Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bouton: "What's the big deal?"

Earlier today I posted some comments from Mike Mussina and Johnny Damon, and the common theme of those comments was what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. But former pitcher and author of the "Ball Four" wonders what all the commotion is about.

From Andy Martino:

Did Joe Torre's book violate the sanctity of the Yankee clubhouse, particularly with his criticism of Alex Rodriguez? The man who pioneered the candid sports memoir is amused by the question.

"What's the big deal? It isn't as if Joe Torre is revealing things that people didn't know," former Yankee Jim Bouton told the Daily News Friday. "There was no doubt that A-Rod wasn't a team guy; that's been known for a while."

"It is almost 40 years later," he said. "Why in the world anyone is still talking about the sanctity of the clubhouse is beyond me. Baseball and the Yankees should feel lucky that this book is generating so much attention in January... there is no job hitting a ball with a stick unless a lot of people are convinced it's important."

Bouton was also amused that any player would feel violated by the book. "These guys have voluntarily gone into a business where people know that everything that they do or say is subject to being written about. They act as if they're surprised when somebody tells what they do. Roger Maris always wanted to be a private person. Well, get into the shoe business if that's what you want."

And to anyone offended that unflattering accounts of his behavior landed in a book, Bouton offered simple advice: "Books are going to be written. Therefore, don't act like a jerk."

I feel the same way that Bouton does which is why I'm not pissed at Torre. Yes, he looks like a hypocrite with this book, but by no means do I think they should cancel 'Joe Torre Day' because of this. Besides the fact that this stuff is coming from Torre, there's nothing too surprising in this book, at least from the excerpts we've seen so far.

But when it comes to players trusting him, my opinion, or Bouton's, isn't going to change anything. If his current and former players believe he broke some unwritten clubhouse rule, then that's all that matters.

Japanese TV Gets a Preview of the New Stadium

U.S. Nippon Communication Network recently got a preview of the new Yankee Stadium. Most of the information in the preview was about premium seating and the luxury boxes.
Watch the high quality version here.

More From Moose and Damon about 'The Yankee Years'

A few days ago when news first broke about the book, Mike Mussina said that the A-Fruad stuff wouldn't hurt A-Rod or the Yankees clubhouse. He said they've been through this and worse before with Alex, and this won't let it effect them.

Yesterday, he spoke with The Record's Bob Klapisch to discuss the book some more.
“Joe has started something that a lot of people are going to have to answer to,” Mike Mussina said by telephone on Thursday. “Joe’s going to have to answer to it too, but it won’t be as bad for him because he’s with the Dodgers now. But it’s going to be bad for the guys he left behind.”
Klapisch wonders how this will effect his current team:

It’s not just that Torre crushes easy targets like Johnson and Pavano, it’s that he violated the sanctity of the clubhouse to plunge the knife deeper. By doing so, Torre is telling his present-day Dodgers that no anecdote or conversation will be off the record once he leaves the organization. None of his players could be blamed for keeping their distance; how could any of them trust Torre ever again?

Mussina said, “it’s not just what goes on in the clubhouse, it’s sitting on the bus, or if you’re out having lunch. As a ballplayer you need to know who you have to watch out for and who you can trust. First and foremost, you should be able to trust your manager.

“I mean, people knew that Brown was out there, and that Randy was ornery all the time. And Pavano is whoever he is. But if you’re their manager, you can’t go out and write about them like that.”

What I would really like to know is what Mussina had to say about the comments he made in the book. Specifically, this quote about Mariano Rivera that Bill Madden had in his article today:
"As great as he is, and it's amazing what he does, if you start the evaluation again since I've been here, he has accomplished nothing in comparison to what he accomplished the four years before. He blew the World Series in '01. He lost the Boston series. He didn't lose it himself, but we had a chance to win in the ninth and sweep them and he doesn't do it there. ... That's what I remember about the '04 series."
Damon spoke with Peter Kerasotis of the Cincinnati Enquirer and had this to say:
"What happens in the clubhouse should always stay in the clubhouse, unless it's funny or goofy. You know, harmless stuff," he said.
Damon also discussed the excerpt from the book where about a conversation the he and Torre had at the beginning of the 2007 season:

"Yeah, yeah, I was very honest with him," he said, speaking of that meeting with Torre. "I told him I was thinking of retiring. Baseball is not the most important thing to me. I enjoy my life off the field. I love spending time with my family, and we'd just had a baby born about a month and a half earlier. I needed time to figure out if I still wanted to play."

