FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -Terry Francona put his arm around Joe Torre's shoulder behind home plate. They smiled and hugged in the dugout. Francona's dad even greeted Torre during the game.
What rivalry?
The intensity and hype surrounding games between the Yankees and Red Sox were never about the managers. They really like each other. But it was hard to show that in front of passionate fans who might view a simple handshake as a sign of betrayal.
The managers didn't have to worry about that Thursday, now that Torre is with the Los Angeles Dodgers after 12 seasons with New York, the last four while Francona managed Boston.
``It's nice to chat with him without someone thinking that some covert operation was going on,'' Torre said with a laugh after the Dodgers' 9-6 exhibition win. ``You know, while we're doing that we're in the clubhouse stealing everything else that he has.
``Terry's been a friend and I'm just happy for his success because he's a good guy.''
The 67-year-old Torre played with Francona's father, Tito, in Atlanta.
It was a ``bonus,'' Torre said when Tito stood in the stands by the railing next to the Dodgers' dugout during the game ``and I got to visit with him a little bit.''
The Yankees won the World Series in four of Torre's first five seasons as manager, but haven't won it since 2000. Boston won in 2004 when it overcame a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees in the AL championship series, and again last season.
Torre didn't have as much fun over the last three seasons as he did before then.
``I think when we were swept by the Red Sox in the championship series, it started deteriorating,'' Torre said. ``That, combined with the fact we never got through the first round.''
After completing his last three-year contract with the Yankees, he rejected a one-year, $5 million offer to stay on with an extra $3 million in performance bonuses. He earned $7.5 million in 2007.
He thought he would retire until the tradition-laden Dodgers called.
``I don't want to downplay somebody else calling,'' Torre said, ``but I seriously doubt if it was somebody other than the Dodgers I wouldn't have paid attention to it.''
By leaving the Yankees, it freed up the 48-year-old Francona to finally fraternize with him.
``I never went out there to the batting cage'' to greet Torre the past four years, Francona said, ``not just because of me. I just didn't want to put him in that position. People don't want to see that.''
Torre grew up in Brooklyn, where the Dodgers played until 1957. But he rooted for the New York Giants, not the Yankees and Dodgers. He also was a fan of the Milwaukee Braves because his brother Frank was a first baseman with them.
He was hired by the Yankees before the 1996 season. His 12 years in the pressure-filled rivalry took their toll.
``I think there's going to be a lot of stuff you won't miss because you had enough of it,'' Torre said. ``That being said, you realize how special it was because each game was like a season. It took on a life of its own, and to have it be so exhausting has to tell you it was special.''
Things were a lot calmer back in 1967 when Torre and Tito Francona were teammates with the Braves.
``I've always felt close to Terry because I played with his dad in Atlanta,'' Torre said. ``Tito and I sort of had the same body and (he) was walking from my locker to his own locker, and my son followed him, thinking it was me, until he turned around and Michael started running back to me.''
The Torres and Franconas don't have to avoid each other anymore, now that Torre is out of the rivalry that kept their friendship out of sight.
``You're supposed to be mad about playing (the Red Sox). Terry and I always used to converse after'' a series, Torre said. ``Either he would call me or I would call him, telling each other how happy we were this stuff was over with for another six weeks.''

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