Running Local

This Train of Thought Makes All Stops

He Said, He Said

Posted by Bob Kohm on January 25, 2009

p1joetorreIt’s difficult to sell yourself as anything other than an intellectual fraud when you go to press with a story about how some people are primadonnas when in the act of doing so you reveal yourself to be one, as well.

This is the situation which may be confronting ex-New York icon Joe Torre, now manager of the Left Coast Dodgers. In a book set to be released on February 3rd, written by Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci with cooperation from Torre, the former Yankee manager allegedly has more than a few unkind things to say about the team that took him from the scrap heap and made him a Hall of Fame shoo-in.

He apparently relates that Alex Rodriguez is obsessed with Derek Jeter. Not exactly a revelation, but still an unneeded unkindness. He also is said to repeat that ARod is less than popular with his teammates, who at times have referred to him as A-Fraud. No news there, but again…why? He calls some of his former players “primadonnas”. Wow, ballplayers who are full of themselves, who feel unduly privileged and expect to be deferred to? Ground breaking stuff, that.

All of these things may speak to a petty vendetta on the part of Torre, they may speak to a publicist trying to generate hype for a book by taking things out of context, they may speak to Tom Verducci needing a hit as a guy with a bit of a rep for being a jerk and a  few turkeys on his rap sheet. The jury is out at least until the book is too, on February 3rd. These stories, all kind of “uh-huh, yeah, we know” things, may be told in exactly that  vein– they could well be integral to the telling of the story because they are simply part of the background against which it plays out. It makes sense that way, and it is in keeping with Torre’s personality, reputation and temperament. If that’s it, there’s no problem.

What is disturbing is that he is attacking Brian Cashman, who had his back for so long and kept Steinbrenner off of him so many times. The allegation that Cashman somehow stabbed him in the back by not backing his play for a multiyear deal at the conclusion of the 2007 season flies in the face of everything that Torre said in public, that Cashman wanted him to be with the team, that Cashman had defended him and promoted his interests, that Cashman was trying to build the team that Torre wanted despite the pressures exerted by the Steinbrenners.

That is the segment that I hope has been taken out of context, that has been exploited by a publicist or a schmuck of a co-author. If it isn’t that will be a direct character statement on a guy who has become an icon to so many of us, a man who represented the proverbial “steady hand at the tiller amidst the storm”. If this is who Torre is– a guy who is willing to lie either in his book or to his public’s face, then it is he who is the unexpected prima donna.

And that would sadden me.

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