• But, Who’s Counting?

    Posted by on January 28th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    As I post this now, it’s been 174,315 minutes since Jose Veras threw the last pitch of the Yankees 2008 season…

    Is it just me, or, does it seem like it’s been a heckuva lot longer than that?

    2009 Opening Day Roster, As It Stands Now [Update]

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    Some recent changes to the Yankees projected 2009 Opening Day roster (based on the players they reportedly have under contract now):

    Jorge Posada
    Juan Miranda Mark Teixeira
    Robinson Cano
    Alex Rodriguez
    Derek Jeter
    Hideki Matsui
    Johnny Damon
    Brett Gardner
    Xavier Nady
    Jose Molina
    Melky Cabrera
    Wilson Betemit Ramiro Pena Angel Berroa
    Chris Malec Nick Swisher
    Chien-Ming Wang
    Joba Chamberlain
    Darrell Rasner Ian Kennedy CC Sabathia
    Phil Hughes  Andy Pettitte
    Alfredo Aceves A.J. Burnett
    Mariano Rivera
    Brian Bruney
    Jose Veras
    Edwar Ramirez
    Phil Coke
    David Robertson
    Mark Melancon Damaso Marte

    Still too many outfielders on this one as it stands…and, looking at it all now, it seems like the bullpen could be a concern this season…as you really just don’t know if Bruney, Veras, Ramirez, Coke and Robertson are going to be trust-worthy given their limited track records at the big league level.

    Brian Richards Named Yankees Museum Curator

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    I missed this one last month -

    Brian Richards, a native of Hughesville [PA], has joined the New York Yankees as the first Curator of the New York Yankees Museum. He will create exhibitions, collect and catalogue historic artifacts, and plan special programs for the museum, which will open inside the new Yankee Stadium in April of 2009.

    Richards is a 2002 graduate of Hughesville High School and received a B.A. in History from Susquehanna University in 2006. He attended the Cooperstown Graduate Program, a museum studies program co-sponsored by the State University of New York, College at Oneonta and the New York State Historical Association. He graduated with a master’s degree in Museum Studies on May 17.

    While studying in Cooperstown, Richards was selected for an internship with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s curatorial department in the summer of 2007. As an intern, he assisted with planning for exhibits and researched the history of several famous museum objects. Richards participated in the 2007 Hall of Fame induction ceremony, including the installation of inductee Cal Ripken, Jr.’s plaque in the Hall of Fame gallery.

    What a cool job…and for someone just 24-years old! Lesson to the young readers out there – shoot for your dreams, while you can, because you never know.

    Pacific Heights (1990)

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    If you’ve ever had a creep in your life, like the character of Carter Hayes from this story – and I have, then you can, like me, appreciate this movie.

    More From Torre Book On A-Rod, Cashman & Levine

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via the AP -

    Based on the former [Yankees] manager [Joe Torre's] observations, “You’re So Vain” should replace “New York, New York” as the team’s theme song.

    Exhibit A of the changed Yankees is Alex Rodriguez, who joined in 2004.

    “When it comes to a key situation, he can’t get himself to concern himself with getting the job done, instead of how it looks,” Torre says.

    A-Rod comes off not only as baseball’s top player, but also the No. 1 narcissist, in need of constant acclaim, approval and adoration.

    “He needs all of those statistics. He needs every record imaginable,” Torre says. “And he needs people to make a fuss over him.”

    A lot of the most-hyped material in the book, such as teammates referring to Rodriguez as “A-Fraud” and comparing his obsession with Derek Jeter to the movie “Single White Female,” come from Verducci’s reporting in the third-person narrative.

    Pitcher Mike Mussina and bullpen catcher Mike Borzello also provide many biting commentaries. Borzello, who might have been the closest person to A-Rod in the clubhouse, said of Rodriguez in 2004: “He was phony, and he knew he was phony.”

    Torre also details how his relationship with general manager Brian Cashman became strained in 2007, when Torre wanted the team to re-sign Bernie Williams and Cashman instead added Doug Mientkiewicz and Josh Phelps, both of them busts.

    “My opinion was completely disregarded,” Torre said.

    After Cashman consolidated control of the team’s baseball operations, Torre confronted him during spring training in 2006. Torre wasn’t pleased with the new reliance on statistics.

