Looking back on the Torre Years

AL East Roundup - 5/25/09 trough 5/31/09
Hideki's final pinstriped season

9780385529389 When Joe Girardi went with Phil Coke and then David Robertson in the ninth inning of a tie game on the road yesterday, my thoughts turned to Joe Torre. While this strategic decision isn’t unique to either of the last two Yankee managers, it was a move we saw Torre make over and over again. The most egregious example came in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series when Mariano Rivera, the Yanks’ best reliever, never entered the 12-inning game, and Jeff Weaver gave up the game-winning home run to the light-hitting Alex Gonzalez.

These days, Joe Torre seems like a distant memory of days gone by. We laugh sadly and knowingly when hearing news of Scott Proctor’s impending surgery, and we see how, across the country, Torre’s Dodgers currently own the best record and a whopping +87 run differential as they run away with the NL West. Maybe an October homecoming for Torre is in the cards.

Earlier this year, as Yankee fans grew more accustomed to life under a different Joe, Torre thrust himself back into the spotlight when he and Tom Verducci published The Yankee Years. Ostensibly a Verducci book in which Torre takes on the third person as though being interviewed by the Sports Illustrated scribe, the tell-all memoir takes a path back through the rise and fall of Torre in the Bronx. The rise is, of course, Torre’s doing; the fall is not.

I read the book shortly after it came out in February, and I’ve been sitting on the review since then. At the time, I wondered why Torre bothered, and after reading it, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to say. It seemed like a vindictive way to get back at the Steinbrenner family for unceremoniously booting Torre out of New York, and the book was quickly subsumed by the Selena Roberts revelations concerning Alex Rodriguez‘s drug use. Appropriately, Torre and Verducci’s book is far outselling Roberts’ tome on Amazon, and that’s simply because it’s a better book.

Now, I’m not in the camp of fans that think it’s a must-read. For the most part, if you were a fan from 1996 until the present, the book unveils nothing new. Torre claims ignorance to the drug use that, according to the Mitchell Report, was rampant in the Yankee clubhouse in the late 1990s but knows that the players called A-Rod by the less-than-flattering “A-Fraud” nickname. He had a good rapport with most of his players and couldn’t get along with others. Who would have guessed?

Between the chapters focusing around the Torre narrative, Verducci writes about the state of the baseball world, and those sections bothered me. First, Verducci treads familiar ground in talking about steroids in the game. Anyone who has read Game of Shadows, Juicing The Game or Juice will find nothing new. Verducci also tackles both Moneyball and the rise of the Boston Red Sox as the paragons of baseball’s new way. The parts on the Red Sox were particularly galling because Verducci paints the team as doing no wrong while the Yankees did everything wrong.

As the book progresses, Torre reserves his worst criticism for George Steinbrenner‘s meddling, Brian Cashman‘s Red Sox envy that led to some supposedly wacky ideas from the Yanks’ GM and everyone but himself. It was Steinbrenner who pursued Randy Johnson. It was Steinbrenner who went with Gary Sheffield over Vladimir Guerrero. It was Cashman who tried to convince Torre to bat Giambi leadoff to maximize the number of runners on base, and it was Cashman who did not support Torre in the ill-fated final meeting after the Yanks’ 2007 playoff loss.

Torre says that his worst mistake while with the Yankees came a few weeks before his dismissal, when he did not pull Joba and the team off the field during an attack of the midges in Cleveland. It was perhaps his worst personal mistake because it cost him his job. But was it really more costly than the Jeff Weaver decision? The way the 2004 ALCS was managed? Hitting A-Rod eighth in 2006? I don’t think so.

In the end, Torre says he’s still rooting for the Yankees. “I have to pull for them,” he said. “People think because you leave the Yankees and supposedly you’re unhappy with each other that you’re supposed to pull against them. But I can’t pull against the individuals over there, least of all Girardi who played for me, coached for me.”

Torre seems to be at peace with himself for his book and for his ouster. I have to wonder, though, why the rest of us had to suffer through what is, in effect, a public outing of his personal dislike for those running the team. We know Joe Torre is a better person than the Randy Levines and Lonn Trosts. Writing a book about them — even though the book is mostly an entertaining romp through a dynastic era — just stoops to their level.

