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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tim McCarver compares Yankee front office to Communists and Nazis for not sufficiently worshipping Joe Torre

Squawker Jon and I had other plans Saturday, so I missed watching Saturday's FOX game live. It's just as well, between A.J. Burnett selfishly hurting himself, and Tim McCarver's insane comments (captured by Ross at NY Stadium Insider) comparing the Yankee front office to Nazi Germany and the old Soviet Union for not having Joe Torre remembered in Yankee Stadium. McCarver's rant about Torre not being mentioned in the Stadium isn't even accurate, by the way - for one thing, Torre's picture is on the 2000 Yankee championship banner in the field level.

McCarver, who along with Joe Buck insisted in a previous broadcast that Joe Torre was the biggest reason the YES Network was so successful (as if the reason fans turned in to watch those games was to see the manager, and not the players!) gave a one-sided account of Torre's tenure with the Yankees. The broadcaster accused the front office of "corporate childishness" and said it was "the one thing they have bungled." He also had this to say about the Yankee front office's treatment of Torre:
You remember some of those despotic leaders in World War II, primarily in Russia and Germany, where they used to take those pictures that they had ... taken of former generals who were no longer alive, they had shot 'em. They would airbrush the pictures, and airbrushed the generals out of the pictures. In a sense, that's what the Yankees have done with Joe Torre. They have airbrushed his legacy. I mean, there's no sign of Joe Torre at the stadium. And, that's ridiculous. I don't understand it.
No, what's ridiculous is that McCarver would make such ignorant, outrageous comments, that simultaneously prop up Joe Torre as a victim and smear the Yankees front office, and that have no basis in fact. To compare Torre to a victim of Nazis and Soviet Communists is both offensive and absurd. These comments were in such incredibly bad taste, I half-expected McCarver to compare Torre's "The Yankee Years" to "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "The Gulag Archipelago."

McCarver has a lot in common with Torre, besides both of them having acrimonious ends to their tenure in Yankeeland. Both used to be very good at their jobs, but then they got complacent and arrogant as their fame and fortune grew. And both felt entitled to do whatever they wanted because of who they were, and thought they could just wing it on their names, without any preparation.

Now McCarver thinks that comparing Torre - who became a rich man and a future Hall of Famer thanks to his time as a Yankee - to Nazi and Soviet victims is just peachy. I think McCarver is off his rocker.
 
Let's review - Joe left Yankeeland because of the "insult" of getting a one-year, $5 million contract offer with an additional $3 million in incentives. He signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for less money than the Yankees offered him. Then he wrote "The Yankee Years" and trashed George Steinbrenner and the Yankee front office. He moved on, and so did the Yankees. But according to McCarver, the team ought to be obsessing about poor Joe every day. Give me a break.

Yes, Torre got left out of that Yankee Stadium closing tribute, and he should have been mentioned there. But McCarver didn't even bring that up; instead he focused on stuff that isn't even true.

How should the Yankees sufficiently honor Torre right now? Retire his number? Give him a plaque in Monument Park? And does McCarver really think that either thing will happen when 1) he's still an active manager for another team, and 2) he has yet to apologize for biting the hand that fed him for twelve years?

Casey Stengel had three more rings than Joe Torre. He didn't get his Yankee number retired until 1970, ten years after he was fired, and five years after he retired from the Mets. He didn't get a plaque in Monument Park until 1976, the year after he died.

If Torre didn't write "The Yankee Years," I think the front office would have retired his number after he himself retired from managing.  Now, I don't see that happening any time soon. But that's Joe's own fault, not the Yankees.


What do you think? Tell us about it!

30 comments:

The Omnipotent Q said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Omnipotent Q said...

Torre and McCarver were good friends in St. Louis, as they were teammates together.I can understand why he said what he did in a way. But McCarver continues to make the Fox games totally unwatchable, especially after making such boneheaded comments like yesterday.

ROGER said...

McCarver is a loud, pious individual who thinks he knows it all. It is hard to watch a baseball game when he is announcing.

Skip said...

I agree with both Omnipotent Q and Roger about the Fox Baseball Broadcast team. I do respect Joe Torre and his managerial career but Tim McCarver has always been a loose cannon and Joe Buck wouldn't have got the job had his dad, Jack Buck not been the the Cardinals all those years. Neither is that good of a baseball broadcaster and with Joe Buck doing football too. Well he ought to just stick with one. Boy it sure does make you miss Old Diz with either Buddy Blatner or Pee Wee Reese. Those were the days of great broadcasting from a baseball game. And Diz and Pee Wee would never have made such negative comments about a game or players. They just stuck to the game itself and how it was being played on the field. And one more thing, Monument Valley at the new Yankee Stadium is sure getting filled up fast these day. You know George Steinbrenner will be added soon and if Joe Torre needs to go anywhere I would think it would be in St. Louis.

edwardd972 said...

