"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 1/30/09

Roger Clemens … and liniment … (shudder) …

Here’s the news:

  • The News reports that Joe Torre and Randy Levine were not bosom buddies during the latter years of “The Yankee Years”:

Meanwhile, Torre seems to believe Levine had it in for him, going back to an organizational meeting in spring training of 2003. The meeting, which included several team executives, as well as Steinbrenner, was held in Tampa during spring training to discuss how David Wells should be punished for writing his book that had embarrassed the organization.

Steinbrenner wanted Torre to put Wells in the bullpen as punishment, which Torre said he wouldn’t do. Torre argued it was management’s role to punish Wells for such an off-the-field issue, but Steinbrenner repeatedly argued that it was Torre’s job to discipline the players.

“You know what, I’m sick and tired of this —,” Torre told Steinbrenner. “You keep pounding at me, pounding at me, pounding at me, and it bothers me. I probably shouldn’t tell you that, but it bothers me.”

At that point, according to the book, Levine, who was listening via speaker phone from New York, began to speak, but Torre quickly cut him off.

“Randy, shut the — up,” Torre said.

The meeting resumed after an awkward few seconds of silence, but years later Torre seems to think Levine held a grudge. “I found out Randy had been trying to get rid of me from that moment on,” Torre says in the book.

  • David Wells doesn’t seem too enamored with Mr. Torre either, reports the News:

Torre, who was critical of Wells when the pitcher published his book “Perfect I’m Not” while still a Yankee, remained critical in “The Yankee Years”, which he co-authored with Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci.

“The difference between Kevin Brown and David Wells,” Torre says, “is that both make your life miserable, but David Wells meant to.”

Wells admitted to clashing with the manager, saying that Torre would often turn off his music in the clubhouse without ever asking him to turn it down. How’d Wells respond? He’d blast the music again and tell Torre, “If you got a problem, go in your office and shut the door.”

“I wasn’t there trying to make Joe’s life miserable, I was there trying to win,” added Wells, who used the loud music to pump himself up before games. “He fined me for wearing a Babe Ruth hat, that’s pretty shallow. I threw the money at him and said, ‘Go buy a pair of rims for your car.'”

  • Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times has concerns over Torre’s book, and how it may impact his dealing with the Dodgers’ youngsters:

From the first day of rookie ball, a young player hears two cardinal rules: What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. Don’t put yourself ahead of the team.

By violating both of those covenants, by sharing clubhouse secrets and by upstaging the team that employs him with a book tour to talk about a team that does not employ him, Torre has left the Dodgers in an awkward position on the eve of spring training. …

The Dodgers recruited Torre — and rewarded him with the highest managerial salary in the game — to shepherd the young players and blend them into a smooth clubhouse fabric. What could be more toxic to clubhouse chemistry than Russell Martin and Matt Kemp and James Loney wondering whether their every word and action might be used in another tell-all book, by the manager they are supposed to trust?

  • Derek Jeter …. memorabilia thief?  The Times reports that the Captain finally admitted to Harvey Araton that he swiped something from the old Stadium:

Derek Jeter came clean Wednesday night. He pilfered the Joe DiMaggio sign, as I suspected.

When I had last seen Jeter before covering the kickoff party to his celebrity golf classic for his Turn 2 Foundation at the Saddlebrook Resort about a half-hour north of here, he had refused comment on the famous sign (“I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee”) in the tunnel leading to the Yankees dugout that went missing soon after their last Stadium home game.

A clue on his intentions had come earlier that night, when he said he had his eye on a particular Stadium keepsake but wouldn’t say which. After the game and on-field celebration, I noticed the sign was missing and told him, “I know what you’re taking out of here,” and I asked if I could report it.

He shook his head and replied, “In due time.”

Four months later, he admitted he had taken the sign, and another item or two.

[My take: That’s OK … Pavano stole $39.95 million.]