At the time, Damon was only 33.

"I had some friends who were fishing in Key West, stuff like that, stuff I never have a chance to do in the summer," he said. "Baseball's such a grind. I didn't know if I wanted to do it anymore. Mainly, it was wanting to be with my family more."

After contemplating retirement, though, Damon decided "the team needed me" and that retirement during or before a season leaves a team "out to dry." So he kept playing.

"I had a couple of days off, and I found that spark again," he said.

But as far as any spark of anger against Torre for writing about the episode, it wasn't there.

"No, no, that's OK. I'm OK," Damon said. "I'm a person who loves his family. So nobody can beat me up over that."

Regarding the whole A-Fraud thing Damon said,
"I do not ever recall Alex being called that. Alex is a great guy. He would do anything for his teammates, and I hope he's my teammate for a number of years. It's just a shame that with spring training ready to start, he has to deal with this."
A lot of players are taking the same "what happens in the clubhouse should stay in the clubhouse" approach. This doesn't bode well for Torre, who now may have to convince his Dodger team that they can trust him and won't end up in the future book titled, "The Dodger Years."

Moment of the Year: Final Game @ Yankee Stadium

About a month ago I asked you what was the best moment of 2008, after over 1700 votes the fans have spoken, the final game at Yankee Stadium was the moment of the year. Joba Chamberlain outdueling Josh Beckett in Fenway was 2nd, Moose's 20th was 3rd, the All-Star game came in 4th, and Jeter passing Gehrig to become the all-time hit king at Yankee Stadium rounded out the top five.

Here's the final voting results:
The Final Game at YS (9/21)31318.04%
Joba Outduels Beckett (7/25)19911.47%
Moose Wins No. 20 (9/28)18010.37%
The All-Star Game (7/16)1659.51%
Jeter Becomes YS All-Time Hits King (9/16)1609.22%
Gardner Walk-Off vs. Papelbon (7/6)1357.78%
Old Timers' Day/Welcome Back Willie (8/2)905.19%
Wang Two-Hits Sox at Fenway (4/11)824.73%
Damon Goes 6-for-6 vs. KC (6/7)764.38%
Jeter Passes Ruth to Move to No. 2 on Yanks Hit List (9/9)663.8%
Opening Day '08 (4/1)653.75%
Giambi's Pinch-Hit Walk-Off vs. Jays (6/5)633.63%
Giambi Beats Boston By Himself (8/28)593.4%
Nady Drives in 6 in Huge Comeback vs. LAA (8/3)512.94%
Wang Outduels CC (4/27)311.79%

Thanks for voting everyone.

Are owners are conspiring to bring down salaries?

From Ken Rosenthal:
Donald Fehr, head of the players' union, is not ready to conclude that owners are conspiring to hold down free-agent salaries.

But Fehr admitted Friday to "heightened" concern about the state of the market, citing the large number of free agents who remain unemployed.

Pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training in two weeks, yet nearly 90 free agents are still looking for jobs.

The union examines trends in every free-agent market, but will not decide whether to file a collusion grievance until the signing period is complete.

"Obviously, we've looked at it every year since the mid-1980s," Fehr told "That concern becomes heightened when you go late into the period of time when players should be signed and many fewer players have signed and spring training is nearer."

While club executives cite the faltering economy as the reason for the sluggish market, some agents say privately that the owners are working in concert to avoid competitive bidding for free agents.

The economy clearly is responsible for the plummeting values of many free agents. The union likely would take exception, however, if clubs deemed some of those free agents to have little or no value.

"No matter what the general climate is, we're certain clubs want to put the best possible teams on the field," Fehr said.

"There are certainly a significant number of quality players available that can help a lot of teams. I'm hoping the situation will rectify itself."

Well we know one thing, the Steinbrenner's aren't to blame for this. They're still spending.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bleth and Verducci Discuss 'The Torre Years'

Alex Belth from Bronx Banter and sat down with author Tom Verducci to discuss the new book. It's a good interview and worth checking out. Here's three parts of the interview that stuck out to me; the importance of David Cone in the dynasty, two questionable Torre moves, and what changed after 2003. One of my favorite parts of the book is David Cone winding George Steinbrenner up and making him crazy just to get a laugh. That wasn't something you could imagine a player doing back in the Bronx Zoo days. How influential was Cone on those teams?

