"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

He Ain’t Pretty No More

A new book by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci about Torre’s long stint with the Yankees is due out this spring.  The New York Post has an item about it today and it seems as if the book will have some behind-the-scenes juice.   Who says the Yankees won’t have any controversy this spring?

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1 EricS   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:38 am

I still want to read the book but we should all realize that Joe T. is a wonderful person,, was a class manager but did not need to stir things this way. It is not that he does not have a right to publish,
he does, but did he need too.

2 Will Weiss   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:40 am

[0] I'll have more on this later this morning.

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:49 am

I can't wait!
Whether deserved or not, I trust Torre to be honest.
All folk are self-serving and self-protectionist to some extent. But Torre seems to understand he's human, and to err is human. He has admitted a number of 'mistakes' (including the Joba/bug infestation issue).

Does he have an axe to grind? Maybe. But still, in a world where it's hard to take anything you read for granted, Torre ranks at the top of my list.

There is also a HUGE need for an honest, non-exploitive book about Steroids in the game. Giambi is one of the few (only?) of the 'prime' users to own up to his use (as much as legally possible). Once he retires, it would be really cool if he put out a qualtiy book, without naming names, about the realitites.

I just read an article about the 1 year anniversary of the Mitchell report. The 'Steroids Issue' went from threatening the very fabric of baseball to a mere afterthought. We can now say this guy did PEDS, or we're pretty sure this guy did PEDS, and people will reply 'yup'.... and that's it.

The PEDs issue has neatly been swept under the rug, and the only issues are "do we let McGuire/This Guy into the HOF? I'm sure some players are still using, but being very careful about it.

The PEDs era, like the Black Sox, Pete Rose and even Steinbrenners indescretions are part of baseball history. Somebody needs to tell the real story, without malice or blame. We don't need crap like Caseco or McGuire's brother. Jason would be really well placed to do this after he retires.

4 Dimelo   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:51 am

Torre said Yankee players (teammates) called A-Rod "A-Fraud", what kind of teammates would say something like that about a man with a VORP of 155+?

Those teammates are so ungrateful and don't realize they are standing in the presence of the greatest player ever. In other news, the sun came up today, and it is windy and extremely cold in Vermont this time of year.

5 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:56 am

[1] Did Bouton 'need' to write "Ball Four"?
I'm glad he did.
It's a funny thing about the truth. Even with the very ugliest Truths, after the intial impact, we usually digest it and move on with little real life impact. Sometimes, it just good to know.

6 Rich   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:56 am

From the article:

"I don't think incentives are necessary," he said then. "I've been here a long time and I've never needed to be motivated. Plus, in my (previous) contract, I get a million-dollar bonus if we do win the World Series, so that's always been there."

If he was so opposed to incentives, why did he assent to their inclusion in his previous contracts?

Torre wants credit for his achievements but no accountability for any lack of achievement.

Of course, he says that he would rather have been fired than agree to a paycut. It exposed him as a person who believes that $5 million per year is an insult even though it is 33% higher than what the next highest paid manager (Pinella) was paid. It's also more than the contract he signed with the Dodgers.

It's no small irony that he chose to repeat the A-Fraud smear.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:03 am

"The book also reveals that, during spring training in 1999, team doctors revealed to owner George Steinbrenner that Torre had prostate cancer - even before informing the manager himself."
Holy Mother of God! That is ugly.
I'd like to know which, or how many teammates called Alex... A-Fraud. Regardless of ARod's personal problems, that to me is terrible.

8 Dimelo   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:04 am

[6] I don't think Torre was opposed to a pay-cut, he was opposed to the perception that he wasn't trying. But why try and muddy the waters with those details.

It wasn't as black-and-white as you state, but it all comes down to one thing: you either like(d) Torre or you didn't. A group of Yankee fans, at the end of his tenure, didn't care for him at all because of his bullpen management, Scott Proctor, '04 ALCS, etc. Torre made being a Yankee fan comforting in a fatherly way, at least for me.

Nothing that comes out in the book will ever change that for me, Torre is and will always be a class act for me.

9 RCK   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:09 am

I'm going to reserve judgment until I actually read the book, but Torre repeating that story about A-Rod seems unnecessarily and uncharacteristically nasty to me. Very disappointing.

10 jimcobain   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:13 am

I am less "worried" about Torre's axe to grind then I am Verducci. If I recall correctly Verducci was fired from YES' "Hot Stove" show right after Torre left the organization. The reason was Verducci was viewed as overly critical of the organizations handling of The Torre Situation. Ever since then Verducci has printed numerous critiques of the Yankees. Some fair and some seem to be nit picks. Also in his general articles and mailbags he seems to cheap shot the Yankees with one liners about their payroll and lack of playoff experience. We all know Torre's agenda in the book is to make Joe Torre look good. But many people will overlook Verducci's name on this and his axe to grind.

As for the "A-Fraud" comments this isn't the first time Torre has sold out A-Rod through Verducci. There was that article in SI in September of '06 right when A-Rod got hot, where Verducci has inside info between a private meeting between Torre and A-Rod. At some point other players will take notoice and Torre's status of being a players manager might begin to erode.

All that being said, I will enjoy reading the book, but I will not take anything in it as the gospel.

11 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:18 am

From Amazon.com
"The high-priced ace who broke down in tears and refused to go back to the mound in the middle of a game. Constant meddling from Yankee executives, many of whom were jealous of Torre’s popularity. The tension that developed between the old guard and the free agents brought in by management. The impact of revenue-sharing and new scouting techniques, which allowed other teams to challenge the Yankees’ dominance. The players who couldn’t resist the after-hours temptations of the Big Apple. The joys of managing Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and the challenges of managing Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. Torre’s last year, when constant ultimatums from the front office, devastating injuries, and a freak cloud of bugs on a warm September night in Cleveland forced him from a job he loved."

