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08/26/08 7:25 PM ET
Torre hoping to reinvigorate Dodgers
Manager reminds club they still control their own destiny
By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- The Dodgers limped into Washington in the wee hours Tuesday morning fresh off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies, but manager Joe Torre preached an optimistic message to his club in a quick full-team meeting before the hitters and pitchers split up. "I just wanted to remind them that we're still in a position to control our destiny," Torre said of the Dodgers, who are still just three games back in the National League West. "Let's not lose our spirit, so to speak. I sensed we were in a good frame of mind the last couple games, and that's what probably made it more frustrating." ESPN broadcaster Orel Hershiser questioned that spirit on ESPN2's broadcast of Monday night's game -- a disastrous affair for the Dodgers' offense, in which the club went 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position and somehow did not score despite knocking out 13 hits -- remarks Torre wholeheartedly disagreed with. Torre, who heard about the comments secondhand but did not listen to them himself, said there is no "prototypical passionate" mind-set for a club to be in, particularly one mired in a frustrating losing streak. "To me, this game is all about your determination more so than showing what they think it should look like," Torre said. "I've always been a proponent of the fact you have to eliminate highs and lows in this game and stay somewhere in the middle because you have to maintain that playing 162 games. "You can't stay sky high, and I don't know of any clubhouse you could walk through after a club has lost three out of four and five out of six that you're going to see guys joking around and doing things that other people consider positive." Torre also disagreed with comments fiery third-base coach Larry Bowa made to the Los Angeles Times after Monday's loss. Bowa had said, "I've seen teams play like this when they're 30 games out. There's no excuse for it. ... We should all be embarrassed by the way we've played the last four days." Torre understands Bowa's frustration, joking that the third-base coach has to carry on a conversation with a player who stands at third for three outs, but disagreed with the remarks. "I think you have to understand, also, [Bowa's] like a player right now, and when you lose a game and you've lost four games in a row, I'm not sure of anyone who says, 'Oh yeah, everything's great,'" Torre said. "The reason I wanted him here is he's a tough love guy. ... I think my job and the coaches' job is to just try to keep things in perspective and do some challenging, too."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.