• Cashman: Me & Torre Book Not ‘N Sync

    Posted by on February 12th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via Neil Best -

    Brian Cashman still hasn’t read Joe Torre’s book, “The Yankee Years,” in which he is prominently featured, but he hinted yesterday at significant frustration with what he has read and heard is in it.

    “I can tell you the Yankee years that I lived are different than maybe what’s been depicted in that book. Let’s just leave it at that,” he said on WFAN. But Cashman did not leave it at that.

    When Mike Francesa asked Cashman about his relationship with Torre, he spoke in the past tense about what was “as good a relationship as any manager and general manager have had, probably in the history of the game. That’s the Yankee years I lived.”

    Cashman said the two have not spoken since Torre called him from Hawaii the day tidbits from the book first were leaked.

    Told that one theme is the lack of support Torre perceived from Cashman toward the end, Cashman said, “I supported Joe Torre every step of the way while he was here. I probably would say I would be in the Hall of Fame of support of a manager from a general manager’s standpoint.

    “So I can sleep well at night knowing that I had his back every step of the way.”

    As for Torre’s perception that Cashman became a Moneyball-style slave to statistics, he said, “I would use every tool in the toolbox, and I have always used every tool in the toolbox, so I would disagree with that as well.

    “I’m definitely not a number-cruncher. I use numbers. I use feel. I use gut. I use all aspects of it.”

    Cashman initially did not answer when asked if he was “hurt” by the book, but he eventually said this:

    “The one thing it sounds like I’m disappointed in from that book side of it is the fact the Yankee years I lived, we are so transparent that everybody knows what my failures were, but I also had a lot of successes here, too, and it doesn’t sound like any of that stuff shows up in any books.”

    …we are so transparent that everybody knows what my failures were, but I also had a lot of successes here, too, and it doesn’t sound like any of that stuff shows up in any books…

    “..doesn’t sound like any of that stuff shows up in any books”?

    Any? Really? Maybe G.M. Thin Skin should write his own book?

    Cashman: “A-Fraud” Just Another Thing For A-Rod

    Posted by on February 7th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Mark Feinsand -

    Cashman, who has remained relatively quiet about the contents of Joe Torre’s book, has spoken with his superstar third baseman about the “A-Fraud” firestorm created by the release of Torre’s “The Yankee Years,” and the general manager isn’t worried about Rodriguez’s ability to cast the controversy aside and focus on baseball.

    “He’s fine,” Cashman said. “It’s something he’s going to have to deal with.”

    Cashman has spoken to Rodriguez several times throughout the winter, which is not unusual for them. The GM said he didn’t reach out to A-Rod specifically to address Torre’s book, though the topic came up during a recent conversation.

    “He’s already dealt with stuff like this way too many times,” Cashman said of the “A-Fraud” fallout. “It’s just another thing for him to swat out of the way.”

    …It’s just another thing for him to swat out of the way…

    How cool would it be to have a full 12-month period, or longer, where A-Rod doesn’t have “another thing” to deal with?

    MLB Supports Joe Torre’s Book

    Posted by on February 6th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Crazy? Not really, why else would MLB allow for a one-hour Joe Torre interview with Bob Costas to air yesterday on their MLB Network?

    You think if Jim Bouton’s Ball Four came out today, for the first time, that Bud Selig would allow Costas to interview Jim, for an hour, in prime-time, about the book?

    Or, if the MLB Network had been around when Jose Canseco’s Juiced had come out, do you think baseball would have been willing to help Canseco promote the book by granting him a one-hour special interview on their network?

    Granted, the fact that Tom Verducci works for the MLB Network and the fact that Bob Costas was probably looking to make a splash now that he’s joined the network, probably helped to grease the wheel on this one. But, if baseball really had a problem with Torre’s book, do you really think this interview on their network would have been allowed?

    Oh, and, Joe Torre and Bud Selig being long-time friends probably didn’t hurt this from happening too.

    Anyone else find it interesting that the MLB Network basically gave Torre a one-hour commercial for his book yesterday? Think the Yankees were happy about that?

    Torre To Kay On Interview Opp: No Thanks

    Posted by on February 6th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Neil Best’s Watchdog:

    …I spoke to his nephew, Michael Kay, the other day about Joe Torre doing interviews with Mike Francesa and Chris Russo during his book tour this week, but not with Kay on 1050 ESPN.