[6] [8] I happen to love Torre. Did I think he made mistakes as manager? You bet. Did I think it was time to go? Maybe. My issue was NOT the Yankees letting him go, but the way it unfolded, and in a year that had ARod, Andy, Mo and Po all unsigned. I just thought it was a bad year to have that kind of shake-up.

It would be interesting to discuss 'what would have happened in 2008 if Torre was still the manager'. We would all agree that Girardi handled the BP much better then Torre woulf have. But overall, in terms of getting the most out of ouyr personel.... ight Torre have been more successful?

12 Diane Firstman   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:18 am

I'm gonna wait for the ESPN movie to come out ...

13 Rich   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:26 am

[8] I'm simply stating the facts as I perceive them to be.

I readily acknowledge that I wanted Torre replaced since he used Weaver for 2 IP in Game 4 of the 2003 WS and became adamant about it after he used an already overworked Gordon in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS with a 9 run lead, but I never ever thought that Torre wasn't trying to win, and I'm not sure why he would think that anyone would think that.

I think the contract that Torre was offered was merely an attempt to craft a contract that was in line with the team's level of achievement in the immediately preceding seasons.

I'm certainly not trying to change anyone's perception of Torre. I have always given him credit for changing the overcontrolled atmosphere in the clubhouse that Showalter had created, but there is no reason why Torre shouldn't have to take the bitter with the sweet when he attacks the franchise that helped transform his reputation as a manager by giving him enough talented players to have a chance to win four rings, as well as making him a multi-millionaire.

I think that largesse deserves more gratitude than the excerpts from this book would suggest that he has.

14 Dimelo   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:31 am

When explain your side of events - the truth as witnessed by you - some people will choose to believe and admire you for it, some people will hate you for it, some people will say it's not true.

Scott McCLellan wrote a book about President Bush, a whole lot of people decided to say it was all BS at the time, though everything we've learned about Bush and his administration has validated what came out in the book. That said, I doubt Torre has any axe to grind with the Yankees or their players, he's simply stating what happened as he saw it through his eyes. Whether you like it or not, he was the Yankee manager and he saw a lot more than we did so his word carries a lot of weight.

Another way to look at it, Jose Canseco has an axe to grind, Torre has a story to tell and no one has yet to hear his side. This is his way of telling his side of the story. We've heard leaks come from people like Mattingly and Bowa, but Torre has never spoke about his side. Now he is and people want to rip him for it, oh well....

15 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:44 am

[2] Honesty isn't the question...it's a matter of perspective. While I'd argue that Torre had underperformed as a manager and was appropriately offered a pay cut and short-term deal, I guess he views that as dis-loyalty. I am shocked that so many people see it his way. I guess then the Yankees should write Andy a blank check, have allowed Bernie to patrol CF until he fell down and brought Giambi back instead of sign Tex? Apparently, Torre's sense of entitlement precludes things such as performance bonuses and one-year deals. So, yes, this book will be honest, but I think it will reveal a certain level of arrogance that grew alongside Torre's increasing celebrity.

As for PEDs, I think time is beginning to show that the issue was overblown. As more studies show that HGH and THG have no performance enhancing effect (heck, we even now know Bonds was taking the cream and clear when they were LEGAL), I think a lot of hand wringers are going to look foolish.

[4] Exactly! Nothing to add here except it is ironic to hear Torre talk about loyalty and then juxtapose that against the Verducci SI article (hmm…there’s that name again) in which he essentially sold Arod out. Also, I wonder how loyal moving Arod down to 8th was? Hypocrite comes to mind.

[6] Bingo again…more hypocrisy from Torre. What Torre couldn’t stomach is that someone was challenging his omni potency. After, Joe was a celebrity…he wrote books, made movies and commercials, ate at the best restaurants, hob nobbed with celebs…how dare someone make Torre earn his compensation.

[10] I think it is clear that Verducci and Torre are tight. The same is true for several other “objective” media members in this town. I am sure his brigade will come out in full force to defend him at every turn, but if he keeps down this road, I think Torre will damage his reputation among those who aren’t his pals.

I think it’s time for Torre to move on. He is now the manager of the Dodgers and should stop clinging to his final days a Yankee manager. I have a feeling the releases from this book are exaggerated, but if not, Joe is definitely not the classy guy he purported to be. It goes both ways, of course. If Joe is going to take pot shots, I’m sure some will be hurled toward him. He who lives in a glass house, shouldn’t throw stones…or something like that.

16 Rich   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:57 am

[14] Don't you think that the obligation to clarify the record with regard to American history is a little more compelling than offering one's perspective on what went on in the Yankees' clubhouse?

"[P]eople want to rip him" for giving his "side"? Seriously?

Why shouldn't people offer counterpoints to Torre's side of the story? He isn't sacrosanct (or is he?). It's merely an example of Torre reaping what he sows (not that he should give a $%#$ about what I think).

I think Torre wrote the book to counter real or imagined slights that he (rightly or wrongly) believes that he he has been the victim of, and to, as Bush has called it, "replenish the ol' coffers," for probably a lot more money than the aforementioned Scott McClellan, who received a reported advance of only $75,000.

17 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 25, 2009 12:03 pm

[14] Speak for yourself on McClellan's book.

[16] I think a lot of people have held Torre up to some kind of sainthood. You can thank the media in part for that image, but winning 3 WS in a row will do that too. If this book turns out to be a real expose-type, I think Torre will do damage to that image he seems to enjoy so much. Everyone has always given Joe credit for "staying above the fray", but a book like this brings him right down in the mud with the rest of us mortals.

18 Evil Empire   ~  Jan 25, 2009 12:25 pm

I guess we'll have to wait for the book to come out to really know what Torre's claims are; these kind of "delicious" leaks about contents are the stock and trade of book publishers. Maybe there's more balance in the book than we realize.

That being said, I think that if Torre is writing a bitter tell-all that it's going to ensure that #6 is reassigned at some point and not sitting in Monument Park with a plaque celebrating his accomplishments. (Besides that I still think #6 should be retired for Joe Gordon and Tony Lazzeri -- both HOFer's).

