Tom Verducci via a Q&A posted on SI.com today -
I think it’s important to understand context here. The book is not a first-person book by Joe Torre, it’s a third-person narrative based on 12 years of knowing the Yankees and it’s about the changes in the game in that period. Seems to me the New York Post assigned this third-person book entirely to Joe Torre and that’s not the case. In fact, if people saw that Post story they probably noticed there are no quotes from Joe Torre in it. Joe Torre does not rip anybody in the book. The book really needs to be read in context.
Anybody who knows Joe, especially during his time in New York, knows he’s a very honest man and he is very honest in the pages of this book. People also know Joe Torre doesn’t go around ripping people and he doesn’t do that in the pages of this book. There is a lot of information in this book over a tremendous period of baseball history. It’s been reported out by me as well as informed by Torre’s own insights into that period.
But like I said, it’s important to understand the context of the book. The interviews with Torre were done specifically for the book but this is the result of hundreds of interviews with not only Torre but players, front office executives, executives of other teams, players on other teams. It’s a 477-page book about 12 years of baseball history. Again, it’s not a Joe Torre first-person book, so there’s a lot of reporting that’s presented in there in addition to Joe’s insights.
Smart people will judge the book upon actually reading it and not reading preliminary reports prior to its publication. Once you understand the context of the book you understand the information. It’s not a tell-all book. Anybody who reads it will understand that.
O.K., I get the notion of something being told in the third-person. It’s the “over the shoulder” perspective that’s supposed to tell the story without detailing any thoughts, opinions, or feelings – with the aim being to deliver an objective point of view.
However, when the book is being pitched as “The Yankee Years” as authored by Joe Torre (with Tom Verducci) and the cover of the book has a picture of Joe Torre on it (albeit from behind), I really don’t think it matters if the story is being told in the first-person, second-person, or third-person point of view – because people reading it will be thinking “This is Joe Torre’s book – therefore what I am reading is what he wanted to convey.”
And, just for the record, this is no knock on Tom Verducci. Personally, I think he’s a very nice person and an excellent writer.
But, again, that said, there’s no way that I think anyone should buy this “third-person” backpedal. The book is not called “Baseball from 1996 through 2007, by Tom Verducci, with insight from sundry players and front office executives.” The book is called “The Yankee Years” by Joe Torre. And, if the information in the book is not Joe Torre talking about his days running the Yankees, well, then that’s just false advertising. And, as such, if anyone gets some heat over the book…hey…they asked for it.