    Kay said he requested a sitdown with Torre, but “he wouldn’t come on with me.” The two had a mostly frosty relationship during Torre’s days with the Yankees, during which Kay was a radio announcer, then YES’ play-by-play man.

    Why did he think Torre turned him down? “Because he has such warm feelings for me, I’m sure, and I for him,” Kay said.

    Whatever their relationship, Kay said he and Torre acted professionally in doing their respective jobs. “Whatever I needed from him, I got from him,” he said. “It wasn’t contentious at all, not at all.”

    Kay said he assumes Torre has not appreciated some of the criticism of him Kay has voiced on his radio show, a forum he did not have during Torre’s early years.

    “I didn’t have a venue to rip him,” Kay said.

    Kay offered few specifics of their relationship but promised to share someday.

    “There are.things he did that I’ll save for my book that were very, very wrong on a personal level,” he said.

    Max Mercy is promising to write a book? Oh, goodie…

    Seriously, this is an interesting story. Is it telling us something about Torre, Kay, or both? Probably both…

    Giambi: Torre’s Book Hurtful

    Posted by on February 5th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via Lisa Guerrero:

    While Joe Torre continues to plug his book, “The Yankee Years,” in New York as the Dodgers winter caravan continues without him, feedback is still rolling in, this time from one of the players mentioned in the tell-all.

    I spoke Wednesday with Jason Giambi, who certainly had mixed feelings about his former manager’s decision to write it, something he’s known about for quite a while because of a phone call he received from the publisher’s fact-checker. These are his first public comments about the book.

    “It’s definitely hurtful,” he told me. “When you play together that long, you’re family. There’s a certain trust involved. We were always like ‘keep everything in-house, especially in New York with that media.’ I was surprised to hear that he was writing a book … he meant so much to that town. But from his point of view you can respect it. He had to get things off his chest,” referring to Torre’s bitter exit from the Yankees.

    When I asked if writing the book violated the trust of his former team, Giambi said, “That’s hard to answer. We were all going in the same direction, we were a family. I can see how other guys will be hurt by it.”

    Then Giambi offers, “It’s hard to know what came from Verducci and what came from Torre,” referring to Tom Verducci, who co-authored the book. “That guy was always hanging around.”

    When told about Giambi’s remarks, Joe Torre apologized – but, Torre would not mention any specific details on what he was apologizing about…

    (Yeah, that’s a joke. Get it?)

    Has Tampa Office Taken A Swing Back At Torre?

    Posted by on February 4th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, on X-M Radio this evening, mentioned a report that said an unnamed source from the Yankees’ Tampa offices had blasted Joe Torre, for writing a book and sharing what he did – as well as getting on Torre paying back George Steinbrenner in this manner after Big Stein had ‘pulled Torre off the scrap heap’ and set him up with some great Yankees teams.

    Where Hamilton got this report…well…I dunno? After looking around, I cannot find it.

    But, if it’s true, who do you think issued this one? It’s not like Hank to hide behind the “unnamed” shield. And, Randy Levine is in New York, not Tampa, right?

    In any event, it’s probably better to see if it’s true first…because, like I said, I cannot find a report to back this up.

    Kepner: Torre Twisted A-Fraud Stuff, Not Always Playful

    Posted by on February 4th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via Tyler Kepner -

    Understand this: Torre is not being forthright with his explanation about the infamous A-Fraud reference on Page 245. In his publicity tour for the book, Torre has repeatedly explained that A-Fraud was something said right in front of Alex Rodriguez, by the coach Larry Bowa, a playful reference to whether he was going to play well that night and be A-Rod, or play poorly and be A-Fraud.

    Here is the actual passage, as written by Torre and Tom Verducci: “Back in 2004, at first Rodriguez did his best to try to fit into the Yankee culture – his cloying, B-grade actor best. He slathered on the polish. People in the clubhouse, including teammates and support personnel, were calling him ‘A-Fraud’ behind his back.”

    Players are being asked about the A-Fraud stuff as they trickle into Tampa for spring training or appear at public functions. Nobody has acknowledged that it’s true, which is not surprising. They will naturally support their teammate, and maybe they never heard the A-Fraud term precisely. But be aware that any Yankee who says he never heard anyone say anything negative about Rodriguez behind his back is either lying or totally oblivious.

