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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Best: Teammates were fed up with Johnny Damon early in ‘07

“So, Damon, where is your friend, of whom you were so confident? I fear you have allowed him to take advantage of your simplicity.”

Interesting stuff on Pages 394 and 395 about Johnny Damon’s physical and emotional struggles early in the 2007 season, when a leg injury sapped him of his enthusiasm and he began to annoy old-guard Yankees.

In a private meeting, Torre told Damon, “The kind of player you’ve been your whole life is the player who goes out there and fully commits himself. You’re not that kind of person now. It’s easy to see that.”

To which Damon said, “I’m not sure I want to do this.”

The book says one teammate visited Torre and was near tears discussing Damon, saying, “Let’s get rid of him. Guys can’t stand him.”

All this was during the Yankees’ near-fatal 21-29 start.

Repoz Posted: January 28, 2009 at 06:36 PM | 97 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: books, history, yankees

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   1. The Essex Snead Posted: January 28, 2009 at 06:51 PM (#3062558)
Near tears? Seriously? What is this, the Yankee clubhouse or an MTV reality show?
   2. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 28, 2009 at 06:59 PM (#3062563)
Joe's just burning every bridge he can now huh? What a douche.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2009 at 06:59 PM (#3062565)
Near tears? Seriously? What is this, the Yankee clubhouse or an MTV reality show?


Seriously. How lame.
   4. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:01 PM (#3062568)
To which Damon said, “I’m not sure I want to do this.”

Sit through an evaluation meeting with his boss? Hell, who wants to do that?
   5. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:01 PM (#3062570)
Are these issues really any different from that of any club? I'm not convinced they are.
   6. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:08 PM (#3062577)
Are these issues really any different from that of any club? I'm not convinced they are.

But these were the Yankees under Joe Torre. If you believed the hype, under the calming influence of St. Joe, a bunch of multi-millionaires, who under any mortal would be unmanageable, put aside everything to do what was best for the team, which over the last seven seasons didn't include winning the World Series.
   7. Jimmy P Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:09 PM (#3062579)
Joe's just burning every bridge he can now huh? What a douche.

Totally agree. I guess it wasn't just a hatchet job on A-Rod, Torre's out to ruin everyone. How's Verducci going to explain this?
   8. Esoteric Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:17 PM (#3062588)
Totally agree. I guess it wasn't just a hatchet job on A-Rod, Torre's out to ruin everyone.
If the truth is the truth, then what's the problem with telling it?


[/po-faced trollery]
   9. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:18 PM (#3062589)
If this Torre/Verducci book is along the lines of what's been reported, Torre is absolutely nuts for having written this book while he's still active.

(You have to wonder if this affects his HoF chances).
   10. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:19 PM (#3062591)
Remember Phil Jackson's anti-Kobe book? And how shocked people were when the Lakers asked him back?
   11. Dr Love Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:19 PM (#3062592)
I'm having a hard time picturing someone saying "let’s get rid of him. Guys can’t stand him" while being near tears. Those words and that feeling don't go together very well. And I hope the next part of this story is "another problem I had was I had players trying to tell me who should and shouldn't be on my roster."
   12. The District Attorney Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:19 PM (#3062594)
I dunno, I was fed up with Johnny Damon by '03 at the very latest.
   13. The Essex Snead Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:21 PM (#3062596)
I'm having a hard time picturing someone saying "let’s get rid of him. Guys can’t stand him" while being near tears.

Someone needs to Photoshop an old romance comic book cover ASAP.

Here's hoping the crier is the same player that begged out of a start midgame.
   14. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3062597)
Totally agree. I guess it wasn't just a hatchet job on A-Rod, Torre's out to ruin everyone.

Naw, just the mercenaries. Not the "true" Yankees.
   15. Chris Dial Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:24 PM (#3062599)
Damon must have been saying how much better the Red Sox teams were.
   16. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:24 PM (#3062600)
Torre's out to ruin everyone.