  • David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution runs down the Braves’ preferences in terms of FA or otherwise-available outfielders.  Nady and Swisher are in the mix.
  • Hipolito Pena turns 45 today.  Pena was acquired from the Pirates in 1988 for (now) BBTN analyst Orestes Destrade.  In 1987, Pena pitched 25.7 innings for the Pirates and allowed only 16 hits.  He DID however issue 26 walks in those 25.7 innings!
  • Dave Stegman (who? LOL) turns 55 today.  Stegman appeared as a pinch-runner in two games in 1982 …. no ABs …. just pinch-running.
  • On this date in 1923, the Red Sox send future HOF pitcher Herb Pennock to New York in exchange for infielder Norm McMillan, pitcher George Murray, outfielder Camp Skinner, and $50,000.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Bum Rush   ~  Jan 30, 2009 9:04 am

The link for: David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is empty.

Here it is: By clicking here you agree the Yanks should trade for Matt Kemp.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 30, 2009 9:23 am

Oh no, not Matt Kemp again! AAAAAAh.


Seriously, is ANYBODY chummy with Randy Levine? Man, that guy gives me the willies.

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 30, 2009 9:24 am

I guess as every new 'fact' is revealed, we can discuss it's merrits and impact, but I suspect that will grow old shortly. I am a Torre fan, and while we are only hearing his side, I would not be surprised if most of his statements are based in truth. We already know how difficult George was, and can only guess what politics might be like in the multi billion dollar baseball powerhouse that is the New York Yankees.

I am not angry as much as disappointed in Joe. These tidbits about players and management don't change my views on these guys at all. When dealing with the realities of human beings, and that thousands of moments and incidents they live, there is always going to be lots of 'dirt'. To me, it's just business and life as usual.

But Joe should just not have published this stuff at this time It was both just bad judgement and poor taste. I can only guess he was really seething with anger, to put his legacy and relationship with the Yankees on the line.

It's just a waste. While 'tell-alls' are always juicy and fun, they often reveal nothing really pertinent or 'newsworthy'. Unfortunately, all Torre did was tarnish his legacy and jeapordize his current standing in LA.

It's funny. The Yanks were willing to give Joe that one last year. Joe really only wanted one year, but felt he needed a 2 year contract to insure that the one year would go smoothly, without threat or an early dismissal.

Why didn't the Yanks just guarantee the one year? They knew what they had in Torre. There would be no real reason to fire him mid-year. They could have guaranteed one threat feel, hassle free year, in exchange for Torre announcing he was stepping down after the season. All would have been good.

Why is it that we had to get the absolute worst outcome from this? If nothing else, Torre derserved a last year without politics. Maybe let him manage the FIRST game in the new stadium and have him announce his retirement (from the Yankees). It could have been great show.

4 RagingTartabull   ~  Jan 30, 2009 9:52 am

I, for one, can't imagine a former Rudy Deputy as anything but a complete joy to work under the watchful eye of every day.

5 Bum Rush   ~  Jan 30, 2009 9:52 am

@ 2

But did you click that link :)

@ 3

Except he fails to recognize that he got that one extra year. In 2005. And 2006. And even in 2007. Heck, pitching Weaver in the 2003 Series was a fireable offense, especially now when he says he didn't have what it takes to pitching in NY. But you pitch him in the WS, you fat bastard? While Mo rides pine?

6 Bum Rush   ~  Jan 30, 2009 9:54 am

By the way, if a co-worked ever told any of us to STFU on a conference call, could any one ever forgive them? Seriously, it's surprising that someone could have it out for you after that?

Worse, that's Torre's version! Is he just plain stupid or ignorant or both?

7 ms october   ~  Jan 30, 2009 9:57 am

ha - agreed alex. i wish he was not associated with the yanks. maybe the man who got him that job is still cool with him, but i don't know.

i agree with you oyf on this take of the situation - though not on all your bias againts hip-hop :}
i didn't want torre to be replaced either, but a part of me is thinking that if he really got to the point he describes in the book and his feelings led him to the point of writing this book - it was best for him to leave.
although i think his "bad managing" was way overblown i do think at a certain point of his tenure torre changed from managing to win to managing not to lose (especially in the ost season) and that wasn't going to change back and with a 1 guranteed year.

