Here, for the first time, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci take us inside the dugout, the clubhouse, and the front office in a revelatory narrative that shows what it really took to keep the Yankees on top of the baseball world. The high-priced ace who broke down in tears and refused to go back to the mound in the middle of a game.
Who is the high-priced ace? Carl Pavano would be the obvious choice here, although he wasn't really an ace. But maybe it's not him. Could it be...Randy Johnson?
Here's the other thing about this revelation. Even Torre fans would concede that he was never a great strategic manager. But his skills were supposed to be in dealing with people, balancing egos, and all that jazz. So how do you think that pitcher feels today, knowing that Torre sold him out in order to sell books? Not exactly what we should expect from Mr. Class.
Constant meddling from Yankee executives, many of whom were jealous of Torre’s popularity.
I don't doubt that they were. And I can understand a little why Torre might have been angry that team doctors apparently told George Steinbrenner about Joe's prostate cancer before he knew (although I understand that baseball doctors frequently inform team management on such things before they tell players.)
But even if all these allegations are true, what does it say about Joe that he was still willing to take their money until the Yanks gave him that so-called insulting one-year, $5 million contract extension (which, incidentally, was still more than he is now making with the Dodgers?) And if the Yanks had cowed under and given him that second year, that Torre would still be the manager today?
It's like how Joe trashed A-Rod, yet still publicly said he wanted him to be a Dodger when Torre went over there. If A-Rod is A-Fraud, then what does that make Torre?
The tension that developed between the old guard and the free agents brought in by management. The impact of revenue-sharing and new scouting techniques, which allowed other teams to challenge the Yankees’ dominance.
And, if the way A-Rod was treated is any evidence, that tension was aggravated, not calmed, by Torre.
The players who couldn’t resist the after-hours temptations of the Big Apple. The joys of managing Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and the challenges of managing Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi.
Wonder what Dodger players are thinking now? Are they worrying that they will be a part of Torre's next tell-all book?
And I think there are dozens of managers out there, like those for teams in places like Kansas City and Pittsburgh, who would have loved to have had the "challenges" of managing All-Star players like A-Rod and Giambi.
True, Jason was a juicer, but so was Torre favorite Roger Clemens. And don't forget these other players from Torre's tenure as Yankees manager who also made it into the Mitchell Report: Chuck Knoblauch, Andy Pettitte, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, David Justice, Jose Canseco, Mike Stanton, Jason Grimsley, Glenallen Hill, Denny Neagle, Ron Villone,Daniel Naulty, and Darren Holmes. Of course, some of them weren't exactly keys to the dynasty, but a bunch were. What did Torre know about their steroid use?
Granted, due to the nature of the sources for the Mitchell Report, the Yanks are overrepresented, but still. As Squawker reader Jonmouk71 writes, "Please Pope Josephus, 'stand-up' and tell us what you knew about steroid use in the Yankee clubhouse if you want us to respect or even listen to you." I will be curious to see if he talks about this subject at all in the book.
How about this description, written by the publisher (my emphasis added):
Torre’s last year, when constant ultimatums from the front office, devastating injuries, and a freak cloud of bugs on a warm September night in Cleveland forced him from a job he loved.You have to wonder about the "facts" in a book that can't even get the month for a baseball playoff game correct.
And didn't Torre himself say in his farewell press conference that he should have gone to the mound during the Joba bug game? That was pretty much the only mea culpa he made that day about his entire tenure as a Yankee. Is he now backtracking on that one admission of ineptitude?
For all of Torre's histrionics about being insulted by the Yankees' contract offer, remember this: As Suzyn Waldman tearily reported on WCBS Radio the night that the Yankees lost to Cleveland, Torre and his coaches all acted as if it were his very last game. Yet within a week, he not only thought that he deserved a new contract, he thought he was entitled to a multi-year deal. And because the Yanks wouldn't go along with his demands, he's gotten his revenge with this tell-all book.
As one of our readers noted, I don't think the Yanks will be retiring No. 6 any time soon.
What do you think? Leave us a comment!