You can get Joe Torre and Tom Verducci’s The Yankee Years at Amazon. That link contains our affiliate code. So you can buy the book and support RAB at the same time.

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AL East Roundup - 5/25/09 trough 5/31/09
Hideki's final pinstriped season
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    You can get Joe Torre and Tom Verducci’s The Yankee Years at Amazon. That link contains our affiliate code. So you can buy the book and support RAB at the same time.

    Hmmmmm… I’d rather not.

    But what’s this “affiliate code” stuff? Can I order my non-Yankee related books for class on Half.com (an Amazon company) and enter in this fancy affiliate code, and let you skim some profit off the top of my unrelated book purchases?

    Oh, and does Amazon.com have Chico Escuela’s “Bad Stuff ‘Bout the Mets” back in stock yet?

    • sic

      “This book sucks. There’s really nothing new in it, and it contains a bit of really obnoxious pro Red Sox propaganda. Here is the link where you can buy it and support us”

      lolwut?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        It’s just our boilerplate review language. The book’s selling, and I know a few RAB readers who enjoyed it. Might as well toss out that link.

        And to answer the other question from TSJC, anything we toss up via the affiliate link will net us some dollars.

        • whozat

          but is there any way I can manually add it to other stuff I buy so that you guys get money from amazon?

          actually…don’t answer that. It’d probably be legally dodgy if you told us how to do that.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            actually…don’t answer that. It’d probably be legally dodgy if you told us how to do that.

            You heard that torpedo hit the hull, and I was never here.

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Baseball been berrah, berrah good to Joe Torre.

    • BG90027

      I’m pretty sure Half.com is owned by EBay, not amazon. Amazon z-shops is their competitor to half.

  • Reality Check

    Yeah, Verducci, bosox can do no wrong. Manny? Juicer. Papi? Not all rice and beans we now know. Varitek? Most obvious one next to “I am no longer Pudge because I no longer juice”. Gagne? Nancy Drew? Use to like Verducci. Seems a tool now.

  • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

    meh. just meh.

  • Mac

    I’ve been wanting to ask you or Mike this for a while (couldn’t find the right place to ask) – what if Michael Lewis had to update “Moneyball”? – how would Beane be rated?

    • http://www.eporro.com Eric SanInocencio

      I can’t imagine near as favorable.

  • Bo

    How can you dislike this book? The only players he craps on are Pavano, Brown, Johnson. Anyone going to complain about that? He says what we all know about A-Rod in that he has to relax and have fun. I dont see how any Yankee fan can read it and be upset since it does cover the glory years.

    • Nady Nation

      Wait a second, you actually like something? Did you just offer a positive thought?

      • Nady Nation

        Hmmm. After reading your comment again, it seems that you just are complaining about people not liking the book, thereby negating your liking of the book. That’s the Bo we all know and love.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Yup. It’s not that Sal/Bo/Grant/Lanny likes the book, it’s that he dislikes all other Yankee fans, so if other Yankee fans dislike the book, Sal/Bo/Grant/Lanny has no choice but to like the book.

          His hands are tied. All 8 of ‘em.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        Bo likes it because of the way its written. Torre and Verducci continually claim that the Yankees won from 1999-2001 because they showed more hustle, grit and heart than their opponents. They had that certain something missing from the more recent teams. I wish I were joking, but that’s how they relive those glory years.

        • whozat

          If “that certain something” is defined as “starting pitching”, then I agree.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            +43

        • Nady Nation

          Yep, I read it too. I think it’s rather easy to dislike the book, which makes it even funnier that Bo enjoys it, and this is coming from someone who grew up during the dynasty years and really cherishes them (as I know all Yankee fans do). Torre’s constant bashing of Cashman, who stood up for Torre and saved his job 2-3 separate times, as documented in this very book, comes off as whiny and pathetic, quite frankly.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      How can you dislike this book? The only players he craps on are Pavano, Brown, Johnson. Anyone going to complain about that?

      Oh, yeah, because it’s so damn admirable to watch a guy kick other men while they’re down.

