I didn't want to do a sports story two weeks in a row. I REALLY didn't want to do a story about the New York Yankees two weeks in a row. And then I found this out:
What happened to Joe Torre has happened before.
Yep, and in eerily similar circumstances. 47 years ago yesterday, The Yankees announced the resignation/firing/gently nudging out the door of Casey Stengel. Stengel managed the Yankees for 12 years, winning 10 American League pennants and 7 World Series over that span. He was ousted mere days after the Yankees lost the world series on a dramatic game 7 walk-off Home Run off the bat of Pirates' second baseman Bill Mazeroski.
So there is truth to the adage that history repeats itself. And strangely enough, as I discovered, history often repeats itself with an ironic flair for anniversaries. Here are some events that happened this past week, past and present (with some help from the New York Times):
Wednesday, Turkey essentially declared war on the Kurds in northern Iraq. It was just five years ago this week that the United States essentially did the same. President Bush signed the congressional resolution authorizing war with Iraq on October 16, 2002 (of course we didn't invade until March of '03). While Tuesday marked the anniversary of the beginning of a war, Friday marked the anniversary of wars coming to an end. It was on October 19, 1951 that President Truman brought a formal end to the state of war with Germany, when I can only assume the U.S. decided a country struggling to feed itself probably wasn't a threat anymore. It was also on October 19, this time in 1781, that the British surrendered to the Continental Army at Yorktown, VA, bringing an unofficial end to the Revolutionary War.
That came 4 years and 2 days after the Americans won the battle of Saratoga, a turning point in the war, on October 17, 1777.
George W. Bush is well-known for his repetition of key phrases and talking points. This week he repeated history when he announced new sanctions against the government of Myanmar. I doubt the President knows this, but he imposed those sanctions 47 years to the day after the U.S. imposed its still-standing embargo on exports to Cuba on October 19, 1960.
The Fox Business Channel attempted a historical repeat on Monday. Rupert Murdoch's latest venture launched on Monday to, well, can we say mixed reviews? The Times called it "perky", is that good or bad? And I have to say, I'm over the naked cowboy. Over it. As in, not at all interested in an extended feature interview. So I can't say Fox went the distance in repeating history, but it was quick to point out that it was launching 56 years to the day after "I Love Lucy" premiered on CBS. "I Love Lucy" was, of course, funny on purpose. Fox Biz I'd call laughable. I'd also change the channel, quickly.
In Fox's case, I'm guessing the new network won't likely find itself on the same page in history as "Lucy", or even in the same book. And we can hope that the Myanmar sanctions are lifted soon, because that will mean oppressive regime there will ease up or collapse, both of which can't happen soon enough. We can further hope that Turkey doesn't go on to follow in our footsteps and exacerbate the Iraqi quagmire by actually invading the North. Take it from us, Turkey, you don't want to do that.
And as for Torre following in Stengel's footsteps...he probably doesn't want to do that either. Less than two years after being forced out of the Bronx, Casey took a job across the river, managing the expansion Mets. Lovable (and senile) as he was, he wasn't quite as successful. The Mets were 175-404 with Stengel at the helm.
Sometimes history isn't worth repeating.