Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Joe Torre knows all about being a first-timer piloting the Mets. It's where he started his managerial career in 1977, where he navigated the pitfalls of a new challenge and learned and learned and learned.
And he's got some vital wisdom for Carlos Beltrán, who just took over that same gig: Beltrán, like every first-time manager ever, is going to make mistakes. It's what happens afterward that is important.
"We try to be perfect and I think that's a goal for all of us, but it's impossible," Torre said Thursday evening before the gala for his Safe at Home Foundation. "I used to dwell and lay in bed, saying 'I wish I didn't do that and I wish I didn't do that' until I realized that wasn't doing me any good.
"I better learn from all that stuff. You make adjustments along the way. That's what's great about this game -- it speeds up when you have to make decisions, but once you get your tempo and get a feel for it, it could be a lot of fun."
For Torre, managing became a long career. He managed five different teams -- the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers -- for a total of 29 years. He won six pennants and four World Series and amassed a 2,326-1,997 record (.538) and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Torre, who has been the chief baseball officer for Major League Baseball since 2011, guided the Mets to a 49-68 record in the final 117 games in 1977 and was 286-420 (.405) in five years at the Mets' helm. The Mets fired him at the end of the 1981 season.
Beltrán is only two years removed from his terrific playing career, which puts him in a similar spot as Torre, who was a player-manager for the Mets for a few weeks before retiring as a player.
That nearness to his playing days could give Beltrán important insight into a clubhouse packed with different personalities from different backgrounds, Torre said. Part of the reason the Mets hired Beltrán was because they believe in his ability to reach the players.
"The one thing I felt was most important to my managing was that I never forgot what it was like as a player," Torre said. "I thought that was very, very important to me to keep at the forefront if I'm going to deal with players.
"Carlos is a very smart guy. He was a great player. He had a chance to play in New York, which I think is only going to be a benefit to him. It's not something that will blindside him -- he'll know what to expect."
Torre took over the Mets on May 31, 1977, after Joe Frazier was fired. The Mets were 15-30 and the Midnight Massacre was looming. Two weeks after Torre was put in charge, the Mets traded The Franchise to Cincinnati.
"My first bit of business was to trade Tom Seaver," Torre recalled. "It wasn't fun."
Much of the rest of it was, though.
"Every day was exciting," Torre recalled. "Managing was fun because it was all brand-new. As a kid, I think we all went down to somebody's basement and rolled some dice and played some kind of baseball game and now I'm doing it with real people."