So I guess in my view, Torre just looks like a bitter old man. Move on, Joe.

Oh, and to anyone who just thinks this is a "Bouton-like" tell-all, let's wait and see on that too. Bouton's book was original and was written during the actual season in which he played as a diary. It wasn't written 2 years later as a "let me tell you how so and so stabbed me in the back". Rather, it was an honest portrayal of a season of his. It was funny, raw and sometimes uncomfortable, but it really doesn't sound like Torre's book or any tell-all since, save "The Bronx Zoo".

19 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 25, 2009 12:42 pm

I have to ask. Bouton had a pretty big fall from a promsing rookie to a questionable player. Was he bitter? Is that why he wrote Ball Four? Was he a traitor... dissing a Yankee team that brought him to prominence?

I'll ask.... are people glad 'Ball Four' was published? Is Torre, or any 'whistle blower' an embittered traitor?

I'll guess that when the book is read, Torre will admit over and over that he loved managing the Yankees and loved many of his players. That his issues with ARod (and Giambi?) didn't mean he didn't care and respect them.

I'll guess the book will be fair. I'm sure there is enough 'juicy truth' that Torre won't have to make up or embellish the facts.

As with Mantle in Ball Four, finding out that your heros are human, and imperfect, often does not change your love and respect for them. I mean, I hope I don't learn that ARod beat his wife and kicked small dogs. It I learn he is truly insecure, and has issues with Jeter... I mean... so what? We could guess that already.

We will see, but my guess is nothing horrible will come out (unlike books about Dubya). The rumors and some of our thoughts may be verified. It will be office politics. The human side. Juicy... but not alarming or really surprising.

20 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 25, 2009 12:46 pm

But but but....
Things have been pretty quiet here at the Banter.
I suspect we will not lack for something to discuss during February and March.
Thank you Joe! It was really getting pretty boring here.

(I admit I have been reading Lohud... being desparate for soemthing Yankees. Things can get pretty ugly over there.)

21 Will Weiss   ~  Jan 25, 2009 12:53 pm

[14] Torre has spoken about his side in bits and pieces over the years. As you'll see in my upcoming post, everything stemmed from his sensitivity to criticism. ... [15] William, I agree with your point that to view a paycut following an underperforming year as disloyalty is questionable. And your parallel to Andy Pettitte is spot-on.

I can speak from experience, having been in front of Torre for five seasons, as deft as he was with the media, he couldn't stand to be second-guessed. He would react as if the reporter was making inferences that he/she knew better than him, and he'd hold a grudge. This held true for in-game decisions and anything else.

22 The Hawk   ~  Jan 25, 2009 1:08 pm

It does seem a little "beneath" Torre but I'll reserve judgment till I read the book itself. Also it may be that it's not beneath him, that his saintliness is overrated (which it probably is either way).

Also, A-Rod apologists crack me up sometimes.

23 Simone   ~  Jan 25, 2009 1:38 pm

I'll definitely be reading this page turner. I'm sure all the juicy stuff was already leaked and over emphasized anyway,.

I don't see the reason for all this preliminary outrage anyway. Joe was there for these events so only the players and Cashman can dispute his version of events. It isn't like a reporter writing a book.

I bet Joe doesn't come off bitter though some Yankee fans will claim that he is out of resentment that he wrote the book.

24 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 25, 2009 1:49 pm

[23] Agreed completely. The 'A-Fraud' comment is almost comedy compared to what Bouton revealed about Mantle and other Yankee Gods. I think Joe loved the Yankees and his teams, and I'll bet that come through strongly.

25 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 25, 2009 2:01 pm

I'll be totally honest. I think its very, very easy to like Alex Rodriguez the ballplayer and dislike Alex Rodriguez the person. I love having the ballplayer on the team. The person makes my eyeball hurt. I have no problems with Torre writing about Rodriguez. He brings it on himself.

I think Cashman is supremely overrated. If Torre can shed some light on that in the book, good.

And really, after a year where Joe Girardi made me rip my hair out on almost a daily basis, Torre is looking alot better.

26 Raf   ~  Jan 25, 2009 2:10 pm

adamant about it after he used an already overworked Gordon in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS with a 9 run lead

What about using a fresh Rivera in game 4 for a 2 inning save?

27 Raf   ~  Jan 25, 2009 2:14 pm

As for the book, I'm indifferent. Sure there'll be some soap opera stuff in there, but that really doesn't appeal to me. AFAICT, he did a pretty good job in 2007 & 2006.

As for the contract issue after the 2007 season, if both sides really wanted to work something out, they would have. But yeah, it was handled pretty badly, along the lines of contract negotiations for Showalter and Howser.

28 Emma Span   ~  Jan 25, 2009 3:41 pm

Nice headline, Alex.

29 RCK   ~  Jan 25, 2009 4:04 pm

[25] How does Alex "bring it on himself" exactly? "Alex apologist" definitely describes me, I fully admit it, but I've never understood why he is responsible for what other people write about him.

30 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jan 25, 2009 4:21 pm


All we need now is for Alex's demons to reemerge and hamper his season.

Thanks, Joe.

31 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 25, 2009 4:45 pm

[30] He could always borrow Madonna's wristband to deal with them >;)

I'm not concerned about this. More than anything, the team needs to be focused on competing, not complaining. Torre's in Hollywood, where he can tell all kinds of stories to a willing Verducci and the like and they'll make it into the Movie of the Week, but he needs to focus on his own team now. Publishing is more cynical than "journalism" in my opinion, so none of this should be taken that seriously. If A-Rod is effected by his old coach airing dirty laundry, then maybe he's not nearly as good we think he is and a trade is necessary? Gwan!

32 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 25, 2009 7:42 pm

Because, frankly, I believe he says the things he says and does the thing he does to get attention. I think he's a media whore, and I can't feel bad when people pay attention to a media whore.

