A-Rod Has Bigger Things to Handle Than Joe Torre's Book!

Erik DianaCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2009

Well, the Yankees' hope for a quiet Spring Training just blew up in their faces, thanks to Joe Torre. Let's face it: The Yankees will never have a quiet Spring Training! Not in my lifetime, anyways.

I hope for his sake that A-Rod avoids the issue the way he did with Jose Canseco's outrageous allegations that he took PEDs and steroids. He handled that situation perfectly. Please Alex, handle this one like a pro again. I beg you.

The moment the players arrive and handle the media they are going to be bombarded with The Yankee Years and its aftermath. If Torre was trying to screw with the Yankees, he couldn't have done any better!

Everyone from Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner and A-Rod are going to have to devote precious time to sorting all the details out in this book that was released. A-Rod is going to be the one who will really have handle these murky waters with skill because of Torre's book.

From the very top to the bottom of the Yankee hierarchy there are going to be statements and press releases abounding because of The Yankee Years.

Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett should all send Joe Torre a "Thank You" card. Their every move won't be dissected with such alacrity by the press as other big-name free agents have been in the past.

Even Hank Steinbrenner may want to say a comment or two about the book. (I hope and pray nobody puts a microphone around him for the next 50 years.)

Joe Torre was such a powerful force in Yankeeland that this simply can't be tossed under the rug. If someone like a Carl Pavano or a Jaret Wright wrote a book blasting his teammates, no one would care. No one would bother to blink an eye.

What else makes this book release sad is that Joe Torre may never get his just due as one of the absolute and iconic legends for the New York Yankees now. We may see a Yogi Berra standoff before Torre sets foot in the new Yankee Stadium. Torre should have his number retired. We may never see that in Torre's lifetime now. That would be a shame!

Seriously, Joe Torre is in the realm of Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, and Casey Stengel. He will always be remembered for the way his Yankees ruthlessly handed the rest of Major League Baseball beatings on an annual basis.

Torre's Yankees played the game with class (for the most part) and he always seemed above the fray that engulfed the teams he managed from George Steinbrenner and the New York media.

For the record: I think anyone who comments on this book and Joe Torre better read the book first. Personally, I am going to hold judgment until I read the book. It's a long book and many people are already making this out to be another Ball Four for the "Yankee betrayal" that the pages will unleash. I doubt this book sniffs that much controversy, but we'll see.

Also, Tom Verducci and Joe Torre must be loving the attention this book is already garnering. In works like this, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Seriously, kudos to the advertising wizards that came up with this strategy. The Yankee Years is going to be a top seller.

But what if The Yankee Years is as bad as people think it is. (Which it most likely isn't. Like, 99 percent most likely.) So what? Seriously, anyone who voluntarily signs on with the Yankees knows this sort of thing is a distinct possibility.

Last I checked, A-Rod signed up for a 10-year tour of duty with the Bronx Bombers. Don't feel sorry for Alex; worry about you and yours before you feel pity for him!

People have often said, "You take George Steinbrenner's money, you take his crap." Well, let's include the tabloids and the pressure of the New York media and the Yankees' fans in that sentiment as well. A-Rod knows the drill. He's been loved and loathed since he arrived here in 2004. He doesn't have a cherry when it comes to this!

Even if Joe Torre threw A-Rod under the bus, I still won't feel that bad for him. A-Rod did much of this to himself. He invited a lot of this nonsense, not all of it, but a lot it into the Yankee locker room. He's been a media whore ever since he put the pinstripes on. Remember his biracial comments in 2006? Cut me a break!

Many of Torre's former players have had to deal with A-Rod dealt with in 2006. Chuck Knoblauch was embarrassed daily for not being able to throw to first. He even had to switch positions because he couldn't overcome his throwing jitters.

You don't think Jorge Posada had his head messed with in 1999 when Joe Girardi was catching more often with certain pitchers? How do you think Posada felt when Clemens worked exclusively with Girardi to get some things straight late in the '99 season?

And now through his cronies, A-Rod is saying that it doesn't hurt because Torre hurt him so deeply in the 2006 playoffs that he could never feel close to Joe Torre. Well, you know what? A lot of of Torre's players were dropped or benched in the playoffs, and they got over it! Jason Giambi and Tino Martinez most notably come to mind.

Jason Giambi, the epitome of the Yankees losing their soul this millennium, got dropped to seventh in the batting order before Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. Giambi who was supposed to help carry the offense to multiple World Series titles was struggling and subsequently dropped in the lineup.

That had to be a piercing blow to his pride. He was getting flogged in front of everyone for not coming through. Giambi was only in front of Enrique Wilson and Karim Garcia to start the game. That's got to be a tough one to take!

To Giambi's credit, he handled it with class. He also bashed two mammoth home runs against Pedro Martinez that kept the game within striking distance. We all know how that game turned out.

Many, including myself, think that Game 7 was the greatest game ever played at Yankee Stadium. Well, if Giambi doesn't brush it off, that ending doesn't happen. Give a nod to the Big G for that one!

Now let's imagine that was Alex Rodriguez was dropped against the Red Sox like that, his psyche would be ground to dust! Remember how he played in 2006 against the Tigers? I do.

A-Rod struggled mightily in the 2006 ALDS. Torre shouldn't have to protect a struggling star because they're a star. It's the playoffs. You put pride aside for the greater good of the team.

Most people don't remember the two instances that swung the momentum completely in Detroit's favor that series. 1) Curtis Granderson's triple to make it 4-3 took the wind out of the Yankees' sail entirely. 2) A-Rod gaffing in the first inning with the bases loaded. Classic A-Rod for the Yankees in that situation. If A-Rod hits even a double in that at-bat, it's a different series. 

A-Rod deserved to get dropped! Even if Torre was trying to humiliate him, which is doubtful, A-Rod still choked. The last time I checked Torre didn't swing a bat or throw a pitch in that series.

A-Rod could have stepped up and rubbed his skipper's nose in it and humiliated Torre himself if he would have wanted to. But he failed to do so, mirroring so many other times in the playoffs for the Yankees.

Tino Martinez also had to deal with what A-Rod and Giambi had to deal with in the 1996 World Series. Martinez struggled at the outset of that series and let his fervor to be great hinder his ability. Sounds a lot like A-Rod to me.

Tino Martinez had to deal with getting benched in favor of Cecil Fielder. Tino seethed at the decision, But, he acted like the consummate professional even though he was smoldering on the inside. 

Martinez took the benching in stride and later played an invaluable role on many championship teams. A-Rod still has hurt to get over apparently. His last comments about the '06 ALDS benching make me wonder if he can handle the ups and downs of a World Series run.

There's still no doubt that A-Rod is one of the three best right-handed hitters on the planet. Pujols and Manny are the other two. Pujols and Manny have also led their teams to the World Series and were victorious in the Fall Classic.

My whole point of this article is to state that A-Rod shouldn't even concern himself about anything Joe Torre may or may not have said in The Yankee Years. Unfortunately, he's going to have to fend off questions about this. I understand that. But Alex, you have much bigger things to worry about.