8 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 30, 2009 10:03 am

[3] I agree with you about not doubting much of the truth in the book, although it is possible it is filtered. What makes this book "bad" is Torre does betray confidences and, even worse, shifts blame for not winning to everyone but himself. Afterall, Torre was found of saying that winning so many games was an accomplishment and that the WS shouldn't be the only end game, yet, he then blames Arod, et al. for ruining the team. Well, didn't the Yankees win divisions under the big bopper approach?

Instead of asking why didn't the Yankees guarantee one year, the question is why did Torre, after 12 years, feel he needed a "fake" second year to ensure his stability? I think it is silly to think that someone has respected as Torre would have had a problem in the clubhouse on a 1-year deal. Also, because he said he would retire after 2008 anyway, would leverage would there be? I think the answer to that is Torre did want to manage for more than one season, and he did want a maximum value contract.

The bottom line is if Torre did want one year, well, he could have had it. Personally, I think it was a good idea to part ways with Torre, so I disagree that it was the worst outcome. With some many contracts coming off the books, last year was really the beginning of a transition, so it made sense to install a new manager. If the Torre chaos was simply shifted to this off season, I have a feeling it would have distracted the Yankees and potentially discouraged free agents during what was going to be a very important off season.

9 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 30, 2009 10:06 am

[7] Like him or not, Levine is purportedly very good at what he does, so I am glad he works for the Yankees.

10 ms october   ~  Jan 30, 2009 10:12 am

william i agree with your first paragraph - the excerpts of the book seem to have torre focusing blame on everyone but himself. perhaps in the full book he does acknowledge his own mistakes more - if he does, that is the kind of stuff that is not as "juicy" and less likely to make the papers. if he does not, that is certainly not cool.

however, your second point about the contract offer, is one i disagree with. there was much contention over this since last year, which there is no need for me to rehash - i respect that is your opinion, but i disagree with it and i still understand why torre took the stance he did.

though as i said in 7, i do think that making a change was probably the right move - to me, it just did not have to go down in the manner it did.

11 BobbyB   ~  Jan 30, 2009 10:19 am

I liked and admired Joe Torre but I think most of us felt that it was time for a change. Unfortunately, this book will clearly diminish the man since he violates all the principles he claimed were important. One thing is for sure, we won't be seeing Joe at the New Yankee stadium on Old Timers Day. Ever.

12 ny2ca2dc   ~  Jan 30, 2009 10:20 am

I'm also getting to the point of just sadness and disappointment with Joey T. Why on earth was it necessary to bring Damon's emotional issues back up, for instance.

What I'm really getting a picture of is a terribly self absorbed man - it's pretty remarkable Torre thinks Levine wanted to get rid of him solely because he was slighted on a conference call. Hell Joe, why the hell not apologize? Cutting someone down in public is unprofessional, and should've prompted a public apology by Torre to Levine. Could it also be possible he was one of many who just didn't feel like Torre was a good manager for the current club? How is it that in this entire book there's nothing about actual baseball decisions, or any critical introspection? Granted I haven't read the book, but every article describes it as such.

13 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 30, 2009 10:35 am

[12] I think part of Torre's self absorption led him to believe that he could write this book and not be criticized for it. I really can't wait to hear his reaction when he starts his book tour. I am sure he is shocked by the outcry against him.

14 Raf   ~  Jan 30, 2009 10:35 am

it’s pretty remarkable Torre thinks Levine wanted to get rid of him solely because he was slighted on a conference call.

Not really, having seen corporate shenanigans in the past...

15 bp1   ~  Jan 30, 2009 10:58 am

I'll stay out of the "Joe deserved to stay/go" debate, but I will say that it's surprising to me that Joe would potentially toss away all the perks that come with being a glorified ex-Yankee to write a book like this one. The Joe Torre Foundation itself benefited greatly from Joe's association with the Yankees. How much is at risk? How much retirement income has he just tossed away? Maybe he doesn't care?