33 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 25, 2009 8:12 pm

[32] Who CARES if he is a "media whore" if he hits 55 homers and has a 1.050 OPS?? This ain't Paris Hilton we're talking about here, this is a top-ten ALL TIME baseball player..as others have said, A-Rod can "dance down Broadway with his funky hot pants on" (thank you Van Morrison for that image) and I wouldn't give a damn..besides, the media circus only exists if you watch/read/listen about it. One of the benefits of being here, I can simply follow the game if I want to, and enjoy watching one of the greatest players ever hit for my team..

As for Torre..he obviously doesn't need the money so there must be some payback issues for him to deal with...I won't be buying the book, am sure the Post and Daily News online will cover the juicy bits.

34 Joseph   ~  Jan 25, 2009 8:36 pm

What a surprise, Verducci and Torre coming up with some juicy, controversial content to drum up interest in hopes of increased sales. I wouldn't read that book if somebody dropped a copy in my mailbox, let alone spend any money on a piece of garbage designed to damage and embarrass the Yankees.

Joe Torre was a loser as a manager 'till the Yankees rescued him off the scrap heap and gave him a chance. Now the "classy" Joe Torre shows his true side, a vindictive, bitter old fool with a distorted sense of self-importance who was asleep in the dugout half the time since 2000.

35 The Hawk   ~  Jan 25, 2009 9:24 pm

Whoa nellie! Guys, guys, guys. Better to read the book before judging it the work of - for instance - a "vindictive, bitter old fool"! Jumping the gun a bit, no? This is just an article in the POST for pete's sake.

There are no quotes, and some things have already been misconstrued - for instance, the article does not assert that Torre refers to A-Rod as "A Fraud", but that he attests that some players on the team did. We don't even know if the book demonstrates approval or disapproval about the fact. For all we know, Torre is taking other Yankee players to task for being too hard on Rodriguez.

36 The Hawk   ~  Jan 25, 2009 9:31 pm

Speaking of which, from SI.com - says Verducci about the pre-publication flap:

"I think it's important to understand context here. The book is not a first-person book by Joe Torre, it's a third-person narrative based on 12 years of knowing the Yankees and it's about the changes in the game in that period. Seems to me the New York Post assigned this third-person book entirely to Joe Torre and that's not the case. In fact, if people saw that Post story they probably noticed there are no quotes from Joe Torre in it. Joe Torre does not rip anybody in the book. The book really needs to be read in context.

Anybody who knows Joe, especially during his time in New York, knows he's a very honest man and he is very honest in the pages of this book. People also know Joe Torre doesn't go around ripping people and he doesn't do that in the pages of this book. There is a lot of information in this book over a tremendous period of baseball history. It's been reported out by me as well as informed by Torre's own insights into that period."

37 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 25, 2009 9:33 pm

Beautiful weather here, crystal clear but cold (not NYC cold though). Saw some kids in uniform going to baseball pracrtice early this morning, they play EVERY day here reagrdless of the temperature. Made me so excited for spring to see the following:

Cano's new swing, A-Rod's first HR in the new Stadium, CC striking out Pedroia, any pitch by Mariano, tv shot of whoever Jeter is currently dating, Tex making a scoop-catch, Burnett pitching through pain (we can dream), Joba vs. Youkilis...

Torre is the past, 2009 here we go, Let's Go Yankees!

38 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 25, 2009 9:37 pm

[36] I have a problem with Verducci claiming "the book is not a first-person book by Joe Torre" when the most prominent name on the cover is, in fact, Joe Torre. As I mentioned before, we need to see the context, but if Verducci writes extensively about Arod's perception in the clubhouse and whether Cashman was "loyal" to Torre, and that information is based on "honest" interviews with Torre, then Joe has to take responsibility for it.

Also, Verducci loses some credibility when he laments "context". Maybe I am being too cynical, but I can't believe the publisher didn't have a hand in leaking three controversial excerpts on the Sunday before the Super Bowl when very little else is going on in the sports world.

39 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 25, 2009 9:44 pm

[19] At the time he wrote Ball Four, Bouton was very much thought of as a traitor, and when you think about it, that sentiment was probably right. Until then, players had a reasonable expectation that their teammates would respect their privacy, especially when you consider that more then than now, players practically lived together for half a year.

So, while I am glad Bouton wrote the book because it is an incredibly entertaining book, that doesn't mean he didn't take advantage of others to do it.

40 Joseph   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:07 pm

Well Hawk, you are wise to take a wait and see approach to the book. However, for myself, as a passionate Yankee fan, I've decided to react in an outraged, knee-jerk fashion, heh, that Torre could bash the organization that did so much for him.

Also, Ive always liked and rooted for ARod, even with all his foibles. I've never forgiven Torre for batting him 8th in that 2006 playoff game. Even with Alex struggling, you don't move your best hitter, who could break out at any time, to 8th in the order, especially with ARod's over-active thought process.

The Post mentions ARod's "Single White Female" approach to Jeter. I don't know if that was a Torre analogy or something Verducci cooked up, but Joe Torre's picture and name is on the book cover, so he has to be ultimately responsible for whatever is in the book.

I don't imagine anybody connected with the Yankees, from the Steinbrenners down through the players will be happy with Torre for this. Can you imagine the press down in spring training peppering the Yankees for comments on Torre's book? Jeter will come unglued when asked for the 43rd time about ARod's supposed obsession with him.

41 Rich   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:09 pm

Verducci is hardly an objective source.

I'm beginning to think that one reason why A-Rod and Jeter were reportedly able to patch up their relationship over the last year was that Torre was no longer around.

42 Dimelo   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:11 pm

[21] "I can speak from experience, having been in front of Torre for five seasons, as deft as he was with the media, he couldn’t stand to be second-guessed."

Is there any manager in baseball that likes that? Let me take it a step further, if you were second guessed by your editor then wouldn't you be unhappy about being second guessed? How is this all isolated to Torre? I would say that 99.9% of the human race would hate to be second guessed about their work - especially if they feel they are doing it to the best of their abilities.

There's a difference between constructive feedback and being second guessed.

