ESPN, NY Post: Torre Book Rips Yankees, Cashman

This won’t be pretty.  According to ESPN and The New York Post, Joe Torre’s new book The Yankee Years, co-authored by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, rips into the Yankees organization, Alex Rodriguez, and Brian Cashman.  Reports assert that Torre says that teammates called A-Rod “A-Fraud,” that he was obsessed with his relationship with Derek Jeter, and that “Cashman never told the brass that the manager wanted a two-year deal and instead remained silent during Torre’s tense final sitdown with the bosses.”  The Post also says that

Torre spent years trying to bring out a winning performance from A-Rod, the highest-paid player in baseball, which from all reported accounts included a lot of hand-holding and battling the insecurities and demons Rodriguez struggles with.

And while the Bombers would win four world championships under Torre’s watch by 2000, there were years of tension over management’s choice of players and the growing silence between him and Yankee brass.

Much of this seems at least plausible, certainly the disagreements about players signed and, if Verducci’s article “A-Rod Agonistes” from September 2006 is credible, A-Rod’s various insecurities and tension with teammates.  About Cashman’s role in the post-2007 negotiations, Torre’s version represents an about-face from his earlier comments referring to the Yankees’ GM as having his back.  Interestingly, the Post reports that Torre’s book makes a serious claim–that “during spring training in 1999, team doctors revealed to owner George Steinbrenner that Torre had prostate cancer – even before informing the manager himself.” This would appear most improper, indeed unethical if true.  However, as with the other assertions reported, I cannot definitively say either way.  Surely A-Rod, Cashman, and the Yankees organization will either deny or deflect these charges.

Regardless, this marks a very unfortunate turn in Torre’s history with the organization, one that–whether or not these reports are accurate–will likely mar the relationship between Torre and the Yankees for some time.  To what degree this is a response to Torre’s not being mentioned during the final game at Yankee Stadium last season or merely indicative of a personal rift between Torre and the Yankees, one must speculate.  However, it’s all-too easy to see that the bad blood between Torre and the organization he helped achieve much success in 12 years will percolate.

I had hoped that there would not be a post-partem tell-all from Torre about the Yankees.  It appears that was futile.  Am I the only one who finds Torre’s choice of Verducci as co-author–the same writer whose article exposing a dysfunctional clubhouse and seeming to send A-Rod back into a late-season tailspin in 2006–curious to say the least?

Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 9:23 am  Comments (8)  

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  1. i see nothing wrong with his choice of verducci or him writing anything he pleases about his yankee years. it doesn’t come as a surprise that a newspaper article would try to dig out whatever portions that might be considered scandalous in any way. certainly most of the 600 page book will be about baseball and not ripping players or management, but if this tome were “sanitized” in any way i would certainly have a problem with that. i’m quite anxious to read about that 12 year period from someone who i have a deep respect for.

  2. Hey Mike. I don’t consider choosing Verducci either good or bad; it just piqued my curiosity especially since Torre was such a prominent source for the 2006 Verducci piece. It makes me wonder if Torre, who is a straight shooter but is also savvy enough to be at least aware of if not consciously cultivating his public image and that of others, chose Verducci because of what he wrote a couple years ago. Maybe Torre had some deep-seated misgivings about how A-Rod was treated, about stardom and the Yankees, about dysfunctionality in the Yankees at various levels and wanted a guy such as Verducci, who tapped into that before, to do so again.

    I think you’re right about the Post and Daily News digging out tidbits when there could have been glowing commentary for the most part–and who knows, not having read it, about A-Rod from Torre. I feel the same way about Torre, having a lot of respect for him. My point was just that this seems like a rhetorical, personal Cold War between him and the Yankees, never a pleasant thing.

  3. not a pleasant thing, but can you really blame the guy? think about all the Ws, the division championships, the pennants and the rings..and still you have the boss on your back. now that he’s in his dotage we sometimes forget what a horrible person old george could be. we love him for always putting the best team he could on the field as well as for his charity work. i love what he did for ray negron and others like him but i really am still upset when i think of they way joe torre was treated, not just after 2007, but often.

  4. I don’t blame Torre for writing about his Yankee years and it’s true that the media is picking out the most salacious aspects of the book. That said, I don’t understand the shots at A-Rod. Torre always struck me as being above name calling.

  5. I don’t blame Torre for having some hard feelings Mike, and I’ve always been lukewarm about George, honestly. The organization didn’t handle his removal well. It would have been more honest to have fired him outright instead of making that “incentive-based” offer, an insult in my book. My point was that those whole episode and the impending ugliness and back-biting, no doubt with petulant Hank jumping in, won’t be pleasant–regardless of feelings of right and wronged.

    I’m interested to see in what context “A-Fraud” appeared in Torre’s book, Jane–if it was mentioning it, if Torre himself agreed with that assessment, if he felt it was unfair or reflective of locker room pettiness. The news reports were vague about this. I’m a bit more interested to read the book now, after all this has surfaced.

  6. there are a few articles in the times. check them out

  7. ¶On George Steinbrenner’s Health
    Torre and Verducci make several allusions to George Steinbrenner’s waning health, citing only brief memories of conversations and phone calls. The book describes Steinbrenner’s “emotional jags,” like crying before certain games. As Torre’s time with the Yankees wore on, the once-forceful and boisterous Steinbrenner appeared increasingly passive and aloof — never more so than in the meeting that ended Torre’s tenure.

    “He sat there, slightly slouched, and kept his dark glasses on in the indoor room,” the book says of Steinbrenner while the rest of the Yankees’ leadership negotiated with Torre. “At one point he got up to make himself a sandwich.”

    It was clear to Torre that the old Boss had left the building.

  8. Thanks, Mike. I’ll post on them briefly. The Steinbrenner stuff is interesting and not too surprising. If he were his old self, he’d be in public more. That’s not been the case for some time.

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