Monday, January 26, 2009

joe torre burns his bridges in "the yankee years" kiss and tell

wow, i had planned to finish up and post my manhattan half marathon race report this morning, but on the train ride to work joe torre's forthcoming book, "the yankee years," was the big news (imo) on the sports pages! if reports of its snarky contents are even close to accurate, "my how the mighty have fallen" should be the book's subtitle. the book is scheduled to be released next week, february 3, but the ny post somehow, and rather conveniently, managed to purchase an advance copy from a nyc bookseller - really?!

what on earth motivated torre to write this book? given he was one of the highest paid managers in baseball during his years with the yankees - hardly the money. to document his hardscrabble life as the yankee skipper for 12 years - isn't there time for that when he retires? or, more likely reason, to settle old scores and grudges against his enemies. his co-author, tom verducci, a writer with "sports illustrated," has already come to his defense, pointing out the book was written in the third person?! what a lame grammatical attempt at a fig leaf.

from this book we learn these tidbits: that a-rod was a prima donna with the nickname a-fraud; that joe thought gm cashman had his back in the final contract negotiations but, instead, was stabbed in that back by cashman; and, even more stunning, in 1999, torre learned of his own prostate cancer not from the doctors - but from george steinbrenner. if his stories comes off as this vindictive and petty in the actual book then joe torre is nothing more than a bitter old man taking cheap shots at his past enemies.

even if everything single thing he relates is true, and he's actually sugarcoating it to protect the truly bad, how can a working manager play this sort of gotcha memoir game? working manager is key here. what will his l.a. dodger players say in the locker room. christ, how will they act around torre knowing that he might publish anything they say or do that may offend him? how will it impact the team play? the context of what he's saying is irrelevant. it's that he's decided to spill it all now that calls his judgement into question.

aside from his current team, what about us poor old yankee fans? i for one rallied to his defense when the yankee organization dismissed him with absolutely no class, no honor, whatsoever. i thought it was beautiful karma that the dodgers made the playoffs with joe - and the yankees failed to get there without him! i am no fan of a-rod, cashman, or the yankee management, but now i feel like a chump for having defended torre. torre may be repaying the people who treated him poorly, but his reputation has forever been tarnished by taking this very low road. and i bet there are a few more yankee fans who feel the way i do.

so, with that vented and out of my system, i'll leave poor old joe with these rhetorical questions: how many copies of the book do you need to sell to rehabilitate your image? and, was it all worth it? while i won't buy this book, i'll eventually borrow a copy from the library and read it. but more importantly, i just can't wait to hear what joe himself has to say about all this when he embarks on the promo tour for the book.

update: i've softened on the prospect of buying a copy of the book. joe torre will be at barnes and noble next week to kick off the book promotion tour (and include a visit to the dave letterman show as well). so i may just use up my last b&n gift certificate and get up a copy.

read excerpts from the book at the "sports illustrated" site.

check out this great ny times coverage on the third person narrative technique: "yankee book is a two-person effort, written in the third person."

update: torre, finally commenting on the news coverage : "cashman didn't betray me."
update: i skipped the book signing at barnes and noble, ordering it from amazon instead. just started to read it (february 10).


Anonymous said...

Torre didn't write the book. Tom Verducci from SI did. He's been interviewing people since 2007 for it.

UltraBrit said...

I think it's all good! Damn Yankees and ARod! I hope Torre puts it all out there!

Most certainly an appropriate word verification on this one METrate