Naw, just the mercenaries. Not the "true" Yankees.


you say that as a joke, but....
   17. A triple short of the cycle Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:28 PM (#3062603)
I dunno, I was fed up with Johnny Damon by '03 at the very latest.

I'll say 2001 - that was his very disappointing season in Oakland
   18. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:29 PM (#3062606)
you say that as a joke, but....

Yes and no. I mean, I'm trying to sound snarky because I post at BBTF, but it seems Torre's problems were with the new guys. It reminds me of the movie The Big Red One when the replacement soldiers come in to the platoon and are ostracized by the old guard.
   19. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:35 PM (#3062612)
and it would be to Torre's advantage to play the trueyankee/mecenary card--gets him off the hook
   20. aleskel Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:35 PM (#3062613)
Are these issues really any different from that of any club? I'm not convinced they are

let's face it, writing about about John Gibbons getting into fistfights with his players isn't going to move product
   21. The Essex Snead Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:38 PM (#3062619)
let's face it, writing about about John Gibbons getting into fistfights with his players isn't going to move product

Yeah, that ship has definitely sailed.
   22. Jimmy P Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:41 PM (#3062622)
If the truth is the truth, then what's the problem with telling it?

If you're Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Russell Martin, how happy are you reading all of this? Not to mention that when David Wells did the same thing, Torre was livid.
   23. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:43 PM (#3062624)
"Sit through an evaluation meeting with his boss? Hell, who wants to do that?"

I bet Jeter does.
   24. Tripon Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:45 PM (#3062629)
There is no such thing as a true Dodgers thing.
   25. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:46 PM (#3062630)
There is no such thing as a true Dodgers thing.

don't tell Dumber Than Ten Dogs that
   26. Esoteric Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:53 PM (#3062639)
If you're Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Russell Martin, how happy are you reading all of this? Not to mention that when David Wells did the same thing, Torre was livid.
You must've missed my "po-faced trollery" tag.
   27. Tripon Posted: January 28, 2009 at 07:54 PM (#3062641)


don't tell Dumber Than Ten Dogs that


If there's one thing about the Dodgers today, its that Lasorda has no power in the front office.
   28. Lassus Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:00 PM (#3062644)
(You have to wonder if this affects his HoF chances)

Uh, no, I wouldn't say so.
   29. Rocco's Not-so Malfunctioning Mitochondria Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:20 PM (#3062667)
(You have to wonder if this affects his HoF chances).


I think it helps more than it hurts. Presumably he's not in at this point because some of the old guard doesn't think he's a good manager. Airing all the dirty laundry after the fact shows what a good job he did of managing the team's personalities.
   30. Darren Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:23 PM (#3062670)
But these were the Yankees under Joe Torre. If you believed the hype, under the calming influence of St. Joe, a bunch of multi-millionaires, who under any mortal would be unmanageable, put aside everything to do what was best for the team, which over the last seven seasons didn't include winning the World Series.


But that team, even with all these weird things going on, pulled it together and made the playoffs--again. That would seem to be a point in favor Torre's abilities to manage the personalities on his team. Of course, he'll have a very much harder time getting anyone to trust him from here on out, but that's another issue altogether.

I don't understand the Damon discussion. Damon's leg was hurt--he couldn't be the all out guy that he had been. I don't get it. Was Torre saying he was dogging it? Or just being a gloomy Gus? And what wasn't Damon sure he wanted to do? Have the talk? Or go out and give it his all? He told his boss he wasn't sure he wanted to give it his all? What a weird conversation, all around.
   31. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3062675)
I guess it wasn't just a hatchet job on A-Rod, Torre's out to ruin everyone. How's Verducci going to explain this?

I heard Verducci on some radio show, maybe Dan Patrick. He said something about Torre being a straight shooter, and how its his opportunity to write history. Whatever. Its his opportunity to come off as classless.
   32. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:36 PM (#3062679)
I'm so sick and tired of A-Rod complaining about his teammates. This guy is ridiculous.
   33. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:53 PM (#3062700)
Yeah, that ship has definitely sailed.

