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Friday, January 30, 2009

Mike Mussina says Joe Torre has some explaining to do

When I was on the subway the other day, I heard a young teenage boy discussing Joe Torre's "The Yankee Years" with his mother. The kid called Torre a "snitch."

In an appearance on the Michael Kay Show yesterday, David Wells called his old manager "a punk" and threatened to punch him.

Is that going to be Torre's legacy now? From Joey Four Rings to Torre the Snitch? Hope he enjoys all that money he's getting from trashing the clubhouse code.

Ian O'Connor, who has written very critically about Alex Rodriguez in the past, said that Torre had even more negative things to say about A-Rod:
Torre co-authored a book that, among many other things, reveals that Rodriguez was known as "A-Fraud" in his own clubhouse.

Torre neglected to mention that he would call A-Rod a five-letter word far more degrading than "fraud" before fellow members of the Yankee family.

Some leader of men, eh?

I have to say, I'm really enjoying reading all the revelations of the real Joe Torre coming out this week. It's so delicious to see the curtain revealed to show what a phony St. Joe really is.

Heck, even Mike Mussina, who cooperated with the book, is ripping Joe for violating the code.

“Joe has started something that a lot of people are going to have to answer to,” Mussina told the Bergen Record's Bob Klapisch. “Joe’s going to have to answer to it too, but it won’t be as bad for him because he’s with the Dodgers now. But it’s going to be bad for the guys he left behind.”

Mussina also told Klapisch:

“As a ballplayer you need to know who you have to watch out for and who you can trust. First and foremost, you should be able to trust your manager.

“I mean, people knew that Brown was out there, and that Randy was ornery all the time. And Pavano is whoever he is. But if you’re their manager, you can’t go out and write about them like that."

Incidentally, I highly recommend checking out the entire Klapisch column - it's a good read.

I don't think Mussina violated the clubhouse code with his own quotes in the book - he just did his usual sardonic and snippy observations - but I do wonder why he cooperated with it at all. Maybe it was to defend the non-rings guys.

Michael Kay has been flipping out all week about what Moose said in the book about Mariano Rivera. I think what Mussina was trying to say, in a very inept way, is that if Mo had held on to get the save in 2004, that we would have a very different opinion of those years. But the post-2000 guys are the ones always get the blame for the playoff failures.

When asked about what Mussina said, Jeff Nelson said on MLB Network the old adage about how you win as a team, and lose as a team. And he's right.

But did Torre believe that? Given the way he's acted over the years, and the way he negatively described every player who wasn't this guy, I don't think so.

So much for Joe being able to keep all those egos at bay. A good manager would have never let all the "us vs. them" stuff happen on his own team. But Joe didn't just allow this stuff to go on - he encouraged it, fed off of it, and now has made money writing about it. Classy!

What do you think? Leave us a comment!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think your last sentence says it all, it is all about the money, one last big payday,indirectly from the organization. This book will sell like crazy and add millions more to Joe's already deep pockets. Players, managers, owners, none are saints but to degrade them after the fact for finanical gain simply shows a lack of integrity and class--from clueless Joe to classless Joe, how fitting. The Dodgers are going to need a longer bench for their dugout this season, I don't think the players will want to sit any where near Joe the snitch! Hey, Donnie, be careful the next book could be the troubled life of Don Mattingly as told by Joe Torre.

Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

I would not spend my money on something related to Joe Torre, even if it was a penny.

I hope Derek Jeter realizes that he has to get over Joe Torre's departure and the "us vs them" issue.

I thought of the Moose as a whiner but now I think of him as a very smart guy who lacks diplomacy and comes out bluntly.

Uncle Mike said...

I think Joe Torre has done all the explaining that is necessary.

Has he revealed any facts that can be proven to be untrue? No. David Wells, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown and Kenny Lofton were all players who have been terrific for some teams, but have worn out their welcome with those teams, and with teams for whom they did not produce.

Has he revealed any opinions that were not already widely shared? No. Alex Rodriguez was already believed to have the issues Torre mentioned, and the players above were already known as malcontents.

And look at the players he's called out: Most are from after 2001, who did not help the Yankees win those 4 World Series. Two exceptions are Wells and Chuck Knoblauch. The Knoblauch situation could have been handled better, but it's worth noting that Wells was dumped by the Yankees twice: Even the success he brought them didn't seem to be worth the headaches he brought.

As for "violating the sanctity of the clubhouse," that myth went out the window in 1970. Torre's not the first ex-Yankee to write a book that got those complaints: Former pitcher Jim Bouton wrote "Ball Four," and the hue and cry was much bigger.

As a Yankee Fan, I can forgive Wells his trespasses; then again, I've never been around him on a daily basis, so I'm not one who has to make that decision.

Torre has the right to say the things he says, so long as they're true. The same is so of Wells. And we, the public, have the right to agree, or not; and, if not, to call them out on it.

I still like Wells. But if I have to choose, I'm going with Torre.

NAM said...

Uncle Mike,

Well said and well written.

How is the precious niece?

Uncle Mike said...

Which one? I have two.

One is fascinated by the Yankee logos on my cap and slippers. The other one isn't, but does point to the slippers, and says, "Shoe," and then says, "Hat," so she is at least aware of the connection. They're now a year and a half old.

I've tried to tell them, "Yankees, yay!" and to clap their hands, and to say, "Mets, no no no!" and wag their fingers like they do when the dog barks. So far, it needs work, but they're still toddlers. I have time.

Symphony said...

I completely believe there was an us v. them atmosphere. And that helped foster the decline in chemistry.

