Sunday was no day of rest for Joe Torre. New Yorkers woke up to find the contents of his book "The Yankee Years" splashed across the back pages, starting a news cycle that should last a few days until Torre himself deigns to speak to someone about his decision to co-author a book that crushes his former players.
That also seems to be the way Torre feels since he called Brian Cashman to help soften the blow of the book. There's also reportedly been some reaction from the Alex Rodriguez camp. The Post quotes someone close to Rodriguez calling Torre's book an "act of desperation," and denies that A-Rod was the prima donna he's accused of being.
The book's other author, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, stood up to defend Torre.
"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."
The New York Times reviews the book in Monday's edition and makes note of the third-person voice. That seems like nothing more than a calculated move to set up an out for Torre's rips on players and Yankee officials. It won't work. Verducci admits that Torre is familiar with every word in the book, so he can't really say that he wasn't aware of what the book is about. Torre's neither reporter nor a fiction writer, so seeing his name on the book eliminates the third-person remove from anything that's inside of it. He may not have been the source behind some of the more inflammatory passages, but his name is on each and every one of them.
That begs the question of why Torre would do this project. He's still working in baseball, with players and executives who might not take kindly to the way he treats the men he worked with in the Bronx. If this book isn't by Torre or if, as Verducci seems to argue, Torre isn't essential to it, then he just put his name on the book for a fast buck. That's his choice, but it hardly burnishes the reputation he worked so hard to build.
Or maybe it does. The other question this book raises is if Torre had so much to dislike about working for the Yankees, why did he keep coming back? Money's the answer there too.