January 25, 2009
One would assume the final Sunday in January is the dullest day of the year when it comes to baseball news. Most years one would be right.
Yet there's no way that's the case today. As I type, the baseball blogosphere is ablaze over reports in the New York Post and Daily News that Joe Torre's forthcoming book on his 12-season tenure with the Yankees is sure to be a much talked-about page turner once it's released by Doubleday on Feb. 3.
From the NY Post:
"Scorned skipper Joe Torre is blasting the Yankees — calling many of his former players prima donnas, confessing he stopped trusting the powers that be years before he left the team and charging that general manager Brian Cashman betrayed him (in his final contract negotiations with the Yankees)."
The Post says it obtained a copy of "The Yankee Years" because a New York bookstore mistakenly had it up for sale before its release. The paper also reports that Torre reveals that Alex Rodriguez was called "A-Fraud" by his teammates, that Yankee doctors told George Steinbrenner about Torre's prostate cancer before they told Torre himself and that GM Brian Cashman "remained silent during Torre's tense final sitdown with the bosses."
The book is written by Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, who culled the third-person account from interviews with Torre. Neither Torre or Verducci seems like the type to lob grenades at incidents past and ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick says that a source told him the NY tabloids are simply sensationalizing the book's contents.
"Joe is very honest in the book,'' the source told Crasnick. "But he doesn't make any personal attacks. In terms of him name-calling, that's not his style.''
Still, that bucket of cold water hasn't doused the fervor of bookbuyers — "TYY" is currently ranked in the top 20 on Amazon — or the disappointinment of Yankee and Dodger bloggers. "He ain't pretty no more," says the headline on Bronx Banter and presumably that refers to their beloved ex-skipper.
Steve Lombardi, WasWatching: "Am I shocked that Torre is spilling the beans on them? Sorta/kinda, I guess. Part of me thought Joe was a high-road guy. But, another part of me can see him playing the role of the Vengeful Don."
Rob, 6-4-2: "A new book on Joe Torre by Tom Verducci will reputedly go after the Steinbrenners, though honestly it doesn't much sound like anything we hadn't heard or imagined before; after all, the contract negotiations, in which the Yankees refused to make more than a one-year deal for Torre's services, had the air of a failing marriage."
Lisa Swan, Subway Squawkers: "But now Joe no longer seems classy. This type of name-calling book is something we would expect out of a long-retired manager or somebody bitter about not being in the game anymore, like Jose Canseco. But Torre is still the highest-paid manager in baseball, still gets tons of endorsement deals, and is still widely respected by many. Why he would be so petty in this new book is beyond either of us."
The book is 477-pages long and undoubtedly will have a lot of positive recollections of four World Series championship appearances. But until the rest of us crack the book's spine, we'll just have to guess how much "ripping" Torre actually does.