The reference to Nazi's and the Soviet Union is a bit much, but some in Yankeeland continue to badmouth Torre at every chance. Sure Torre's number should not be retired until he retires himself, but there is nothing wrong with acknowledging Torre's tenure and acomplishments. Over the past few years Steinbrenner became a deity at Yankee Stadium, but he wasn't the easiest guy to work for.

Uncle Mike said...

If the Yankees were truly trying to dishonor Joe Torre, they would have given his Number 6 back out to some scrub who would quickly be gone.

Remember when Paul O'Neill's 21 was given to LaTroy Hawkins, and Hawkins couldn't pop out of the dugout without getting booed? He switched to 22 but the damage done, and he couldn't pitch anymore, and soon he was gone.

Dave Winfield's 31 remains in circulation. Sometimes, it's been okay, as for Tim Raines. But so many here-today-gone-tomorrow pitchers have worn it (Dan Naulty? Seriously?) that it is a continually-running insult.

The Yankees, going back to the Topping-Webb regime, have usually been lousy at saying goodbye, but very good at saying welcome back. Joe Torre's time will come, and when it does, all the criticisms -- including the flack he still gets for batting A-Rod 8th in a Playoff game -- will not matter, only the achievements will.

Robert said...

Don't forget that McCarver's best friend in baseball is Steve Carlton, lunatic conspiracy theorist. Sounds like McCarver's been hanging out with him too much.

Andy said...

I am so, so tired of McCarver babbling. His comment about Torre is a bit much and a total exaggeration. Torre was here for 12 years which, considering it is the Yankees, is more like 40 years managing!! Torre was an announcer in Cincy when the Yanks hired him. Yes, he did a great job but George also gave him the tools to win. McCarver has always disliked the Yankees so it is no surprise he made this outrageous comment but the more ridiculous comment that buffoon made was that AJ burnett may have cut his hand on the pie in the face from the day before. The 'pie in the face' is actually shaving cream in a towel. What a moron.

TMAC6844 said...

McCarver was right on about Torre--Joe WAS the "straw that stirred the drink" of the Yankees resurgence in MLB. He did not bow down to the BOSS and was a real manager--NOT a front office mouthpiece. The Yankees do not appreciate what he did for them--and I am NOT a Yankee fan--I HATE THEM.

TMAC6844 said...

McCarver was "right on" about Torre. Joe WAS the "straw that stired the drink" that was the Yankee re-surgence in MLB. He did not bow down to the BOSS and has been slighted for being a real MANAGER and NOT a front office mouthpiece. The Yankees do not appreciate what he DID for them.

TMAC6844 said...

McCarver was "right on" about Torre. Joe WAS the "straw that stired the drink" that was the Yankee re-surgence in MLB. He did not bow down to the BOSS and has been slighted for being a real MANAGER and NOT a front office mouthpiece. The Yankees do not appreciate what he DID for them.

Paul said...
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DPS said...

Normally I think McCarver is a dolt. His analogy is a bit wacky, but his point here is good. The Yankees have never shown the gratitude that they should to Torre. My opinion is that it stems from the fact that The Boss was insanely jealous of Torre's public image as the kind and wise father figure in the Yankee dugout. Many people felt that Torre did what wonders he did there IN SPITE if Steinbrenner's meddling. That must have driven The Boss crazy.

Magnus, Robot Fighter said...

Lisa, did you read "Yankee Years"? Be honest.

Lisa Swan said...

Q raises a really good point - Tim McCarver should have mentioned his relationship with Joe Torre.

And for all the many new readers sent our way today, I am not exactly a fan of Torre's post 2002-years with the Yankees. I have little respect for the way Joe Torre:

1) sleepwalked through the last four-five years of his tenure, only rousing to bat A-Rod eighth or pitch Jeff Weaver in the World Series or other assorted nonsense,

2) showed such ingratitude on the way out the door, griping about the nerve of an incentive clause when he has similar clauses throughout his contract,

and 3) trashed the organization in "The Yankee Years" (and no, I don't care that he mostly slammed easy targets - you preach confidentiality in the clubhouse, and then use those stories in a book, you should be chastised.)

Torre is no poor innocent victim. If he had left in a classy way befitting his reputation, and not written his trashy book, he would have his number retired soon. Until he apologizes, and tries to make amends (which is not very likely), I don't see Yankeeland welcoming him back into the fold tomorrow.

Eric, Generic said...