    “Cash, you’ve changed,” he said, telling him later that year: “Never forget there is a heartbeat in this game.”

    Torre said he thinks team president Randy Levine had it in for him ever since the manager told Levine to “shut up” during a 2003 conference call discussing David Wells.

    “I found out Randy had been trying to find a way to get rid of me from that moment on,” Torre says.

    Funny, I’ve yet to see a report related to all this that shares the fact that Mike Borzello is Joe Torre’s godson.

    Does anyone else hear that sound? It’s the sound of anything related to Joe Torre being removed from the Yankees Museum located along the right field line of the new Yankee Stadium…

    I think it will be a very long time before we see “Mr. Torre” at Yankee Stadium…at least in terms of anything associated to a ceremony.

    Apple & Murti On Torre’s New Book

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Gary Apple and Sweeny Murti, on SNY’s Geico SportsNite, discussed the fallout last night. In case you missed it, here’s the video:

    SNY WheelHouse: Let’s Play Two!

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    First, yesterday on SNY’s WheelHouse, Peter Abraham talks about Torre, A-Rod, Jeter and Pettitte:

    Gee, no one wants to go for drinks with Alex? Next, Brandon Tierney and Scott Ferrall, talk some more about why people don’t like A-Rod:

    SNY New York Baseball Today Video – Hot Stove Edition

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    To watch SNY.tv’s weekly Hot Stove Edition of New York Baseball Today, which features a rotating panel of experts and previews the offseason, click play below:

    Torre: Post-2001 Yanks Were Lacking

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (37)

    Via Neil Best, looking at Joe Torre’s new book -

    Beyond the blunt critiques of Alex Rodriguez and rising tensions with Brian Cashman, one theme dominates “The Yankee Years,” the new book “co-authored” by Joe Torre:

    That the Yankees of the former manager’s final six seasons were a self-absorbed, overpaid imitation of the famously gritty bunch that brought him four rings in his first six years.

    “It was just not an unselfish team,” Torre says of the revelation that hit him in 2002.

    “The team wasn’t tough enough . . . A lot of those players are more concerned about what it looks like as opposed to getting dirty and just getting it done. Those other teams, they were ferocious.”

    That observation comes on Page 37 of 477, and before A-Rod even arrives in the Bronx. But it sets the tone: 1996-2001 — good. 2002-2007 — not.

    Reading this, I wonder, is Torre trying to say…

    The cadre of players put together by Stick Michael and Bob Watson: Good.
    The cadre of players put together by Brian Cashman: Not.

    Because, basically, the 1996-2001 Yankees were the Michael/Watson team whereas the 2002-2007 Yankees were Cashman’s crew, no?

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 1/27/09

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Wild Thought: Is Joba A Lock?

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Here’s today’s wild thought…

    Let’s say that Joba Chamberlain has a truly rough Spring Training this year…say, he can’t even retire 40 batters during exhibition games and has an ERA of 7.98 in the process.

    And, while this is happening, Phil Hughes is lights-out in the exhibition games – throwing 21 innings while allowing only 6 hits and 2 earned runs.

    If this happens, what do you do with Joba’s place in the starting rotation? Do you swap him out and give Hughes the slot? Or, do you ignore Spring Training stats and go by what you saw during the regular season last year?

    It’s more than just a wild thought. Actually, it’s a heckuva question, no?

    A-Rod Laughs Off Reported Torre Comments

    Posted by on January 27th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via John Harper -

    Alex Rodriguez told friends Monday that he is “not bothered at all” by the reports that Joe Torre apparently took some shots at him in his forthcoming book, and dismissed talk of an “A-Fraud” persona or any Derek Jeter obsession as old news that no longer applies to his standing in the Yankee clubhouse.

    “He laughed at the stuff because he is so beyond all of that,” one person close to A-Rod said Monday. “Personally he feels like he’s in a great space in his life and felt very comfortable last year in the clubhouse and with his relationship with his teammates.”

    As for Torre, A-Rod indicated that anything his former manager may say about him couldn’t hurt him because, as one friend put it, “He doesn’t feel like he had any real relationship with (Torre).”

    In fact, people close to A-Rod say that he heard Torre characterized him as “a pretty boy” to his confidants during the four years they were together as player and manager, that Torre’s close relationship with Jeter kept him from ever warming up to A-Rod.

