MIAMI (AP) – New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel is upset with Joe Torre for saying he is curious about the Mets job.
Torre has managed the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years but is stepping down after this season. He told WFAN radio in New York on Monday that he is “curious” about managing the Mets in 2011.
Torre later publicly apologized for the comments. “I am closing the door on managing the Mets and probably everybody else,” Torre told ESPNLosAngeles.com today.
Manuel remains New York’s manager.
“I find it also curious when someone comments about a job that someone already has,” Manuel said before tonight’s game against the Florida Marlins. “I don’t know him on a personal basis, but when things like that come out, you question the integrity.”
When asked if he felt Torre’s comments were disrespectful because Manuel currently holds the job, Manuel replied, “Sure, no question.”
Manuel noted that the two haven’t talked since Torre was the manager of the Yankees, but understands why he would want to return to New York, where he won four World Series titles in 12 years with the Bronx Bombers before an acrimonious split after 2007 season. Torre also was in the Mets’ dugout from 1977-1981 in his first managerial gig.
“I can understand the desire to come back when you have been there,” Manuel said. “Once you bite the apple, you are hungry for it. That’s just the way it is. It’s a place once you get there and feel the passion, you are hungry because there’s no place like it. I could see that people would want these types of positions in New York. There are a 1,000 people that would want this job. For him to say what he said only validates how special it is to have this opportunity.”
Torre entered Los Angeles’ game against San Diego tonight with 2,319 wins in 29 years as a manager.
“He’s an icon in New York,” Manuel said. “That’s to be expected, that’s home. New York is the Mecca of baseball. You can go many places, but after you have been in New York, and I’m probably sure for him, nothing satisfies you other than New York.”
Manuel is 199-206 over 2 1/2 seasons with New York, heading into a two-game set at Florida. The Mets are fourth in the NL East after finishing fourth last year, putting his job in jeopardy.
“The uncertainty, I’m still going to do my thing,” Manuel said. “Once the game starts I’ll do what I can, the best that I can do. It has no effect how I am going to manage. I’m still going to do what I do.”
Manuel added that he was thankful of Torre for including him as an AL coach for the 1999 All-Star game.