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HomeTop NewsBarry Trotz breaks norm of usual New York fan reaction to coach firings

Barry Trotz breaks norm of usual New York fan reaction to coach firings


Even two weeks later, the parting of ways between Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz almost feels surreal, if only because this time last year we were comparing the two of them to the Bill Torrey/Al Arbour partnership that created perhaps the last great hockey dynasty (we’ll save Islanders vs. Oilers for another day). There’s probably one prevailing reason for that. Nine times out of 10, when a coach around here is fired it almost feels like a mercy killing. It is almost always inevitable. Joe Judge was a fired coach walking the final few games last year, Adam Gase for almost all of 2020. There were few complaints when the Mets let Luis Rojas go. Every Knicks coach between Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau (save for maybe — maybe — Mike Woodson) was fired by the fans long before the brass got around to it. Trotz’s dismissal came accompanied by a wave of shock, and anger, and sadness, and regret, all things that almost never come along with the business of firing a manager or a coach. There was a significant portion of the Islanders fan base, even those who have sworn by Lamoriello for three years, who immediately began swearing at him. Some are still miffed. That’s a pretty unusual dynamic. Even Joe Torre, who only won four world championships with the Yankees, had seemed to run his course by the time he left after the 2007 ALDS loss to Cleveland. Casey Stengel was 70 when the Yankees fired him, and TV cameras had caught him napping during the 1960 season. Yankees fans were grateful, yet ready to move on. The Yankees are actually an interesting case study because they actually have made some of the least-popular managerial firings in the city’s history. Part of that can simply be attributed to George Steinbrenner’s itchy trigger finger, which allowed him to believe firing Dick Howser in 1980 was a good idea, which led him to not renew Buck Showalter’s contract in 1995. Two terrific managers, caught in the dragnet of an impatient owner. Still, there has never been a firing as resoundingly unpopular as when Steinbrenner finally axed Billy Martin in 1978. Technically, Martin resigned in Kansas City a day after issuing his infamous “one’s a born liar, the other’s convicted” assessment of Reggie Jackson and the Boss. But Martin’s job had been on the line going back to the summer of ’77. He almost certainly would’ve been canned in another week. Sign up for Starting Lineup for the biggest stories. Please provide a valid email address. By clicking above you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy . Thanks for signing up Never miss a story. And the fans went berserk. Martin was a popular figure from his time as a gritty, dirty-uniform second baseman with the Yankees teams of the ’50s. His personality was a custom-fit for New York in the ’70s. Fans loved him. A few days later, this newspaper ran a poll: Whom do you side with, George or Billy? Martin took home 99 percent of the vote. Not a typo. Ninety-nine percent. Martin’s subsequent hirings and firings lessened his sway over the fans as the years progressed, but Steinbrenner was so spooked by the backlash that he pulled off that famous Old-Timers’ Day bait-and-switch, announcing Martin would actually return in 1980. (Kids, if you’re too young, look it up. It was bonkers in The Bronx.) It wasn’t quite the same seven years later when Steinbrenner fired Yogi Berra 16 games into the 1985 season after the Boss had vowed on a stack of Bibles that Yogi would be given the year, but it was enough for Yogi to stay away from The Bronx for 14 years, and that was good enough for most Yankees fans. There have been others, scattered throughout our teams. When Bobby Valentine was fired at the end of the 2002 season there was something of an outcry among Mets fans, especially since unpopular GM Steve Phillips was allowed to stay. There was a modicum of quizzical reaction when Joe Girardi was let go after bringing the Yankees to within one game of the World Series in 2017, but Girardi was so cold and aloof whatever anger existed was muted. There are still plenty of Rex Ryan loyalists scattered amid the Jets’ fan base. Mostly, there’s a direct line between a “Gooooood-bye, Allie!” or a “Joe must go” roaring out of the grandstand and a press release and a press conference. Just not this time. Roger Angell ’s rare gifts as a writer were exceeded only by his kindness and his grace as an occasional press-box neighbor. He leaves behind an unparalleled body of work and an unmatched reputation as a gentleman. Godspeed. With all that’s already been written about Jackie Robinson, it’s hard to fathom a new book that sheds light and offers fresh perspective. But Kostya Kennedy has done just that. “True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson” is an essential summer read, whether you are a baseball person or not. Aaron Judge is right. Camden Yards was picture-perfect just the way it was. It really wasn’t until the Yankees played this week in Baltimore that I realized just how much I miss Ken Singleton on YES. Bill Bittay: Aroldis = Rolaids. The anagram works well. I’m running low on my supply. I know, I have way too much time on my hands. Vac: That … that is perfection. John Cobert: How come the Yankees get to play with the old ball? Vac: Yes, you don’t hear a lot of complaining about dead baseballs around the Yankees all that much these days … @drschnip : Has anyone ever seen Matt Harvey and Bo Belinsky in the same room at the same time? It’s a reincarnation so complete it can only have been the result of a bizarre Santeria ritual? @MikeVacc: Look him up, kids. Dr. Schnipp may well be on to something with this. Hank Hansen: I think Ryan Lindgren should be nicknamed Timex. No one in the NHL takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’ like he does. Vac: We take it on faith that hockey players are the toughest SOBs in all of sports, but Lindgren does seem to exist in these playoffs on an even higher (and more painful) plane.

From: nypost

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