    A-Rod also told people that nothing Torre could say would be more revealing of how he felt about his player than the act of batting him eighth in the lineup in Game 4 of the 2006 playoff series with the Tigers.

    “Alex was really hurt by that,” one friend of A-Rod’s said Monday. “He believed that Torre did that to embarrass him and he knew then what Torre thought of him.

    “So anything that comes out now wouldn’t compare to that. He’s just surprised that Torre would talk about these kinds of things because he always told the players the clubhouse and the bond with teammates was sacred, and not to be broken this way.”

    Most importantly, according to people close to A-Rod, is that he insists he doesn’t worry about this type of stuff, what people are saying and thinking about him, the way he did on joining the Yankees in 2004.

    “He says he got the Jeter stuff out of his system when he had that press conference (at the start of spring training) a couple of years ago,” one person said. “He came to grips with the idea that Jeter didn’t want to be his friend again the way they were years ago, and he stopped worrying about it.

    “He’s heard the A-Fraud stuff, and he has admitted he tried too hard to make everyone like him when he came over to the Yankees. But since then he has become more at ease in the clubhouse, and he believes he is more accepted as one of the guys. He has taken the young Latin guys like Melky (Cabrera) and (Robinson) Cano under his wing and they really look up to him. He believes things are a lot different now.”

    A former Yankee teammate of A-Rod’s agreed with that assessment Monday night.

    “He did come off as a phony when he first came over,” the player said, “and I’m not sure he’ll ever be one of the boys, but he did seem to relax and stop being ‘on’ all the time after the first year or two.

    “I do think he was different after he went public and said he and Jeter weren’t buddies. He seemed more comfortable in the clubhouse after that, and as new players came in, I think more guys warmed up to him.”

    And, via the Post -

    In his book, Torre says Rodriguez’s teammates referred to the third baseman as “A-Fraud” and claims he had developed a “Single White Female”-like obsession with captain Derek Jeter.

    Torre, with co-author Tom Verducci, also describes what he says were fruitless efforts to get Rodriguez emotionally comfortable with being a Yankee.

    The book says that although Rodriguez desperately wanted to be accepted by his new teammates after coming to the YankeesNew York Yankees from Texas in 2004, he turned them off with his showboating, his insistence on having a clubhouse valet, and his phony nature when dealing with the media.

    A Rodriguez insider cracked, “Alex’s reaction is he hasn’t received a signed copy yet.”

    You don’t have to read too deep between the lines here to see that there’s not a ton of love between Alex and Joe, huh?

    Cashman: Yanks Should Rally ‘Round Lightning-Rod

    Posted by on January 26th, 2009 · Comments (9)

    Via the AP -

    Brian Cashman thinks the Yankees should rally around Alex Rodriguez following a book in which former manager Joe Torre portrayed A-Rod as a divisive figure in the New York clubhouse.

    “I think we’ve gone through so much of the Alex stuff that, you know, if anything, maybe this brings people closer together,” Cashman said Monday during a conference call to announce Andy Pettitte was returning to the team in 2009.

    In “The Yankee Years,” scheduled for publication Feb. 3, Torre says “Alex monopolized all the attention” and that “he needs people to make a fuss over him.”

    New York hasn’t been to the World Series since Rodriguez put on pinstripes.

    “There’s always going to be some controversy that surrounds this club,” Cashman said. “The best way to try to deal with it is, I guess, rally around each other the best you can if there’s real feelings there.”

    Cashman said that when Rodriguez became a free agent after the 2007 season, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Pettitte all urged him to re-sign A-Rod.

    “That was real,” Cashman said. “It was offered up.”

    …I think we’ve gone through so much of the Alex stuff…

    Ya think?

    …Cashman said that when Rodriguez became a free agent after the 2007 season, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Pettitte all urged him to re-sign A-Rod…

    What, no Jeter? Oh, yeah, that’s right…I forgot.

    And, for the record, was it not Cashman who said: ‘If A-Rod opts out, he’s gone – and we will not chase after him’ when Rodriguez was approaching the end of 2007? (And, then, Hank Steinbrenner decided to listen to Rodriguez, when he came crawling back, and gave Alex that insane contract.)

    And, now, Cashman is painting this picture where he supposedly was the air traffic controller coordinating all this lovey-dovey feedback from the Yankees troops, for A-Rod, when he opted out of his contract?