      I’m sure you don’t particularly care for Pavano, Brown, and Johnson. I don’t either. That doesn’t mean I’m going to pay money to read an increasingly curmudgeonly old fart blame his problems and shortcomings on everyone else, particularly on the easiest slow-moving targets this side of the Mississippi.

      IMO, it shows an incredible lack of character and class to shit on the ex-players that everybody else constantly shits on. That’s needless piling on. The noble thing to do would have been to deflect blame away from the NY media’s favorite whipping boys, maybe show them in a compassionate light that the outside world never sees, or maybe even (perish the thought!) admit to a decent chunk of personal responsibility for some of both their and the team’s lack of success in achieving those lofty Yankee goals.

      I won’t subscribe to your lowest common denominator theory that “All Yankee fans must love this book, because it only talks smack about the Yankees we don’t like.” That’s an endorsement of bullying. I’m not going to pay money to endorse bullying.

      • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

        this book i slike jakc mcdowell coming out with abook and blaming buck showalter for his middle finger incident becaus eh left him in too long.

        or pascual perez blaming his heroin dealer.

  • Manimal

    I found the part about Arod’s motivation vs Jeter’s motivation inriguing.Being the best ever vs winning(no matter how). I wonder if Arod’s motivation has changed since the steroid allegations

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I found the part about Arod’s motivation vs Jeter’s motivation inriguing.Being the best ever vs winning(no matter how).

      I find it interesting too. I also find it eerily reminiscent of this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreliable_narrator

    • JP

      Preaching to the choir mostly on this blog, but I love to jump all over the backhanded ways people diss ARod and heap praise on Jeter and Posada.

      (Don’t misunderstant: I like all of them…they’re all stars, and they’re all Yankees, I root for all of them).

      The game they won last week with the Melky walk off…Baltimore? Jeter was up with bases loaded in the eighth with a chance to tie it and he grounded out. ARod hit the homer to tie it in the ninth. I guess the motivation to be the best ever can help you hit homers now and then, and the motivation to “win” doesn’t always work out. Yesterday, Jorge had the chance to apply his authentic (i.e., non-fraudlent) skills to bail out the Yankees, and he failed, badly, twice, in consecutive innings.

      What’s ironic about the book is that Torre’s most virtuous characteristic as a manager, we were told through the years, was how he handled players, particularly sticking up for them (even when it wasn’t warranted), and shielding them from the press and ownership. The book seems like a purging of years of pent up frustration in this regard, and I don’t know what good it does. It just hurts the people he disses, and it tarnishes him with respect to what was supposed to be his greatest virtue.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        What’s ironic about the book is that Torre’s most virtuous characteristic as a manager, we were told through the years, was how he handled players, particularly sticking up for them (even when it wasn’t warranted), and shielding them from the press and ownership. The book seems like a purging of years of pent up frustration in this regard, and I don’t know what good it does. It just hurts the people he disses, and it tarnishes him with respect to what was supposed to be his greatest virtue.

        Bingo. For years, we were sold on the idea that Torre was the perfect (even the “only”) manager who could win in NYC because, while he had numerous tactical and strategical shortcomings, he had an unparalleled ability to deal with multiple egos/personalities and get a team of otherwise aloof and disparate superstars to play as a team and win together.

        This book basically says “these new guys are selfish jerkoffs and I can’t get them to play together no matter what I do.” So, if Torre’s the Great Kreskin of personality management, either he lost his touch (and thus, lost his only useful managerial trait) or, he never had it in the first place and he was just along for the ride during the title years.

        I don’t get what Torre thinks he accomplished here. This book does nothing but pull the curtain away from the great Wizard of Oz machine he created.

  • steve s

    You say Joe is a better person than the Randy Levines or the Lonn Trosts but I’m not so sure. It seems to me that Joe flew down to Tampa on the day he left the Yanks with the same idea in mind as he had when deciding to do the Verducci book; to confront and embarrass the Yankees with no real intention of trying to salvage a relationship with them. As it turns out Joe landed in a perfect job and has enhanced his Hall-of-Fame status but he has also shown himself to be calculating, duplicitous and not the good guy “St. Joe” that he has been portrayed in the media more often than not.

  • JP

    Still waiting to read it…but I was browsing it at my brother’s house and saw the stuff on the Red Sox and Red Sox envy.

