All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Yankee Years

The baseball world is abuzz over The Yankee Years, the new book co-written by Joe Torre. It won't be officially released until February 3, but review copies have gone out, and there are a ton of articles already.

The New York Times review by Michiko Kakutani suggests that what went wrong with the Yankees was exactly what fans have been complaining about for years:

The hallmark of the Yankees who won World Series championships in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 was gritty team play: they weren’t famous for a roster of flashy superstars or power hitters; rather, they were a resolute band of brothers, who put collective play above individual stats — an ensemble distinguished by its chemistry on the field and in the clubhouse, a team renowned for its resourcefulness, its determination and its ability to grind out win after win after win.

...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.”

Though that was what Ms. Kakutani found most interesting about the book, the sports world is fascinated with the clubhouse confidences Torre apparently revealed.

Kevin Brown was a basket case. Randy Johnson was fragile and easily rattled. A-Rod was obsessed with Jeter, and his teammates called him "A-Fraud" behind his back. George Steinbrenner was no longer lucid by 2007. And everyone despised Carl Pavano.

I'm not sure what to think. What happens in the clubhouse is supposed to stay there, and I'm kind of surprised that Torre would break that unwritten rule, especially since he's still managing, albeit for a different team. Some are accusing him of doing it for the money, but I find that hard to believe. How much money does he need? The Yankees paid him millions, he's being paid well by the Dodgers, and he's had a slew of endorsement deals. I doubt young Andrea will have to worry about how she's going to pay for college.

More likely, this is payback for the way he was fired. The Yankees treated him very shabbily. I think it was time for him to go, and they had every right to fire him...but they should have had the guts to do it directly. Instead, we got that whole dog and pony show, with Torre left swinging in the breeze for days. Finally, they offered him a contract calculated to be so insulting they knew he would refuse it. They were too lily-livered to actually fire him, for fear of how the fans would react. He deserved better than that.

I don't blame Torre for being bitter, but I'm still surprised he would do this. He just didn't seem the type.

I confess, though...I'm dying to read this book. I've already got it on pre-order at Amazon.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:22 PM


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