Whoever reads the book let me know one thing: Did Joe Torre add in the five-letter word he called A-Rod?

You know he didn't and thats just one more example of why its Torre's truth and not THE truth.

Once again Uncle Mike doesn't get it. Its not about what he revealed. Its the fact that he preached one thing and did another.

Of course he has a RIGHT to do the book but so did Wells and Torre ripped him for it.

So explain to me how Torre could rip Wells for writing a book and not be a hypocrite by writing his own?

If "violating the sanctity of the clubhouse" went out in the 70s Torre shouldn't have been preaching in the 90s and on.

The Emperor said...

Like I said in the past, people need to get off A-Rod's jockstrap already.

As for the hypocracy, I agree with you, Symphony. Sad state of affairs of what's happening in sports nowadays.

"Nutball Gazette" said...

I do believe that alot of what Joe Torre is saying is true. However one should never tell tales of what goes on in the Clubhouse. He has broken the code.
Not will this cost Torre having his #6 retired by the Yankees, I think this will cost him the Hall Of Fame also if it is former players are the ones who will be voting, And this will shorten his stay in Dodgerland as he will not have the trust of the Players. Torre will be gone and not heard from by the end of the Year

Jonmouk71 said...

None of this really matters - what will matter is whether the Yankees win this year. If they win and A-Rod has a monster year, Joe's book will be seen as a motivating factor. If they don't, Joe's book will get the blame. I asked this question yesterday in John Harper's Live Chat in the Daily News as to whether Girardi gets a pass this year (if they don't win) because of the book. Harper says no - but I'm not so sure. I don't remember correctly, but didn't Stottlemyre have some criticisms of players in his book?

Uncle Mike said...

Symphony: I get it plenty. What Joe Torre "preached" didn't get through to Alex Rodriguez. As much as it nauseates me to admit that any Met, and Steve Phillips in particular, got it right, Phillips got it right: A-Rod will always be Mr. 24-and-1. By disappearing in four straight postseasons, A-Rod ruined things for his teammates, and ruined things for his manager.

Torre owes A-Rod, and Yankee Fans, no apologies for telling us what we already suspected: A-Rod is this generation's Ted Williams, with the exception (Red Sox fans, take note) that, in the opposite of Ted, A-Rod got MVP awards that he didn't deserve (it's not "Most Outstanding Player," it's "Most Valuable Player).

Torre didn't "betray" anything. I'm pleased that the Daily News interviewed Jim Bouton on the subject, just a day after I cited him. (Things like this are why the News is my favorite newspaper.)

Bouton is right: If you don't want people to write a book that calls you a jerk, don't be one! Even though Bouton himself his hardly innocent in this regard, but that just makes his point all the more. And you know what? He was able to shrug it off.

Remember the scene in the finale of "The Bronx Is Burning," where Billy Martin (John Turturro) and Yogi Berra (Joe Grifasi) are driving around, talking about the World Series they're in (1977)? Billy asks Yogi if he thinks about leaving baseball altogether. Yogi says, "Wouldn't be the end of my life." And Billy says, "Well, it would be the end of mine." And both proved themselves right.

A few months ago, when this feature was still a part of the Daily News, I wondered about Manny Ramirez. What's going to happen to this million-dollar talent with the five-cent head once he can't play anymore?

Maybe A-Rod's head isn't five cents, or $1.98, or any other small amount you want to mention, but it's plenty messed up, hardly all his own doing, and I suspect that when the day comes that he can no longer hit the curveball in April through September, let alone October, or in innings 1 through 6, let alone 7, 8 and 9, or with the bases empty, let alone with men on (hopefully, you've noticed a pattern here), what's he going to become?

Is he going to be like Reggie Jackson or Tom Seaver, having built a life outside his game, where he can be offered a position with an organization and take it or leave it? Or is he going to wind up like Joe Namath, drinking the time away, fooling around with bad-news women, and telling the 2030 version of Suzy Kolber, "I couldn't care less that the Yankees are strugg-a-ling, I just want to kiss you"?

Or maybe he'll write his own book. More likely, he'll get someone to write it for him. I'm not even sure A-Rod can read. One thing he's never been able to read is the writing on the wall.

One well-placed single, or even walk, at certain points in October of 2004, '05, '06 or '07, and Torre's book would be very different -- or maybe he wouldn't have written it at all, as he'd still be the Yankee manager, and wouldn't be out in L.A. proving that there really is a Curse of Donnie Baseball (which, in such a scenario, would've been gone, instead of having been proven in two separate cities, in two separate leagues, and with two separate franchises).

Joe Torre proved himself time and time again. The burden of proof is on Alex Rodriguez. Alex, you wanna make Torre look bad for saying what he said in the book? Then you have a chance that David Wells will never have again: Win a World Series. Until then, just be glad that Torre has more class than Shaquille O'Neal did with Kobe Bryant, and won't say, "Alex, tell me how my... " you know how it goes. (Never mind that Shaq was right, as Joe appears to be.)

Symphony said...

Like I said...

Subway Squawkers said...

Mike, you quote Jim Bouton as saying that if you don't want people to write a book that calls you a jerk, don't be one. I like Jorge Posada, but do you really think he was never a jerk? C'mon now. And we all know what a jerk Roger Clemens is.

Yet it doesn't look like there are negative stories in the book on those two being jerks, because they're Joe's guys.

As for A-Rod not being a real MVP, if it weren't for him having those great years in 2005 and 2007, his team literally would not have made the playoffs. If that's not an MVP, then what is?