    I understand how people are so angry, frustrated, envious, whatever, of the Red Sox. But it’s overdone.

    I know all of you know this, but let’s recap anyway…for our own amusement, the last 10-15 years or so:

    Yankees: Nine straight division titles. (Red Sox: 1 straight.)

    Yankees: First or second 15 straight seasons (Red Sox: second or third 11 of 12 seasons, winning the other one).

    Yankees: Won 4 WS, lost 2 WS. (Red Sox: Won 2 WS, didn’t appear in any others).

    Ok, that’s the playing record. Now for the “Boston is just so much better run and managed, and the Yankees just trade away prospect and buy pennants” thing–let’s see, Hanley Ramirez traded for Beckett and Lowell…Manny…Pedro…Bay…And I guess Matsuzaka’s posting fee, or whatever you call it, wasn’t “buying” a pennant.

    “But JP, how about Youkilis, and Papelbon, and Lester, and Pedroia?” Ok, advantage Red Sox, by a little, but it ain’t nearly as much of a difference as it seems. Cano. Wang. We’ll see your Lester and raise you a Hughes and Chamberlain.

    Well, the Red Sox do have the young, fast, handsome outfielder thing cornered. Stealing home and everything. Except that Ellsbury’s line this season is comparable to Brett Gardner’s, and Melky is younger than both of them and, at the moment anyway, better.

    The Red Sox are succeeding not in spite of the Yankees, but because of the Yankees….because the Yankees established such a high standard of excellence, the Red Sox were forced to step up to survive. Also, it’s “because of” the Yankees, because Boston is doing the exact same thing to build their team as the Yankees have done for years: Establish a monetary base by marketing their ballpark and players via a cable TV network, use the base to build a minor league player development system, use the system to stock the major league club and as trade bait to obtain established stars.

    It’s better now, now that the Red Sox have stepped it up. It will make beating them all the more satisfying.

    • Zack

      The Red Sox have 2 WS in the last 5 years, Yankees have 0.

      All the other stuff doesn’t really matter, whether they have better scouting, or got lucky with guys, or faced crappy teams in the WS, it doesn’t matter- they’ve won and we haven’t, hopefully the Yankees end that this year.

      • JP

        Right…but you have to look in context, don’t you? My point wasn’t that the Red Sox haven’t been better in the last 5 years. They have been better. It’s this notion that they are soooooo different, so much better run. With the Red Sox at the height of their powers right now, they can’t even win the division more than once in those 5 years. Is that a reason for Yankee fans to get Boston envy? I don’t think so.

        • Zack

          I agree, the two teams are not so different (like you stated with the Mets or Seattle). The media can write or think whatever they want, we all know Schilling, Beckett, Manny, Ortiz, DiceK, Bay, Drew, Varitek, etc aren’t homegrown Red Sox. We know looking at OPS+ Cano is better then Pedroia, but Dustin has grit. And Gardner has better (or close) OBP to Ellsbury, but Ellsbury has grit. etc, etc, etc

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        That’s just not true.

        All the other stuff DOES matter. And, the easiest way to tilt the historical record in favor of one party or another is to define the starting and ending points of that historical record in the way that best frames the facts to fit your discussion.

        • Zack

          You can’t have it both ways.

          The Yankees one and only goal is to win the WS.
          Now they haven’t won it in what 8 seasons, so we’re sitting here- oh well they won the division, won playoff games, we should have won in ’01, Boston made bad signings too, they’re not perfect. We already know all that, repeating it time and time again doesn’t diminish Boston’s WS and the Yankees’ recent failures.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            You can’t have it both ways.

            I most certainly can have it both ways. Watch me explain how below.

            The Yankees one and only goal is to win the WS.

            Firstly, that’s not true. The Yankees have two goals that go hand in hand: Win the World Series every single year, and be a global sports brand capable of making assloads of money every year. The two goals dovetail perfectly.

            That being said, the goal you mentioned is a good and awesome goal to have. However, it’s totally unrealistic. Nobody wins the World Series every year. What this means is, we should still maintain our unrealistic goal, but we should be dispassionate when evaluating our results when we fail to reach our unattainable goal. That means, when we don’t win the World Series in a given year, heads to not necessarily have to roll. We should get rid of people only because they are not advancing us in our goal to win every year, not because they failed to deliver something that is, by its very nature, UNDELIVERABLE.