I accidentally had the sound on during the Fox Broadcast on Saturday. I found McCarver's comments offensive on multiple levels, not the least of which is his complete ignorance of just about everything, including World War II and Yankee Stadium. First of all, Torre has not been erased. There are photographs of him throughout the stadium. I'm also tired of hearing that Tim McCarver has a brilliant baseball mind. Having a condescending opinion on every on-field action does not transform one into Casey Stengel. A lot of what he says is simply conjecture-- projecting and/or predicting what is in a player's mind at a particular moment and accepting it as fact. If Tim McCarver is such a baseball wizard, then why has he never been mentioned or considered for a managerial or front office position? For a guy who caught Gibson and Carlton (a fact he manages to work into every broadcast), you'd think he had more of a grasp of the game than John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman combined. But he really doesn't...

RUDOLPHD said...

McCARVER ALL HE DOES IS TALK TALK & TALK DURING A GAME ABOUT NONSENSE THAT NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR AND FOX KEEPS PUTTING ON. WHEN HE IS DOING A GAME I TURN THE SOUND OFF.

Magnus, Robot Fighter said...

But...DID you actually read "The Yankee Years"? Cause it doesn't sound like you have.

nrod said...

Tim McCarver and "FOX" (the i hate people of color news)go hand and hand..
GOD BLESS AMERICA

Lisa Swan said...

Magnus, Robot Fighter wondered whether I read "The Yankee Years." As I've detailed in this blog before, I first read part of it, then tossed it away in disgust. Then I did read the rest of it, and disliked it even more. It was a nasty book, devoted to score-settling, and deserves the bad reputation it has.

The worst part of it was the way Torre threw Johnny Damon under the bus for actually expressing human emotions after the death of Cory Lidle.

And, as I've detailed in this blog before, the book isn't even factually accurate in many places. Like when Torre accuses David Wells of being a bad influence on Sidney Ponson, when they were never even teammates.

Magnus, Robot Fighter said...

Well I read it as a biography/account of what a manager actually does (A Yankee manager at least). He didn't trash Steinbrenner as you said earlier, in fact Steinbrenner is the first person he thanks.

Corey Lidle doesn't appear in The Yankee Years.

If you're referring to Damon showing up to 2007 camp overweight, and ready to quit baseball, Joe says this: "Johnny was apologetic, and I felt bad for him"

Lisa Swan said...

"Well I read it as a biography/account of what a manager actually does (A Yankee manager at least)."

Oh please. It was Joe getting back at his enemies. And guess what? They hold grudges just as strong as he does. And they also happen to be in charge in Yankeeland.

I really couldn't care less if Torre mouthed a thank you to Steinbrenner - I would expect nothing less from a passive-aggressive operator like him. The book itself - and the way he revealed personal health details that the family didn't want out there - showed the real Joe Torre.

As for the Damon issue, here's what Johnny told Bill Madden:

"I was really bummed out by the way everything ended for us in 2006 (losing to the Detroit Tigers in four games in the AL divisional series). (Gary Sheffield) being benched, Alex batting eighth, all of that. We'd worked so hard to have it end that way when I felt we had the best team. And then after Cory Lidle's death, I started looking at things in a bigger picture, being home with my kids after missing all the years of them growing up."

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2009/03/01/2009-03-01_johnny_damon_feels_joe_torres_book_is_ju.html

It puts it in a bit more context than "Damon showed up fat to spring training," eh? Funny how Joe didn't include Damon's feelings in context in his book.

Anyhow, you like the book, I hate it, and neither of us are going to change each other's minds. So I'm done talking about this with you.

Lisa Swan said...

I loved what Eric, Generic had to say about McCarver:

"I'm also tired of hearing that Tim McCarver has a brilliant baseball mind. Having a condescending opinion on every on-field action does not transform one into Casey Stengel....For a guy who caught Gibson and Carlton (a fact he manages to work into every broadcast), you'd think he had more of a grasp of the game than John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman combined. But he really doesn't..."

I completely agree. And when John and Suzyn get something wrong, somebody invariably corrects them through their earpiece, and they get it right. McCarver's blather pretty much goes unchallenged on the broadcasts.

mikkyld said...

The analogy is a good one and doesn't actually say that the Yankees front office are commies or nazis. He said they have airbrushed Torre out just as dictators have done with formerly great leaders who became troublesome (or dead).

Someone else will have to say whether it is accurate or not but it does seem like Torre is persona non grata at yankee stadium.

As to his talent, I never saw it as all that impressive but he did have one talent very important to the Yankee approach of paying the most for various great players - often replete with egos. Torre was talented at accepting such players and melding them into a team.

McCarver is not as bad as so many say and he does actually understand the game quite well; it is just that after listening for so long, it gets old. I imagine I'd not like to have heard dizzy dean if he were still announcing either.

Oh and I remember thinking that Torre was amazingly demanding when he finally did leave, talking about being disrespected while asking for so much money. At the same time, it was clear the Yanks were trying to offer enough so they'd be viewed as trying while really not trying.

There were no winners in that case IMO but then it was the Yankees, so I wasn't surprised.

theteacher174 said...

Nice to know that even the knuckleheads at Fox are subject to Godwin's Law.