No, no, no! The appropriate snark is that it sank! That ship sank!
   34. deputydrew Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:54 PM (#3062704)
and it would be to Torre's advantage to play the trueyankee/mecenary card--gets him off the hook


Being a non-Yankee fan (but ticket holder) in NYC, I think you're absolutely right.

And that makes me wonder: is there any sort of official list of True Yankees? I assume it starts with O'Neill, Tino, Jeter and Rivera.

And the other list is, what, ARod and Pavano?
   35. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:58 PM (#3062710)
And that makes me wonder: is there any sort of official list of True Yankees? I assume it starts with O'Neill, Tino, Jeter and Rivera.

Add Pettite, Bernie Williams, Scott Brosius and Posada, at least.
   36. Roger Cedeno's Spleen Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:59 PM (#3062711)
So what exactly is the difference between ballplayers and managers and the talk radio crowd they hate so much... aside from the fact that the former have to occasionally pause their ######## and sniping to actually play in and manage baseball games?
   37. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:59 PM (#3062712)
Okay, so once Brosius, O'Neil, Knoblauch and Tino moved on, who could Big Stien have replaced them with that could have followed thier shoes and have been "True Yankees"?
   38. Esoteric Posted: January 28, 2009 at 08:59 PM (#3062714)
True Yankees: Mariano, O'Neill, Tino, Jeter, Brosius, Pettite, Posada, Knoblauch, Bernie, maybe even Boggs (!)

Sham Yankees: Pavano, A-Rod, Damon, Giambi, Loaiza, Mussina, Clemens, Weaver, etc.

Basically, if you were good when the Yanks won a WS, welcome to the True Yankee club! If you were good but the Yanks had stopped winning WS, then sorry but you have to stand beyond the velvet rope line.
   39. flournoy Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:05 PM (#3062728)
When I think of true Yankees, I think of guys like Steve Howe, Jim Leyritz, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry... basically, the more legal troubles, the truer the Yankee.
   40. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:07 PM (#3062730)
What about David Wells, where does he fit in?
   41. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:08 PM (#3062734)
What about David Wells, where does he fit in?

Not in my old Festiva!

Ha!
   42. RJ in TO Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:10 PM (#3062738)
When I think of true Yankees, I think of guys like Steve Howe, Jim Leyritz, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry... basically, the more legal troubles, the truer the Yankee.


So you're saying that, despite never playing for them, Pete Rose was the truest Yankee of them all.
   43. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:10 PM (#3062739)
Presumably he's not in at this point because some of the old guard doesn't think he's a good manager.

He's not in at this point because he wasn't quite good enough to make it as a player and he's not eligible to be considered as a manager until he retires.

is there any sort of official list of True Yankees?

Celerino Sanchez, Rusty Torres, Jerry Kenney, Ron Bloomberg, Steve Whitaker, Joe Verbanic, Thad Tillotson...
   44. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:11 PM (#3062740)
What about David Wells, where does he fit in?
Perfect game, loved Babe Ruth = True Yankee.

Clemens, on the other hand, is a mystery.
   45. jmurph Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:11 PM (#3062741)
What about David Wells, where does he fit in?


A moo moo?
   46. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3062744)
Clemens, on the other hand, is a mystery.

What does Suzyn Waldman think, I wonder?
   47. Kurt Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:14 PM (#3062746)
Add Kevin Brown to the sham list for sure.

Not sure about Key or Cone. Mendoza maight be a True Yankee.
   48. Obama Bomaye Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:15 PM (#3062749)
Presumably he's not in at this point because some of the old guard doesn't think he's a good manager.

No, presumably he's not in at this point because he's still managing and voters would prefer to wait until he has retired.


he's not eligible to be considered as a manager until he retires.

I don't think that is correct, but that is how voters are approaching it.

When he retires, I think he gets elected right away. Unless some disaster happens with the Dodgers over the next few seasons. Then it's possible he'll have to wait a bit while that gets forgotten about.
   49. Esoteric Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:19 PM (#3062754)
I propose three categories, then...