Torre did a lot for the Yankees, some can diminish it any which they'd like but you can't change the past. 4 rings, a playoff birth every year, etcetera, etcetera, but let me guess.....anyone else could have done the same too. It really is ridiculous the amount of loathing people have for Torre.

43 Rich   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:16 pm

[21] Cashman was around for three rings and a playoff birth every year until last season Are you willing to give him and an equal amount of credit?

If not, keep in mind that Torre's careeer managerial record was under .500 until he was handed the reins to the Yankees' talent and their payroll. So there had to be some other variable other than Torre for the disparate results .

I don't hate Torre the man, I just hate his bullpen management.

44 Rich   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:17 pm

My bad, that was @ 42.

45 Dimelo   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:19 pm

[40] I remember the Contreras controversy, where Torre was blindsided by Steinbrenner where he sent him to see Billy Connors so he can get fixed in Tampa. A slight on Torre and Mel. I remember how Zimmer was treated and how he blasted the organization for their treatment of Torre.

The Yankees did a lot for Torre, but Torre returned the favor and then some. It was hardly the "benevolent" Yankees taking care of Torre.

46 Dimelo   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:25 pm

[43] Red Sox fans hate Francona's bullpen management, Angels fans hate the way Shields is used by Scioscia, Phillie fans wanted Charlie Manuel fired.

Torre also kicked cancer kids in the balls when he'd go get chemotherapy.

47 thelarmis   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:31 pm

not surprisingly, nomaas has a post up on who they dub "classless joe". i can do without all this drama. i just want some baseball games and statistics piling up!

48 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 25, 2009 10:45 pm

[47] yo thelarmis, let's not bore the large crowd tonight on the Banter with our endless music chat but one quick thing: I got Herbie Hancock's "Empyrean Isles" again on the iPod..wow!!! And Freddie Hubbard (it IS Freddie, right? check your BN collection to confirm!) is just unreal...

Agree with you about the drama. Fun to pass the time for a bit, but let's get the games on! You ever been down to spring training? can't be too far to drive from Atlanta..

49 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:07 pm

Oh, I wish the drama would just end and baseball starts up again! Gotta thnak Alex for keeping us entertained with the This or That game, especially this morning with the pancakes (btw Bama, if you're still around, I reposted the Syrup Story again on the that thread). I never really liked Verdouchie that much, but I completely gave up on him with his hatchet job on the Yanks in SI in April last season while ostensibly talking up the Rays (I've never reacted that badly to a sports story before, and we're talking about having to deal with fricken Lupica on a regular basis), and even when he's right about certain things, I always get the sense of a smug self-satisfaction in his writing, which actually relates to a lot of NY-area tabloid writers, but he just rubs me the wrong way.

Bleah. Herbie's incredible, but I have a special place in my heart for all his fusion stuff. I don't know where to find any of the music he wrote for Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids though... is it on the "Fat Albert Rotunda" album?

50 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:09 pm

"Thnak" is not a neck-snapping technique, it's the usual finger-twisting result of typing too fast >;)

51 Max   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:15 pm

"Joe Torre was a loser as a manager ’till the Yankees rescued him off the scrap heap and gave him a chance. Now the “classy” Joe Torre shows his true side, a vindictive, bitter old fool with a distorted sense of self-importance who was asleep in the dugout half the time since 2000"

Ah, I'm so glad to see that everyone's favorite scapegoat returned to enrich people's lives in this neck of the woods -- and no one's even read the book yet! I always wondered whether people like Rich, Joseph and nomaas -- philosophically speaking, of course -- really existed, you know, since they ceased to register once 2008 rolled around.

I mean, we even missed the playoffs for the first time in an eternity, but the outrage seemed SO muted. We just weren't having fun around here without someone to blame and really work up a good froth over.

But bring a big, fat warm book (which no one has read) featuring some choice tidbits from Sir Clueless and everyone's off to the races in every comment thread and forum in sight. How dare this vastly unqualified man, who owes everything to the Yankees, feel insulted about incentives! How dare he view his career as nothing other than an abject failure unworthy of pinstripes! How dare he look at reporters askance when being second guessed!

Should be even more fun once the book, like, comes out and people can read it....but I'm going to take a wild leap and guess that 97 percent of people are going to rely on tabloid accounts. And I will value the caterwauling of such people appropriately based on the source.

Nomaas has got to love being rescued from irrelevancy by this book, though. Their very reason for existence and notoriety has come back to them like a shining knight...I wonder if he'll autograph all the "Classless Douchebag" prints for them that will undoubtedly be hawked to the ravenous horde.

52 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:17 pm

[49] Chyll, check this out
http://w w w.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:hifwxq8hldse (sorry for the spaces there but I think links will automatically be withdrawn from comments here?)

great compilation of an amazingly eclectic period for Herbie, including the Fat Albert tracks. You should be able to find that single album on cd too.
Did you know by the way, he'll be 70 years old next year...he's older than Joe Torre?!?!?!

53 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:22 pm

[49] Check that:
I found it!

Who knew? >;)

54 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:23 pm

Chyll, my first attempt didn't work, seems if you have http in the post it automatically will be "awating moderation". repeat it below, hope this appears..

Great compilation of an amazingly eclectic period for Herbie, including the Fat Albert tracks. You should be able to find that single album on cd too.


Did you know by the way, he’ll be 70 years old next year…he’s older than Joe Torre?!?!?!

55 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:26 pm

[51] Forget it, Max: it's Chinatown...

56 thelarmis   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:30 pm

[48] yeah man, i really just need to email you offline already! yup, it's definitely freddie on that AMAZING record!!! i just got the Herbie live headhunters set called Flood - 2cd Japan release. it's not BN, but it's killer!

i'm listening to the 2cd Ken McIntyre BN set right now. he played w/ Dolphy...

nope, never been to ST, though i'd like to go sometime. tampa, is about an 8-hour drive, which is a pretty good distance. i've played there a bunch and am not a huge fan of the city, but i'd love to go to Legends Field one spring. it won't be this year. i'm teaching 5 days/week and can't get away easily...