Dunno. Just kinda sad. I wonder how much the apparent disrespect at the last game came into play? Maybe an olive branch extended last September would have prevented most of this agita?

Nobody will ever know. Now we're left with images of Roger getting his nuts polished, Damon a mental mess, and all the other sundry garbage I could have happily lived my life without.

Joe burned a lot of bridges. Expensive ones, and those not easily repaired.

16 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:02 am

[15] I don't think the last game snub factors into the equation because I'd imagine the book was already in the works by then.

17 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:11 am

The issue of the 'did he leave or was he pushed' has little to do with Joe's quality as a manager. The Yankee's had the option, in the best possible way, to say 'Joe we luv ya and appreciate ya, but we feel we need a different form of leadership from a manager'. But, according to history and Joe's account, the FO said they wanted one more year.

Again, whether you think Joe was a God or the very worst, it has no part in the discussion of how his 'leaving' was handled.

I liked Torre and wanted another year mostly because Mo, Po, Andy and ARod were all up in the air. I thought the timing for a shakeup was poor. But again, if the Yanks had said 'No Thanks' in the best possible way, I would have accepted it. I personally do not feel a manager has near the influence over the outcome of a season as many here.

I personally do NOT believe the Yanks wanted Joe back. If they did, there would have at VERY LEAST, been more discussion and negotiation. Joe did NOT want to leave. He left, when in his judgement, the writing was on the wall. In theory, they both wanted ONE more 'quality' year. If this is so, it would have been worked out. Torre has said this many times. 'If they really wanted me, it would have been worked out'.

I don't give credit to Joe for winning. I give him credit for the strengths we know he has... working with the media, working (and surviving) with Steinbrenner, and with a group of famous, highly paid players and egos. I certainly give him credit for helping to change the image of the Yankees, from the Bronx Zoo lead by a deranged owner, to a well respected and admired team. I give the players the credit for winning (and losing), but I don't think anybody questions that Joe took a very, very rocky boat and smoothed the waters beyond anyone's expectations.

I'm not defending Joe, his book, this recent very bad judgement, his quality as a manager, or whether he kicks dogs or not. I simply believe the Yankees handled his leaving very, very poorly. And right or wrong, justified or not, it has lead to todays situation.

Frankly, I'd have to sit down and really think and ponder, just how the Yankees could have handled it worse.

18 bp1   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:12 am

[16] Yeah - you're probably right. Just icing on the cake, I guess.

I mean - c'mon. It's gotten to the point where David Wells is calling Joe Torre a punk. How is this good, other than for the publisher?? If I was the Dodgers, I'd be a little miffed. Probably more than a little.

Crazy world we live in sometimes.

19 Bum Rush   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:23 am

@ 16

Yup, especially since they fired Verducci too. Book publishing is fairly non-secret. No doubt they were shopping the proposal and perhaps even held an auction. That's one way Sandomir could have found out the amount of the advance and the details of the contract.


Again, he got his goodbye year. Three or four of them.

20 Rich   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:28 am

[9] I think what Levine was hired to do was to shepherd the process of getting the new stadium approved and to procure supplemental public funding via a bonds, so in that sense he is very good at his job.

Although it's a small sample size, when he has been tasked with negotiating a baseball matter, e.g., the Randy Johnson trade, he has failed miserably. Granted, his role was to carry out George's mandate, but according to media reports, he offered the D'backs a choice of prospects that included Wang and Cano, and even thought they were too stupid to steal those assets when they had the chance, the Yankees still gave up Dioner Navarro, their only near ML ready catcher, who should have been kept (I said so at the time) because Posada was entering his mid-30s, ages when historically, catchers are
susceptible to injury and decline.

An aspect of being a good executive is to know what your weaknesses are, and to delegate those responsibilities to those who know more, e.g., baseball people (we know that Cash didn't want Johnson; he preferred Beltran). Levine, at least in that endeavor, failed to do that.

