Last night, ex-Yankee manager Joe Torre appeared on CNN’s “Larry King Live” to defend his new tell all book, “The Yankee Years.”
Torre told King he didn’t do anything wrong by writing the book, along with co-author Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated. “I did not burn any bridges,” Torre told King. “When I talked about what went on in the clubhouse, I don’t think there was any sensitive material that shouldn’t have been in there. There is nothing in that book that went on in the clubhouse that I would rewrite in any way.”
Torre went on to say he was shocked by the initial reactions about the book. “I’m shocked by the initial reaction. There’s always going to be something that somebody is going to resent but my reputation is being honest. It certainly wasn’t my intention to shock anybody.
“Once people read the book they’ll have a better perspective and a better understanding about what it’s all about.”
Torre said he wanted to walk readers through his entire 12-year run as manager of the Yankees. “I can’t look back on the Yankee years and be bitter. Yeah, I was relieved when I left there, but my 12 years experience was wonderful. And I’m not going to make a negative of this over some people who picked certain things out of books and want to talk about it.” He told King, however, that if he talked about the good years he need to talk about the bad years for the book to be honest.
As for violating confidences within the clubhouse Torre addressed that issue as well. “When I talked about what went on in the clubhouse, I don’t think there was any sensitive material that was in there that I felt shouldn’t have been in there,” Torre said.
King also brought up comments in Torre’s book about Alex Rodriguez, David Wells and Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner.
After King cited quotes from the book where Torre said A-Rod “strained” the feeling in the clubhouse after coming on board, along with monopolizing all the attention and being concerned with how he looked in a situation rather than getting the job done Torre replied, “I can’t disagree with any of that.”
King asked Torre what would happen if the Dodgers and Yankees met in the World Series and he and Rodriguez came face-to-face. Torre believed they would act as pals.
“All I can say, and unless I’m just completely off base, I think there’d be a hug involved,” Torre said. “And I don’t think it would be forced by either one of us. . . . I don’t think there’s anything in this book that’s going to make Alex angry or keep us from being friends.”
However, Torre did say that Rodriguez never had any problems with teammates, not even Derek Jeter. “Am I saying they were best friends?” Torre mused. “No, but they were professional and I thought they performed well together.”
He told King the term “A-Fraud” was done in a joking way, and that it was right out in front of everyone. He related a story where then-third base coach Larry Bowa would take A-Rod out the day after Rodriguez made an error in a game and hit ground balls to him. Bowa would say, “Who do we have to today? A-Rod or A-Fraud.” There was nothing hidden.
As for Steinbrenner, Torre said that the “Boss” always wanted to be in charge. He would always be onto the next thing, wanting to improve on things, even after a World Series victory. He never wanted to stand pat. Torre said Steinbrenner would be proud of how he portrayed him in the book. Torre acknowledged that George got him the players to win those four World Series and he couldn’t have done it without the players.
When King asked Torre about two interviews Wells did criticizing the book Torre said, “Boomer and I always had this type of relationship. Boomer and I would go at it one-on-one. I saw him last year and I asked him to come to my charity dinner in November because it was honoring the ’98 team, and he said, ‘I don’t like you but I’ll go.'”
In watching the interview one couldn’t help, but, notice when asked about direct quotes from his book Torre took his time and chose his words carefully. He downplayed each comment King pulled out of the book. The part that is really interesting is that Torre prefaced his comments with , “I think…” when asked about how things would be perceived by those who were being written about.
Hey Joe, what do others whom you wrote about think?
My guess is Torre didn’t ask anyone whom he penned negatively in his book if it was o.k. with them. It’s funny how Torre doesn’t think he broke any codes or burned any bridges, but I bet if you asked other people about it they might have a different viewpoint.
When someone writes about things that go on behind closed doors it doesn’t matter if it’s a clubhouse or the White House the person giving away information is setting a dangerous precedent.
That’s what Mr. Torre has done here. His book may be a runaway best seller, but most assuredly there will be a price to pay for his “honesty.” Don’t expect to see No. 6 to be hung in Monument Park any time soon. What you may see is the glow of that bridge Torre said he didn’t burn.