Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday is book day in Yankeeland, and a Sox fan weighs in

While today marks the official release of Joe Torre and Tom Verducci's "The Yankee Years," it also is release day for Jane Heller's delightful "Confessions of a She-Fan."She isn't just a best-selling reader - she's a Yankee fan and Squawker reader!

"Confessions of a She-Fan" is the real Yankee-related book readers should pick up today. I will write up my review soon, but in the meantime, I encourage you to check out this book, and her websites: Confessions of a She-Fan and JaneHeller.com.

On another note, Squawker reader/Red Sox fan Bob Ekstrom has some thoughts on the state of the Yankees. He also gave us a shout-out at BostonSportsMedia.com. Here's what he thinks of the Torre book.

From The Fens: Bad Stuff ’Bout The Yanks

Lightning crashes. An old writer dies.

In eulogizing John Updike, Big League Stew ascribes his essay on Ted Williams’ final game as perhaps the greatest of all time. ’Duk even links to a Harvard grad student’s blog to confirm it. Mind you, neither blogger in any way qualifies his superlative. It’s not the greatest baseball essay ever, but simply, the greatest.

Updike put the Lyric Little Bandbox in our ballpark on Yawkey Way and it’s a moniker we in New England endear. As venue nicknames go, we prefer it to The House That Ruth Built, seeing as it was the Red Sox who built Ruth in the first place, then sold him off to aid and abet our enemy. It should have been The House That Frazee Built all along.

No matter. Whoever built it, it’s in rubles now. No, not literally. But with his tell-all debut, Joe Torre accomplishes in one off-season what it took Red Sox Nation 86 years - and will take Mayor Bloomberg another 16 months - to do. He has razed The House That Ruth Built.

Torre may lack those Updikian traits the New York Times calls “protean and lyrical,” but times are different now. In an age of steroids, plasma TV, and when a movie like Saw can garnish four sequels, it’s clear we want to be hit over the head with our entertainment, not to have to pan for it through the prosaic dust of a bygone era. We need shock, and that’s why Torre’s tale will engage us.

Not since Chico Escuela has an author rattled the Apple to such a degree. But this isn’t about taking up two parking spaces or stealing Chico’s soap. This is an epic of betrayal, of name-slinging, of another man rubbing liniment on Roger Clemens’ testicles. Frankly, I’m not sure how anyone could even find Clemens’ testicles by now.

In a Red Sox Nation mocked by a tolerance of its eccentric superstars, Torre’s accounts will create backups stretching out to the curbs that front every bookstore from Harvard Square to Southie. We will relish this light of truth that exposes the Empire as a collection of a hundred Manny-doms of its own. We will relive with gusto that final day when Yankee brass let its greatest post-Stengel skipper flee the Bronx. And, with eyes wide open, we will see the dirty laundry of a team that is apparently no more sacrosanct than our own.

But even as we embrace its entertainment value, Yankee Fan should regard Torre’s work as a catharsis. Isn’t it far better to empty old Yankee Stadium’s bowels of these dark secrets than to transport them across East 161st where they would take up residence along with a legion of buried Big Papi shirts, destined to forever curse this fabled franchise from tucked-away shadows?

Nor should you slay the messenger; if it weren’t for Torre, your Got Rings? shirts would be far more stark. Of course, those tees wouldn’t exist were it not for Boston’s 2004 comeback against the Torre Bombers but, hey, it was Mo Rivera that persisted in throwing over to first to help Dave Roberts get warmed up, not Torre. And Lisa, we can’t blame him for not doing more to bring Jeter and A-Rod together when - from Verducci’s fingertips to our ears - St. Joe reportedly needed a crowbar to separate them.

Better make that from Torre’s mouth to our ears because, as of Friday, we can’t blame Verducci anymore. Joe acquitted him of any misinterpretation by ratifying his complete account on Larry King Live. So today, when we can finally read it for ourselves, there will be no doubt about the source. Nor the authenticity.

Lightning crashes. A new writer’s rise.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

This type of comments from fans of other teams in which they have pleasure on our pain it only means one thing: we are the standard! Yes guys, WE are the benchmark to follow and you are very SMART on attempting to be like us.

Torre's book may be to the others as finding out all that is evil in Yankeedoom. For us, it's just vindication because we knew that Torre had exhausted his welcome, confirms that he was a non factor from 96 to 01 and he is a snitch. And what value can you find? Just Torre admitting that he was upset with Brian Cashman for not bringing Bernie Williams back after '06 makes it worthless. Torre is our own Michael Moore.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, count with their own spin doctors, with TV network, magazine and web site. To the common man it is called ESPN. Lead by Peter Gammons, Minister of Misinformation, formerly known as Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information (remember "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"). Please also remember "C C Sabathia has told friends he wil NEVER sign with the Yankees."

Lisa, is She-Fan the author the same as the one that posts here?

Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

And by the way, headline on The Wall Street Journal online "Citi Explores Mets Deal Exit."

Mets fans, it could've been worse. Just thank God that it wasn't "Bernie Madoff Field."

Bob in Kiev said...

Lisa, I have been on a long trip to some countries east of Ukraine without internet access, so I have just now read all of your columns about Joe Torre's book. I agree with the commenter a few days back who said you are the best sports columnist in New York. I agree with everything you wrote about Joe the Snitch. I especially loved your list of questions. I just can't get over the fact that Joe blames others for things that he himself could have remedied- such as, if "home run Javy” Vazquez. was so fragile why in the world did Joe bring him in to face Damon in that crucial spot in game 7 vs. the Red Sox in the '04 playoffs? And why start the equally "fragile" Kevin Brown in that game when El Duque was available? And why bring in "fragile," underused, out of shape Jeff Weaver to face Florida in extra innings in the pivotal game of the '03 World Series? There are many, many such examples. Someone tried to counter you by comparing what Joe did to what Jim Bouton did in 1970. But Bouton was a washed up, cynical, ex-player who had just spent his final baseball year with the immortal Seattle Pilots. Joe was the MANAGER! If anyone should keep clubhouse secrets secret, it’s the manager. Even Mussina has called Joe out for abusing his trust relationship with his players. And Joe is still managing! I would not like to be a player for the Dodgers right now- wondering what Joe is going to say about me in two years when the Dodgers don't renew his contract and Joe gets miffed. All I can do is quote you, Lisa: "Sheesh!!"

Anonymous said...


The Yankees are the standard? For what, dysfunctional families?

NAM said...

Sorry Alvaro, I hit the wrong button, that last comment was from me.


Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

Yeah, we are "Married with Children" and the Red Sox are "The Cosby Show" but played by characters from "Family Ties" for obvious reasons.

NAM said...

Alvaro, Could you please explain your last post.

Subway Squawkers said...

Yes, it is the same She-Fan is one and the same. Buy her book!

And Bob, thanks for the nice note. But I don't consider myself a sportswriter - just a squawking fan!

Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

Hey She-Fan! I just read the editorial review of your book ... so you thought about divorcing the Yankees? Hahaha!

I've always thought about suing George Steinbrenner for cruel and unusual punishment. I started following the Yankees in '76, I turned 13 in '80 and went pennant less in my teenhood. You have no idea how much I have spent with shrinks. Do I have a valid argument? Hahaha!

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