Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Joe Torre: Don't ask, don't tell, don't care

Squawker Lisa poses some questions for Joe Torre on perpetualpost.com, and I was especially interested in Torre's take on performance-enhancing drug use on the 2000 Yankees:

Last year, you claimed to be unaware of any performance-enhancing drug usage in the clubhouse. “Am I naive? I guess, maybe that’s the way I want to be,” you said, “but I certainly didn’t see anything that really caught my attention.”

However, Michiko Kakutani’s New York Times review of “The Yankee Years” reports this anecdote from the book: “In 2000 and 2001, the Yankees would joke among themselves about guys who worked closely with [Brian] McNamee, especially the ones who showed obvious strength and body type changes. No one wanted to know the details. These were the days of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t care.’”

...The Mitchell Report noted that nine players on the 2000 Yankees were accused of using performance-enhancing drugs: Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, Mike Stanton, Jason Grimsley, David Justice, Glenallen Hill, and Denny Neagle. Many of those players got the PEDs from McNamee, who you hired to be on the Yankee staff.

According to the New York Times’ Bats blog, you address this issue in your book, writing, “If people want to devalue the 2000 team, is that how we lost 15 out of 18 down the stretch? We dried ourselves out and then got a heavy dose for the postseason?”

Sure, why not? When the Mitchell Report named nine 2000 Yankees, they became a tainted team. Now, according to their manager's new book, virtually everyone knew what was going on.

If I could say for sure that the 2000 Mets were completely clean, I would call that year's World Series tainted as well. But it looks like much of baseball was tainted during that time.

Still, the Yankees probably would not have even made the playoffs had they not acquired Justice in midseason from Cleveland. In 2000, the 34-year-old Justice hit 41 homers and drove in 118 runs (combined stats for both teams). But in his 14-year career, Justice hit more than 30 homers and drove in more than 100 runs only two other times.

After 2000, Justice's performance fell off drastically. In his last season, only two years later, Justice had 11 homers in 118 games.

In an interview with ESPN, Justice denies the allegations of performance-enhancing drug use.

And whatever one thinks about his power surge in 2000, it didn't start when Justice was traded to the Yanks - he actually hit more homers for Cleveland that year (21-20) in fewer games.

Even if you take Justice at his word that he was not using PEDs, his denials still taint Torre's clubhouse. From the ESPN article:

In a telephone interview on Mike and Mike in the Morning on Tuesday, Justice said that in 2000, Brian McNamee told him he could give him HGH to help him recover from a groin injury. McNamee told him it could help him and that it wasn't steroids. He said McNamee brought HGH to his locker, but when he saw it was needles, he couldn't do it. If the HGH were in pill form, Justice said he probably would have taken the HGH that McNamee gave him.

So according to Justice, McNamee, a Yankee employee at the time, was offering players HGH in the Yankee clubhouse. Joe Torre's clubhouse. Where, according to the manager's new book, "These were the days of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t care.'”

Sorry, Joe, but those of us that rooted for the other team in the 2000 World Series do care.

Was the Yankees' 2000 championship season tainted? Tell us what you think.


GM-Carson said...

Truth about Jeter- http://morehardball.blogspot.com/2009/01/slow-mo-fast-mo-homo.html

Ryan O said...


This is funny...its the recap of Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS against the Mariners when Clemens had 15k's and was tossing 97 mph in freezing weather. Also Justice hits a HR.

"Tonight was special," Clemens said. "The ball was jumping out of my hand."

Hahahahahahah f'n cheater

Ryan O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If individual players get tainted, their teams should be tainted too. I've always thought that. So if we're going to start dishing out *'s in the record book one needs to go by 2000 World Champions.

Annie said...

What many small-market teams have done, and what the current revenue-sharing system rewards, is to profit as the team struggles and fans fish for reasons to attend games. The Marlins and Royals are prime culprits, profiting from low payrolls and with low attendance figures each at or near the bottom in attendance every year from 2004-2008.

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