57 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:34 pm

[53] Older than Joe Torre?!?!?! Is that, like, rilly-rillly OLD?!?!?! O...M...G!! >;)

I will be sure to check that out, and somehow I managed to download a few Fat Albert tracks from the link I put up; will check out in the EST morning and report. As for now, I must bid you and all who walk the walk and talk the talk a good night. G'nite, all! >;)

58 thelarmis   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:35 pm

[52] cool. i think it's on the Rotunda album, too. the guitarist i share a jazz trio with talks about that record a lot. i don't have it. i have Secrets though, which i think is the same era - mid 70's...

59 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:35 pm

[53] Chyll you got it?? great! man, watched Fat Albert just recently, so funny you mentioned it.."Suede Simpson", the cool cat with the B.O. problem, he buste dout the funky moves at a party but the girls ran away from the stank, and Fat Albert was too kind to tell him..

[56] heard that new one in the shop, thelarmis, was excellent.

8-hour drive to Tampa? further than i thought..have always wanted to get down there one day. are any of the Banter team going to be there with some ace-reporting and photos??

60 thelarmis   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:40 pm

[58] yeah, florida is far away! would you believe that atlanta is as far west as detroit?! i couldn't believe it, but it's true!!!

i'm wondering if any banterers will be headed to the Ted for interleague in june. perhaps bama yank or evil empire...

61 Rich   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:41 pm

[46] I get it. If you dare to criticize Torre with fact-based reasoning, it's tantamount to saying that he "kicked cancer kids in the balls when he’d go get chemotherapy."


62 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:45 pm

[60] Never would have guessed that..US too damn big! Bullet train here gets me from Tokyo all the way to the south in less than 6 hours, almost 700 miles away.

You'll have to be chapter president of the Banter, Southern Region. Take everyone for some real Southern food after the game! I'd start a Far-East branch but recently seen more BoSox hats since the Matsuzaka signing...

63 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:48 pm

...zzzzz Loved that episode, will get Rotunda (my oldest sister had it, but now it belongs to the ages), won't go near Tampa since one of my ex-girlfriends whom I lived with now lives in Clearwater and being in that vicinity for me would be like a diabetic finding a Golden Ticket in a Wonka Bar zzzzz...

64 thelarmis   ~  Jan 25, 2009 11:49 pm

[61] sucks about the boston hats! hell, i still can't believe i actually live in the SOUTH!!! i don't eat southern soul food, so i wouldn't have a clue where to go! i know a coupla good watering holes though! ; )

but yeah, the States really are huge and GA is the biggest state east of the mississippi. it's equidistant from here to drive to miami or chicago! crazy...

[60] yeah, that cancer comment was a bit much. definitely overboard...

65 Rich   ~  Jan 26, 2009 12:02 am

[51] I never cease to be amazed by the Torre defenders who personally attack those who criticize him rather than to try to defend him with facts.

Yup, Torre's presence would have compensated for the injuries to Posada, Matsui, Wang, Hughes, Joba, and Kennedy, and the Yankees would have cruised into the playoffs for yet another first round out.

To put it in your own terms, perhaps you're still blind by the rings.

66 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 26, 2009 12:03 am

[63] to slumber thee will go..pick up the Herbie "Mwandishi" set, the spacey tracks good to crash out to.

[64] the Japanese fans tend to just follow their heroes and not really get obsessed with the team..so lots of BoSox, Yanks and Mariners hats for now. If Yu Darvish ends up with Royals (fantasy, i know) they'll buy the KC hats..this drives the Brit soccer fans here crazy as you see people here who have no idea where Middlesborough is but they'll have a jersey of the Japanese player on the team..I think it's fine though, the usual Brit over-reaction to complain about things is tiresome :)

How much are the average tickets at Turner??

67 thelarmis   ~  Jan 26, 2009 12:11 am

[65] i toured the UK pretty extensively and dated a Brit, so i know of what you speak!

i have herbie's "sextant" cd, which is before Thrust and is pretty spacey, iirc. he went under "mwandishi" at that time.

i really don't know how much average seats are at Turner. i don't go that often and when i do, i just don't really pay attention to that, so i can't remember. it's nothing outrageous or egregious though and it's really a lovely place to see a ballgame.

68 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 26, 2009 12:44 am

[67] Still very affordable to go to a game here, though the stadiums are minor-league quality (barely, in some cases..). Great fans though, and you get to see sacrifice bunts in the 1st inning, SABRheads be damned!!

69 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 26, 2009 12:45 am

I've long said that I'll take Jack the Ripper on my team if I think he can help me win.

I think Alex Rodriguez is a bit of a jackass. I think he's totally concerned with making sure that everyone is talking about Alex Rodriguez. I think he'll say and do whatever he thinks is necessary to reach that goal. So when he is all over the back page and the front page and page six, I can't feel sorry for him. He got his wish.

That doesn't mean I don't want him on the team.

70 thelarmis   ~  Jan 26, 2009 1:03 am

it's funny about a-rod - i remember thinking when he was on the rangers about how it was odd that the greatest player in the game and easily one of the best EVER, wasn't in the news that much. i didn't see his mug plastered all over mlb and didn't know that much about him. when he got traded to new york, i was looking forward to knowing more about this once in a generation player. oy yoy yoy!!! oopsie!!!

but, i agree w/ mattpat - i'm quite happy his baseball talent is on my team. he might be an idiot as a person, but his skill is undeniably unreal and i hope he rakes this year!

jazz tokyo - your reference numbers tonight are funny as hell! they're all like 1 or 2 off! what's that horace silver song - "too much sake?" !!!! ; )

71 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 26, 2009 1:14 am

[69] fair enough! Though A-Rod's well publicized "personal idiosyncracies" are fine with me..much more interesting cat than Derek "insert bland, no-substance cliche quote here" Jeter..

[70] No sake, just Monday!!