Verducci: We all have known how important Cone was to the success of the Yankees. But in reporting the book I gained an even greater appreciation for his role. He was the de facto captain before Derek Jeter. At every turn -- whether it was keeping David Wells in check, counseling Chuck Knoblauch on his playoff gaffe against the Indians, stepping up during the key 1998 clubhouse meeting, knowing how to push the buttons of everybody from George Steinbrenner to Paul O'Neill -- Cone was the single most influential player in that clubhouse. I was fascinated when Mussina talked so often about how much those teams missed Cone -- and Mussina didn't even play with Cone. But Cone was so important to those teams that Mussina understood it just by his absence. In fact, I view and structured Cone and Mussina as parallel characters in the book. Each emerges as a voice of the distinct micro-eras within the era: when the Yankees won and when they didn't. Each has a profound ability to see beyond himself and understand team dynamics and the human condition. They also have the ability to smartly share such observations. That Mussina moved into Cone's locker and place in the rotation immediately upon Cone leaving the Yankees only reinforces the sort of shared role they have in the book. I like to think of it as Cone and Mussina playing the Greek chorus -- only not together, but Cone taking you through 2000, then leaving the stage and handing the role over to Mussina. More than a few of Torre's postseason pitching moves have been questioned, particularly by Yankee fans. For instance, I always thought Torre should have gone to Ramiro Mendoza in the eighth inning of Game 7 in the '01 World Series, and so did Torre. Why did he decide to go with Rivera?

Verducci: Mendoza probably would have been in the game if it had remained tied. Torre did not want to use Rivera to preserve a tie and be left without a good option to close the game if the Yankees took a lead. Don Zimmer thought differently. He was more the riverboat gambler. Zimmer thought it was more important to run Rivera into a game than worry about who was left to protect a lead. It's a fascinating decision. Zimmer could not see risking losing the game without using the team's best reliever. Torre couldn't see losing the game with using anybody other than Rivera closing it. Remember, too, that if you use Rivera in the eighth with the game tied, you're probably giving yourself only one time at-bat -- three outs against Randy Johnson in the ninth, no less -- for Rivera to pitch with a lead. The decision, of course, became easy when Alfonso Soriano homered to give the Yankees the lead in the eighth. It's a no-brainer there: You give Rivera the last six outs. I've always thought the decision when to use your closer on the road is a very tough call that The Book doesn't cover. In some ways, 2001 Game 7 presaged the Jeff Weaver game in the 2003 World Series, in which Zimmer's worst fear came true: The Yankees lost without using Rivera. But Torre has no second-guesses whatsoever about using Weaver. You make a point of talking about starting pitching in the book. After '03, how did things fall apart for the Yankees' pitching?

Verducci: The Yankees lost Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and David Wells after the '03 World Series and went to an all-right-handed rotation. They began to cast their lot with NL-groomed pitchers (Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano) and aging ones (Kevin Brown, Orlando Hernandez). Of course, those shaky bets were naked ones because the Yankees had no one coming from the farm system to help as insurance. The single most important element to the decline of the Yankees, at least as a postseason team, was the annual decline in their starting pitchers' ability to miss bats. Year after year the strikeout rate for their starting pitchers declined. Combine that with the lack of left-handed starters to pitch in Yankee Stadium, and the Yankees were no longer so fearsome in the postseason. That's why the health of Joba Chamberlain is so important to the Yankees' return to greatness, though the additions of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett were shrewd moves to give them more "pure stuff" that will make them a better playoff team.

For more from Alex, check out this story he posted over on Bronx Banter a few days ago, kinda funny, kinda disturbing.

Torre Will Be On 'Larry King Live' Tonight

Just wanted to remind you that Torre will be discussing his new book tonight on "Larry King Live" at 9:00 p.m. on CNN.

King spoke with's Anthony DiComo to discuss the interview and the book, here's some of what he had to say:
"Normally, you would think this is not Joe,"
"I think you hit a certain point of life," King said, "where you're in your late 60s, you've got a comfortable job with the Dodgers, you moved to Los Angeles, life is very different. This is sort of like a laid-back time. He's always been a terrific guy. I've known him for years, and maybe this is just, 'Hey, this is my catharsis, let's let it out.'"
"It's a terrific book," King said. "It's an extraordinary book. Even though it's written in the third person, it obviously is the thoughts of Joe, or why would he have approved it? It's a fascinating look at the Yankees and those years."
"Torre's a big story, and actually, all the attention he's getting has spurred him on even more," said King, a self-admitted Dodgers fan and baseball junkie. "We expect a lot of people to be interested in this, and I'm very interested in it. I haven't spoken to Joe about it, and I'm sure looking forward to asking him a lot of questions about this book."
"Even though I'm not a close friend of his, I feel a strong attachment to him," King said. "My hope is that when it comes out, fans will know him better. They'll know him better, and the Yankees better."
I'll try to post any videos I can find of the Torre-Larry King interview for those who aren't able to watch it live.

