Thursday, February 5, 2009

Don't believe the media hype about Yankee fans being behind Joe Torre

I noticed several stories in the news today, where reporters interviewed people at Joe Torre's book signings and found out - surprise! - that these folks think Torre did nothing wrong with "The Yankee Years." Talk about the Department of Duh - the chances of finding a vocal, open Torre-hater at one of those events are about the same as finding is about as likely as the chances of finding a Red Sox fan wearing an "I Luv A-Rod" shirt. After all, Torre-haters aren't likely to wait online for hours, even though there's a good chance, like what happened yesterday at Borders, that they will get turned away.

But that is not to say that some of the people on line didn't have other agendas besides meeting Torre in the flesh. Newsflash to journalists - if somebody is buying five copies of "The Yankee Years," they might, oh I don't know, be selling the books on eBay or something!

Then there's this "fan" quoted in today's New York Post:

One devoted Torre fan, 45-year-old self-proclaimed retiree Greg Packer of Huntington, even stood in freezing temperatures from 3:30 a.m. on to get the first spot for the afternoon signing - and that was after standing in a long line the day before at a Midtown bookstore to get Torre's signature, too.

"It was worth it," Packer said. "I wish he was still the [Yankees] manager. With the talent we have on this team now, we'd be guaranteed to get to the World Series with Torre in charge."

I recognized Packer's name right away, and it wasn't for being a Yankee lover - it was the fact that this guy is well-known for being quoted in the media as a typical "man on the street."

Packer is famous - make that infamous - for showing up at celebrity signings and news events and getting his name and quotes in the papers, mostly for being the first in line at such things. He's been quoted hundreds of times in the press over the years.

He was the first in line when the iPhone went on sale in New York - Packer waited 110 hours in line for the opportunity. Wikipedia notes that he's been quoted as being both a lifelong Steeler fan and a lifelong Giants fan. This lifelong Yankee fan also showed up for Game 5 of last year's Philles-Ray World Series, and stayed in Philadelphia for the parade. Naturally, he was quoted in the New York Times about making the trip down from Long Island.

So infamous is Packer's hobby, that he's been profiled by National Public Radio, Editor and Publisher, the New York Times, Columbia News Service, and the Wall Street Journal about his exploits. He even has his own Wikipedia entry detailing his quotes, and brushes with fame.

In 2003, the Associated Press issued a memo to its reporters warning them about quoting Packer. Six years later, he's still frequently interviewed by journalists.

This professional line sitter admitted to Editor and Publisher in 2004 that he sometimes makes "stuff up to get in the paper," and said "at times the media can be gullible." You don't say.

"I do not think members of the press are pansies," Packer told Editor and Publisher, "but there are times when I go home and laugh because I can't believe that I made the newspaper pages again."

Guess he's having a giggle reading his quotes in today's papers about his love for Joe Torre.

As Sheryl McCarthy of Newsday once wrote in a column,
"The fact that Greg Packer's quotes have turned up everywhere suggests that man-on-the-street interviews are worthless."

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

Yesterday I was watching the DVD "Yankee Stadium: Baseball's Cathedral" and was going over the 2003 Aaron Booone's game. The broadcaster said: "Mariano Rivera is pitching his 3rd inning, hasn't pitched three since 1996." Take on Jeff Weaver "Jeff Weaver is the only pitcher left and he hasn't even WARMED UP once for this series."

On this context, to me, this makes the use of Weaver over Mariano Rivera on the 5th game of the 2003 World Series an even poorer decision by Joe Torre than I had ever thought.

She-Fan said...

I just finished reading the Post article and said to myself, "Why does the name Greg Packer sound familiar?" Thanks for clearing that up, Lisa. What a crock!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Joe Torre, you ruined my marriage.

This week I got my wife an anniversary card. In the card, I enclosed a letter. The words flowed romantically and sincerely. It was a work of art. I spoke so glowingly of her. I showed the letter to some close friends and it brought tears to their eyes.

In the middle of the letter I casually mentioned that some of her friends called her “fat cow” behind her back. Was that so bad? All those other praising words and those are the ones she picked out? Give me a break!

I told her – she needed to read the ENTIRE letter. Don’t take those words of out context! Don’t pick apart one throw away line of an entirely beautiful letter. But no, all she kept muttering was “fat cow”.

In my defense I said that I had help writing the letter. Those exact “fat cow” words weren’t mine. (this didn’t help)

She asked me if I had read the letter before I gave it to her – I meekly said – yes, six or seven times. (this didn’t help either)

I tried to make a joke of the whole thing. I said friends didn’t really say those words “behind her back”. It wasn’t said in a mean way! It was playful. (this really didn’t help)

I tried to reason – look, everyone knows you aren’t as skinny as you were 12 years ago. It’s a fact. It’s not like it’s shattering news! (by now, I’m ducking for cover)

As a final defense I said – Look Joe Torre said some terrible things about Arod and people still love him and his new terrific book.

She asked me where Joe Torre was now. I said LA. She said good, go join your buddy Joe in California – you are history.

My only hope is Valentine’s Day. I’m thinking maybe Tom Verducci can help me with a card…...

Anonymous said...


Your post is hysterical and absolutely brilliant!! In fact it's so good, I feel kind of bad that you wasted it on a blog where the only ones who will read it are us fellow bloggers.

You should try and get this printed in some editorial in a public newspaper. I'm sure many other people will find it more than entertainign and very befitting of this whole Torre book issue.

"Nutball Gazette" said...

Anonymous. That was Brilliant. I am with Emperor. . Get that in a major publication. (Sorry Lisa. No disrespect intended) Subway Squawkers is Great, and should be required reading in all Schools and Business meetings daily!

Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

That was a great post "Anonymous"! YOU should be in Letterman!

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