Maybe Fox will finally get rid of the duo that openly roots against the Yankees, even when they aren't covering a Yankees game.

Even Family Guy couldn't make up something so bizarre.

Brien Jackson said...

These attempts to defend the statement are as ignorant and offensive as the original statement.

For starters, the Nazi reference itself is ignorant/gratuitous, since Hitler had a pretty good relationship with the military and didn't go about killing officers until after the assassination attempt against him. What McCarver is referring to are Stalin's paranoid purges against senior officials in the Red Army who he feared were loyal to Trotsky, and who were then written out of prominence as traitors to the revolution. Which is to say; it's still a comparison to brutal, lawless, mass murder no matter which way you slice it.

joltinjoe said...

McCarver has been a boob for many years. This comment is way over the top. He is ignorant of NAZI and USSR terror to its own people. I agree that the Yankee management has been awful to it's managers for over 50 years. Stengel, Berra, and now Torre have been humiliated by their actions. McCarver too has been awful in his comentary for many years. He once said that a runner on 2nd base is as good as a runner on 3rd base. Everybody knows that is not true. Yet, this baseball "expert" said it. You can score at least 9 ways from 3rd that you cannot socre from 2nd. Balk, passed ball, wild pitch, squeeze bunt, groundout to 2nd base, steal home, short single to the outfield, infield hit. Now you know!

Uncle Mike said...

What McCarver said -- comparing the way the Yankee management operates with the way the Nazis and Soviets "erased people from history" -- would not have been so bad... if it were true. But it wasn't.

Someone brought up the point of McCarver's friendship with Steve Carlton. He might have been the best pitcher I've ever seen (I don't go back to the Sixties with Koufax, Drysdale, Gibson and Marichal), but... Remember the joke? The two best pitchers in baseball don't speak English: Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Carlton. But when he did actually talk, he made our eyeballs spin like the wheels in a slot machine. Lots of famous players (including McCarver, who's written a few) have been asked to write books, but no Carlton memoir has ever appeared -- maybe we're lucky.

We may never know how much of "The Yankee Years" is Torre and how much of it is Verducci. Some guys just hate the Yankees. You'll notice that when Reggie Jackson was with the Angels, he still hadn't made peace with George Steinbrenner, and who did he get to ghost the memoir he wrote then? The New York media's biggest active Yankee-hater, then and now, Mike Lupica.

So maybe Verducci was saying things he wanted to be true, and Torre didn't have the guts to say, "Wait a minute, I never said that."

But, Lisa, if anyone is trying to rewrite history here, it's you. You harp on Torre's managing performance from 2002 to 2007. It was full of baffling decisions -- I'll still never understand why he trusted Jeff Weaver -- but he did two truly remarkable managing jobs in '06 and '07, with teams that really shouldn't have made the Playoffs, but did.

And by harping on 2002-07, you're neglecting 1996-2001. Just as Casey Stengel managed the Yanks to a 3rd-place finish in 1959, and screwed up the 1960 World Series by starting Art Ditmar over Whitey Ford, does that mean we have to ignore what he did from 1949 to 1958, and the fact that he still won that 1960 Pennant? Are we supposed to forget that Billy Martin won the Pennant in 1976 and the Series in 1977, and remember only his meltdowns from 1978 to 1988? No. And for what he did for this team, Joe Torre deserves the same forgiveness.

If A-Rod can be forgiven for his failures from 2004 to 2007, so can Torre be forgiven for his failures over the same seasons, and the preceding two.

Lisa Swan said...

Uncle Mike writes:

"We may never know how much of "The Yankee Years" is Torre and how much of it is Verducci."

With all due respect, let me utter an "Oh, please" to that remark. Torre's name and picture is on the book. Torre made millions off "The Yankee Years." He approved everything in the book, contrary to his recent revisionist history blaming Verducci for the negative stuff.

Give it a year or two, and Torre's minions will be claiming about how that evil Tom Verducci slapped Joe's name and photo on a book cover without his consent!

As for your accusation about me rewriting history, the Casey Stengel analogy is appropriate. Both once did great things but lost it in the end, and both left on bad terms.

Casey Stengel didn't get his Yankee number retired until ten years after being fired, and his Monument Park plaque went up posthumously. Sorry, I'm not going to cry any tears because poor Joe Torre has gone all of 2 1/2 years without his number retired.

Brien Jackson said...

The Verducci dodge is ridiculous. As Lisa points out, Torre's picture is on the front, and his name has top billing. He approved every word of what was in the book, so he owns all of it. And while I'll allow that the Stengel comparison works, the A-Rod comparison is just absurd. Even accepting the premise, "failing" at the plate against other competitors isn't the same as failing as a manager because you can't be bothered to put max effort into the job and act like a professional.

Then again, Stengel didn't have his friends comparing the front office to Hitler and Stalin on national television either.