This is the first of a weekday morning feature where we hash out a sports topic that we’ve heard thrown against the wall today, trying to find some logic, illogic and blogic (is that a word?) potential for further review.
Joe Torre’s new book isn’t out yet, but press leaks are already causing a major ripple in the Big Apple.
A stunning revelation: Alex Rodriguez was a prima donna, who had a “Single White Female”-like obsession with captain Derek Jeter.
Get outta town…
The New York tabloids — OK, it’s the Post — are already using it to scream the perceived flash points of the book, then get reaction from “insiders” to whether it’s true or not (linked here). Excerpts from the former New York Yankees manager’s new book called “The Yankee Years,” with Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci (linked here), were rehashed over the weekend. The book comes out Feb. 3.
Post columnist Andrea Peyser (linked here): I’ve been saying for more than a year that Joe Torre is a Paris Hilton-style whiner. But now, the former Yankee manager has transformed into someone far less appealing.
Post columnist Mike Vaccaro (linked here): Why would you justify all the sinister things your enemies always hinted about you: that you were a champion grudge-holder, that the disparity between public pied piper and private grouch was considerable, that you were someone who’d do just about anything for a buck?
Here’s Daily News staff writer Tony Jackson’s take on it already (linked here)
Verducci, appearing on Dan Patrick’s radio show this morning, said the Post headlines are a far cry from what’s really in the book, “and Joe’s comfortable with that. He knows what the tabloids are all about, and you take a grain of truth and some factual mistakes and blow it up to sell.” Verducci, for example, says Torre never uses the word “prima donna” to describe the lightning rod known as A-Rod. “There’s no name-calling,” said Verducci.
Instead, it’s a chapter of baseball history written from the inside, bringing people into a period of time when the Yankees were back on top, making World Series headlines. Torre, who spent 12 years as the team’s manager, ended up leaving after the 2007 season when the Yankees front office wouldn’t give him a two-year extension. He was quickly snapped up by the Dodgers, taking them to the National League Championship Series for the first time in … we’ve lost count.
You gotta assume Torre’s literary career isn’t finished. Somewhere, he’s got some honest, thoughtful insights into how Jeff Kent affected the Dodgers’ clubhouse last season, what kind of person Manny Ramirez is really like, and what whether the McCourts are the kind of folks one can trust.
Be careful hanging around the Dodgers’ skipper from now on. You may someday be chapter fodder just waiting to be misconstrued by the local press.
Check out the Post posting (right) and then read the book jacket blurb on “The Yankee Years”:
Here, for the first time, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci take us inside the dugout, the
clubhouse, and the front office in a revelatory narrative that shows what it really took to keep the Yankees on top of the baseball world. The high-priced ace who broke down in tears and refused to go back to the mound in the middle of a game. Constant meddling from Yankee executives, many of whom were jealous of Torre’s popularity. The tension that developed between the old guard and the free agents brought in by management. The impact of revenue-sharing and new scouting techniques, which allowed other teams to challenge the Yankees’ dominance. The players who couldn’t resist the after-hours temptations of the Big Apple. The joys of managing Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and the challenges of managing Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. Torre’s last year, when constant ultimatums from the front office, devastating injuries, and a freak cloud of bugs on a warm September night in Cleveland forced him from a job he loved.
Through it all, Torre kept his calm, kept his players’ respect, and kept winning.