    Holy Harvey Dent Batman! Maybe Joe Torre is right about this guy?

    How Torre Rips Cashman In His Book

    Posted by on January 26th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    Via a SI.com book excerpt from Joe Torre’s The Yankee Years

    They had spent 12 years together, Cashman first as the assistant general manager under Bob Watson and then as the general manager of three consecutive world championship teams with Torre as the manager. Torre had presented Cashman with the lineup card from the clinching game of the 1998 World Series, the one in which those Yankees established themselves as one of the greatest teams of all time with a record 125 wins, postseason included. Torre and Cashman had shared dinners and champagne and laughs and arguments. Twelve years. It was an eternity in baseball for an executive and a manager to work together.

    But at the moment when Torre was searching for some way to save his job and turned to Cashman in his moment of need, Cashman did not so much as pass on to his bosses a proposal from Torre — a simple one, too, one that was not at all difficult to understand. Twelve years together, and it ends like this.

    Come to think of it, Torre thought, Cashman had said nothing during the entire meeting. Cashman was the general manager who had persuaded Steinbrenner after the 2005 season to put in writing that Cashman would have control over all baseball operations. The manager is a fairly important part of baseball operations. And when the future employment of the manager was being discussed, how was it that the empowered general manager had nothing at all to say?

    “Cash was sitting right over my right shoulder,” Torre said, “and never uttered a sound the whole meeting.” Cashman, for his part, says simply, “It was Joe’s meeting.”

    Only much later did Torre start to put the picture together of what had happened to his working relationship with Cashman. The personal falling-out they had in 2006 spring training over philosophical issues, Cashman’s decision not to bring back longtime center fielder Bernie Williams when his contract expired in 2006, his submission of odd lineup suggestions based on stats, his lack of regard for Ron Guidry as a pitching coach, his detachment from the “they” who were making an offer to Torre, his failure to offer any comment or support in the meeting that decided Torre’s future, his failure to personally relay Torre’s proposal to find a way to reach an agreement to the Steinbrenners …

    “I thought Cash was an ally, I really did,” Torre says. “You know, we had some differences on coaches, and the usefulness of the coaches. I know he ­didn’t think much of Guidry. And [former bench coach Don] Zimmer. You know, Zimmer ­didn’t trust Cash, and I disagreed with Zimmer vehemently for the longest time. Then, you know, you start thinking about things … I have a, I don’t want to say it’s a weakness, but I want to trust people. And I do trust people until I’m proved wrong. And it’s not going to keep me from trusting somebody else tomorrow, because it’s the only way I can do my job.”

    So, In Cash, I guess, Joe does not trust.

    Andy Pettitte Signs With Yanks

    Posted by on January 26th, 2009 · Comments (27)

    Via the AP

    Andy Pettitte and the New York Yankees agreed Monday to a $5.5 million, one-year contract that brings the left-hander back to New York.

    Pettitte can make an additional $6.5 million on performance bonuses and bonuses based on time on the active roster.

    “There was never another team brought up,” Pettitte said during a conference call. “I wanted to come back to the Yankees.”

    Didn’t I say, if the Yankees offered Pettitte somewhere around $12 to $13 million, this would get done?

    Looks like $12 million was the magic number.

    A rotation of Sabathia, Wang, Pettitte, Burnett and Chamberlain. Now, that’s pretty darn impressive. No excuses this year, huh?

    Wild Thought: Is Jeter The Problem?

    Posted by on January 26th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    I have a friend who is as dedicated and diehard a Yankees fan as anyone can possibly be…like me, they go back to the 1970′s in terms of being a fan. And, this friend also has a very good connection with respect to having access to the mind-set of many in the Yankees clubhouse. (Don’t bother asking. I will never disclose the link.)

    In any event, I was curious today as to my friend’s take on the news around Joe Torre’s new book. And, this is how our brief exchange went on that:

    Me: So, what do you think?

    Them: I’ve heard reports that said Torre called Cashman yesterday to say that most of the quotes were taken way out of context. I think Jeter is the ruination of the team. We all know A-Rod is insecure, Duh! And, Jeter should be flattered, not annoyed, by A-Rod – a much better player all around – and that he had any kind of obsession with him. I’m not happy about the book, in general. Airing dirty laundry isn’t cool. Never would I think Torre would be that way, so I’ll wait to read the book to make a judgment. I have to agree with him on the “prima-donna” front. Can’t blame Joe for his anger with the organization though…

    Me: So, would you say that Jeter has to go to in order for the Yankees to do better?

