• Verducci On Report Of Torre’s Comments In New Book

    Posted by on January 25th, 2009 · Comments (16)

    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.

    Comments on Verducci On Report Of Torre’s Comments In New Book

    1. Joel
      January 25th, 2009 | 7:33 pm

      Is Verducci serious? His statement is Clintonian: A book by Joe Torre but not really “by” Joe Torre.

      I love Joe Torre and have been one of his biggest supporters on this blog. But make no mistake about it, this is Joe Torre’s book.

    2. lisaswan
      January 25th, 2009 | 7:51 pm

      I don’t think these comments from Tom Verducci exactly help his case. For one thing, how does Verducci reconcile his insistence that Joe Torre doesn’t rip people, with the publisher’s own description of the book? It says the book will tell the tale of “the high-priced ace who broke down in tears and refused to go back to the mound in the middle of a game.” What is the merit of including such a story in the book? If Gary Sheffield, say, had included such an anecdote in his book from last year, can you imagine the outrage it would cause?

      Besides, we saw the last time Verducci and Torre combined on such a “third person” type story. It was “The Lonely Yankee” SI hit piece on A-Rod. That’s Torre’s style – throw somebody under the bus, only make it look like he doesn’t have his fingerprints on it.

    3. sanair
      January 25th, 2009 | 9:27 pm

      Perhaps we all should resist commenting (and writing blog posts, Steve) on the book until we read it. At least then we can fire away in the most informed manner possible. Anything short of that is a disingenuous take on the situation.

    4. lisaswan
      January 25th, 2009 | 9:39 pm

      Can we comment on the fact that Torre/Verducci’s own publisher described the bug game as happening on a warm *September* evening?

    5. January 25th, 2009 | 11:06 pm

      sanair – do we really have to wait to read the book to comment on the matter of the statement made today that the book called “The Yankee Years” by Joe Torre is really “not a Joe Torre first-person book”?

    6. sanair
      January 26th, 2009 | 1:06 am

      A critical reading of the book, and not issued press releases, will determine the true scope of the text. So, yes, we really have to wait.

    7. January 26th, 2009 | 7:07 am

      Sanair has obviously imbibed the Kool-Aid laced Bigelow tea.

    8. Raf
      January 26th, 2009 | 9:50 am

      sanair – do we really have to wait to read the book to comment on the matter of the statement made today that the book called “The Yankee Years” by Joe Torre is really “not a Joe Torre first-person book”?
      Not only that, it really isn’t that out of line to express an opinion one way or the other. Maybe it’s a tell-all expose, maybe there’s nothing there worth reading. Doesn’t mean we can’t discuss the talking points of the book.

    9. January 26th, 2009 | 9:58 am

      Yeah, I guess we should ignore the reviews of the book that are already coming out


      and just wait until sanair has a chance to read the book…and then it’s OK for us to comment on it.

    10. Raf
      January 26th, 2009 | 10:20 am

      Looks like quite a few factual errors in that piece… Now I understand that Michiko Kakutani maybe doesn’t write about baseball, but there are several glaring errors in that piece.

    11. January 26th, 2009 | 10:39 am

      Such as?

    12. Raf
      January 26th, 2009 | 11:11 am

      “they weren’t famous for a roster of flashy superstars or power hitters”

      David Justice, Cecil Fielder, Darryl Strawberry, Reuben Sierra, among others were power hitters.

      I don’t know what is defined as “flashy superstar” but I remember Fielder, Strawberry, Justice, Knoblauch, among others were stars, all-stars, superstars.

      “rather, they were a resolute band of brothers, who put collective play above individual stats”

      Unless they can prove this, it’s a bs claim.

      “Torre and Verducci note that as the core of the old guard from the championship years dwindled — Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, Chuck Knoblauch and Paul O’Neill were all history by 2002 — the front office tended to turn to imported All-Stars”

      Imported all stars? Like Boggs, Martinez, O’Neill, Cone, Raines, Strawberry, Gooden, Fielder, etc, etc, etc.