That said, I strongly agree with your post at [8]. The overarching theme of Torre's reaction to his Yankee tenure is that he wanted credit for the championships, but absolutely no blame for the championship drought.

21 ny2ca2dc   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:32 am

[17] "working ... with a group of famous, highly paid players and egos. "

But aren't we finding out he didn't even do a great job with that? Sure, he had his guys he clicked with, but those outside the circle were just savaged - Wells, Lofton, ARod, to some extent Giambi and Damon, etc...

And regarding the notion that the ending was handled poorly by the Yankees, I can easily envision a scenario where they just said "no" to Joe and he complained about not even getting a token offer - "I would've worked even for one year for one dollar, but they didn't want me at all". And even if the ending was utterly jacked up by the Yankees executives, why throw the players under the bus?

None of this makes any sense given the previous image of Joe T a saint, so it's quite right for him to be taken down a number of pegs. If he didn't know what he was doing, Clueless Joe indeed...

I'd like to see a real interviewer talk with Joe, even though I'll be tivoing Larry King tonight.

22 Bum Rush   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:37 am

That said, I strongly agree with your post at [8]. The overarching theme of Torre’s reaction to his Yankee tenure is that he wanted credit for the championships, but absolutely no blame for the championship drought.

Exactly. I wonder how many pages in the book discuss:

2003 - Weaver in a tie game on the road, and after Torre admits he had already lost faith in him, while Mo sat
2004 - Too numerous to list
2005 - Bubba Cosby
2006 - Arod 8th and a few weeks after the Verducci and Torre collaboration on "The Lonely Yankee"
2007 - Gnats

I'm going to guess that 2003 was Weavers fault, 2004 was Mo's fault (for throwing over three times and allowing Roberts to get into the flow), 2005 isn't mentioned, 2006 is Arod's fault, and 2007 he thinks he already covered and so isn't mentioned.

Torre forgot that his job was to push the buttons during the season, keep everyone on the same page, then "manage" in October.

Instead, he just learned to sit there like a sack of shit while the biting insects were swarming.

23 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:40 am

[19] Again... that's YOUR judgement.
They Yankees said the wanted ONE more year.

24 pugzilla   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:53 am

Probably this has been noted earlier, but it bears repeating...if I were at a staff meeting in a mid/upper management position, and I told the COO to "STFU!", I would be emptying my desk after the meeting ended. Makes sense to me that Levine "had it in for him," whether he did or didn't
BTW, I agree quite strongly with the conclusions of post 22.

25 Dimelo   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:56 am

I share the same sentiments as [3] &[11], good job guys. I understand that as a current manager Torre might have committed managerial suicide, but that's the Dodgers brunt to bear and I don't really care about that so much.

This past year, I think Torre took a lot of heat from unnamed sources within the organization, no real mention of him, and Hank's ripping/diminishing of Torre probably pissed him off too. I wish Torre would have gone off on his superiors (Yanks FO) versus talking badly about the players that played for him, but what's done is done and he gets to say why he did it tonight on Larry King.

26 Dimelo   ~  Jan 30, 2009 11:57 am

[25] No real mention of Torre in any of the Yankee stadium tributes or videos

27 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 30, 2009 12:10 pm

Underdog, what's the general sentiment about this in Dodgerland, we wonder? (Dod-gersssss....) >;)

28 JL25and3   ~  Jan 30, 2009 12:14 pm

[17] I agree with this. If the Yankees' first choice was to have Torre for another year, then they should have (and would have) at least sat down for a discussion. If they didn't want him to be manager, they should just have said so.

As I've said before, I cared about that a year ago.

I think Torre's damaged his reputation a lot. I also think the Yankees should stop talking about putting a non-derogation clause in contracts. Let Joe be the one who looks petty and vindictive.

29 The Hawk   ~  Jan 30, 2009 12:19 pm

People continue to discuss this book as if they've read it when they haven't.

