Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Say It Ain't So, Joe

I was going to avoid the whole Joe Torre "The Yankee Years" fiasco because, basically it's a big, sticky mess that will end of leaving us all a little sick afterwards. However, since it's the down time for sports here in New York, the media here has gone hog-wild day-in, day-out on this subject. So for the sake of full coverage, I will disclose my thought on the matter. And they are:

Who cares?

And I do mean that. Who really cares? This book isn't going to affect one iota of one game any time this season. It won't affect the Yankees run against the Red Sox and the Rays. It wont affect the Dodgers attempt to get back to the playoffs through the summer months into fall. It will affect nothing everywhere.

That said, I am a little disappointed. No I don't hate him, or want him strung up to the giant Yankee Stadium bat, like Mike Lupica seems to think all of us fans want to do. But I am a little...disappointed.
And now he's supposed to be some kind of bum because he hurt Brian Cashman's feelings, or Randy Levine's, or Boomer Wells'? He's supposed to have burned the Willis Ave. Bridge because he offended Alex Rodriguez? Why, because A-Rod has done such a great job honoring the Yankee brand over the past five years?
No, Mr. Lupica, that's not the point. no one is (or should be) saying that. Of course, Torre brought 4 World Series to the Bronx, and he should be rightfully praised for that.

The point is, Torre always spoke of class, of playing the game the right way. A few years back, a Yankee showed up a pitcher on a home run trot. Torre came out of the dugout to meet him at home plate, and you could see him mouthing the words, "That's not how we do it here."

He always spoke to players privately, and kept the media away from the clubhouse about internal matters. He had a quiet dignity that spoke of an internal moral clock. You got the sense that however chaotic things could get in the press, on the radio or on the internet, Torre kept his clubhouse respectful and dignified. Sort of the anti-Ozzie Guillen.

As Buster Olney wrote in October 2007: Torre brilliantly managed George Steinbrenner and the New York media in the same way: He recognized the implicit threat that each force represented, and while he understood that neither could be ignored nor bullied, he never surrendered his dignity to either along the way.

So then why the tell-all book? Why come out and mention that players called A-Rod, "A-Fraud?" Why talk about things you never mentioned—and would never have mentioned— when you were manager of the New York Yankees?

Why dish on Brian Cashman saying he could not be trusted? Why tell the world now? What does it serve?

The only thing it serves is some sort of payback. Torre doesn't need money. He doesn't need anything that the book could give him. Except a sense of righteousness. A sense of justice done. "So, you want to let me go, Yankees, after all I've done. OK...."

No, I haven't read the book. And I won't. Because, once again, who cares? Will it aid my love and appreciation for baseball? No.

It's a silly, little potboiler. Forget it about it. Pitchers and catchers report in a week. Play ball.

1 comment:

Pete S said...

Well put. I believe that, sadly, Joe Torre bit off his nose to spite his face (a herculean task, as his nose is a little on the large side). He was a symbol of professionalism when he was manager of the Yankees. Joe Torre's tenure made the term "act like you've been there before" mean something because he lived it. I'm not going to read this book any sooner than I read Jose Canseco's. Same genre.