Monday, January 26, 2009

Dishing dirt "below" Torre

It's a shame that former Yanks skipper and current Dodgers manager Joe Torre is coming out with a book that seeks to dish dirt; it's just so "below" what I'd expect from the always-classy Torre. Nonetheless, it's disappointing to read some of these quotes attributed to his book, from the Daily News article:

In "The Yankee Years," due to be released on Feb. 3, Torre describes general manager Brian Cashman as a less than supportive ally who betrayed him on several fronts, and says that his star player, Alex Rodriguez, was often referred to by his teammates as "A-Fraud" and was obsessed with his perceived rival, shortstop Derek Jeter.
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?

UPDATE (8pm, 1/25/09): So it seems that the first-person attribution of these quotes to Torre were a bit off-base, according to Verducci, the co-author. The bold/navy is my emphasis. Two New York newspapers are reporting that Joe Torre rips Alex Rodriguez and George Steinbrenner in the book, and that Brian Cashman was not as supportive of Torre returning as Yankees manager after the 2007 season as was previously believed. What can you tell us about these reports?

Verducci: I think it's important to understand context here. The book is not a first-person book by Joe Torre, it's a third-person narrative based on 12 years of knowing the Yankees and it's about the changes in the game in that period. Seems to me the New York Post assigned this third-person book entirely to Joe Torre and that's not the case. In fact, if people saw that Post story they probably noticed there are no quotes from Joe Torre in it. Joe Torre does not rip anybody in the book. The book really needs to be read in context.

Anybody who knows Joe, especially during his time in New York, knows he's a very honest man and he is very honest in the pages of this book. People also know Joe Torre doesn't go around ripping people and he doesn't do that in the pages of this book. There is a lot of information in this book over a tremendous period of baseball history. It's been reported out by me as well as informed by Torre's own insights into that period.

(1/26/09, 8:08am)
: From what appears to be an actual book review (as opposed to a Daily News/Post-like breathless misappropriation of the quotes) from the NY Times:
The Yankee Years” does a nimble, if at times cursory, job of reanimating the long highlight reel of the Torre era: from the team’s ecstatic triumph in the 1996 World Series to Cone’s nerve-racking perfect game in 1999; from the Yankees’ two mind-blowing comebacks against Arizona with two outs in the ninth in Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series to Aaron Boone’s amazing 11th-inning, seventh-game, pennant-winning homer against Boston in the 2003 American League Championship Series.

The book does not hide Torre’s bitterness over his departure in 2007 (he was offered a one-year contract that involved a pay cut in his base salary) and
[the book] takes a few swipes at the general manager, Brian Cashman, and some players — most notably, Alex Rodriguez. But the volume is most interesting in its thoughtful analysis of why the Yankees’ fortunes began to spiral downward after 2001, analysis that has been made before by baseball reporters and fans, but never with such insight and detail by a former Yankees insider.
Most painful, however true, is this comment:
While the Yankees were going through an identity crisis, the dynamics of baseball had begun to change, with other teams embracing new cost-effective business practices based on statistical analysis. No one excelled more at this new number crunching and player development than the Yankees’ archenemies, the Boston Red Sox, who in 2004 would deal the once-mighty Evil Empire a crushing blow, coming back to win the American League championship after the Bombers were ahead by three games to none and a mere three outs away from the World Series. It was a devastating loss that only accelerated the Yankees’ dysfunction, the authors observe, resulting in more organizational backbiting and a team made up of “a slapdash collection of parts that didn’t fit or work.
I've never shied away from giving the Sox credit and I won't disagree with those statements above. Still hurts like hell.

If the publisher is looking for additional reviews, send me the book and I'll get one up here asap.


Mark said...

Ah, schadenfreude...

Alex K said...

Hw can the Dodger players trust him now? Is everything free game?

e-5 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
e-5 said...

HIM is disappointed with Joe!

tHeMARksMiTh said...

I'm confused. When does the book come out so I can read it myself?