Friday, May 29, 2009

For a while, anyway, Tom really was terrific

A lot has been said about Tom Renny. To many of us here at Blueshirt Brothers Tom will always be the coach who:

1 - Brought the Rangers franchise back to respectability,
2 - Ended that horrific 7 year playoff draught, and
3 - Successfully managed a bunch of difficult personalities (Jagr and Avery for example) to 3 straight playoff appearances - twice to the 2nd round.

When Tom forgot to treat this post-Jagr year as a rebuilding season and got the team off to an extended hot start - he unfortunately raised expectations for his team and himself. And so, when the Rangers fell back to earth, Renney became the casualty of his own earlier success.

We all realize the roster presented to Tom by Slats was deeply flawed - thin from overspending and yet lacking enough firepower to score enough goals to make the Rangers competitive in the long term. Tom did his best to counter this by leaning on his lone superstar - Henrik Lundqvist - trying to focus on defense - and hoping to win his games 2-1 or 1-0. This worked quite well for a while, but eventually the Rangers began (1) losing regularly and (2) being very hard to watch while doing it - because they didn't produce much offense (SHOOT THE PUCK!).

So in the end Tom got a raw deal here - but at the same time - the move to hire Tortorella added a much needed spark to the team, plus a little more accountability. So, although unfair to Renney, we're glad the Rangers made the move when they did.

Not to get Nugman started - but the NY Yankees have only learned just how much Joe Torre did for them - after he was gone. Tom Renney's two straight trips to the second round of the playoffs is quite an accomplishment compared to what had gone on before - and now, after. The jury's still out (or is it the Drury's still out?) on Torts. Let's see if in a full season at the helm Torttorella can get us past - or even into - round two next year and beyond.

We bring this all up now because the Edmonton Oilers gave Tom Renny a job this week. Not as head coach, but as an assistant to Pat Quinn, recently hired as the Oiler's new head coach to replace Craig MacTavish. We're glad Edmonton called. Tom's a good hockey man and did quite well here for a long time with the hand he was dealt. We'll always remember what Renney did here - and we wish him well.

Except, of course, when the Oilers play the Rangers. Then Tom can take a flying... Sorry - let's just leave this on the high road. Thanks Tom and best of luck.

1 comment:

  1. Nugman can truly say, as he did for the 12 seasons torre was at the helm, the man was an awful game manager, who didn't know how to handle a pitching staff at all, and was blessed with arguably the greatest team in baseball history. 1) A different manager never could have lasted as long under steinbrenner, because no one would put up with as much as torre did, and I respect that, 2) A different manager, probably wins 6 if not 7 world series with that team.

    Billy Beane said it best at the start of the wild card era, because of the wild card format now, and the best of 5, the playoffs have become a crap shoot. It's a game of luck, where being the best no longer matters. Wild Card teams with 85-89 wins (NL), or 92-94 wins (AL) are routinely beating better teams in early rounds because they have one hot pitcher that can take 2 of the 3 games they need to win. That is why NO ONE, other than the Yankees, in the wild card era has come close to repeating (closest would be the 1995-1996 braves, who were beaten by the Yanks). And then you take into account the Yanks won 4 world series in 5 years, 3 in a row, and were too uncharacteristic blown saves from Mo from potentially win 6 in a row? There is little question in my mind that a team anchored by David Cone, Roger Clemens, El Duque, David Wells, Andy Pettitte, Jimmmy Key, with Mariano Rivera waiting in the back, is arguably the greatest big game pitching staff ever put together. When you combine them with a hall of fame shortstop, perrenial all-stars o'neill and williams hitting 3 and 4th, an on base machine in boggs/knoblach at the top of the order, and a great fielding 100+ rbi first baseman in tino, and a team of never give up, all that matters is win, type of guys, it's probably the greatest team we will see in our lifetimes in baseball.

    I think Joe Torre was a nice guy, but he never had to have Darrel Rasner, Dan Geis, and Sidney Ponson make 68 starts for him in a season (like girardi did last year). And do remember, this is 68 in the AL East, with arguably the 3 best teams in baseball, but certainly 3 of the top 5. And do keep in mind, despite having a team decimated by injuries, Girardi still won 89 games in an off year for the Yanks, more than Torre won with the dodgers in the weakest division in baseball.

    I have little to no doubt that girardi and the Yanks will coast to the league's best record this year, and while I appreciate torre's accomplishments, I also know he singlehandidly lost them the 2003 world series with an awful managerial decision, he arguably cost them the 2004 ALCS with his horrendous handling of a tired bullpen, and his 2007 ALDS managing was also atrocious. His final 7 years in new york he had the highest payroll, the most talented team in the game, and won nothing, and made well over 35 million dollars doing it. It was time for him to go, and I am glad he did.