When I first heard about the Joe Torre book, written with Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, I was a little irritated. I have a problem with coaches writing books about their players so soon after having coached them. Call me corny, but I still think of coaches as pseudo-parental figures (especially for younger players) or at least bosses. Often they seem to write such books just to make sure the team will fail without them, airing the team's dirty laundry to cripple their successor.
For once, I wasn't the only one to have problems with this, as various Yankee fans (click link to see her video take on this), former players, and columnists expressed their disgust and annoyance with Joe Torre. It's ironic that a man who preached loyalty to the team and supposedly had such a good relationship with his veteran players would so casually throw A-Rod, Clemens, and others under the bus. Funny how authority figures who are getting paid stop preaching about loyalty once they stop getting paid, isn't it?
However, in the midst of all this negative publicity about Joe Torre and Tom Verducci, amazingly, a distraction appears. It's ok that Joe Torre mocked A-Rod, because A-Rod is really a steroid user! (This explanation is a little bit like saying "It's ok that the police beat that one guy, because I heard that guy cheated on his taxes once." There's no connection between those facts! no causality! no cancellation!). Now, which intrepid reporter helped someone violate the confidentiality agreement on tests that happened six years ago? Why, Tom Verducci's colleague at Sports Illustrated, Selena Roberts. What a coincidence! Hmm, I wonder, could Tom Verducci have helped pass along this tip to Selena? Isn't it interesting that with the book under full-fledged attack, some news magically appears to discredit the person Joe Torre most criticizes in the book?
Alex Rodriguez's positive steroid tests have nothing to do with the fact that Joe Torre went out of his way to attack an emotionally fragile player just to boost his book sales. When Alex moved to New York City, he foolishly thought that Derek Jeter was a real friend who would make his transition into a close-knit team easier, and that Torre was a player's coach. (Torre seems to have only been loyal to his original Yankees from the 90's; free agent acquisitions did not get any such respect).
Who hasn't made such a mistake when moving? You latch onto the only people you know in the area because you're new, only to realize that they really aren't interested in being close friends--come on, that's happened to many of us. So Alex Rodriguez got the cold shoulder from Derek and the mockery of his manager. And when Alex finally was going to get the sympathy he deserved from the public because Torre over-reached to punish him one more time, Verducci gets rescued (how convenient!) and Selena Roberts twists the knife a little deeper. Who says print media is dead? Looks like the pen is as sharp a sword as it ever was.
Side note: I'm fascinated that while searching for photos of Joe Torre with fans to accompany this post, I can't find one photo where Joe is actually smiling. Let's hear it for access-hungry sports reporters who turned a grouchy millionaire coach into a sympathetic, long-suffering saint. The photo below is the biggest smile I could find from Joe Torre when taking a photo with fans, and I'm sadly not exaggerating.