when Torre first walked into the visitors’ dugout, he noticed something new.
There were more benches for the opponent than he remembered. It was just another reason why Torre enjoyed being back.
Before the Dodgers arrived, Torre said he tried to tell his team what to expect from the playing in Fenway. From those conversations, Torre saw his players’ excitement, which made Torre’s anticipation of last night’s game higher than usual.
“It’s fun for the players when you come back to Fenway,’’ he said.
One reason it’s fun is Torre gets to see one of his good friends: Terry Francona.
Torre said he will try to talk with Francona during the series. And this time, the conversation might be in public. When Francona became the Red Sox manager in 2004, the two only talked privately. Francona said he respected Torre through the four years they managed against each other.
“I love Joe. I hope we beat his brains out,’’ Francona said. “It’s a little different now, because he’s not in New York, it’s a little bit easier to say hello to somebody like that. People don’t want to see that, when you play the Yankees, so you stay away.’’
From those 12 years with New York, Torre said he has a lot of memories of games in Boston. Either he remembers them because they were great, or because they were really bad.
“I’ve always loved the city,’’ Torre said. “It’s either wonderful or terrible, because there is never any gray here.’’
And Torre said he knows that won’t change with him managing the Dodgers.
He’s still Joe Torre, the guy who used to manage the Yankees, which means Torre won’t have to hear booing to know he’s back in Boston.
“After being away from it a couple of years,’’ he said, “it’s nice coming back.’’
Nate Taylor can be reached at email@example.com.