Torre is back in Big Apple

Special to The Times

The Dodgers visit New York this weekend, but ESPN’s Joe Morgan doesn’t expect the Mets to roll out the red carpet for Joe Torre’s return to the city where he won four World Series championships.

Morgan will be in the broadcast booth with announcer Jon Miller for ESPN’s 5 p.m. “Sunday Night Baseball” telecast of the final game of a four-game series between the Mets and the Dodgers. In a telephone interview, Morgan said he normally doesn’t let outside events interfere with the game he is working, but Sunday could be an exception.

“I think it’s going to be great stuff. These are Mets fans and Joe was a Yankee,” Morgan said. “I’ve always been a Joe Torre fan.”


This season Morgan worked a game at Yankee Stadium and he felt Torre’s absence. “It was different this time, it wasn’t the same for me.”

Morgan said that although Torre was criticized at the end of his managerial run with the Yankees, he deserves respect.

“When he came, they had 22 championships and when he left they had 26,” Morgan said.

Elected into the Hall of Fame in 1990, Morgan now operates a full-time business in the Bay Area and said he is “preparing more for life outside the game.” This year he went to the Masters and the Kentucky Derby, both for the first time. But he has no plans to leave broadcasting.

“I love baseball and I put a lot of energy into it,” he said. “I try to broadcast for the fans.”

The Dodgers play the New York Mets today at 4 p.m. on Channel 9 and Saturday at 12:45 p.m. on Channel 11.

Other sports events worth viewing this weekend:

Basketball, Boston at Detroit (today, 5:30 p.m., ESPN; Sunday, 5:30 p.m., ABC, if necessary). This week, Detroit isn’t only a hockey town as the Pistons, who trail 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals, hope to force the series back to Boston for Game 7 on Sunday.

Baseball, Toronto Blue Jays at Angels (today, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 6 p.m.; Sunday 12:30 p.m., all on Channel 13). A three-game series that features two national anthems and one former Angels shortstop -- David Eckstein -- who was recently activated by the Blue Jays, a team in the thick of the competitive American League’s East Division.

Tennis, French Open (today, noon, ESPN2, ESPND; Saturday, 2 a.m., Tennis Channel; 10 a.m., Channel 4; Sunday, 2 a.m. Tennis Channel; 10 a.m., Channel 4). It’s been a rainy week in Paris, but the season’s second Grand Slam tournament is on schedule with Ted Robinson, John McEnroe and Mary Carillo ready to call third- and fourth-round matches from the clay courts of Roland Garros.

Hockey, Game 4, Detroit vs. Pittsburgh (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 4). After the Penguins and Red Wings qualified for the Stanley Cup finals, Mike Emrick, the series play-by-play announcer, quipped, “The hockey gods are smiling so wide we can count their missing teeth.” He was referring to the matchup of the NHL’s marquee players. But when the ratings are in, will the NBC gods be smiling? Maybe. The Penguins’ victory over the Red Wings on NBC Wednesday night drew the best overnight rating for a third game of the Stanley Cup finals in six years, earning a 2.8 national rating and an 18.2 rating in Detroit, beating out the 15.9 rating for the Pistons’ matchup with the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals. That basketball matchup drew a 5.3 national rating.

Golf, the Memorial (Friday, noon, Golf Channel; Saturday, noon, Channel 2; Sunday 11:30 a.m., Channel 2). The PGA Tour makes its annual stop at Jack Nicklaus’ tournament in Dublin, Ohio, where K.J. Choi is the defending champion. CBS and the Golf Channel will probably mention more than once that Tiger Woods is still recovering from knee surgery.

NASCAR Best Buy 400 (Sunday, 10:30 a.m., Channel 11). Kasey Kahne elbowed his way into the Sprint Cup points race by winning the Coca-Cola 600 last Sunday, slowing points leader Kyle Busch’s momentum along with it. The 400-mile race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway will help benefit Student Clubs for Autism Speaks.