It seems like a lot longer than two-and-a-half years since Torre was sipping green tea in the Yankee dugout for several reasons.
The ugly way that Torre left the Yankees certainly played a role in pushing the glory days further into the rearview mirror than they actually were and the fact that he immediately took a job with the Dodgers meant there hasn't been a chance to mend fences with a ceremony honoring Torre's Yankees career just yet.
The tell-all book he wrote before last season didn't help matters either. Torre has steadfastly and more than a little dishonestly claimed that he didn't use the pen to slam the Yankees, but there wasn't much reason to write a book highly critical of Brian Cashman, Alex Rodriguez and others in the Yankees so soon after leaving the team unless the goal was to try and win the PR battle that started when he left the Bronx. It came off as petty and vindictive, two words that you wouldn't associate with the guy who became a New York icon while overseeing one of the more fruitful periods in Yankee history.
As much as those things have served to distance Torre from the Yankees, they pale in relation to the changes to the Yankees roster since the end of the 2007 season. Torre is forever linked to Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, but the other key members of the Yankees have little to do with that glorious era in Yankee history.
What's more, they have a title of their own which means that there's no reason to pine away for 2000 and no reason to look at Torre's departure as something that sent the Yankees into some kind of a tailspin.
That's part of what still makes this weekend's series such a watchable curiosity. It's almost as if the Yankees and Torre are meeting up after a love affair gone wrong. Torre can still recognize some things about his old squeeze but can also feel some pain because they are in much better shape than when the relationship ended and, maybe, didn't need him as much as everyone thought in the first place. Torre never had anything like CC Sabathia or Mark Teixeira in his last few years at the helm and the development of Robinson Cano is the baseball equivalent of dropping 10 pounds and getting your teeth capped.
Once the awkward formalities are out of the way, it will just be another baseball series but getting to that point should make for an awfully good watch this weekend.