    If you spend time around the team as a beat writer, you hear stuff like that from Yankees personnel. You can’t write it because it’s understood to be off the record, but it’s there.

    Do teammates like Alex now? Sure, plenty of them do. He helps them win a lot of games, and nobody questions how hard he works or how badly he wants to succeed. That is also conveyed in the book. But make no mistake: Torre is doing more than spinning now; he’s backtracking on the A-Fraud stuff to soften its impact.

    This ties back into something that I wrote in May of 2006:

    Recently, I heard it from someone who said that they heard it from a source in the Yankees front office – and, yes, I know that things can get mangled in such a game of “telephone” – that the front office’s impression of A-Rod is that he’s a, well, let’s just say “little kitty cat.”

    And, now, three years later, we’re still hearing it…there’s Yankees personnel out there who are not members of the A-Rod fan club. And, I wonder if it will always be that way?

    Posada: Torre Didn’t Do Wrong

    Posted by on February 3rd, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via Anthony McCarron and Peter Botte -

    Jorge Posada joked that it would “take me about three years” to read every page of Joe Torre’s book, “The Yankee Years.” But the Yankee catcher needed no time at all to defend his former manager Tuesday, saying that Torre did not violate clubhouse sanctity with the book and adding that much of the controversial content was common knowledge.

    And, Posada said, the infamous “A-Fraud” moniker for Alex Rodriguez was nothing more than a clubhouse joke uttered solely by former bullpen catcher Mike Borzello – now with Torre in Los Angeles – in front of Rodriguez himself. Rodriguez, Posada said, would be among those chuckling while Borzello tweaked him.

    “There was not one player on those teams that said those words,” Posada said. “Never. If we heard it, it was just (Borzello) messing with Alex and Alex would be right there and he’d be laughing about it. It was never out of disrespect at all. . . . It was never said behind his back by any teammate.”

    “Joe’s done nothing wrong, in my eyes. He’s been a father figure to me, so I don’t think he can do any wrong.”

    Think Mr. T ever sang this one to Jorgie?

    Quantrill: Torre Did Wrong

    Posted by on February 3rd, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Via Richard Griffin

    “Whatever his involvement is with this book, Joe Torre is the No.1 guy,” [Paul] Quantrill argued. “People may understand that he didn’t say that, but even being Joe Torre, being the greatest manager, blah-blah-blah, he’s walking a thin line. When you start exposing anything from the clubhouse in general, whether it’s about a d*ckhead like ‘the fraud,’ or anything, it doesn’t really matter. It’s that you opened up and said it.

    “You are part of a book and guys don’t usually come out of it in a positive light, especially if they’re still active. To me, it’s pretty straightforward. It doesn’t matter if you’re a slapd*ck like Brian McNamee or Jose Canseco, or whether you’re Joe Torre. There are certain things, whether it be about Alex or whether it be about any player, the sanctity of the clubhouse is something that we all try to live by. It blew me away that an active manager is even involved in a book talking about the daily grind.”

    …When you start exposing anything from the clubhouse in general, whether it’s about a d*ckhead like ‘the fraud,’ or anything, it doesn’t really matter…

    Did Paul Quantrill just call Alex Rodriguez a…..?

    Really?

    Yeah, I think he did.

    Today Is Joe Torre Book Day In Yankeeland

    Posted by on February 3rd, 2009 · Comments (2)

    I suffer from seasonal allergies. And, three years ago, I found a local allergist who was able to help me out. Actually, we have a pretty good deal. I see him once in February and he gives me prescriptions for Flonase and Astelin with enough refills to last me through October. So, in the end, I only need to see him once a year – every February.

    The first time that I went to see him, in February 2006, I brought a book about Tris Speaker with me to kill the time in his waiting room – as well as the examination room before he got to me. When he saw the book, he asked me if I was a baseball fan. And, that led to a nice conversation where I told him about the book that I wrote back in April 2005 and he shared with me that he was a Yankees fan going way back…having grown up close to the Stadium, etc.

    Now, keep in mind, since that first meeting in February 2006, our only other meetings were in February 2007 and February 2008. And, during those visits, our time together was brief and our conversation was limited to how the Flonase and Astelin was working, etc., and that we were going to use that treatment again that coming season, yadda-yadda.