Testing the Big Screen

WCBS 880 has posted some new interior pics of the new stadium.
As you can see they're testing the big video screen in center.

The rest of the pics can be found here.

For the main new stadium updates page click here.

Yanks Sign Bruney

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post via Peter Abraham the Yanks have signed Brian Bruney to a one-year $1.25 million deal.

With this signing the Yankees and Bruney were able to avoid arbitration.

National TV Schedule

Over at Awful Announcing they posted the schedule for all of this year's national TV games. Here's the list:
ESPN Sunday Night Baseball:
Atlanta at Philadelphia (April 5th, ESPN2)
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee (April 12th)
St. Louis at Chicago Cubs (April 19th)
New York Yankees at Boston (April 26th)
Chicago White Sox at Texas (May 3rd)
Tampa Bay at Boston (May 10th)
New York Mets at San Francisco (May 17th)
Milwaukee at Minnesota (May 24th)
Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs (May 31st)
St. Louis at Chicago Cubs (July 12th)
New York Mets at Atlanta (July 19th)

FOX Saturday Baseball:

April 11th
Boston @ LA Angels
Minnesota @ Chicago White Sox
Houston @ St. Louis

April 18th
Cleveland @ NY Yankees
St. Louis @ Chicago Cubs
LA Angels @ Minnesota

April 25th
NY Yankees @ Boston
Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis

May 2nd
NY Mets @ Philadelphia
Houston @ Atlanta
Cleveland @ Detroit

May 9th
Tampa Bay @ Boston
San Francisco @ LA Dodgers
Atlanta @ Philadelphia

May 16th
NY Mets @ San Francisco
Cleveland @ Tampa Bay
LA Angels @ Texas

May 23rd
Philadelphia @ NY Yankees
Houston @ Texas

May 30th
LA Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs
Atlanta @ Arizona
Minnesota @ Tampa Bay

June 6th
Philadelphia @ LA Dodgers
Cleveland @ Chicago White Sox
Minnesota @ Seattle

June 13th
NY Mets @ NY Yankees
St. Louis @ Cleveland
Chicago White Sox @ Milwaukee

June 20th
Tampa Bay @ New York Mets
LA Dodgers @ LA Angels
Milwaukee @ Detroit

June 27th
Boston @ Atlanta
LA Angels @ Arizona
Chicago Cubs @ Chicago White Sox

July 4th
New York Mets @ Philadelphia
Oakland @ Cleveland
Detroit @ Minnesota

July 11th
NY Yankees @ LA Angels
St. Louis @ Chicago Cubs

July 18th
NY Mets @ Atlanta
Houston @ LA Dodgers
Baltimore @ Chicago White Sox

July 25th
St. Louis @ Philadelphia
Minnesota @ LA Angels
Chicago White Sox @ Detroit

August 1st
Chicago White Sox @ NY Yankees
LA Dodgers @ Atlanta
Houston @ St Louis

August 8th
Boston @ NY Yankees
Texas @ LA Angels

August 15th
Philadelphia @ Atlanta
LA Dodgers @ Arizona
Cleveland @ Minnesota

August 22nd
NY Yankees @ Boston
Chicago Cubs @ LA Dodgers

August 29th
NY Mets @ Chicago Cubs
Houston @ Arizona
Tampa Bay @ Detroit

September 5th
Boston @ Chicago White Sox
San Francisco @ Milwaukee
Minnesota @ Cleveland

September 12th
NY Mets @ Philadelphia
Chicago White Sox @ LA Angels
Atlanta @ St. Louis

September 19th
Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis
San Francisco @ LA Dodgers
Detroit @ Minnesota

September 26th

October 3rd

(hat tip to River Ave. Blues)
This is great news, we only have to deal with Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, and new addition to the Sunday Night team, Steve Phillips once this year. Woo hoo!!

