He should’ve left in 2003. Despite the World Series loss, the Game 7 win over Bosox was one of the greatest games ever played. Wining the WS wouldn’t be much more significant.

Of course the historical 2004 collapse and 3 consecutive ALDS losses aren’t all his fault, or he’s at fault at all–he’s probably still the best manager out there, and nicest–too nice. I don’t think ESPN aired The Bronx is Burning this season only because it’s 30 years ago.

The Yankees has badly needed a shakeup since 2004. The downfall actually started in 2002 with Giambi, the first of a string of declining stars: Sheffield, Damon (I like him a lot, but still), Unit, Pavano, and alas, the habitual retiree. $19 million for 4 months, 18 games, 99 innings, 1584 pitches: $200,000 per inning and $12,000 per pitch?! Not a bad retirement plan, Roger that!

A-Rod is of course an exception. He’s still a rising star, and he’s a nice guy, to be sure. I’ll wholeheartedly applaud him when he breaks the home run and other records, and he probably saved the team from early oblivion this season. But 8 for 54 (0.148) in postseason starting from the 2004 collapse?

To be fair for A-Rod, great sluggers can never win games single-handedly. Hank Aaron only won one WS in 22 years, so did Willie May and Mark McGuire. Bonds has none. The only exception in the top-10 home run leaders is Babe, who of course is on a whole different level.

Great pitchers can, however. That’s baseball Rule #1. Or even an average pitcher who caught a glimpse of heaven. The Indians has three 15+ game winner, with whom the 3 playoff games were won. And a Yankees pitcher drove a plane into a building*.

The Daily News has a poll asking who should stay and who should go. Half are even split. Petite, Posada, and Mo got more than 80% stay. Giambi and Moose the opposite. Rocket got 95%–to go sit in Cooperstown.

It’s time the Yankees learn from those 3 young LCS teams.

[*Note] Sorry, I have all the sympathy for Lidle and his family. It’s a true tragedy. But the irony is still there.

UPDATE 10/17 “Shove it!” is on every paper on every street. It’s one more classy act from Joe, and unclassy move from Yankees management. Everyone is Dilbert, especially when you’re earning a cool $6.5 million, more than double of the next guy (Pinella $3 mil).

I love Joe, let’s get that straight, if only for the 12 years he endured and succeeded (for the most part) as half George Costanza, while 13 guys before him failed (no playoff) for 18 of 23 years. The next guy would have the toughest job in baseball, and will probably wither and wilt. So will the team.

And it’s all for the best.