    Them: Sad as I am to say it, I guess I am…Jeter is the one who always says “It’s not the same team anymore”, pushing back reporters with rhetoric…when what he needs in order to excel is just that: coddling and a bunch of people for him to look up to because he is really not a natural born leader. And, to rip apart someone who has some issues…that’s no leader.

    This all said, it leads to today’s wild thought: Is Derek Jeter the problem with the Yankees?

    What do you think?

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 1/26/09

    Posted by on January 26th, 2009 · Comments (9)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Pettitte Near Deal With Yanks?

    Posted by on January 26th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    Jon Heyman thinks so.

    I’ve said in the past that having Andy Pettitte return to the Yankees, for just the 2009 season, is vital to New York’s chances to reach the post-season this year. So, if you want to know…yes, to me, this is very good news.

    Is Torre Saying That A-Rod’s Arrival Ruined Yankees?

    Posted by on January 26th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Sure sounds like it.

    From Michiko Kakutani’s review of Joe Torre’s new book:

    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, who failed to congeal into an effective ensemble. The farm system, which had produced the likes of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Rivera, was increasingly neglected, and Steinbrenner began to indulge his taste for what Torre calls “big boppers” like Jason Giambi, who the manager felt “wasn’t part of what we prided ourselves on: playing well defensively.”

    This decision, Torre and Verducci write, “made for a whole different dynamic in the Yankees’ clubhouse.” A-Rod’s arrival in 2004 would cement this metamorphosis, and the authors say he became fairly or unfairly “the unmistakable shorthand symbol for why the Yankees no longer were champions and suffered at the rise of the Red Sox”: “Whether hitting 450-foot home runs or sunbathing shirtless in Central Park or squiring strippers, Rodriguez was like nothing ever seen before on the championship teams of the Torre Era: an ambitious superstar impressed and motivated by stature and status, particularly when those qualities pertained to himself.”

    With each year’s failure to win a world title, Yankees management grew increasingly desperate, going for the quick fix instead of a long-term plan, bringing to the stadium a succession of aging hitters and what the authors of this book call a “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.” 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.

    While the Yankees were going through an identity crisis, the dynamics of baseball had begun to change, with other teams embracing new cost-effective business practices based on statistical analysis. No one excelled more at this new number crunching and player development than the Yankees’ archenemies, the Boston Red Sox, who in 2004 would deal the once-mighty Evil Empire a crushing blow, coming back to win the American League championship after the Bombers were ahead by three games to none and a mere three outs away from the World Series. 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.”

    And, via Michael S. Schmidt’s feature today on the book, also in the Times:

    But what stands out the most about the book are the frank, and often critical, statements that Torre makes about Alex Rodriguez, who won two Most Valuable Player awards during the four years that Torre was his manager in the Bronx. At 33, Rodriguez has hit 553 career home runs. He is widely regarded as the game’s best all-around player. He is also its highest paid.

    But in the past year, Rodriguez has clearly become something of a target for people trying to sell sports books.

    In “Vindicated,” José Canseco’s second book about steroids in baseball, Rodriguez ended up as the centerpiece. In the book, which was released a year ago, Canseco tried to link Rodriguez — who has denied he ever used performance-enhancing drugs — to banned substances. Then there is Kirk Radomski, the convicted steroids dealer whose book, “Bases Loaded,” goes on sale this week. He could not stay away from Rodriguez, either, first stating he had no first-hand knowledge that Rodriguez had used banned substances, then speculating that he probably had.

    Now it seems it is Torre’s turn. Torre’s view, however, has nothing to do with the use of performance-enhancing drugs and everything to do with Rodriguez as a person and a player.

    In the book, which was written with Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated and refers to Torre in the third person but quotes him extensively, Torre said that the clubhouse became strained after Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees before the 2004 season.

    “Alex monopolized all the attention,” Torre said.

    “We never really had anybody who craved the attention,” Torre added. “I think when Alex came over he certainly changed just the feel of the club.”

    And Torre clearly had concerns about Rodriguez’s well-chronicled failures in key moments, particularly in recent postseasons. Torre said that when everything was on the line, and when Rodriguez was at the plate, Rodriguez was too often unable to “concern himself with getting the job done” and instead became distracted with “how it looks.”

