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World Series 2001
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11/01/2001 12:32 PM ET
Clock strikes midnight on Torre and Cashman
By Troy E. Renck
Left Field NEW YORK -- When Derek Jeter delivered the Yankees' biggest hit, Manager Joe Torre didn't have a contract.

As the shortstop rounded the bases in the bedlam that was Yankees Stadium, GM Brian Cashman was working as a favor.

When the clock struck midnight, two of the most important figures in New York's latest dynastic run were no longer on the payroll. At least not technically.

Their deals expired at midnight, leaving them open to snip the umbilical cord, reveal that their rings were cubic zirconia and -- gasp!-- tell The Boss that they just wanted to be friends.

Torre, because he's cool with stuff like this, engaged the media about the topic before New York's first greatest win of the century. (These are the Yankees folks, there will be plenty more victories like this one).

Like would Don Zimmer, the lovable gerbil, be in charge from here on out?

"We are connected at the hip so I don't think that's going to happen," Torre says. "I am not sure this is going to be resolved because there are more important things at hand. The last thing I want to do is distract the team."

Ah, if we could only believe him. Left Field, thanks to wire taps and Kenneth Starr, has learned that Torre and Cashman were actively exploring their options during Game 4 of the World Series on Wednesday night.

Here's a look back:

6:45 p.m.: Torre passes Spike Lee and Reggie Jackson in the bowels of The House That Ruth Built. This actually happened. Then he pulls Lee aside and tells him that he has a great idea for a script titled "He's Got Name." It's the story of an Italian boy who spends his retirement endorsing everything from pizza and pickles to long-distance carriers and home-alarm systems.

OK, so that didn'thappen.

6:53: Cashman coyly checks the caller ID on his cell phone. It's a Texas (Rangers) area code. He smiles. "Barbecued ribs, chiseled A-Rod, home fries, mmm good." Everything is bigger in Texas, he knows, except Mr. Steinbrenner's ego.

7:45: Seeing that no one is looking, Torre cozies up to Keith Olbermann for tips. Following a 35-minute conversation, Torre writes a memo to himself: Do exactly the opposite of what that man said.

8:27: Challenger The Eagle zooms in from center field. Cashman is overheard by sources saying, "I believe I can fly. ... Yep, my next job will be as pterodactyl in "Jurassic Park V."

9:15: Houston, you have a problem. Torre has turned his pager off. He won't be interviewing for that Astros job on Friday. Torre himself is reconsidering this whole Yankees' gig. In a whisper tone a FOX mike picks up, "If I am going to have to watch El Duque pitch for the next few years, my next contract better include a lifetime supply of Tums."

9:45: Cashman is seen surfing the web, checking the exchange rate in Canada. That would explain the housing brochures and country-club applications from Toronto.

10:30: Torre desperately needs to make a pitching change. But that can wait. He has to figure out an alias to place his resume on

11:07: Cashman remembers that he was the one who re-signed Mike Stanton to a three-year deal back in November 1999. Suddenly, this whole contract expiring thing isn't so funny.

11:33: Torre has secretly been taking stock of his skills all evening. "I sit, I rub my eyes, I cross my arms, I glare, I chew gum. I've got it: I am going to be the night-time security guard at Bloomingdales."

11:34: Cashman calls his wife and tells her to place that For Sale sign on the lawn. "Honey," he blares, "we are moving to Florida to run the Marlins as soon as (Dave) Dombrowski clears out his office."

11:38: Cashman to wife: "Take down sign.. stat.... .... Tell neighbors it was a stupid Halloween joke. ...stat. .... Keep handing out the Reggie bars."

11:43: Torre and Cashman hold secret meeting with first baseman Tino Martinez in the dugout bathroom. Details are sketchy. But there's talk of a coalition, of a triumvarite. Joe, Brian and Tino -- Keep us as Yankees or we'll make every last Gotham sports fans use Islanders tickets.

12:04 a.m.: Jeter runs into the city's arms again, bathing in a standing ovation. Torre runs into Cashman in the tunnel heading toward the clubhouse.

Torre: "You looking?"
Cashman: "You kidding?"

Then Torre cracks a joke about Olbermann as both men walk away laughing.

Troy E. Renck is a reporter for