I don't mind the 8 Fox games, unlike most of you I don't have Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

Yanks Have Met Their Quota --- Corrected --- No They Haven't

CORRECTION: Peter Abraham is saying that this report is wrong and that the Yankees can sign more type A free agents:

Turns out the story is wrong. Brian Cashman said the Yankees could sign up to eight if they want. “I’m not sure of the exact number, but it’s one we won’t worry about either way,” he said.

I’m not clear on the exact reasons. But the large pool of FAs led to an adjustment in the quota. I also think it has something to do with how many ranked FAs they had.

So that's that.

From Barry M. Bloom:
The most commonly held misconception of this offseason is that the Yankees could have signed pitcher Ben Sheets or could still sign left-fielder Manny Ramirez if only there were a few million dollars remaining in the Steinbrenner bank.

Both assumptions are incorrect. According to the Basic Agreement, and confirmed by a top Major League Baseball official, once the Yankees signed CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, they had signed their quota of Type A or Type B free agents under the collectively bargained rules established by management and the Players Association.

All three were Type A free agents who played for other teams last season aside from the Yankees. The Yankees could re-sign their own Type A or Type B free agents without it affecting the quota.

Under the rules, "if there are from 39 to 62 [Type A and B] players [during a given offseason], no team can sign more than three."

So they're not signing Manny.

Barring a Nady or Swisher trade this is your 2009 Yankees.

How Important is the Addition of Pettitte?

Richard Justice of the Sporting News thinks it's very important.
Andy Pettitte brings credibility, a winning attitude and a relentless work ethic to the Yankees. In the end, those things might end up being more valuable than anything he does on the mound.

The Yankees have been overhauled again this winter, and as manager Joe Girardi tries to instill the right mindset, people like Pettitte can play a huge role.

Cashman has signed/acquired the right kind of people this offseason. Mark Teixeira gets it. So does C.C. Sabathia. Nick Swisher seems to get it, too.

The Yankees could be pushed by the Red Sox and Rays from beginning to end. There will be losing streaks, tests and all of the other things even really good baseball teams experience. Somewhere along the way, the Yankees will become a real team, or they will come apart at the seams. If there are enough core guys that understand it's only about the bottom line, they have a chance to survive. Maybe they even will survive A-Rod's usual soap opera.

Those great Yankee teams got it, and Pettitte will help this Yankee team get it, too. No one knows what he has left in the tank. After all, Pettitte is a 36-year-old pitcher with a cranky elbow, and he is coming off a season in which he pitched terribly down the stretch (5.35 ERA after the All-Star break). Pettitte pitched hurt at the end of last season because his team needed him. He was setting an example for every other player in the clubhouse. His teammates knew he wasn't right, and they appreciated his effort.

Pettitte is an interesting guy in that he doesn't say much and needs an occasional kick in the pants. He isn't a star in the way the Yankees sometimes measure stars. No headlines. No celebrity rating at all. He is just a baseball player -- a good, tough baseball player who only wants to win. He doesn't care if it is about him or someone else. He just wants another ring.

Even after all of Cashman's good work, it is impossible to know how good the Yankees are going to be. But re-signing Pettitte pushes them a step in the right direction.

(hat tip to Was Watching)

Justice makes a good point here. I've always felt the addition of Pettitte to this rotation was very important and its importance went beyond numbers. Not only is he a very solid no. 4 or 5, but he's going to be a leader on that staff, and will help CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett adjust to New York. Oh, and like Justice says, he gets it.

But what about you, how important is the addition of Pettitte?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nettles Backs Torre

From Mark Hale:

In 1984, Graig Nettles co-authored "Balls" with Peter Golenbock - and it had an impact.

"It got me traded," Nettles said yesterday.

Joe Torre's book, "The Yankee Years," has caused a stir this week, because of controversial things said about Alex Rodriguez and general manager Brian Cashman. But Nettles, the former Yankees third baseman whose book came out in 1984, said he doesn't think Torre's done anything wrong.

"All I've read is excerpts, so it's really not fair to comment," Nettles said in a phone interview. "But just from the excerpts, it doesn't seem to be anything scandalous.

"I think he has every right to write the book, and I know Joe well enough to know that he wouldn't make any scandalous accusations of anybody. . . . I would bet a lot of money on the fact that Joe did it with some dignity."

Nettles said he wrote a book "for the money and the fun of doing the book."

"I know I didn't tell any stories that I wasn't supposed to tell. Joe, too. I haven't read the book, but from what I've seen, he hasn't told any stories or any hush-hush stories that shouldn't be told."