Also, I don't think it was a good idea for this book to be published now, but jesus, people are acting like it was a crime of high treason that resulted in 10,000 puppies being run over. The idea that this would somehow ruin his "legacy" etc, etc is pathetic - the Yankees really need to grow a pair if something like this is going to cause such hurt feelings.

30 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 30, 2009 12:32 pm

[27] Okay, let me reiterate that question...

How do the denizens of Dodger Thoughts feel in regards to the reception/reaction to the book affecting Joe's relationship to his current players (when not taking into consideration the merits of ghostwriting/third-person accounts and the American Civil War, which I would have loved to participate in discussing...) ? Has he compromised himself with the team and/or fans, or will this blow over since it's not about any of them for now?

31 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 30, 2009 12:47 pm

[29] I don't quite get why you need to read the whole book to object what excerpts we have available, but in any event, it isn't the Yankees who have reacted strongly. In fact, the most mild responses have been from the Yankees. Rather, it is executives around the league, ex-players and media members who have hammered on Joe. Finally, in the context of baseball, this is an example of high treason. While that might seem silly in a real world view, so is playing and watching baseball.

[30] If I'm the Dodgers, my biggest concern would be that while the organization is gearing up for Spring Training, my manager will be doing a book tour. Joe was never all that engaged in the off season, but it would be nice if he was focusing his energies on his current team instead of his former club.

32 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 30, 2009 12:51 pm

[29] Well, according to excerpts, Damon might take it like he ran over 10,000 puppies...

But seriously, I went over to DT to get their point of view since Joe is their first-person issue now, and the sentiment there seems to be that patience is a virtue; head-scratching over the NY tabloid furor and their own papers saying it's not as bad as made out to be, which may or may not be a pre-emptory strike at any bad reaction by LA fans when the book hits the shelves. Tony Jackson reported that the players mentioned in the book were given a heads-up about the contents before it went public and were okay with it (I dunno about that, given Wells' reaction), and as I mentioned before this may all be a tempest in a teapot.

Still, you have to wonder what the motivation for publishing a book about your recent past in an industry that you still actively participate in actually is, and given the public reaction to the excerpts you can't help but feel that there are still enough raw nerves about the content that this would definitely affect the people mentioned in a negative way on some level. That's not an issue we shouldn't be aloud to discuss until the book comes out, because the publishers and writers didn't give us that option at all by publishing the excerpts. No one is putting a gun to my head and saying I have to read the excerpts, but the same applies to the book and and given what I've seen so far, to me I find it funny and sad at the same time, but no dollar from me.

33 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 30, 2009 12:52 pm

[31] Agreed.

34 Bum Rush   ~  Jan 30, 2009 1:44 pm
35 Bum Rush   ~  Jan 30, 2009 1:45 pm
36 Bum Rush   ~  Jan 30, 2009 1:46 pm

Crap refers to the "Your comment is awaiting moderation." tag I just got and is not a commentary on Goldman's excellent piece.

37 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 30, 2009 2:07 pm

[35] I suspect it's Cliff's rally cry when he's about to answer a lot of our comments, though >;)

38 The Hawk   ~  Jan 30, 2009 4:01 pm

[31] Obviously you don't need the whole book to to object to excerpts; I wouldn't be commenting if that's all anyone did. However, it's pretty rare that I read something that is very diligent in keeping it strictly to the excerpts. Most of it is about the book as a whole. Hence, my complaint. Even the ones that do include caveats about it only being an excerpt usually extrapolate at will anyway.

As far as how the Yankees are reacting, I didn't say they are reacting strongly. I am referring to the many reactions on their behalf from the peanut gallery. That's why I'm saying "if" in regards to the Yankee reaction, as in "if" they are as sensitive as some make them out to be they need to grow a pair. It's maybe more a comment on those that ascribe the reaction to them, absent the actual reaction. I guess we'll see how it plays out.