            Now they haven’t won it in what 8 seasons, so we’re sitting here- oh well they won the division, won playoff games, we should have won in ‘01

            All of which is true. I didn’t think Torre should have been fired for not winning rings from ’01-’08, because I recognize that it’s not really his fault that we didn’t win, it’s nobody’s fault, because sometimes the breaks just don’t go your way. The reason I wanted him gone is not because he couldn’t meet our impossible to meet standards, it’s because his work product on the field was declining badly. During the tail end of the Torre Era, he increasingly made bad managerial decisions that simultaneously (and rather paradoxically) either overtaxed or underutilized our best players. Winning all those titles and constantly keeping us in contention should be and is a credit to Torre, because, again, that’s all you can really ask; once you get to the playoffs it’s enough of a crapshoot where the better team loses frequently enough that you can’t really fault a manager (or an organization) for not winning all of them. But once you start becoming an actual detriment to team success, like I feel Torre was at the end, then it’s worth trying someone new.

            Boston made bad signings too, they’re not perfect. We already know all that, repeating it time and time again doesn’t diminish Boston’s WS and the Yankees’ recent failures.

            Which agrees with my point: Even though both teams have goals to win every year, they shouldn’t be overly punished for failure, because the goals are so high.

            • Zack

              You can say it’s unrealistic to say win the WS every year, but a team spends 200m on a team for WS, not division titles, sorry.

              I agree with your ‘heads shouldnt roll because they lost’ I get that point. And I agree with the Torre thing.

              But I dont get with your ‘overly punished for failure’ point. If Tampa doesnt make the playoffs this year do you think the Tampa fans should be just as disappointed as we were last year? Is the media going to kill them? No, Tampa has A LOT of talent but not a huge payroll, so they’re not going to get killed. Yankees shouldnt be held to Tampa’s standard, and Tampa shouldnt be held to Yankees’ standard.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Yankees shouldnt be held to Tampa’s standard, and Tampa shouldnt be held to Yankees’ standard.

                I never said we should make our standards meet the Rays standards. Ours should be higher.

                But, the notion that every year where we don’t meet our goals is a “failure” is not a healthy standard, IMO. We’ve reached a level of both expectations and capabilities where we can have an annual goal of winning the World Series, but we have to redefine our definition of “failure”. Making the playoffs and losing to a hot Indians team is not a “failure”. Finishing in 4th place or with a .500 record, those would be failures. Losing a short series just can’t really be a failure, IMO.

                I want us to be passionate in our ambitions and goals, and yet dispassionate in our strategies used and internal results analysis performed to chase our ambitions and goals.

                • Zack

                  But over the last 5 seasons I think we can admit the team has been in a position to win the WS, and coming into the season they were a top 3 team (on paper). And over those years the Yankees have not made it past the LDS, while Boston has won 2 WS- so after a time LDS or playoffs is no longer a ‘successful season’

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The Red Sox are well financed, well run, and have the winning percentage and titles to show for it.

      The Yankees are also well financed, well run, and have the winning percentage and titles to show for it.

      This notion that Theo is a genius and Cashman is a moron is ludicrous. They’re both very good at their jobs and make more good decisions than bad ones. Neither of them are perfect. Both have mistakes on their resumes. But, viewed as a whole, both of them are among the better GM’s in the game. They add and retain more talent than they give up or miss out on, and unlike other teams with high payrolls (I’m looking at you, Mets and Mariners), they constantly have their teams in the title chase year in and year out.

      You can’t ask for anything more in a GM. I know Joe Torre would love to blame the global economic collapse on Cashman if he could, but the fact remains you can’t ask for anything more in a GM (or in a manager) than constantly having your team in the title chase.

    • MattG

      The Yankees may have invented the method, but they sort of screwed it up with some self-serving mistakes. Boston came along and copied them, but cut out all the fluff. Now Boston is in the lead.