True Yankees: Mariano, O'Neill, Tino, Jeter, Brosius, Pettite, Posada, Knoblauch, Bernie, Boomer, maybe even Boggs

Sham Yankees: Pavano, A-Rod, Damon, Giambi, Loaiza, Mussina, Clemens, Weaver, Wright, K. Brown

Damn Yankees: Ruben Rivera
   50. Jimmy P Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:20 PM (#3062756)
When he retires, I think he gets elected right away. Unless some disaster happens with the Dodgers over the next few seasons. Then it's possible he'll have to wait a bit while that gets forgotten about.

Torre's pretty much got a free pass for whatever he does. If the Dodgers don't win it'll be because DePodesta drafted kids that can't play in crucial situations and whine.

This is such bullshit. Way to create news, Verducci. Wow, the media likes Joe Torre and not A-Rod? Never would've guess that.
   51. phredbird Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:20 PM (#3062757)
in LA, the only thing anybody cares about is who's gonna play torre in the movie?
   52. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:21 PM (#3062758)
I'm guessing that Soriano is a Sham Yankee since he had 45 postseason strikeouts?
   53. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:22 PM (#3062759)
Not sure about Key or Cone.

Cone definitely is. Haven't seen Mattingly listed and I think he's the inspiration for the damn phrase.
   54. RJ in TO Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:24 PM (#3062761)
Not sure about Key or Cone.


Key can't be. He's a true Jay.
   55. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:25 PM (#3062763)
I'm guessing that Soriano is a Sham Yankee since he had 45 postseason strikeouts?
But also two walk-off hits, and what could have been the World Series-winning home run in 2001. I'd call him a True Yankee, by the definition, based on how many people wanted to trade for him, or preferred him to Sham Yankee A-Rod.
   56. Esoteric Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:27 PM (#3062764)
I have no idea how to classify Soriano. He could go in either as True or Sham. Maybe even Damn if you really want to hold those postseason failures against him. But I lean to "True" based on fan outcry after he was dealt for A-FRAUD.
   57. bads85 Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:28 PM (#3062767)
in LA, the only thing anybody cares about is who's gonna play torre in the movie?


Joe Pesci.
   58. McCoy Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:28 PM (#3062770)
Where does Rickey Henderson fit in? How about Dave Winfield?
   59. RJ in TO Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:28 PM (#3062771)
But I lean to "True" based on fan outcry after he was dealt for A-FRAUD.


Was that because he was loved, or just because A-Rod was hated. After all, the Yankees were A-Rod's second choice, after the Boston negotiations.
   60. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:29 PM (#3062772)
Even if there was no outcry, wouldn't the fact he was traded for the anti-true Yankee be enough to revise his ranking?
   61. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:32 PM (#3062777)
If you thought this was good, wait until you hear about Kevin Brown crawling into the fetal position after a rough start against the Devil Rays in ’05. Wish I was joking.

Classy Joe.
   62. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:32 PM (#3062778)
Damn Yankees: Ruben Rivera Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw, Jack Blades, Michael Cartellone.
   63. Esoteric Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:33 PM (#3062780)
Was that because he was loved, or just because A-Rod was hated. After all, the Yankees were A-Rod's second choice, after the Boston negotiations.
It doesn't matter! Being traded for A-FRAUD alone is obviously enough to grandfather him into the True Yankee club.
   64. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:35 PM (#3062784)
So instead of A-Rod and Johnny Damon, they should've picked up proven postseason performers like David Bell and Darin Erstad.
   65. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:42 PM (#3062790)
I don't think that is correct, but that is how voters are approaching it.

Baseball Hall of Fame Committee on Veterans

Rules for Election of Managers and Umpires

...

6. Eligible Candidates:

A. Eligible candidates must be selected from Baseball Managers and Umpires who have been retired from organized Baseball as Managers or Umpires for at least five (5) years prior to the election. If the candidate is 65 years old at the time of retirement, the waiting period is reduced to six (6) months. If the candidate reaches the age of 65 during the five-year waiting period, the candidate becomes eligible six months after the candidate's 65th birthday.


link

Of course, there's also this:

Baseball Hall of Fame Committee on Veterans

Rules for Election of Players Whose Careers Began in 1943 or Later

...