    Well, it’s February 2009 and today was the day to go see the allergist again (this morning). In total, this was the fourth time that I’ve seen him in the three years since my first visit in February 2006.

    As in my last two visits, we started off talking about using the same prescriptions again this year, and, then, he paused, looked at me, and said “Hey, wait a minute, you’re the ‘baseball’ guy, right?”

    I laughed and said “yes.” And, then, he asked me “So, are you going to read Joe Torre’s book?”

    I laughed again and said “I already pre-ordered it on Amazon and hope that it shows up today.”

    Just goes to show, no matter where you go in the next 12 hours or so, expect the topic to be Joe Torre’s book – because, with his appearances scheduled in New York and New Jersey today, February 3rd (2009) is going to be “Joe Torre Book Day” in Yankeeland, no doubt…

    Torre’s Broken Cashman’s Heart?

    Posted by on February 2nd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via Ken Rosenthal -

    [Joe] Torre’s revelations about players such as Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown and, of course, Alex Rodriguez are receiving far more attention than his criticisms of [Brian] Cashman.

    Most manager-player relationships, though, are fleeting. Cashman was Torre’s GM for 10 years, from 1998 to 2007.

    The Yankees won the World Series in the first three of those years. They made the playoffs in all 10. And Torre and Cashman formed what should have been an unbreakable bond while working for George Steinbrenner, perhaps the most demanding owner in sports.

    Now this.

    Amid the initial uproar over “The Yankee Years,” Torre revealed to the New York Times that he told Cashman, “we’d always be friends.” As much as Torre talks about trust, he cannot possibly believe that.

    Cashman, friends say, is “crushed” by how Torre depicted him in the book. He had considered Torre a second father. And he was loyal to Torre, except, perhaps, at the very end.

    Torre should be upset if Cashman indeed failed to speak on his behalf at the final meeting — and if Cashman failed to inform ownership of a contract proposal that Torre believed might save his job.

    But is that even what happened?

    Some close to Cashman dispute that the final meeting went down as Torre described and say that other portrayals in the book are pure fiction as well.

    There are two sides to every story, especially in a relationship as lengthy and complicated as the one between Cashman and Torre.

    While the book accurately points out Cashman’s flaws — his abysmal record with pitching and occasional overreliance on sabermetric analysis — Torre goes out of his way to embarrass and diminish his supposed friend.

    Cashman made more than his share of mistakes, often leaving Torre in a compromised position, particularly with pitching. Some of Torre’s friends still burn that Cashman was “Teflon” with his ability to escape criticism. But Cashman, as the book explains, also did not operate in a vacuum.

    The team’s Tampa-based executives routinely interfered with Cashman’s decision making before he assumed full control in 2005. Then, when Steinbrenner’s health began to decline, an ownership committee came to power and again complicated matters.

    Oh yes, Cashman also had to deal with a celebrity manager who had his own shortcomings. That’s baseball. Even the best and brightest, from Torre to Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, are prone to stumble.

    Torre takes responsibility for some of his own slip-ups — recommending Todd Zeile, endorsing the trade of Ted Lilly for Jeff Weaver and most notably, failing to remind Mariano Rivera to be aggressive against Kevin Millar leading off the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.

    But too often, it’s Cashman this, Cashman that. Cashman wanting Kei Igawa when he could have re-acquired Lilly as a free agent. Cashman insisting that Josh Phelps and Doug Mientkiewicz replace Bernie Williams. Cashman making wacky suggestions on how to use players and using assistants to spy on pitching coach Ron Guidry.

    Whatever his faults, Cashman was Torre’s principal ally, defending him to ownership, even hiring coaches such as Tony Peña and Larry Bowa when the manager appeared to be growing too distant from his players.

    Cashman never criticized Torre publicly for burning out relievers, for batting A-Rod eighth in an elimination game, for presiding over one postseason collapse after another.

    Torre gives perspective to the Yankees’ playoff failures by pointing out their stunning overall success while he was manager — four World Series titles, 12 straight postseason appearances, booming attendance.

    Fair enough. But Cashman was a major part of that success, too, signing Mike Mussina, trading for David Justice, Roger Clemens and Bobby Abreu, among others. Sure Cashman had the most money to play with. But Torre benefited from the Yankees’ largesse, too.