      Its taking longer to reverse the trend then I thought it would, but with the Yankees’ current emphasis on youth, development, and appropriate compensation (only premium players receive premium salaries), it is only a matter of time before the Yankees move past Boston again.

      But there is a reason why I keep giving the Yankees’ 8s in the confidence poll–I am not sure they can draft as well as Boston. They must bring in equal talent every June, or their financial might will be mitigated.

      • JP

        Self-serving? I’m not sure what you mean by that.

        I don’t know for sure why the Red Sox overtook the Yankees. They got some good breaks…they got lucky with young players where the Yankees didn’t (succeeding in the draft requires a hefty dose of luck, I don’t care what anyone says)…a guy stole a base. You can’t win every year.

        I think the Yankees have an odd, unbalanced roster situation, and they are locked into some longterm contracts that are hurting them. But the reasoning behind going after certain players, the method for putting together a winning team, all that – it’s being done EXACTLY the same way in Boston and New York right now.

        Boston is on a good run now, but there is no guarantee it will last. Boston got incredible offense from Mike Lowell, a level better than he’d ever given. David Ortiz…would anyone have predicted his monster seasons? Youkilis…how many players go from being pretty good, solid guys with quiet, “moneyball” skills to the best hitter in the American League…at age 30? It’s a freak thing.

        The Red Sox are a very good team this year. Probably better than the Yankees; at least equal. But let’s say the following happens: Youkilis goes .280/.370/.440 the second half of the year…Drew plays 40 games the second half…Bay returns to a normal level of production for him…Matsuzaka goes 8-13 with a 5.90 ERA for the year…Ellsbury ends up at .280/.310/.390.

        Will everyone start saying that the Boston front office has failed?

  • Andrew

    Totally disagree. How could someone who has actually read the book think this was a vindictive piece?

    Seems like you missed the boat.

    • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

      i’m on a boat.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        POSIEDON, LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE WHOA-OOOO-OH!!!!!!

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Everybody hit the fuckin’ deck, but stay on your motha fuckin’ toes!

      • Zack

        everybody in the place hit the f’ing deck, but stay on your motherf’ing toes

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Well, I didn’t read it, but, do you disagree with the view of Nady Nation, who said above that:

      “Torre’s constant bashing of Cashman, who stood up for Torre and saved his job 2-3 separate times, as documented in this very book, comes off as whiny and pathetic, quite frankly.”

      Is that not an accurate description of the book?

      http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-409240

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Care to elaborate? At least I backed up my viewpoints with a discussion of the book.

      I could also say to you: “How could someone who has actually read the book think this was not a vindictive piece? Seems like you missed the boat.” It runs both ways, and if you consider the tone, purpose and timing of the book, it’s not a cut-and-dry memoir as you seem to be saying it is. There’s definitely a motive behind it.

      • Andrew

        10-15 pages in the entire book are committed to detailing Cashman’s disloyalty towards Torre. Doesn’t exactly scream vindictive piece.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          And how about the points TSJC raised in this comment?

          I realize I’m not going to be able to convince you otherwise, and I know many think Torre can do and has done no wrong. But in my opinion, the undertone of this book was not one of reconciliation and friendship. The book was written to give voice to Torre’s view of things after he was run over by the Steinbrenners in 2007. That’s vindication.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Fair enough.

          My two follow-up questions:

          1) Those ten to fifteen pages easily could have been zero to zero pages, and then this whole conversation about the book being “vindictive” would never have happened, no?

          2) You say there’s “ten to fifteen pages, tops” that are vindictive towards Cashman. How many other pages are vindictive towards Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Alex Rodriguez, and any of the other members of the Yankee organization that Torre portrays in an unflattering light? If you count all those up and add them together, what percentage of the book is Torre complaining about the shortcomings of other people around him and more or less blaming the recent lack of titles on everyone else but himself?

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    “I read the book shortly after it came out in February, and I’ve been sitting on the review since then.

    No wonder this review smells like asscheeks.

    http://www.instantrimshot.com

    (I keed, I keed)

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I have no motivation at all to read this book and I don’t quite know why. Having “come of age” as a Yankee fan during Torre’s years, I should want to read this but every time I hear about it or see it in the stores I just think “meh.”

    • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

      id rather read the stump merril years.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        You know, as painful as it is, I’ve had to let a few people go over the years… Yogi Berra… Lou Pinella… Bucky Dent… Billy Martin… Dallas Green… Dick Howser… Bill Virdon… Billy Martin… Stump Merrill… Billy Martin… Bob Lemon… Billy Martin… Gene Michael… Buck Showalter… Joe Torre…

  • Zack

    “We laugh sadly and knowingly when hearing news of Scott Proctor’s impending surgery”

    Again not giving the whole story- Proctor was hiding an injury and continued to pitch.
    “After some more prodding, Proctor came clean with Torre. An injured player cannot be optioned to the minors.”
    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/10877715/rss

  • Ogie Oglethorpe

    I agree. This was not a book that Joe needed to write. His professional and financial legacy is secure. Yes, the Yankees were classless in how they handled his departure, but Joe did not need to get into the mud with anyone.

    • JP

      Classless?

      There are times when an organization needs to make a change. With the Yankees failing to beat Boston 4 straight seasons, it’s understandable that the Yankees would want to bring in new faces.

      Is there really a “classy” way to ask a person to leave? To break up with someone? To offer the job to someone else?

      • Zack

        Ok so the yankees needed to make a change, why did they offer him a contract?

        • JP

          As I said, there is no easy or nice way to do things, sometimes. If they had not offered him a contract, they’d have been bashed for being thoughtless, disrespectful, whatever.

          Who knows what happened behind closed doors. Maybe Cashman or others in the FO met with Torre and learned that he wanted to come back, and maybe they tried, unsuccessfully to “give him the message” that they wanted to move on. Maybe they had to offer him the contract they did to sort of give him the message, that he had failed to recognize before.

          I’ve seen this happen in other businesses….I’m not saying it’s nice, or pretty, but it isn’t wrong or immoral or even thankless to show someone to the door, and some people need more firm guidance than others.

          • Zack

            They offered him a contact so they could say- see Torre wants to leave, he turned down a contract. Is having a meeting thanking him for everything he’s done (Yes kiss his ass) and say it’s just time that the organization makes a change, considered ‘classless’?

  • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

    truth to follow. how a friend broke up with a girl in college:

    girl on cell phone: you’re breaking up, i cant hear you.

    him: so are we. ::click::

    now that’s classless

    bit different from, meh we dont really want you bakc so we’re going to offer you a contract we know you won’t take but even if you do we’ll deal with you for another year because it’s what we’re willing to pay your replacement and if you win then it was worth it and the incentives are no biggie.

    they couldve done the carlton fisk red sox mve and mailed him a contract the day after the deadline to tender one. stay classy bosox

    • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

      damn this was meant to be a reply to the comment above. damn!

    • JP

      jsbrendog, I like how you think. How do we know what all these guys are like behind closed doors? Joe Torre…such a comforting, familiar face, we associate him with all the championships…no way he could be a stubborn jerk, right?

      Maybe Torre was an ass behind closed doors. Maybe the organization hated how he handled pitchers, and he refused to adjust…maybe Dave Eiland was telling Cashman and everyone else that Torre would ruin all of their pitching prospects. Maybe Torre had become self-important, or saw himself as some kind of institution.

      I’m not saying any of that paragraph is true. But this idea that you can’t move on and fire a guy is stupid. Ever since George Steinbrenner took over, has there ever been a manager firing that hasn’t been portrayed, by someone, as a lynching?

      Let’s have all the critics take over the team for the day. Go ahead. Make all the decisions. See how easy it is.

      Your portrayal of the contract offer is probably right on the money. FO conversation before meeting with Torre: “Look fellas, we can keep him another year if need be – he’s a good man and he’ll do a good job – but this can’t go on forever, and let’s see if we can gently show him the door and move the team ahead.”

      • Zack

        “Let’s have all the critics take over the team for the day. Go ahead. Make all the decisions. See how easy it is.”

        Mike Francesa asked if he could be GM

  • Evan

    I read the book also, and walked away thinking less of Torre than I did while he was here. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him as a manager and all, but this showed me that he had another malicious side to him, one that I wasn’t used to seeing. The content in the book was nothing new, but as stated above there was certainly a point that Torre wanted to get across by doing this book. If he wanted to paint the Yankees and the Brass in a terrible light, then he did. He made Steinbrenner, Levine and Cashman look bad. I had a much better time reading The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty.

