The last thing anybody needs is another windy diatribe on the Joe Torre book and all the barbs it casts at the New York Yankees.
The vilification of the manager that saw such otherworldly success with the most storied franchise in sports history goes beyond his author credits and many find it to be, in a word, disgusting. It’s time someone mentioned it.
First of all, that so many Yankee fans have decided now that Torre had so little to do with the success of the franchise between 1996 and 2006 is shameful.
David Wells stated today on XM that anyone could have managed those teams and had the same result. While it is a moronic statement, Wells is not alone in his delusions.
Torre always dealt with the circus that is managing the Yankees with the utmost dignity and professionalism. He did not engage either prima donna players (a.k.a Wells) or George Steinbrenner in public arguments like managers of the past.
He dealt with the largest set of egos in the history of the game (George Steinbrenner, Wells, Clemens, and A-Rod, just to name a few) better than any other manager could have.
In a recent conversation with Lee Hamilton of XM’s MLB Home Plate, he expressed his awe at how well Torre handled the media crush in the times Hamilton was there for Yankee west coast trips. “Then I thought, ‘Joe does this 162 games a year!’” Hamilton said, putting in a nutshell his opinion of the skippers skills.
All the while, Torre managed to get the most out of the homegrown talent (Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, and such), and put the Yankees in contention just about every single year he was present.
I wonder if those players would share the sentiment of so many angry Yankee faithful or the ultra-bitter Mr. Wells.
I don't think it was the best of moves to air his dirty laundry with the franchise while he is still managing in the league.
Still, the lack of good decision making that this decision may show does not mean the things he tells in the book are false, anymore than it means the things he accomplished during those years in pinstripes any less significant.
Perhaps the Yankee faithful have a bad taste left in their collective mouths for just the same reasons that the rest of us thought Torre was a diamond in the rough. He did not get caught up in petty nonsense and he did not ascribe to the typical Bronx attitude, namely, “Screw everyone, we’re the Yankees!”
While there may be no real argument to support Torre’s timing or his betrayal of former colleagues, there is something to be said for honest portrayals of history. Portrayals that cannot, in good conscience, be altered, because Joe Torre has now made Yankee fans angry.