By now you know that Joe Torre chooses his words very carefully. I guess more than a decade under a microscope in New York will do that to a guy.

But he’s also the master of not saying much with those words he chooses! You’ll never hear him rip a player or talk about anything that’s supposed to stay in the clubhouse. He knows how to play that game. But he almost always tap dances around the really tough questions too, in a way that makes the person who asked the question feel like it got answered.
It’s an art.

One of the subtle differences in his phrasing that I’ve come to love and understand is when he mentions two words. “Concern” and “worry”. In almost everybody’s vocabulary there’s an order of importance we place on the words we use to to describe something. And I believe in most people’s mind a “worry” is a much greater problem to have than a “concern”. And that’s the way Joe see’s it too.

For the Dodgers this season, there have been countless isues that cause Joe a little concern — but not many that cause him a great deal of worry.

The mounting appearances and innings pitched by the bullpen is and has been a concern, but if you look at the numbers they’ve put up and the fact that the Dodgers still have the best record in the NL, why worry? Not to mention the fact that when you play the most extra inning games in baseball, you’re going to have more innings from your ‘pen.

Broxton’s toe, Loney’s lack of power, Manny’s recent lack of power and Martin’s whole season are things that Torre is concerned about. Not to worry.

Who’s the 5th starter—heck who’s the 4th starter? What’s up with Bills—again? And how do you find a way to get Juan Pierre more playing time? Just concerns, not worries.

Joe concerns himself with many, many things that you and I never will. He treats his entire team like they are his own family so he’s non-stop thinking about everything they do, too. When was the last time you were concerned about whether or not Jeff Weaver got home safely from that night’s game — let alone worry about it?

And when the game starts? Forget about it. The things that concern Joe are so far ahead of what we’re thinking, we won’t even think of ’em til tomorrow!

So that brings me to the worry part, becuase I, like you, worry.

I’m worried about the offense.

You can give me stats and say the they scored 11 runs against Cincinnati or tell me that they lead the NL in hitting….but I’m worried.
Those 11-run outbursts are happening less and less. And really, it was the Reds.
This is now a team that scores most of it’s runs via the home run when it used to be a team that got 10 hits every night and beat you with a relentless attack. I like the old way better because this team is not a power hitting team.

When was the last time they had back to back 5-run games? When was the last time they beat an ace on the opposing team? I could look those things up but I’m lazy and like you — I just know it hasn’t happened enough lately.

The playoffs are coming. That’s the time when the offensive numbers are hard to come by  and every pitcher you face seems like an ace.

There are about 30 games to go and I’m not all that concerned that the Dodgers ARE a playoff team.

But the offense scares me.

Why? Because I worry.

— Steve Lyons




  1. crzblue2

    You bet we fans worry just like you. Now with the acquisition of Jim Thome we will have the HR power we were missing. At least put a little fear into the other relievers.
    I throughly enjoyed having Joe Torre at the WIN Baseball luncheon these past two years. It gives us a little insight on how he is. He does look like he treats the players like his family. Hey, remind him to update his MLB blog please!
    Oh and BTW, I enjoy the times you co-host Dodger Talk with Ken Levine. You two had me laughing when you were giving out the free tatoo.
    Thanks Steve!

  2. carcyn@sbcglobal.net

    First time ever leaving a comment on your blog.
    I really enjoy watching you on tv, and listening to all your insight.

    I also worry about this dodger offense.
    Who i worry about the most is Rafy and Martin.
    Rafy has not had a good season at all with his bat, so i don’t really have any hope of him turning it around this season. With out having a good leadoff hitter i don’t see how we can score runs.
    Russel Martin is another player who has really hit bottom this season. Everytime he come to the plate, it is an automatic out. He is not driving the ball, all of his ball are routine. I don’t see him turning it around or catching fire this season.

    And as far as Manny goes, I don’t know what is going on with this guy. My observation of Manny is the following: he has become a first ball hitter, he would always work the count. He was much of a threat working the count.He has become to aggressive at the plate. It seems like he is trying to hit everything out of the park.

  3. dfan76

    You should be worried about your job. If you talked less about when YOU played, having dinner with Pete Rose, etc. and more about what was actually happening on the field you would be much better off….take a tip from Vinnie….you don’t have to be running your mouth constantly….sometimes allowing a fan to “watch” a game and not just listen to your constant chatter would be a good thing.
    Let’s define swagger for what it is….
    swag?ger??[swag-er] Show IPA
    ?verb (used without object)
    1. to walk or strut with a defiant or insolent air.
    2. to boast or brag noisily.
    ?verb (used with object)
    3. to bring, drive, force, etc., by blustering.
    4. swaggering manner, conduct, or walk; ostentatious display of arrogance and conceit.

    I think you need to retire this word from your vocabulary.
    Do us all a favor…..cut down on the ego and enjoy the game….because it’s about who is ON the field not who is behind the microphone.
    Thank you!

  4. mhfitch@bak.rr.com

    steve, i have to say the dodgers are really doing bad right now. i dont know how ( if they even make it) they are going to win in the playoffs if the cant even win against the last place teams in their division. i say ssit manny down, sit martin down, and sit furcal down. these guys havent done much in the way of batting lately. also manny needs to hustle a lot more out in left field. i thought juan pierre was doing a great job while manny was gone. bottom line is we need to win some ball games. and we need to start now.

  5. bluecrewgirl

    Hi Steve. Next time you see Jim Watson, set him straight regarding Ethier’s history against lefties. His statement tonight on Dodgers Live that he has never hit them well was completely inaccurate. He had a cumulative average against them in college of .316. He hit .351 against them his first season with the Dodgers. He hit .279 against them in 2007. He started to struggle against them last season, hitting .243 and has definitely struggled against them this season, but he’s still had a great year and I have no doubt he’ll get it figured out against lefties. He’s too good of a hitter not to and he’s hit left handed pitching well the majority of his college and pro careers.

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