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09/24/08 3:24 AM ET

Torre in different place from Yanks

Skipper on cusp of in playoffs, looking out at former team

LOS ANGELES -- Estranged Yankees Joe Torre and Don Mattingly are very much alive for postseason glory with the Dodgers, while their former team is done after a 13-year run.

"I guess it was so pre-determined, the way they've been talking," said Torre, now the manager of the Dodgers, who reduced their magic number to clinch to three just hours after the Yankees were eliminated.

"It's very unusual. You think of Derek Jeter -- his whole career he's been in the postseason. He's never experienced this. I guess they've had a feeling for a while, it wasn't going to be a good ending."

Despite his awkward departure from the Yankees in the offseason, Torre said he takes no satisfaction in Yankees defeats.

"The satisfaction I have, going someplace after 12 years, and you leave wondering if managing can be fun again, because the last few years back there weren't fun," he said. "I don't take satisfaction in the Yankees being eliminated. But it's satisfying that we win three games here and we're in, especially with all the ups and downs we've had."

And guiding clubs through the ups and downs of a season is what Torre did for the Yankees and what he's done for the Dodgers. The results on both coasts, said Mattingly, are instructive.

"I'm sure it's tough for the Yankees -- something different, for sure," said Mattingly, who took over as Torre's Dodgers hitting coach at the All-Star break after missing the first half attending to his family. "Jeter, [Andy] Pettitte, Mariano [Rivera]. They haven't missed in a long time. It's one of those years in a tough division to play catch-up.

Thirteen stellar summers
The Yankees' year-by-year records and postseason results from their 13-season run as playoff participants:
Postseason result
200886-71Missed playoffs
200794-68Lost to Indians in ALDS
200697-65Lost to Tigers in ALDS
200595-67Lost to Angels in ALDS
2004101-61Lost to Red Sox in ALCS
2003101-61Lost to Marlins in World Series
2002103-58Lost to Angels in ALDS
200195-65Lost to D-backs in World Series
200087-74Beat Mets in World Series
199998-64Beat Braves in World Series
1998114-48Beat Padres in World Series
199796-66Lost to Indians in ALDS
199692-70Beat Braves in World Series
199579-65Lost to Mariners in ALDS

"But this year is a transition year for them without Joe. I interviewed for the [Yankees] manager's job and I knew going in that it was sort of a no-win situation. You listen to them talk, and I don't think they realized what Joe did for them for so long, how special he is at what he does.

"I think they sort of took him for granted, didn't realize all the things he brings to the table as a manager. You've seen it here with the Dodgers this year. How he keeps the ship going the right way, keeps things on track when it looks like things are getting ugly."

The Yankees' playoff dynasty has been well-chronicled, beginning with a Wild Card in 1995 and highlighted by four World Series titles over a five-year span from 1996-2000. The Yankees also appeared in the 2001 and '03 Fall Classics, but had found it more difficult to advance in recent years.

The Yankees' elimination, and Torre's reaction, comes two days after Torre's name was not being mentioned during final night festivities at Yankee Stadium.

"I didn't know my name wasn't mentioned until somebody mentioned it to me, but again, I didn't know what their game plan was," said Torre, who watched the game on TV until it was time for his family to have dinner.

"I don't know what they were doing as far as mentioning people. I thought they maybe were just mentioning people that were there other than, obviously, the Mantles and Ruth and Gehrig and those guys who are in Monument Park there."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.