    And it is not just Torre who makes critical assessments of Rodriguez in the book. The book quotes Mike Borzello, a former Yankees bullpen catcher who is described as a “close friend” of Rodriguez’s, and says that Borzello continuously had to boost Rodriguez’s ego because he felt that he was competing with Derek Jeter for attention.

    “It doesn’t help,” Borzello said, referring to Rodriguez’s relationship with Jeter. “You would rather that the stars are in the same place, pulling together, but I don’t think it affected the other players. It just affected the feel in the clubhouse.”

    Borzello added that he used to tell Rodriguez that he was coming to the stadium and trying to get everyone to look at him, but that they were already looking at him: “You’re Alex Rodriguez. I don’t understand that.”

    Without directly attributing the information to Torre, the book states that teammates and clubhouse attendants referred to Rodriguez as A-Fraud and seemed particularly put off by the fact that Rodriguez seemed to demand so much attention from the attendants.

    “One time, in Detroit, where his personal attendant was not available, Rodriguez was jogging off the field after batting practice, saw a Comerica Park visiting clubhouse attendant, a young kid in his first months on the job, and simply barked, ‘Peanut butter and jelly,’ ” the book said.

    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.

    Torre Rips A-Rod & Cashman In New Book?

    Posted by on January 25th, 2009 · Comments (24)

    Back on November 8, 2007, I suggested that Joe Torre’s new book should be called “Torre’s Big Book of Excuses.” Now, today, we’re finding out more about the book.

    From the Post -

    Scorned skipper Joe Torre is blasting the Yankees – calling many of his former players prima donnas, confessing he stopped trusting the powers that be years before he left the team and charging that general manager Brian Cashman betrayed him.

    In an explosive new book called “The Yankee Years,” Torre gets most personal in his attacks against Alex Rodriguez, who he says was called “A-Fraud” by his teammates after he developed a “Single White Female”-like obsession with team captain Derek Jeter and asked for a personal clubhouse assistant to run errands for him.

    Torre, who left the Yankees and became manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2007 season, says Cashman never told the brass that the manager wanted a two-year deal and instead remained silent during Torre’s tense final sitdown with the bosses.

    The book also reveals that, during spring training in 1999, team doctors revealed to owner George Steinbrenner that Torre had prostate cancer – even before informing the manager himself.

    The 477-page tell-all, which The Post purchased from a city bookstore last week, is written by co-author Tom Verducci, a longtime Sports Illustrated reporter.

    And, from Bill Madden -

    According to a new book by Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci, Torre was a bitter man by the time he left the Yankees in October of 2007, and he takes a few rips at the team that he led for 12 seasons.

    In “The Yankee Years,” due to be released on Feb. 3, Torre describes general manager Brian Cashman as a less than supportive ally who betrayed him on several fronts, and says that his star player, Alex Rodriguez, was often referred to by his teammates as “A-Fraud” and was obsessed with his perceived rival, shortstop Derek Jeter.

    Of course, it is not entirely shocking that Torre might have bad feelings toward some in the organization, especially Cashman. When he left the Yankees as one of the most successful managers in the history of the game, Torre made it clear that he was not happy with the Yankees’ tepid offer — his base salary would have been cut from $7 million to $5 million — to extend his contract for one year based on incentives. He called the deal, which offered him an extra $1 million per playoff round, an “insult,” saying it would have been less insulting had George Steinbrenner simply fired him.

    According to a source familiar with the book, Torre does not step out of character. He simply recites the facts as he saw them and does not unfairly disparage the Yankees. As has been reported, he reiterates the claim that Cashman did not stand up for him at the crucial meeting with the Steinbrenners in Tampa as the 2007 season wound down and the Yankee brass discussed whether to bring him back or not, even though publicly Cashman had let it be known that he wanted Torre back as manager.

    According to the source familiar with the book, Torre confronted Cashman about his role in the meeting and the Yankee GM confirmed to him that he had offered no opinions to the Steinbrenners on whether they should upgrade their offer from the one-year deal to the two-year deal Torre wanted.

    Torre is expected to appear on the “Late Show With David Letterman” on Feb. 3, and is scheduled to make a book-signing appearance at the Yogi Berra Museum in New Jersey that day, just before he leaves for spring training with the Dodgers in Arizona.

