I'll restate what I said on Sunday about the Torre/Verducci book:
However true it might all be, couldn't/shouldn't this have been saved until Torre was out of the game? It reeks of bitterness. Torre has fashioned a sterling reputation in and out of baseball as a wonderful manager of people. I wonder if that will change, at least IN the game, if his lockerroom recognizes that he's probably taking notes for his next edition?I'm not questioning whether the players really derisively called ARod "A-Fraud" or if it was all in jest. I really don't care. The "Single White Female" quip is brilliant.
What troubles me most is how Torre has always (at least since he took the Yanks helm; I can't speak to his pre-Yanks days very well, admittedly) tried to remain above the fray, the dogs, the sensationalism that followed the team. He was the shield between management and the players, between the press and the players. By putting this book out, now, while an active manager, flies in the face of everything he seemingly stood for. I think it was a major mistake to do this now.
During a quick few minutes to throw down lunch, I read Buster's take about this situation and what was wonderful to read was Torre's own comments brandishing David Wells after Wells' book blew up and pulled back the curtains on the lockerroom. From Buster:
It's Joe Torre's book. His name is on it. He got paid for it. He had a chance to read every word, every sentence, every paragraph. He had to approve every passage.That's perfect. Torre must be accountable for every word. And any backlash.
But he has gone beyond his own code of conduct with his book. In spring 2003, David Wells and a ghostwriter published a book, "Perfect I'm Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball," and Torre was furious, angry that Wells had aired some of the Yankees' dirty laundry in the pages. Wells tried to distance himself from some of the words in the book, saying they belonged to the writer, but the Yankees' manager would not accept that. After a meeting with the pitcher, Torre said this to reporters:"We talked to him about a lot of things today. I just sensed he was bothered by it. Not by what we said, but by how it came out. How much of it is actually what he said and how much isn't exactly what he said, I don't know.
"But there's no question: It has his name on it, and he has to be accountable for it."
Now it is Torre's responsibility to be fully accountable for the words in the book that has his name on it, and he must stand behind those words.
If he hides behind Verducci and the suggestion that the ugly anecdotes aren't his, the explanation will have echoes of "I didn't knowingly take steroids." If he embraces the words as his own, he also should acknowledge he has been, at the very least, extraordinarily hypocritical.