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.