Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Joe Torre needs to knock off the Mr. Magoo act about steroids

How long is Joe Torre going to pretend he knew nothing - nothing - about performance-enhancing drug usage on his own teams? The Mr. Magoo act is wearing awfully thin, especially given that Torre's own book, "The Yankee Years," has a chapter about steroids.

But Joe was still trotting out the "I was naive" act yesterday when he spoke with reporters in Westchester during his annual golf tournament. That is when, he wasn't throwing Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez to the wolves to defend Manny Ramirez. You stay classy, Joe!

Here's what he said when asked about whether Manny's use of performance-enhancing drugs would taint a possible Dodgers championship:

"What do you think about Andy Pettitte and Alex [Rodriguez]?" Torre said when asked if a Dodger championship with Ramirez would be tainted.

Ouch! I expected the A-Rod slam from Torre - birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, Torre's gotta insult A-Rod - but the Andy Pettitte dig is surprising. Especially given that Joe got his four rings thanks in no small part to Pettitte.

What would have been an obvious followup question to ask Joe (Four Rings) Torre is if he thinks those rings are tainted due to steroids. After all, 11 members of the 2000 Yankees were in the Mitchell Report. And Roger Clemens, as well as Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch, were big stars for the 1999 Yankees. But it doesn't appear he was asked that.

Come to think of it, why is it that Tony LaRussa was perceived as being tainted for managing Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, while Torre escapes unscathed from the steroids scandal, even though he has managed more juicers than any other manager in history, from Clemens/Pettitte to Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, and A-Rod? At what point is Torre going to bear some share of responsibility for this?

I won't hold my breath expecting that to ever happen. Just like I don't expect to see Torre criticized for his ridiculous remarks about Ramirez:

"He's admitting he did wrong, not crying 'foul' in any way."

When did Manny do that, exactly? Let's review some of what the player actually said:

Asked Friday to detail his steroid use, Ramirez replied, "First I want to say that God is good and good is God. I don't want to get into my records. I want to talk about the game."

...He also acknowledged that the controversy embarrassed him "a lot." But, he added, "we're humans. We learn from our mistakes. There was only one man that was perfect, and they killed him, so that's how I look at life."

Look, I think Manny has been one of the most entertaining, talented and charismatic hitters of his generation. But he hasn't exactly been gushing with candor or remorse about getting caught using performance-enhancing drugs. And the only thing he apologized for was being away from the team, not for what he did to get suspended for 50 games.

I guess Manny admitted he wasn't Jesus. But I think we already knew that.

And the most memorable remark Ramirez has said regarding his suspension was this:
"I didn't kill nobody, I didn't rape nobody."
What do you want, Manny, a cookie?

It's funny. Alex Rodriguez may have sounded inept and ham-handed in his Peter Gammons interview and his spring-training press conference about steroids, but he has shown the most candor on any player about PED use. How sad is that?

At any rate, I will root for the Mets to beat the Dodgers this series, just so I don't have to read any more stories about how wonderful St. Joe is. Good grief.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


Jason @ IIATMS said...

I love the Mr. Magoo reference, Lisa. So true.

Anonymous said...

Lisa ...

You really can't let go ...lol.


Go Yankees 2009 !!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Magoo.

Spot on.


Anonymous said...

Lisa is on a tear today! Too funny (and I agree on all counts) St. Joe and Jeter mythology.


Uncle Mike said...

And I thought Met fans were stuck in the 1980s. Lisa, would you like to go back to those days? With Don Mattingly as The Guy, and all those shortfalls, all those managerial changes, the Boss going nuts with no one having the guts to say he's gone too far, and the Yankees being the Number 2 team in New York in front of 18,000 fans a night?

No thank you. I'll take 6 Pennants and 4 World Championships. I'll take having Derek Jeter, the best shortstop most of us will ever see (including you, Oriole fans). I'll even take having Roger Clemens, if it means having the moral high ground over a team that has had Pedro Martinez but never faced the music about steroids.

What I will not take is a ballplayer with a massive ego but not the team results to back it up. We tried that in the 1980s with Rickey Henderson. The irony being that Rickey won a World Series with Oakland and another with Toronto, after leaving the Yankees -- and do we really know he wasn't 'roided up?

I could tolerate the Torre-bashing and the Jeter-bashing, if it wasn't for the A-Rod lovefest. But let's compare: What has A-Rod done for the Yankees?

Do you think we talk about how DiMaggio, Berra and Mantle each won 3 MVPs? No, we talk about how, respectively, they won 9, 10 and 7 World Series! There's a reason why Ted Williams didn't get the MVP in '41: He finished 6th, and if the Yanks had finished even 2nd, DiMaggio's hitting streak would be an interesting footnote, like Pete Rose's in '78.

If the Yankees win it all while A-Rod is here, I'll acknowledge it, the way I have to acknowledge that Kobe Bryant, whom we now know to be a truly low form of life, has won an NBA Championship without Shaquille O'Neal. (Now let's see either one of them without without gifts from the refs.) Until then, he's a pile of stats and an embarrassment on and off the field. He's A-Roid and he's Slappy -- not a champion.

I can see that, and no one's ever called me Mr. Magoo.

Subway Squawkers said...

Uncle Mike, A-Rod may be a flawed individual, and a juicer, but you can't blame him for the Yanks not winning it all since 2000. And the Yanks wouldn't have made the playoffs in 2005 or 2007 if he didn't have MVP seasons.

As for Torre, we've heard about how owners turned a blind eye to the steroid era. Well, Torre did too. It's simply completely implausible for that many guys to be taking steroids on his teams and him know nothing about it.

And as for Ted Williams, even this Yankee fan is willing to concede that he got robbed several times for the MVP award. And it had nothing to do with the standings, but a lot to do with writers not liking him.

- Lisa

Symphony said...

I find it amusing that if you acknowledge the double standard in the PED users Andy and Alex, Yankee fans want to say you're throwing Andy under the bus.

But I bet none of them have a problem with Torre doing the same thing. He's simply stating the truth I guess.

Yankees haven't won because of Alex is ignorant talk by people who can't put aside biases long enough to have a legitimate discussion.

But you know the Dynasty Teams* won on grit, gut and hugs. Pitching has nothing to do with it.

2003 Yankee staff ERA was like 3.4 or something like that. 2004 it was 4.69. Thats obviously Alex's fault. And Sheffield, Matsui, Jason and every other non-pitching free agent or big bat that has come after 2000.

Ryan O said...

Do we blame Tony Larussa in Oakland or Billy Beane? For all I know "Moneyball" is a book about getting cheap players then loading them up on steroids right?

Subway Squawkers said...

But Ryan, LaRussa has gotten grief for defending McGwire, while Torre gets a free pass for looking the other way on steroids for over a decade. It's a huge double standard.

- Lisa

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