72 thelarmis   ~  Jan 26, 2009 1:21 am

[70] yeah man, monday is rapidly approaching and i've got a monster work day/night ahead. i should probably think about hittin' it here pretty soon...

jeter should reach 1,500 runs this season. nice!

73 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 26, 2009 1:41 am

[72] I'm not as big a Jeter fan as I used to be, but he is really going to have some big numbers by the time he retires..

have a good one, we'll argue about why Rush (the band, not Limbaugh though hate him too) sucked big time! :)

74 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jan 26, 2009 1:51 am

[73] damn, really am out of it today, meant to say, we'll argue "another time" why Rush sucked big time...

..and Manny Ramirez still sits unsigned...could he possibly still end up in the Bronx??

75 Cru Jones   ~  Jan 26, 2009 6:37 am

Dear Joe Torre,

It's time to move on. Give it up. Stop letting Verducci manipulate you. Stop being so jealous of the greatest player you ever were in contact with (on the field or managing). It was your job to resolve clubhouse issues and get through to all players on your team (not just DJ and Mo), not drop a player to 8th in the order and then later write a book dredging up old issues to make a buck. You are a sad man, a hack. If I were a Dodgers fan, I'd be very annoyed.


A Yankees fan.

76 Dimelo   ~  Jan 26, 2009 7:02 am

[64] The Torre defenders can come back and say 4 WS rings, 6 WS appearances, playoff birth every year, but you'll diminish that. See, there are no cool stats like VORM, MgrOPS, that we can use to prove/disprove how great or un-great Torre is.

77 Dimelo   ~  Jan 26, 2009 7:06 am

[64] The other thing is that you don't have any facts to prove what a "shitty" manager he was in your eyes either.

78 joejoejoe   ~  Jan 26, 2009 8:30 am

Verducci sounds like a bit of a skunk. You can't co-write a book and say the good parts go to one author and the bad parts to the other. It sounds like Torre and Verducci have some kind of plan where Verducci takes the heat for any sensational bits and Torre is responsible for the respectable bits. I'm guessing it doesn't play out that and way and Torre gets more blowback than he expected.

79 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jan 26, 2009 8:52 am

Woe, there's a lot of emotion here on this, isn't there? Best I can tell Torre's mortal sins are to relay (through his co-writer) an already-reported nickname for Rodriguez. To continue to feel his last contract offer was not one he could live with. And to tell aspects of the story of his time with NY, without necessarily writing (or co-writing) a bland 'They was all aces!' book (this may include some unspecified allegations about Cashman and Giambi, and I am sure others). I haven't yet seen other indications of shocking news (and the A Fraud stuff has been out there for awhile).

What, exactly, does 'move on' mean in the context of discussing a hugely important period in your own life (and the life of the game)? Does it mean 'don't speak, don't speak!' (referencing 'Bullets Over Broadway' of course)? Why? Because the Yankees were so good to/for him? He wasn't, to NY? They buy silence for life? When was THAT ever part of a contract? Don't get me wrong, if Torre had chosen to say 'I will not discuss my years in NY, I regard them as good, personal memories' that would have been a remarkable thing to do. But I'm not sure where the OBLIGATION to do that arises.

If the book emerges as nasty and mean-spirited, we'll all draw certain conclusions about Torre and perhaps about our own mythologizing of his virtues. That, to a degree, will be a risk he takes with a book. He's banked a lot of goodwill over the years in the sport, and it would be a surprise to me if he spent it, even for a major royalty advance.

But I also don't see frankness about his own judgements as to players on his team and others, as to owners and GMs, as being automatically mean or a failure to 'get over it' - as if telling his version is a sin to history. I'm interested in reading Joe Torre's version of his time in the Bronx, myself and I get bored by bland sports books.

Some of this reaction, it seems to me, is a fear that Rodriguez and that mythic 'team chemistry' may be damaged by a manager who ought to still be HELPING the Yankees. That feels pretty fragile, for those worrying, and - if it happens - for a team of alleged adults.

I'll wait to see the book, and will try to put the undoubtedly sensationalized clippings and reports in context. If it feels genuinely nasty or cheap, I'll draw conclusions about Torre, which feels fair to me - and could well make me feel glum. But I don't see any logic to treating alleged frankness as wrong before we even see it.

This feels like this winter's version of Roger on the Hill. Something to get the juices flowing.

80 PJ   ~  Jan 26, 2009 9:30 am

I’m probably going to get yelled at for this rant, but I can deal with that, unlike our “beloved Joe Torre”!

Joe Torre lost credibility with me each and every time he refused to accept any accountability for his decisions, and he should have been fired after blowing a 3-0 game lead against the Red Sox in '04. I remember countless times where he actually managed straight into the opponent's strengths, instead of exploiting their weaknesses. And he played favorites too, all of the time, which lead to other "niceties" such as a consistently abysmal defense in the outfield because he never had the courage to climb Bernie Williams and Gary Sheffield's asses for not hustling out there day after day. This "behavior" spilled over into the way Bobby Abreu and Robinson Cano played every day too, including last year under Girardi! It's going to take years to get rid of all the bad habits Yankee players exhibited on a day to day basis under Torre, and we're seeing that manifest itself now.

