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Torre visits O'Brien on Tonight Show

Torre visits O'Brien on Tonight Show

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Late-night talk-show host Conan O'Brien and Dodgers manager Joe Torre share a striking similarity -- a smooth transition to the West Coast.

For 17 years, O'Brien hosted "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" in New York City and has since taken over for Jay Leno in Los Angeles with "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien." Ten episodes in, he's gotten fairly complimentary reviews in his new time slot.

As for Torre? Not too shabby, either.

The Dodgers' skipper made an appearance on O'Brien's new show on Monday night as the owner of the best record in the Major Leagues (42-22) in his second season in Los Angeles after 12 years with the Yankees.

Torre -- dressed business casual -- brought O'Brien a Dodgers cap, mug and personalized No. 9 jersey, and even a couple of wheat-grass shots -- in reference to Torre's State Farm commercial.

The interview became serious when O'Brien asked Torre if he ever felt anything might be "slightly awry" with slugger Manny Ramirez before he was suspended 50 games on May 7 for violating Major League Baseball's Drug Policy.

"I'm pretty naïve, and I don't want to believe players do anything," Torre replied about his left fielder, who's eligible to return on July 3. "When this came down about Manny, it was certainly a shock.

"People like to pass judgment. And nobody is condoning the use of steroids in sports because it's a bad message to send the kids. But the thing about it, when you have a relationship with players, they're people. And I really felt bad for Manny because he was so embarrassed by this whole thing -- which he should be -- and he just is still in that state, basically."

The rest of Torre's appearance was rather lighthearted.

O'Brien -- a Red Sox fan growing up in Boston -- joked about Torre's "death march" to the pitcher's mound when he takes the ball; Torre told a funny anecdote about his encounter with a perhaps-too-passionate Red Sox fan in an elevator -- "I'd like to apologize for my father's behavior," O'Brien jokingly fired back -- and then shared an awkward fist pump with a member of the rock band Spinal Tap at the conclusion of the show.

O'Brien was also promoting Torre's new book, "The Yankee Years" -- co-written by Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci -- and ended the interview by asking him about currently leading the best team in the baseball.

"I'm pretty proud of that," said Torre, who followed actor Will Arnett. "Our ballclub, they're working very hard. But, yeah, it makes a manager nervous. Everybody obviously is looking at you and wondering if you're that good.

"We feel we're pretty good. Again, it's a long season, we've got a long way to go, and we have to make sure that we don't take a day off."

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

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