Monday, January 26, 2009

Hollywood Joe: Torre Tells All For a Buck

It appears that Joe Torre may have had more in mind than simply coaching the storied LA Dodgers when he chose to leave his east coast roots. Hollywood has already begun to influence Joe’s normally reserved and respectful nature.

Torre ironically appeared in a made for TV movie about the Yankees’ portrayal on the big screen, TV shows, and in commercials called Hollywood Pinstripes. Joe will now link Hollywood and his pinstriped past together in a tell-all book entitled “The Yankee Years”.

Joe Torre is a good man. He was the noble leader of a Yankee dynasty for over a decade. He aids countless charities in their quest to cure deadly diseases, and is active in stopping acts of domestic violence he once watched in his own household as a child. He is a family fan, a role model to NY city kids, and a brave cancer survivor.

However, Torre is also a very bright man. That is what surprises me most when reading about his soon to be cash crop. Joe knows the backlash that comes out of a tell-all book, especially in the wake of Jose Canseco and Jay McGwire (Mark’s kid brother). Regardless of its intentions, any negativity will be emphasized, and the writer will be accused of selling his soul for a quick buck.

It is not at all fair to speculate about the book as a whole without reading it in its entirety. What can be determined as of now is that Joe, knowingly or not, has at least partially traced Jose and Jay’s footsteps. They all betrayed the people whose livelihood depended most strongly on their trust.

Tom Verducci, the author of Torre’s book, claims that the focus is truly built around the Yankees in general. It includes a glimpse into how the game changed around them, the influence of the steroid era, and other factors.

Everyone including Joe knows that none of that matters. The only pages of the book that will make national news are stained with negative comments about the Yankees front office, as well as private locker room sentiment among players.

Torre had every right to bash the people that forced him out of the city he grew up in. Anything said about Brian Cashman, Randy Levine, or the Steinbrenner brothers is fair and valid. He was shown a lack of respect, and was never given a reasonable explanation for it.

The problem truly lies in revealing secrets of a locker room. It is the one line that should never be crossed, and is the largest symbol of trust for any professional sports team. What is said in a locker room when the doors are closed stays there, and anything that escapes that room is deemed a betrayal in the highest degree.

To publicly reveal in a book that Alex Rodriguez was ‘obsessed over his rivalry with Derek Jeter’, and was referred to as ‘A-Fraud’ by his teammates is not only in poor taste but rather disgraceful. Joe knows better than that, and Joe is a better man than that.

It will be interesting to see how Torre is received by NY following the book’s release, and if things will ever be the same between the Yankees and one of their greatest managers.

Twelve straight playoff appearances and four World Series titles may prove to be enough to earn Joe a ‘get out of jail free’ card. If not, Joe Torre may end up replacing Billy Martin as the Yankees manager with the strongest love-hate relationship with management and fans.

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