  • Bill

    Not commenting on the book because I didn’t read it, but I’d say that Torre’s biggest mistakes were the Midge incident in Cleveland and not using Mo in an extra inning game in the World Series.

    At the time I wasn’t against A-Rod batting 8th against Detroit. On paper it seems ridiculous, but anyone that watched A-Rod at the time could plainly see how much he was laboring. Torre didn’t have time to coddle him and wait out a slump, so he made an aggressive move to get guys who were hitting better at the time up in the lineup. That also didn’t have much if any impact on the outcome of the game.

    • JP

      I was always surprised that the “batting A-Rod 8th” move was considered so controversial.

      Batting order doesn’t really matter much. It was a psychological move…he took a chance, and it wasn’t such a bad idea to do it. Maybe it would penetrate A-Rod’s ego and personality and put him in a mindset where he could force himself out of the slump. Maybe it would help the other players, by showing confidence in them, and implying that they needed to step up.

      It didn’t deserve anywhere near the degree of negative criticism it got.

      Not pitching Rivera in the 2003 WS game was a mistake. That was the game where Ruben Sierra got the big hit? But then they failed to take the lead?

      Let’s face it, that WS…three young pitchers were red hot, and the Yankees were on the wrong end of it. Florida should have never been in the WS…

  • http://lennysyankees.blogspot.com lenNY’s Yankees

    “He had a good rapport with most of his players and couldn’t get along with others. Who would have guessed?”

    Yes you are right, but I think you are missing the overall purpose of the book if you are saying that. A book devoted to a manager’s experience with a team that goes as in-depth as possible – that’s what makes fans want to read it!

    It sounds like you were expecting a bunch of news stories to be spilled from this book, when really it’s just a book.

    I’m in the middle of reading the book, and I’ve enjoyed it so far because of all of the player perspectives as well as Torre’s.

  • BG90027

    I read the book back in Feb. and my memory of all the details isn’t great but the whole tone of it to me seemed to shift the perceived blame for the Yankees World Series Drought from Torre to Cashman, other upper management and some of the newer players. Torre should have been above that. I don’t really see the point in trying to blame anyone. It is much harder to maintain a dynasty than to build one, especially when (for better or for worse) they don’t have the same detached, cold-hearted willingness to say goodbye to their aging star veterans as the Redsox have. The Yankees may not have won a world series recently but they have been competitive in the toughest division for over ten years. That is a record Torre should feel proud to have been a part of rather than feel the need to take shots at Cashman for not supplying players that would do even better.

    The comparisons to the Redsox aren’t really fair. Never mind that Theo preferred Vasquez to Schilling before the Yankees traded for Vasquez. Let’s ignore that the Yankees weren’t in need of a veteran ace to lead them to the WS for the first time in 80 years, and that they were rightly trying to get younger to maintain a dynasty without going through a rebuild process. In criticizing the decision to not resign Pettite, Torre and Verducci (like most people unfortunately) completey ignore the fact that Cashman was right to worry about Pettite’s health – he spent most of his first year in Houston on the DL. People can point out the inadequacies of Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Jaret Wright, Jose Contreras and others, but how was Cashman supposed to assemble a much better rotation in those years? There wasn’t much available on the free agency market and there wasn’t much in the farm system to make big trades with. They could have probably drafted better and done more to sign interational talent, but largely this was the price to pay for being good for so long and being in the buyer mood every trade deadline rather than retooling.

    • Zack

      “That is a record Torre should feel proud to have been a part of rather than feel the need to take shots at Cashman for not supplying players that would do even better.”

      Who said Torre wasnt proud to be apart of that? It’s us fans and upper management who would not accept losing in the LDS as a successful season

      • BG90027

        Perhaps I worded that poorly. I’m sure that on a personal level he is proud. Torre could have written more from that viewpoint though and emphasized how hard it is for teams to stay so good for so long. That wasn’t the tone of the book though.

        And if management didn’t accept losing in the LDS as a successful season, how did Torre last so long?

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