    We can sit here all day finger-pointing, but frankly, this discussion should not even be taking place. Torre and Cashman have a shared history, warts and all. That history should bind them forever. But Joe Torre wrote a book, tearing them apart.

    Torre has his story. Sounds like Brian Cashman has his own too. Maybe we need another angle on this…to get a story that’s not coming from Camp Torre or Camp Cashman?

    Rick Cerrone was Senior Director of Media Relations for the Yankees from 1996 through 2006. It’s too bad he wasn’t there for 2007 – as he then could have provided the perfect coverage on the Torre/Cashman years.

    Reggie Jackson has been a special adviser in the Yanks front office since 1993. Maybe he can do a book and set the record straight. Then again, why would Mr. October bite the hand that feeds him?

    Gene Michael? Nah, stick wouldn’t do it. Neither would Mark Newman. Too bad…I bet they know the true skinny. In the meantime, it will be “he said/she said” and everyone will have to pick sides, I suppose…

    Mussina: Torre Broke Trust, Leaves Others To Deal With It

    Posted by on February 2nd, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Via Bob Klapisch:

    In fact, Torre may never be welcomed back into the Yankee community, and that includes being honored at the Stadium — a tribute he once richly deserved.

    “Joe has started something that a lot of people are going to have to answer to,” Mike Mussina said by telephone on Thursday. “Joe’s going to have to answer to it too, but it won’t be as bad for him because he’s with the Dodgers now. But it’s going to be bad for the guys he left behind.”

    Through the excerpted passages, Torre has been systematically embarrassing the weaker figures of his clubhouses. Alex Rodriguez was called out as a coward. Kevin Brown was seen as a troubled, if not twisted soul, described as ready to leave the Yankees altogether after a bad outing at Tropicana Field. Torre didn’t stop there — he allowed readers to glimpse Randy Johnson’s anti-social behavior and mocked Carl Pavano for being universally disliked by the Yankees.

    Each one of these depictions reveals a casual, insulting quality to Torre’s personality that seems almost incomprehensible. For more than a decade, Torre won over the public not because he was a great manager, but because he was a good man. But now we ask: Is this the same man who embraced Paul O’Neill as the slugger wept in his arms after the 1999 World Series?

    Mussina said, “it’s not just what goes on in the clubhouse, it’s sitting on the bus, or if you’re out having lunch. As a ballplayer you need to know who you have to watch out for and who you can trust. First and foremost, you should be able to trust your manager.

    “I mean, people knew that Brown was out there, and that Randy was ornery all the time. And Pavano is whoever he is. But if you’re their manager, you can’t go out and write about them like that.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but, didn’t Mussina have things to say, in public, about Johnson and Pavano, two years ago? And, now, it’s not allowed? Really?

    Lisa Guerrero: Sources Agree With Torre & A-Rod Is A Jerk…

    Posted by on January 31st, 2009 · Comments (9)

    …but, he should have not written about it. Via Lisa Guerrero’s blog

    While you’d certainly expect some pretty strong reactions to Joe Torre’s tell-all from the baseball community, other sports stars have plenty to say about him dishing the dirt on his former players.

    The news of the Yankee Years and the bits of the book that have been released have done wonders to build sympathy for Alex Rodriguez within the fraternity of pro athletes, a group that he is not very popular with to begin with.

    A player that I spoke with here who didn’t want to be named told me, “Look, Alex is a jerk. Torre’s insights are probably 100% accurate about how his teammates feel about him, but there’s no reason to air that dirty laundry in a book.”

    My husband, Scott Erickson, was in the Yankee locker room in 2006 and acknowledged that many of those stories about Rodriguez are true. He takes issue with the fact that Torre or anyone writing about certain players’ bad behavior, but then chooses not to write about others.

    You know, Ty Cobb was a jerk – and that’s being polite. Ditto Rogers Hornsby. And, when he was playing and boozing, Mickey Mantle was a jerk. Further, if you think being surly is someone jerky, then you can say Willie Mays was a jerk. So, if A-Rod is a jerk, does it really matter?

    Probably not…at least…probably not as much as, say, not going through in the post-season, right?

    Belth Q&A With Verducci On Torre Book

    Posted by on January 30th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    In the rare chance that you missed it, Alex Belth spoke with Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci about the Joe Torre book. Click here to see it all.