    Looks like ol’ Joe will have a money-maker on his hands with this one. Should be a best-seller.

    Am I shocked that A-Rod and Cashman, if the reports are true, are getting exposed in this book? No, not really.

    Am I shocked that Torre is spilling the beans on them? Sorta/kinda, I guess. Part of me thought Joe was a high-road guy. But, another part of me can see him playing the role of the Vengeful Don…

    The MLB Network gets a break with this one. If it truly becomes a hot story, they have the author, Tom Verducci, on their studio team to talk about it.

    Something tells me that we’ll be hearing about this one for the next month, bare minimum, until A-Rod shows up for Spring Training. Well, at the least, we now know what the topic will be when Alex has his “Day One” session this year with the media down in Tampa.

    Salfino Talks Yankees Prospects

    Posted by on January 24th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Michael Salfino, over at SNY.tv, talks to Baseball America editor John Manuel and a Major League scout who specializes in scouting American League prospects about the “gems” in the Yankees farm system. Click here to see Salfino’s feature. Here’s a few snips:

    But first let’s address Manuel’s suggestion that [Austin] Jackson could possibly propel himself into the Yankees lineup as the starting center fielder as early as this upcoming season. Our scout disagrees.

    “He’s not close enough. Jackson is like the Mets’ Fernando Martinez. He has to do something. Let’s see some numbers, not just scouting reports. He’s going to fall somewhere between Melky Cabrera and Bobby Abreu. Is that too big a range? Yes. But he’s all projection now. While he passes the eyeball test, the numbers haven’t been there.”

    This exchange on Jackson set me up to mock those who compare [Jesus] Montero to Mike Piazza. Our scout quickly chastened me. “He does have Piazza-type bat speed. The bat projects even at first base, and [that's] even in New York, which doesn’t settle for anything less than top shelf at a corner spot given their payroll. He’s very impressive in the cage. Behind the plate, he’s much less so and my sense is that he probably can’t play there.”

    Our scout sees [Zach McAllister] as a taller Brad Radke in that he’s a control specialist with no real out pitch. “But he can be a ground-ball guy,” our scout said, unlike Radke, who allowed a relatively high number of fly balls. Our scout would have McAllister ranked slightly lower and thinks he’s in the Tyler Clippard category — not stylistically, but insofar as he’s a No. 4 or No. 5 guy at best and thus someone who will be shipped off in the near future.

    Manuel suggested that [Alfredo] Aceves is comparable to Ian Kennedy but better in many key areas. That’s how far Kennedy’s stock has fallen in a year — being unfavorably compared to a No. 7 system prospect. Our scout says he’s a lot like McAllister. “Good ground-ball ratio. He can touch the low 90s with his fastball but works best in the high 80s. He’s durable and doesn’t waste pitches. But he’s out of my system top 10 because I think he projects only as a big-league long reliever.”

    Reading all this brings me back to the early ’70′s when Scott McGregor and Otto Velez were the “family jewels” in the Yankees farm system…and that ol’ line about counting chickens before they are hatched.

    There’s No Need To Fear…The Big “S” Is Here!

    Posted by on January 24th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    The Trophy Truck Is Loaded & Ready To Roll…

    Posted by on January 23rd, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via Roxanne Geyer of WCBS Newsradio 880, here’s some video of the Yankees moving over to the new Stadium today:

    Imagine hiring a moving truck to move across the street…sort of like paying $46 million for Kei Igawa.

    Which Yanks Whiffed The Most/Least In ’08?

    Posted by on January 23rd, 2009 · Comments (15)

    Seeing Rich Lederer’s K/100P study on pitchers, I decided to see what would happen if we applied the same look at Yankees batters in 2008. Here’s what I found:

