Wednesday, February 4, 2009


OPINION among the fans is divided. Some feel Joe Torre’s book The Yankee Years violates baseball’s unwritten code of conduct. Others wonder what all the fuss is about.

Torre insists that the book is not borne out of bitterness. But, like most memoirs, it’s bound to upset someone.

In this case, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and star player Alex Rodriguez are most likely to be the aggrieved parties.

Cashman and the club’s hierarchy have refused to comment on the book. Will Torre be welcome back in the Bronx or will he be excommunicated?

Listening to him talk to Mike Francesca on WFAN talk radio, you get the impression he has no regrets.

“I went into this with my eyes wide open. I can’t concern myself with the way other people perceive it [the book],” he told Francesca.

Is he surprised by the reaction? “A little. I really don’t believe in my heart that any of the stuff I talked about is a violation.

“There was a lot of stuff I gave Tom (Verducci) that I didn’t allow them to print. What I allowed in the book I feel comfortable with.”

Former Yankee boss stands by “his” book

There is no more eloquent talker in baseball than Torre. As one writer put it, he has the ability to drop a bomb, then defuse it in the same instant.

He was his normal eloquent self during his interview with Francesa. But there were contradictions.

On the one hand, he says: “I wrote this book; I’m proud of this book. I wouldn’t change anything in it.”

On the other, he says: “Tom Verducci wrote the book. I really didn’t have any control over what he wrote.”

After years of dealing with the New York media, Torre has become the “artful dodger” during interviews.

He says he was “disappointed” rather than bitter about his split with the Yankees after 12 years. He deflects his implied criticism of A-Rod, saying he believes the penny will eventually drop and that he can win in New York.

On the subject of steroids, he claims: “I didn’t realize just how widespread it was until the Mitchell report came out.”

But he admits: “That doesn’t free me of the blame and responsibility that we all have to bear.”

One thing that’s not debatable is that Torre is going to make a packet from The Yankee Years. Whether it costs him his place in Monument Park remains to be seen.

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