Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Legacy tarnished?

In the days since the excerpts of the Joe Torre book in which the former Yankee manager took swipes at members of his former team became public, I've been trying to get a handle as to why Torre would choose to go this route with his former team.

I still can't entirely figure it out -- other than millions of dollars he's sure to get for it -- but if you listen to most Yankee fans, this certainly tarnishes his legacy in pinstripes. And I tend to agree.

For me it comes down to two basic points.

1) In these excerpts -- which probably make up less than 5 percent of the book if you listen to his co-author (Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated and the MLB Network) -- the book talks about the growing distrust Torre had toward the front office and how he had been disappointed that GM Brian Cashman didn't have his back on several occasions.

Yet, at the end of the 2007 season when Torre had flown to Tampa to meet with the Yankee brass, it was widely reported Torre's decision to not return had everything to do with the fact the Yankees wanted him to take a $2 million paycut -- from $7 to $5. So, if there had been this much distrust in the front office, why would Torre want to go back in the first place.

I'm pretty certain he didn't need the money, so would he have sold his soul -- so to speak -- and return to the Yankees for $2 million. That would be like one of us doing the same for $50.

2) The second point is the "dirty laundry" that the book airs -- not only about A-Rod, but other players as well. I heard Verducci being interviewed yesterday and in that interview he said the book is written from a third-person perspective and not everything in the book is directly attributable to Torre.

Ok. But the book is by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci, so not only does Torre know everything that's in the book, but he totally endorses it, or why would his name be on the book. That said, when Torre managed the Yankees he was always the calm in the storm, the one that sat in the managers office and preached what happened in that Yankee clubhouse stayed in the Yankee clubhouse.

I guess a year away from a bitter "divorce" from that organization was enough to alter that thinking. Look, I don't know Joe Torre. I've never met Joe Torre, so I can't sit here and tell you whether Torre's a bitter man who still craves the New York spotlight -- as has been suggested by many Yankee fans.

What I will say, however, is it certainly appears as though the plague in Monument Park that probably had been earmarked for Torre down the road is a lot less certain now.

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