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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why I Don't Want to See Joe Torre on Old Timers' Day

I've been holding my tongue about drama king Joe Torre's announcement the other day that the Yankees invited him to Old Timers' Day, but I simply have to say something. Other Yankee fans may be glad to see him that day, but I won't be.

Like Joe has been known to do himself, I hold a grudge. Especially since he has yet to apologize for anything he wrote in "The Yankee Years," unless you consider passive-aggressively blaming Tom Verducci for it an apology. Not to mention the way he trashed Yankee ownership on his way out the door for what he called an "insult" -- them "only" offering him $5 million for 2008 plus incentives, which would have given him another $3 million just for making the World Series.

Or the way Torre sleepwalked through the playoffs in the last few years in Yankeeland, content to hold Derek Jeter's bat, drink green tea in the dugout, and lounge while Joba Chamberlain was surrounded by a swarm of midges. By the way, I saw that there is some new book called The Beauty of Short Hops: How Chance and Circumstance Confound the Moneyball Approach to Baseball, which talks about how the authors believe luck and chance played more of a role in the Red Sox's winning than sabermetrics did. Well, that, and Terry Francona strategizing against a manager who didn't have the energy or the interest to, you know, actually play to win. (Yes, I'm still bitter they didn't run on Jason Varitek when he couldn't catch Tim Wakefield's knuckleball. Or bunt on Curt Schilling.)

Jim Bouton missed, what, over 25 years of Old Timers' Day for his book "Ball Four"? And it took his daughter dying -- and his son writing an article in the New York Times in 1998 begging George Steinbrenner to invite his father back -- to get him back in the fold. Now Torre's going to back, just two years after his horrible book? Puh-lease.

Torre's book was much worse than Bouton's, and much more of a violation of the locker room code than Bouton's one. It was so hypocrticial for St. Joe to write the book, given how he preached keeping issues in the clubhouse, and given how he slammed David Wells for ruining the sanctity of the clubhouse with Wells' own book. Torre was positively gleeful in revealing that Yankee teammates called Alex Rodriguez A-Fraud? Well, I call Torre J-Fraud. He is a Grade-A phony, pretending to have a kindly fatherly persona, all the while sticking the knife into the back of anybody who didn't kiss his ring.

Yes, Torre did lead the Yankees to four rings in his first five years, and if there were a way to honor him just for that, without all the other baggage, I would stand up and cheer for Torre as much as anybody else.  Yes, the four rings go on the balance sheet, but so do the years and years of playoff failures, despite having the highest payroll in baseball. And as crucial a figure Torre was in the winning, he also held that importance in the losing, when the team was outplayed and outmanaged. He knew what the deal was -- World Series or bust -- but after the four rings, he got complacent, and only cared about his guys in the clubhouse, to the expense of the team as a whole.

Only Torre would act like having a player who won two MVPs in three years was a burden equivalent to having Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, and Milton Bradley on the team all at once. Only Torre would put on his fake caring act, all the while taking notes for his book. I can't stand Kevin Brown. But did I really need to read about him curled up in the fetal position in the clubhouse? No. And what did poor Johnny Damon do to have his battle with depression revealed as fodder for Torre's book?

Torre has never apologized for his score-settling screed. He has never apologized to the Steinbrenner family for revealing the state of George's health in the tome. And the closest he came to ever publicly apologizing to Brian Cashman for trashing him in "The Yankee Years," even though Cash helped save his job after the 2006 season, was to say last year that he knew the GM "was offended by some of the things" in the book. "Hopefully, we can shake hands and put behind us whatever would keep that from happening." Whoopee.

Why a sincere apology wasn't requested by Yankeeland before having Torre involved with anything in the Bronx again is beyond me. That's not how I roll, so I just don't get it. I don't understand why the Yanks are having Torre come back now, without even getting some lip service from him about how he screwed up with the book.

We already saw what happened when the Yankees took the high ground, and invited St. Joe to the George Steinbrenner tribute. He made sure to leak that info to the media, even though the team wanted it to be a surprise, so that he could hold court with the press and make it all about him.

Now, we'll hear all season, thanks to Torre's lackeys in the press, about the glorious day when St. Joe will make his triumphant return to Yankee Stadium. Well, don't expect me to be among the fans cheering for him.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

5 comments:

David said...

Keep telling it like it is Lisa!! Something the main stream, kiss tushy
media fails to do!! The main reason the Yankees won four world championships was because of bench coaches, especially Zim.

Michael said...

You can tell Lisa's right due to all the Pennants Zim won with his other clubs. The 1978 Red Sox. The 1989 Cubs. Wait a minute...

Come to think of it, both the Rockies and the Rays didn't win Pennants until after Zim was gone.

To hear Lisa tell it, Joe Torre wasn't hired as Yankee manager until October 18, 2003 -- after Aaron Boone but before Jeff Bleeping Weaver. Somebody else must have managed those 6 Pennants and 4 World Championships.

Don Zimmer had as much to do with those titles as Darrell Royal had to do with the National Championship that Mack Brown won with Texas.

Subway Squawkers said...

Michael, did you see where I wrote, "Torre did lead the Yankees to four rings in his first five years, and if there were a way to honor him just for that, without all the other baggage, I would stand up and cheer for Torre as much as anybody else."

How much clearer could I have made that point? But the four rings only go so far. He stopped caring about anything but polishing his image, then he trashed the franchise when leaving in a huff, then he trashed the franchise some more in his book. Why he is included in Old Timers' Day, when he has yet to apologize of any of his unclassy behavior, is beyond me.

Subway Squawkers said...

My friend Lenny just interviewed Bouton:

http://www.lennysyankees.com/2011/03/interview-with-jim-bouton-on-ball-four.html

Joe said...

Let it go Lisa. In baseball as in life some relationships end badly. It is okay to forgive and move on. Life is just too short.

Torre being back for old timers day is a good thing. The first team and now the only team in baseball to have an old timers day celebrating the teams past glory.
Torre is a big part of the past.

Celebrate the good times, forget the bad and enjoy the day. I hope they invite former Yankees player and coach Bobby Cox too.