    Player		PA	K	P/PA	P Seen	K/100P
    Jus. Christian	43	4	3.4	146	2.74
    Robinson Cano	634	65	3.4	2156	3.02
    Johnny Damon	623	82	4.1	2554	3.21
    Hideki Matsui	378	47	3.8	1436	3.27
    Derek Jeter	668	85	3.7	2472	3.44
    Melky Cabrera	453	58	3.7	1676	3.46
    Bobby Abreu	684	109	4.3	2941	3.71
    Al. Gonzalez	58	8	3.5	203	3.94
    Ivan Rodriguez	101	15	3.5	354	4.24
    Jason Giambi	565	111	4.3	2430	4.57
    Shelley Duncan	65	13	4.3	280	4.65
    Chad Moeller	103	18	3.5	361	4.99
    Jorge Posada	195	38	3.9	761	5.00
    Jose Molina	297	52	3.5	1040	5.00
    Alex Rodriguez	594	117	3.9	2317	5.05
    Xavier Nady	247	48	3.7	914	5.25
    Brett Gardner	141	30	3.9	550	5.46
    Cody Ransom	51	12	4.0	204	5.88
    Richie Sexson	35	10	4.7	165	6.08
    Morgan Ensberg	80	22	4.1	328	6.71
    Wilson Betemit	198	56	3.7	733	7.64
    Juan Miranda	14	4	3.1	43	9.22
    Chris Stewart	3	1	3.3	10	10.10
    Fr. Cervelli	5	3	4.0	20	15.00
    

    If you need a guy to make contact, Cano, Damon, Matsui, Jeter and Melky are pretty good at it. And, clearly, this season, Brett Gardner needs to do better at making contact. And, it probably wouldn’t hurt Nady or A-Rod to improve their numbers, here, from last year too.

    It’s Movin’ Day!

    Posted by on January 23rd, 2009 · Comments (0)

    The video via SNY.tv:

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 1/23/09

    Posted by on January 23rd, 2009 · Comments (5)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Quotes On Melky & Garnder

    Posted by on January 23rd, 2009 · Comments (16)

    Via Anthony McCarron

    “They’re both missing something that would make that position more secure,” said a veteran major league scout, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Right now, Brett Gardner has that outstanding speed but doesn’t hit enough. And Cabrera’s just OK as a hitter and fielder. This could be a gamble.”

    “I think [Gardner is] innately a confident guy,” said Mark Newman, who runs the farm system as the Yanks’ VP of baseball operations. “He believes he can be a player. He’s never been a high-profile guy. He is a hugely committed player, and guys with that kind of makeup it’s hard to say they’ll never make it.”

    Gardner hit .153 in his first 17 games in the majors last year, but hit .294 over his final 25 after a three-week stint in the minors. The scout noted that Gardner’s speed could be a weapon unlike anything the Yankees currently have.

    “If he hits the ball on the ground to the right of second base, they’ll have one hell of a time throwing him out,” said the scout, who last season clocked Gardner to first in 3.5 seconds on a bunt. “I’d spend a lot of time with him on bunting, dragging it and pushing it. He could add another 15 hits a year. And even if he doesn’t get a hit, he can cause the infielders, especially the shortstop, to hurry their throws and they’ll screw it up sometimes.”

    But Gardner has struggled at times to keep the ball on the ground. “We don’t want him to hit the ball in the air and he doesn’t want to, either,” Newman said. “He’s aware of it. He’s not a little guy who thinks he should hit home runs. The lion’s share of balls he puts in play need to be flat.

    “There were a lot of center fielders like him in the majors 20 years ago. There are not many of them now, but that doesn’t mean his skill set doesn’t translate. Mickey Rivers would be the last time we’ve had anybody like this, so it hasn’t been the typical model for the Yankees. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be.”

    Meanwhile, Yankee officials make no secret of the burden facing Cabrera – he has got to win them over after a subpar 2008 in which he lost the job and was banished to the minors, batting just .249 with an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .642.

    “He’s a better player than what he showed last year,” Cashman said. “He took a step backward in his career, but he’s going to take a step forward. But he has to prove it. It’s his career.”

    What was wrong last year?

    “I don’t know,” [Brian] Cashman said. “Same as a number of guys on the club. We had a number of different guys going through things. But if they have a bad taste in their mouth, they do something about it.”

    Added Newman: “He’s got to bounce back. We’ll see. He has to improve and he knows it. I know that Joe (Girardi) and his staff have related that to him.

    “I think he can, but it’s really up to him.”

    Is it just me, or, does Brian Cashman say “I don’t know” alot – when asked about what happened when something didn’t go well?

    Joba Smells…

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    …like a Satsuma. At least, he probably would like to smell like one.

    Bill Werber Passes Away

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Here’s the story. I’m pretty sure this makes Lonny Frey the oldest living ex-Yankee.

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