6. Eligible Candidates:

...

B. Those whose careers entailed involvement as both players and managers/executives/umpires will be considered for their overall contribution to the game of Baseball; however, the specific category in which such individuals shall be considered will be determined by the role in which they were most prominent. In those instances when a candidate is prominent as both a player and as a manager, executive or umpire, the BBWAA Screening Committee shall determine that individual's candidacy as either a player (Players Ballot), or as a manager, umpires, executive or pioneer (Managers/Umpires Ballot, or Executives/Pioneers Ballot). Candidates may only appear on one ballot per election. Those designated as players must fulfill the requirements of 6 (A).


So while the VC is free to consider his managing career when deciding whether to vote for him on the players' ballot, it makes all the sense in the world that they seem to be choosing not to given the existence of a separate process for managers.
   66. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:43 PM (#3062792)
in LA, the only thing anybody cares about is who's gonna play torre in the movie?

this guy
   67. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:44 PM (#3062793)
I'm beginning to fear this whole episode is nothing more than a twisted ploy to make a Yankee hater like me care about a book about the Yankees.
   68. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:48 PM (#3062795)
True Yankees: Mariano, O'Neill, Tino, Jeter, Brosius, Pettite, Posada, Knoblauch, Bernie, Boomer, maybe even Boggs

Not Knoblauch.
   69. aleskel Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:48 PM (#3062797)
True Yankees: Mariano, O'Neill, Tino, Jeter, Brosius, Pettite, Posada, Knoblauch, Bernie, Boomer, maybe even Boggs

you're missing the truest True Yankee of them all - that's right ... Luis Sojo
   70. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 28, 2009 at 09:51 PM (#3062804)
Don't forget Enrique Wilson
   71. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 29, 2009 at 12:13 AM (#3062833)
Has Clay Bellinger been mentioned yet?
   72. GGC:BTF's Biggest Underachiever Posted: January 29, 2009 at 12:21 AM (#3062848)
Where does Aaron Boone fit in? The Boss used to call Winfield Mr. May, so he wasn't one of that era's True Yankees.
   73. WillYoung Posted: January 29, 2009 at 12:53 AM (#3062887)

Cone definitely is. Haven't seen Mattingly listed and I think he's the inspiration for the damn phrase.


Not true, as I discovered while researching this post, George Steinbrenner stated the following about Rod Carew in 1979, "If a man doesn’t understand the privilege of playing for the New York Yankees, in the greatest baseball city in the world . . . then I don’t think [acquiring him] would be fair to our fans in New York, or our other ballplayers, who have won two world championships in a row."

If that's not True Yankee talk, I don't know what is.
   74. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: January 29, 2009 at 01:29 AM (#3062921)
Does replacing the True Manager mean Girardi loses his True Yankee status?
   75. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 29, 2009 at 01:46 AM (#3062939)
You gotta put Jeff Nelson in the True Yankee category. He stomped a Red Sox employee, didn't he?
   76. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 29, 2009 at 02:45 AM (#3062971)
Wait, has anybody linked this yet? If not, I can't believe it.
   77. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 29, 2009 at 02:57 AM (#3062980)
Where does Rickey Henderson fit in? How about Dave Winfield?
Rickey's in his very own, supernal category. I suppose that makes him a True Rickey--I just can't see him subsumed under any other mantle. And whereas Rickey sailed high above the ocean the Yankees flowed from, Winfield seemed to be both tethered to the club, but also not disgraced by Steinbrenner's antics. Let's say Dave rode the wave that is the Yankees, but was not of them.
   78. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:25 AM (#3062994)
I really think the "classless" stuff is way premature. I mean, was Ball Four "classless"? And if it was, does that invalidate it, or make it something that shouldn't have been published?