I don't think playing or watching baseball is silly, but calling a book you haven't read high treason is. Which fits nicely into my original point. You don't know what it's in the book, just parts of it. I suppose if there's something in the excerpts that is so horrendous and unforgivable that no context might soften the blow, maybe you can prejudge it. But this is an almost 500 page book, most of what I've seen of which has been paraphrased, and I haven't read anything THAT bad (okay maybe the Clemens thing, hahaha - though that wasn't a Torre tidbit). The only things I've heard or read about it by people who've actually read it describe it as not a "tell-all" or "hatchet job". The propriety of any book of this sort might be questionable, but my impression is that of its kind, it's very well done.

39 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 30, 2009 4:39 pm

[37] Well then, what IS it? What I heard from someone who actually read the book very much deflated my interest in reading it, including the technical art of conveyance (or lack thereof). I'm certain there are aspects that will be held in ridicule (as we all well know at this point), but again, the debate over its propriety is valid, given what the publisher has marketed it as, or left the perception of it as. The subsequent remarks from Torre and Verducci come across as "damage control" not over what was said, but when it was said.

This will all be moot February 3 and we can dissect the contents fairly and openly then, but as long as there are excerpts, there will be speculation, which benefits the publisher more than anyone else.

40 The Hawk   ~  Jan 30, 2009 4:47 pm

[38] I don't understand the question of what IS it? I mean, I guess the people who said what it WASN'T did describe what they thought it was, if that's what you mean, but it wasn't a shorthand term, at least that I remember. There have only been three I've read or heard: Tyler Kepner and Jack Curry at the Times, and Mike Francesa on WFAN. The first two you can read for yourself. I can describe Francesa's reaction as positive, but with reservations about the propriety of the book's existence (which btw I already said I agree is an open question).

41 lisaswan   ~  Jan 30, 2009 4:52 pm

[37] Just one question. You say you haven't read anything that bad far. How do you think the Steinbrenner family felt about hearing their father's mental state described in this cold-blooded fashion:

* "Steinbrenner sat slumped in his chair with dark glasses covering most of his face. Occasionally he would take them off, put them back on, take them off, put them back on ... He contributed virtually nothing to the meeting except for occasionally repeating the last sentence of what someone in the room had just said."

* “It’s not quite the same (as) when Don Corleone was shot and was recovering and was sitting in the garden. At least he was talking to his son in a very lucid way, explaining what was going to happen. I don’t think George had those capabilities.”

I kind of doubt they're saying to themselves, "Oh hey, for a book of its kind, it's very well done."

42 joejoejoe   ~  Jan 30, 2009 5:12 pm

Randy Levine is to stealing money from taxpayers what Rickey Henderson is to scoring runs. I'm not a fan of how this Torre book is written or the hypocrisy of Torre for participating in the project but that's a good zinger on Levine. Of course, it's a third person narrative and that quote on the confernece call didn't necessarily come from Joe Torre, right Verducci? Riii-iight.

43 The Hawk   ~  Jan 30, 2009 5:13 pm

[40] No those quotes don't strike me as particularly offensive. First of all, it's not exactly news, second of all, I don't detect mean-spiritedness. Obviously I'm not going to feel the same way as the people written about. That being said, I have no idea how the Steinbrenners feel about it. But George Steinbrenner is a public figure who's taken a beating - sometimes deserved, sometimes not - for years. I doubt a description like in the excerpts above is really going to rock their world.

Anyway, empathizing with the family is all well and good but I'm not gonna use that as my measuring rod for whether the book is effective or not. It's not for me to judge whether they should or shouldn't have hurt feelings because of it, but their particular subjective view of things is just that: very particular.

44 Rich   ~  Jan 30, 2009 5:21 pm

[40] Disrespecting a person, be they a public figure or not, in their senescence does not reflect well on anyone, including Joe Torre. It's indicative of a lack of respect for human dignity and suffering (watching a person in the throes of a dimension certainly qualifies as such). Only a person of bad character would ever do that, especially when it's for profit.

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