      “The farm system, which had produced the likes of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Rivera, was increasingly neglected”

      The farm system was producing at the time. The Yanks made several trades using prospects from the farm. If the author is comparing those prospects to Jeter, Posada and Williams, then I’d say expectations are a bit unrealistic to expect any organization to produce 2 HOF caliber players (3 if you want to include Williams)

      ““collection of expensive pitchers” — including Kevin Brown, Jeff Weaver, José Contreras, Javier Vázquez, Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano — who “were ill suited for New York, either because they were too emotionally fragile or broken down.” ”

      Prove it. The “emotionally fragile” title is bs. Weaver wasn’t expensive, Contreras wasn’t expensive, neither was Vazquez, Wright or Pavano. And the “OMG YANKEE PRESSURE” is nonsense. If these guys couldn’t pitch, is because they didn’t have game.

      “Meanwhile, the team made only lukewarm efforts in 2003 to keep the clutch left-handed pitcher Andy Pettitte, who left for his hometown Houston Astros. ”

      Didn’t have anything to do with fears that he’d blow out his elbow, right? Of course not.

      “It was a devastating loss that only accelerated the Yankees’ dysfunction, the authors observe, resulting in more organizational backbiting and a team made up of “a slapdash collection of parts that didn’t fit or work.””

      More blah blah blah…

    13. January 26th, 2009 | 11:57 am

      Raf – is it fair to call “BS!” on something, just because you think it’s not true…when you can’t prove that it’s not true?

      Could one then not call “BS!” to your claims of “BS!”? This make sense?

    14. Raf
      January 26th, 2009 | 12:23 pm

      Raf – is it fair to call “BS!” on something, just because you think it’s not true…when you can’t prove that it’s not true?
      Tell me what you want me to prove, and I’ll prove it.

      There have been teams that won that have had players that didn’t get along. You think Reggie, Billy, & Nettles had group hugs? Talks about chemistry are bs, and anyone with half a mind will tell you that.

      Emotionally fragile? Pavano? He sucked before he came to NY, he sucked while he was in NY. Weaver? Lets see, after NY, he sucked as a Dodger, as an Angel, as an Cardinal and as a Mariner. He sucked in the Brewers and Indians system, I don’t hear anyone reasoning that “OMG PR3SSUR3” is the reason that he stunk in his other stops. Contreras had one good year and one bad year in NY. Did he forget he was a Yankee in 2003? Of course not. Kenny Rogers had a season in line with his career, and another one that wasn’t.

      Sometimes the answer is very simple, there is no need to make up things like “pressure,” “ghosts,” anything else to make a point.

      So yeah, if they can’t back up their claims, it’s BS.

    15. January 26th, 2009 | 12:42 pm

      I dunno Raf. With all due respect, it sounds like you have an opinion on this, not fact. And, just as you have a right to that opinion, should they not, as well?

    16. Raf
      January 26th, 2009 | 1:11 pm

      I dunno Raf. With all due respect, it sounds like you have an opinion on this, not fact. And, just as you have a right to that opinion, should they not, as well?
      I never said they weren’t entitled to an opinion, I just said their opinion was bs :).

      But if you or anyone else think that I am wrong, I’m not above being proven wrong. Tell me why I’m wrong.

      It’s like what I was saying a while ago regarding Ted Williams. He had served a hitch in the Marines in WW2, I think he is able to handle the pressure of hitting a baseball. I don’t think “pressure” was the reason that he didn’t hit in the World Series.

      There are players that have good series, there are players that have bad series. Reggie Jackson stuck out in the clutch in game 1 of the 78 Series, then torched Bob Wells for a HR in game 6 of the series. Was the pressure any different then? Did Reggie forget that he was in the Series?

      If someone shows me analysis that says NY signing Pavano was a mistake because his numbers trend a certain way, that holds more weight with me than saying that signing him was a mistake because of intangible qualities that he may or may not have.

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