Joe Torre is the classiest man in sports…

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Finally, today, something good happened to the Orioles.

The New York Yankees are a weaker superpower without Joe Torre at the helm. And anything that weakens the Yankees, in theory, strengthens the Orioles.

Let me first say that I’ve dealt with Joe Torre a dozen times over the years. Every time I ever saw him, I told him I was from Baltimore. Every time I saw him, he’d reference Luis Aparicio and what a great ballplayer he was (and Joe wasn’t a bad ballplayer himself, making nine All-Star teams). And EVERY SINGLE TIME I EVER SHOOK HANDS WITH HIM, he’d do my little radio show.

And you know why?

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Because I was from Baltimore, and he’d ALWAYS tell me as much.

"Baltimore," he say, "THAT’S a great baseball town! I gotta do Baltimore! Where’s the phone?"

I’d see him faithfully every October in the Yankee Stadium dugout, and even though he held the most prestigious management job in all of sports — the manager of the New York Yankees — he was always dignified, polite and very kind, always willing to come on a kid’s show in Baltimore, even before several World Series games.

There is no classier person in sports than Joe Torre (at least none that I’ve ever met!).

So, today Joe Torre — on one of the most disappointing days of his life — showed his ultimate class.

Meanwhile, the Yankees, taking a page out of the Oriole Handbook, showed their ass.

If they didn’t want him anymore, they should’ve just said so. But, instead they insulted him and no doubt George Steinbrenner and henchmen will say: "We offered him five million dollars! We wanted Joe! Joe just didn’t want us!"

Is that as paper thin to you as it is to me?

The New York Yankees weakened their franchise and their soul and their commitment to their fans today.

Torre did 12 years in the Bronx Zoo.

Wherever he winds up — and it won’t be here (do ya think Lee Mazzilli filled him in on the Angelos Way?) — I wish him well and it’ll be easier being a Joe Torre "fan" than it was when he wore pinstripes.

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