Let's face facts. He was a bum with Atlanta, St. Louis, and the Mets as their manager. With the Yankees winning four titles in his first five years with acquired talent he had virtually no say on, 12 years with what amounts to as an unlimited budget, which he conveniently and personally exploited as well, ultimately, all he was best at was playing favorites, and serving as Jeter's personal batboy and greedily trying to maintain the status quo of top dollar for mediocrity and unsuccessful campaigns! Oh, and like Dave Winfield and Derek Jeter before him, Torre created a useless charity by which he and his family can funnel monies devoid of taxation back into his and his family's coffers! I've been to http://www.joetorre.org, and while I am against all forms of physical and mental abuse, Joe Torre is far from a victim and his website is worthless in terms of exhibiting any real aid to those afflicted with his cause. He got yelled at as a child! Oh noes, the trauma! I would argue that both he and his brother turned out very well despite his protests to the contrary. If we didn’t get yelled at in this country, we wouldn’t have the best military on the planet! Try getting through any boot camp without being yelled at. The truth is, you can’t! The whole idea behind the yelling is to instill a sense of urgency or seriousness to the given situation. Being yelled at also raises your heart rate to induce additional difficulty at attempting the task at hand while NOT being comfortable and contented. The underlying asset being if you can accomplish the task at hand under such duress, such productivity will become second nature, even if it’s killing another human being. Those who are best at what they do don’t rely on being comfortable all of the time for success. Reality is while playing the Red Sox at The Fens, there is no such thing as being comfortable, ever! Playing comfortably was the mantra of Joe Torre, and is precisely why he failed miserably at motivating his players throughout his tenure! I’d rather my players have a chip on their shoulder, whether real or perceived! Look how that worked in 1998 after Sandy Alomar placed a rather large boulder squarely on Mariano Rivera’s and the rest of the Yankees’ shoulders in 1997! Or are you going to try and convince me that ’98 was so great due to Joe Torre’s leadership? That’s laughable and nothing could be further from the truth. They would have destroyed any team in 1998, with Torre or without! That’s the kind of motivation they had. Playing comfortably might work at the Country Club, or at Kapalua playing golf with your buddies, but it’s a philosophy doomed to failure in MLB or other major professional sports. Playing comfortably yields no sense of urgency, no sense of consequences, and that’s why the Yankees failed to execute. When the pressure was on, they were more preoccupied with comfort than success, period. Do you think Michael Phelps was comfortable down the stretch of his 100M Butterfly race in Beijing? You would be grossly mistaken if you thought he was. He merely handled being severely uncomfortable a bit better than his fellow competitors! How about Tiger Woods’ famous U.S. Open victory last summer at Torre Pines? Are we supposed to believe that he was comfortable during that historic result over not four, but rather five days plus an additional playoff under Open conditions? Not as such… I know better!

The facts are that there aren't any homes where anger or adversity never dwells. If you're looking for growing up in a Donna Reed or Leave it to Beaver environment, try Hollywood! Anger is a basic human emotion we all feel when situations arise that don’t go our way. Some have learned to handle their anger without lashing out at friends, loved ones, or just plain objects, while others have not. We are not all blessed with enough money to wash all of our troubles away. I would argue that it's these soft Joe Torre types, which are the main reasons for the ills in our culture! Funny how we never heard about all the vulgar heckling from fans, coaches, managers, and teammates during his playing days in St. Louis, or how “proper” it was for Gibson to intimidate players by throwing at heads as Torre caught him during his first couple of years there! He “survived” all of those instances without any “emotional scarring”! Honestly, I’d rather be yelled at than have 98 MPH cheese hurled at my dome! The Yankees used to pride themselves on hustle and grit and determination, and it's their relentless method of coming after you again and again that made the Yankees historically great! RSN calls it being a "Dirt Dog". We have no such players on the Yankees today, only a manager, who played like that every day during his career. Dirt Dogs don’t pout. That’s all Jeter, Mo, Posada, and Pettitte did last year as they called Torre consistently to bitch and moan about how Girardi wasn’t playing favorites the way “Daddy” did for 12 years! I’ll say it again. It’s going to take years to get all of the Joe Torre out of this team!

And yes, with all of those great teams during the Torre years, they could have hired anyone else in baseball and chances are they would have won MORE during those twelve years than just the four titles! We’ll never know, but they probably would not have done worse.

This is what you get when you go outside of the organization for help. Joe Torre was never a Yankee, not even when he was managing for them, and this petty bullshit "tell-all" is merely two folks on a revenge campaign because they are no longer affiliated with the team in the Bronx. Honestly, I'm surprised Tim McCarver or Don Zimmer or Mel Stottlemyre wasn't allowed to chime in within a Forward in this book so we all can read their rehashed anti-Yankee laments as well… Carl Pavano, Ed Whitson, Hideki Irabu anyone? 1980’s Yogi? Even he, as great as he was, was not bigger than the Yankees. At least he was actually a Yankee to begin with!

I guess Torre’s days with the Dodgers and MLB in general are just about over because of that ever-present and damning “accountability thing” and he does actually need significant funds in order to maintain the Hawaiian lifestyle he greedily accepted while managing the Yankees and still enjoys today, hence the book! Here’s to one of the local volcanoes spewing forth lava straight into his living room at his Hawaiian “estate”! While Hawaii is a great place to visit, it’s truly the arrogance of man to attempt to own property on top of a volcanic mountain range in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! He probably got tired of all the yelling by fans in Florida during many of his golf games and it’s a bit more “comfortable” playing golf in the seclusion of Kapalua in Hawaii! (LOL)

How ironic he was willing to accept any and all accolades for Yankee successes during his tenure, but every time he failed miserably, we got the proverbial "That's baseball." excuse.

It's pathetic and this will surely keep Clueless (and Classless) Joe out of any running for a day at the new Yankee Stadium, a posted #6 in the new Monument Park, and maybe even the HoF and deservedly so! And I'm afraid he dragged a real Yankee in Don Mattingly into all of this. If you think Donnie Baseball made a wise decision following Torre to L.A., ask his wife and sons! In fact, I can't wait for some rookie to ask for and be given #6. It would be a fitting end to the Joe Torre era with the Yankees for someone who loathed rookies so much both as a player and as a manager!

Joe Torre was a bum before becoming the manager with the Yankees, he was a bum during his tenure in the Bronx, and he's a bum now, desperate for still more notoriety and credit for those four titles in five years.

It’s over, it’s been over, and will remain over, no matter how many books disgruntled folks write.

I may read it, but only from the library. I would never do anything that would financially reward people for attempting to tarnish the Yankees whether deserved or not. These clowns are not larger than the game, and they are certainly not larger than the Yankees nor will they ever be!

Respectfully submitted,


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver