PART TWO: THE ARTFUL DODGER
Now since those early days,
When rounded bat first met round ball,
When smiling boys of summer,
Turned to legends of the fall,
When fans in stands first held their breath,
Before the final score,
Many legends have been penned,
Enshrined in Yankee lore:
From the Iron Horse, and Babe, of course,
To the Mick and Joltin’ Joe,
From the great Yogi, to Reggie’s three,
To Roger’s homerun show.
From Gator’s K’s to perfect days,
For Larsen, Wells, and Cone:
When it comes to baseball grandeur,
New York’s Yankees stand alone.
And counted with the greats,
There was the angel known as Joe,
Whose constant stoic gaze,
A sense of calm, it did bestow,
Upon the team he managed,
Upon the Yankee squads he led,
And from his fearsome forces,
Frequent fiendish foes had fled.
For many years, the fans did cheer,
“In Torre, do we trust,
“A hero for the ages,
“He is merciful and just!
“We listen to the wisdom,
“That does fall forth from his lips,
“And we know that he will lead us,
“To unending championships!”
Now for a while, as was his style,
Wise Torre would ignore,
The hymns of praise, that marked the days,
The Yankees would outscore,
The other team in battle,
‘Pon the diamond field of play;
For as a modest angel,
It seemed the right and God-like way.
But several times, wise Joe would find,
That much to his surprise,
Such songs of hero worship,
Caused his inner pride to rise.
And though he stayed devoted,
To the service of his Lord,
He learned he liked the love,
That came with carrying His sword.
And slowly, such assertions,
Of his heart and bravery,
Did build within great Torre,
And erode his modesty,
And change that saintly angel,
Ever slightly, day by day,
Until his giving manner,
Did to selfishness give way.
No longer was a win o’er sin,
A triumph for the team,
A win was merely fodder,
For a swelling self-esteem,
And gone was any honor,
Found in wearing God’s halo,
Replaced by adulation,
At an altar built to Joe.
Then suddenly, sustained glory,
Gave way to seeds of strife,
As Series wins, did then begin,
To wane from Torre’s life,
And hymns of praise, did swiftly fade,
Replaced by hissing sounds,
As Yankee teams, with Canyon dreams,
Did flounder in first rounds.
“We want him gone,” the people cried,
“For he has lost his touch!
“Seven years without a crown,
“Is seven years too much!
“Twenty-six World Championships,
“Were won in praise of Heaven,
“How much longer must we wait,
“For number twenty-seven?
“For seven years, he’s failed to bring,
“The ring that we’ve desired,
“The choice is clear, before next year,
“Joe Torre must be fired!”
His pride aroused, by thoughts espoused,
By bleacher creature folk,
A vicious rage, unlatched its cage,
And in this angel woke.
He then took flight, in darkest night,
To take from those he served,
The glory that Joe Torre,
Truly felt that that he deserved.
Flapping feather wings,
With a white-hot frenzied fire,
Spurned to speed with urgent need,
To unleash a raving ire,
‘Pon the Boss and GM Cash,
If their response did not appease,
The greed and egotism,
That had spread like a disease,
Within this fallen angel,
Who had tumbled from the heights,
Believing hype he had received,
Aggrieved by perceived slights.
Now soaring past facades, and promenades,
He reached the peak,
Of the storied Yankee Stade,
And did find those he did seek.
With power lust, the Yank brain trust,
And brass he did beseech:
More contract years, to quell his fears,
And like a lowly leech,
He got down on his knees, and made his pleas,
For higher fees,
A raise, deserv-ed praise,
For what he’d done with these Yankees.
‘Pon hearing this, Joe’s selfish wish,
Young Cash began to stand,
But George the Boss, now looking cross,
Did rise and take command:
“It saddens me, oh Joe Torre,
“To hear such avarice,
“From the one I’d deemed a warrior,
“For his utter selflessness.
“No true Yankee is Joe Torre,
“If wealth is your desire,
“Such vile thoughts are conjured up,
“In Satan’s pit of fire.
“For love of God, our path is trod,
“To praise His Holy Name,
“No more, no less; our happiness,
“Lies not in wealth and fame.
“And if the Lord, is not reward,
“Enough to please your soul,
“We’ll cast you out, from this high mount,
“Down into Satan’s hole!”
Then in reply, a ghastly cry,
As fire did erupt,
From within Joe’s heart of sin,
Now withered and corrupt.
And out into the night,
This flaming fiend did fly away,
Vowing George, he would repay.
And as the fire burned away,
A face that had been wise,
And a viscous vicious red,
Did enter into Torre’s eyes,
As the wings, once so angelic,
Became a demon’s sickly spans,
All good was purged, as claws emerged,
From each of Torre’s hands.
Then down he flew, as hatred grew,
Within this blistered beast,
To Satan’s lair, to plan with care,
The wrath he would unleash.
Now back in baseball’s bastion,
Joe’s betrayal did bring tears,
From the New York Yankee players,
Who had loved him through the years.
But though he played the part,
Within the heart of one great Yank,
Thoughts turned to promotions,
And a hoped-for rise in rank:
Sage 23, Don Mattingly,
A halo who could hit,
A leader in the 80s,
Known for hustle and for grit,
Had often heard, his name proffered,
To one day follow Joe,
As Yankee skip, head of the ship,
That Godly gales did blow.
And so, though he did cry,
This did belie a fervent wish,
That George would name him manager,
And ‘pon him, praise lavish.
But much to his dismay, upon that day,
The Boss did choose,
Not Mattingly, but Girardi,
Which Don, this did confuse:
Was he not the chosen one,
Picked to one day lead,
The team for which he’d vowed to fight,
For whom he’d pledged to bleed?
And suddenly, just like Torre,
A rage then did arise,
Within ol’ Donnie Baseball,
Much to Lucifer’s surprise.
Soon Satan sent out Torre,
Evil minion, newly-minted,
With a plot, that he had crafted,
And which Torre then presented:
Now after Joe, became a foe,
Of pinstriped paladins,
His ability, to gain entry,
To the land devoid of sins,
The hallowed House of Ruth,
Eternal truth, enshrined inside,
Was taken from fell Torre,
Whom the Maker, he’d defied.
But Mattingly’s animosities,
Were not yet to the fore,
And he could still unlock,
The Yankee Kingdom’s divine door.
In brotherhood, the wicked stood,
As Don turned from the Lord,
And the two of them, to cause mayhem,
Did creep to where was stored,
The sacred secret source,
That did make the Yanks unique:
Two glowing crystal balls,
Known as Aura and Mystique.
Bestowed by God, to his saintly squad,
To grant them pious power,
Stolen now, by Satan’s slaves,
At this dismal, darkened hour.
Then feeling force undreamt of,
Surging through his vile veins,
This thief, this Artful Dodger,
Sought to inflict further pains,
‘pon the Yankees and their faithful,
With a most audacious crime,
By going back and changing,
Yankee moments throughout time.
With noxious glee, did Joe Torre,
The legends, seek to fix,
Beginning with the start of his,