The test of the Torre/Verducci book is how good it is, not whether everyone depicted in it is depicted as they would wish to be. Now, the book may well suck. Most books suck. But I think that Torre's telling stories in which certain players are not depicted as heroes is hardly grounds for dismissing the book.
   79. nick swisher hygiene Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:28 AM (#3062997)
imo the "true Yankee" category does not apply to pre-90s dynasty players--thus the great tragic historical irony of Mattingly, a man who may well have been "100% ballplayer, 0% bullshit", but yet did not survive into the era of True Yankeedom.....
   80. nick swisher hygiene Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:30 AM (#3062998)
was Ball Four "classless"?


???

Is the Pope Catholic? do bears #### in the woods?
   81. Darren Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:32 AM (#3062999)
I really think the "classless" stuff is way premature. I mean, was Ball Four "classless"? And if it was, does that invalidate it, or make it something that shouldn't have been published?


First, I'd suggest you look at some of the quotes in the other thread. Torre runs down players who he didn't even manage. Second, you could argue that Ball Four was classless but still be glad it was published. Third, don't you think it's different coming from a manager than a player?

I'd also argue that the question isn't whether people like how they are depicted. It's whether Joe Torre should be sharing this information with the public and doing so in such a way as to make himself look good and others look bad. I'm sure a number of celebrity psychologists could write books that would fascinating to many people, but that wouldn't make the writing of the book any less of a betrayal.
   82. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:53 AM (#3063006)
Certainly if the book is basically self-serving, that would be bad. I'm waiting to see. A story in which the narrator lets us in on both his own flaws and the flaws of various people around him is a very different one, and we simply don't know that Torre's is of the former type.

I dunno. I get that people have responsibilities to their colleagues and the people they manage. I don't think that a manager needs to hold back in the same way a teacher needs to hold back in talking about students - the relationship is much less strictly hierarchical, and the players are grown-ass men.

There's something about calling the telling of stories "classless" that seems to risk cutting off the sources for the telling of histories. Certainly there are modes of storytelling that are typically classless - the self-serving mode, for instance - but I think there are important distinctions to make here.
   83. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:59 AM (#3063011)
Second, you could argue that Ball Four was classless but still be glad it was published.
Also, this is my current stance toward the Torre book. I'm waiting - it may just suck - but it sounds like a pretty damn interesting book. That's a valuable thing. (

(Note: Ball Four is awesomeness, and I'm not putting this book in that category in any way. Just using it as a comp for ease of argument.)
   84. GGC:BTF's Biggest Underachiever Posted: January 29, 2009 at 01:30 PM (#3063119)
I was a toddler when it came out, but what I recall about the furor about Ball Four through reading about it and talking to older SABR members was that Bouton violated some code similar to "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." However, I was under the impression that some of his teammates knew that he was writing a book. Maybe they thought that he was just going to talk about on the field stuff. Has anyone here read Instant Replay? That came out not long before Ball Four. Did it delve into off-field stuff about the Packers? Wouldn't the Pilots and Astros have heard about that book?
   85. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: January 29, 2009 at 01:43 PM (#3063124)
That came out not long before Ball Four. Did it delve into off-field stuff about the Packers? Wouldn't the Pilots and Astros have heard about that book?

Jim Brosnan had written a couple of books before Bouton, as well. They weren't "tell alls" but they had stuff about the clubhouse in them. Good books, by the way. Brosnan could freakin write.
   86. GGC:BTF's Biggest Underachiever Posted: January 29, 2009 at 02:20 PM (#3063157)
Amen, Shooty. I read The Long Season and thought that it was better in some ways than Ball Four.
   87. villageidiom Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:00 PM (#3063195)
I really think the "classless" stuff is way premature.
It's fueled by the many years of many people talking about how classy Joe Torre is. His book might not be classless in a self-serving way, but the excerpts leaked so far are popping the classy bubble. People have built him up to be someone who, well, wouldn't do this.

You also have to remember that the word "classy" is in this context defined as "makes NY sports fans happy". I've not seen any sports town rush to call their heroes "classy" - often despite contrary evidence based on the normal definition - nearly as much as in NYC. Reggie Jackson classy? Paul O'Neill classy? And it's been this way pretty much my whole life. It's like the "true Yankee" thing of late.

