LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Tuesday he was sorry for saying he was curious about the New York Mets job and current Mets manager Jerry Manuel accepted the apology after taking offense earlier in the day.
“It certainly wasn’t my intention of doing that and making people believe that I wanted to manage the Mets,” Torre said before the Dodgers played the San Diego Padres.
Torre has managed the Dodgers for three years but is stepping down after this season. He told WFAN radio in New York on Monday that he is “curious” about managing the Mets in 2011.
However, Manuel remains New York’s manager.
“I find it also curious when someone comments about a job that someone already has,” Manuel said before Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Marlins. “I don’t know him on a personal basis, but when things like that come out, you question the integrity.”
When asked if he felt Torre’s comments were disrespectful because Manuel currently holds the job, Manuel replied, “Sure, no question.”
But Manuel was ready to move on after hearing of Torre’s apology.
“I’ve always known him as a class person so I have no problem with that,” Manuel said after New York’s 5-2 loss at Florida. “I’m trying to win games.”
Torre said the issue came up when he was asked if he would take a call from Mets owner Fred Wilpon.
“I’ve known Fred Wilpon forever. But I’m not going to manage. Let’s put it that way,” he said. “I won’t be managing the Mets, and I thought I made that clear yesterday — about taking a call, as opposed to looking for a job.”
Manuel noted that the two haven’t talked since Torre was the manager of the Yankees, but understands why he would want to return to New York, where he won four World Series titles in 12 years with the Bronx Bombers before an acrimonious split after 2007 season. Torre also was in the Mets’ dugout from 1977-1981 in his first managerial gig.
“I can understand the desire to come back when you have been there,” Manuel said before the game against the Marlins. “Once you bite the apple, you are hungry for it. That’s just the way it is. It’s a place once you get there and feel the passion, you are hungry because there’s no place like it. I could see that people would want these types of positions in New York. There are a 1,000 people that would want this job. For him to say what he said only validates how special it is to have this opportunity.”
Torre said if he was looking for a job, and he’s not, he wouldn’t have gone to New York.
“I think people tend to forget that I spent 12 years with the Yankees and formed too good of a relationship with their fans to move across the water and all of a sudden make them mad at me,” he said.
“I’m closing the door on managing the Mets, and probably everybody else. I don’t want to mislead anybody.”
Torre entered Tuesday night’s game with 2,319 wins in 29 years as a manager.
“He’s an icon in New York,” Manuel said. “That’s to be expected, that’s home. New York is the Mecca of baseball. You can go many places, but after you have been in New York, and I’m probably sure for him, nothing satisfies you other than New York.”
Manuel is 199-207 over 2½ seasons with New York, heading into the finale of a two-game set at Florida. The Mets are fourth in the NL East after finishing fourth last year, putting his job in jeopardy.
“The uncertainty, I’m still going to do my thing,” Manuel said. “Once the game starts I’ll do what I can, the best that I can do. It has no effect how I am going to manage. I’m still going to do what I do.”
Manuel added that he was grateful to Torre for including him as an AL coach for the 1999 All-Star game.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.