    Joe Torre On Larry King Live

    Posted by on January 30th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Basically, this was a yawn job…even with the maddening format of ask-a-question/go-to-commercial, ask-a-question/go-to-commercial, ask-a-question/go-to-commercial, etc.

    Here’s what Torre had to say, for those who missed it:

    On the book: …The book is much more than controversial, it’s informative…I was careful in how I told the story…I wanted to let people know what it felt like…Tell people my feelings, thoughts, decisions…Get an inside peek at what went on…Book is retracing my Yankee years…Monetary reasons was not why I did it…

    On A-Rod: …Can’t disagree with what was written about A-Rod in the book…[Alex had] no conflict with Jeter, they’re not the closest of friends, [but] never had any conflict, [yet are] not the best of friends…[Regarding Madonna] it was surprising, Alex is a lightning road, [but] it goes with the territory of being who you are…Nothing in the book to make Alex angry…A-Rod is the most gifted athlete I’ve ever managed…Haven’t “talked” to Alex since 2007…

    On Cashman: …We had disagreements…As far as support, at the end, it was time…Brian was ready for a change… [Torre also said there are things in the book that Cashman doesn't agree with - and that it was a matter of them having two different perspectives on things.]

    Nothing shocking here, huh? So, if you missed it, don’t feel bad – you didn’t miss much…sans about a thousand commercials.

    Jeter On Torre’s Book

    Posted by on January 29th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    I just saw Harold Reynolds, on MLB Network’s Hot Stove, interview Derek Jeter (about 10 miniues ago). When asked about Joe Torre’s book, Jeter said that he has to wait and see it, that “Mr. T” should be given a chance to talk, first, before anyone reacts to it, and, that we should let Alex Rodriguez have a chance to respond to what’s been written/said before others have their say.

    That’s so Jeter, ain’t it?

    Curveballs Along the Way

    Posted by on January 28th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    torrecurveballs1

    Hey, back in 1997, they weren’t kidding with that title, were they?

    Nooner: Really Joe?

    Posted by on January 28th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    Duke Casanova, over at The Nooner, raises an interesting point on Joe Torre’s new book.

    Other than mentioning that airhead Bernie Williams left the Stadium one night and left his kid behind (and that Andy Pettitte had to drive the younger Williams home), has Torre dished any dirt on “his boys” from 1996 through 2001?

    Actually, I doubt there’s much to say about guys like O’Neill, Pettitte, Brosius and Mo. But, Jeter? Tino? Knoblauch? Nelson? Soriano? Boggs? There had to be some stories to tell there, no?

    Cone In Torre Book: Yanks Players Knew Who On Team Was Juicing

    Posted by on January 28th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via the Daily News -

    Joe Torre claims in the new book he wrote with Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci that he didn’t know his Yankee teams were fueled by steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

    But in “The Yankee Years,” David Cone said the players had a good idea about who was juicing. There was speculation about players who worked closely with Brian McNamee, the trainer who told the Mitchell Commission, Congress and federal investigators that Roger Clemens used steroids and human growth hormone and that Andy Pettitte used HGH.

    According to the authors, players often joked about teammates who worked out with McNamee when he served as an assistant strength coach for the Yankees in 2000-2001, especially players who grew dramatically stronger, bigger and leaner in a short period of time. “He’s on Mac’s program,” was the joke, or “He’s on The Program.”

    “They were on his program, guys like Roger, Andy and maybe (Mike) Stanton,” the book quotes Cone as saying. He says he thought McNamee “had some GNC stuff he was putting in shakes, maybe creatine or Andro or whatever you can get over the counter.”

    Torre and Cone saw McNamee as an interloper in the locker room who got a job with the Yankees without paying his dues because of his relationship with Clemens. “Mangold was Joe’s guy,” McNamee says of trainer Jeff Mangold, “but Roger would tell the players to go see me, not Mangold. And I hated going to work every day.”

    “I didn’t like McNamee,” Cone said in the book. “Not that he was a bad guy. I never thought he was properly vetted.”

    Cone’s ideal trainer would have worked his way through the minor leagues like the players, and Cone thought McNamee had taken a job from somebody more deserving.

    Just another nugget of info from the Joe Torre book, yet to released, mind you, that just keeps giving…

    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.

    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?

    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.

    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.