NY sports fans on this site are a lot smarter than that, and it's not that often that I find comments here about one of the Yankees being "classy". But now we're subjected to thread after thread on articles and blogs written by people who were making that distinction, and are now hurting their brains trying to undo those thoughts. Take it for the noise it is.
   88. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:04 PM (#3063203)
Amen, Shooty. I read The Long Season and thought that it was better in some ways than Ball Four.

I like The Pennant Race, too. He seems as surprised as anyone the Reds won it! (The NL was damn good in those years.)
   89. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:13 PM (#3063214)
How does this affect Frank Tanana?
   90. JPWF13 Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:18 PM (#3063218)
I was a toddler when it came out, but what I recall about the furor about Ball Four through reading about it and talking to older SABR members was that Bouton violated some code similar to "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." However, I was under the impression that some of his teammates knew that he was writing a book.


They knew he was writing a book, but I suspect that most if not all (this was almost 40 years ago) probably never guessed that Bouton would actually put things like beaver hunting in print.
   91. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:20 PM (#3063224)
They knew he was writing a book, but I suspect that most if not all (this was almost 40 years ago) probably never guessed that Bouton would actually put things like beaver hunting in print.


Right. They probably expected something like The Long Season.
   92. GGC:BTF's Biggest Underachiever Posted: January 29, 2009 at 03:22 PM (#3063228)
That's why I was asking if anyone read Instant Replay. I was wondering what type of stuff was in that. It's on my list of books to read, but it's a loooong list.
   93. rr Posted: January 30, 2009 at 02:29 AM (#3063830)
Jim Brosnan had written a couple of books before Bouton, as well. They weren't "tell alls" but they had stuff about the clubhouse in them. Good books, by the way. Brosnan could freakin write.


Indeed--I have talked about this before. TLS and PR are both PG whereas Ball Four is PG-13 or R. Bouton is fine, but Brosnan has wit and an eye for detail that is way above Bouton. I think TLS is better than PR but both are good. PR is a little naughtier--Brosnan was a minor star by '61, both on and off the field. One interesting element of the books is Brosnan's comments on race.

That's why I was asking if anyone read Instant Replay. I was wondering what type of stuff was in that. It's on my list of books to read, but it's a loooong list
.

I have. It is OK if you are an NFL/Packers fan, but it's squeaky clean and a Lombardi hagiography. Dave Meggysey's book from the same era, Out of Their League, is just the opposite but it is not a "tell-all" in the salacious sense.
   94. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 30, 2009 at 02:50 AM (#3063838)
How does this affect Frank Tanana?

As reputations are tarnished at the top, Tanana moves up three notches on the waiting list to become a True Yankee, from #38,912 to #38,909.
   95. GGC:BTF's Biggest Underachiever Posted: January 30, 2009 at 02:54 AM (#3063843)
Meggysey was an iconoclast, to say the least. He made Bouton look Establishment in comparison.
   96. Russ Posted: January 30, 2009 at 12:17 PM (#3063981)
If this Torre/Verducci book is along the lines of what's been reported, Torre is absolutely nuts for having written released this book while he's still active alive.


I know you have to adjust for era, but the stuff that Torre is saying about these guys is way worse than what Bouton said about his teammates and coaches in Ball Four. Ball Four really went out of its way to humanize a lot of the people who were handled the worst in the book (Maglie, e.g.). A lot of these excerpts just seem mean and a meant to de-humanize the players.
   97. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: January 30, 2009 at 12:51 PM (#3063991)
I know you have to adjust for era, but the stuff that Torre is saying about these guys is way worse than what Bouton said about his teammates and coaches in Ball Four. Ball Four really went out of its way to humanize a lot of the people who were handled the worst in the book (Maglie, e.g.). A lot of these excerpts just seem mean and a meant to de-humanize the players.

Maybe, but we've only seen the salacious excerpts. We should probably hold off on judging the book until it comes out. We may find there are 10 provocative pages and 490 pages of sticky, encrusted Yankee love making the pages stick together.

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