(Hat tip to
Zell's Pinstripe Blog)
Nettles would have a better idea than others when it comes to this kind of thing, and I do respect his opinion, but that's not going to change the mind of many other Yankees fans who hate Torre right now.

As I see it, the main problem with this book is that Torre comes out looking like a hypocrite. He would always tell his players not to say too much to the media and to keep things in the clubhouse, and now he does the exact things he said he was against.

Wells on The Michael Kay Show

Here's audio of David Wells on today's Michael Kay Show.

And here's some of the highlights of the interview from Matt Gagne of the Daily News:

Asked what he'd say to Torre about the book, Wells replied: "I'd probably just knock him out."

Wells tempered the fighting words with laughter, adding: "I probably wouldn't say anything. I'd probably laugh at him. It's easy to say things when you leave."

Wells admitted to clashing with the manager, saying that Torre would often turn off his music in the clubhouse without ever asking him to turn it down. How'd Wells respond? He'd blast the music again and tell Torre, "If you got a problem, go in your office and shut the door."

"I wasn't there trying to make Joe's life miserable, I was there trying to win," added Wells, who used the loud music to pump himself up before games. "He fined me for wearing a Babe Ruth hat, that's pretty shallow. I threw the money at him and said, 'Go buy a pair of rims for your car.'"

Torre has been criticized for publicly calling out players in his book, something he said he'd never do when he was still managing in pinstripes. But Wells called that notion "BS" to begin with.

"Joe called guys out from time to time," Wells said. "He always said you'll never hear anything from him in the media or the papers, and that was BS ... Joe didn't respect a lot of people in my eyes."

Stark: Yanks Softening to the Idea of Dealing Swisher

From Jayson Stark:
After trying to push Xavier Nady as the outfielder they'd most prefer to trade, the Yankees are telling teams they're softening to the idea of dealing Nick Swisher. The Braves head the list of clubs who prefer Swisher because of his versatility and because he's three years from free agency, not one.
I've said many times that they should keep both Nady and Swisher, and I still feel that way. Trading Swisher makes even less sense than trading Nady, so obviously I'm not a big fan of this decision.

Unless they can get a really good prospect or two in return there's no reason to make any trades.

Torre Told Dodgers Not To Sign A-Rod

From Jayson Stark:
Hard as Joe Torre tries to spin his thoughts about Alex Rodriguez, we've heard from multiple sources that when A-Rod was a free agent last offseason, Torre advised the Dodgers not to touch him.
He really hates A-Rod.

Lucchino: "We're going to outwork and outsmart them"

From Lenny Megliola:
Lucchino was asked how the Red Sox would stand up to the free-spending Yankees. "We're going to outwork and outsmart them," but he conceded that with New York's deep pockets, "It won't be easy."
Shut up Larry...

He also believes it will be a three-team race in the AL East and he's happy with the makeup of the Red Sox:
“It’s going to be a three-team race,” said Lucchino. “(The Rays) are an awfully good team. Everyone in baseball predicted their ascendancy. It just arrived earlier.”

Lucchino will take his chances with his own team. He likes the Red Sox’ diversification. “The makeup is excellent. We’ve got some young players, some players in their prime. Depth of pitching. Short contracts. Long contracts. It’s a nice balance.”

Jeter Takes Some Stadium Souvenirs

From Harvey Araton (hat tip to Scott Proctor's Arm):
Derek Jeter came clean Wednesday night. He pilfered the Joe DiMaggio sign, as I suspected.

When I had last seen Jeter before covering the kickoff party to his celebrity golf classic for his Turn 2 Foundation at the Saddlebrook Resort about a half-north of here, he had refused comment on the famous sign (“I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee”) in the tunnel leading to the Yankees dugout that went missing soon after their last Stadium home game.

A clue on his intentions had come earlier that night, when he said he had his eye on a particular Stadium keepsake but wouldn’t say which. After the game and on-field celebration, I noticed the sign was missing and told him, “I know what you’re taking out of here,” and I asked if I could report it.

He shook his head and replied, “In due time.”

Four months later, he admitted he had taken the sign, and another item or two.
If you don't know this is the sign they're refering to:

I wonder what else he took.

1/29 New Stadium Photo Update

These pics are from Flickr member topkidnum1.

(click to enlarge)

For the main updates page click here.

What Should Jeter Do?

With Jeter coming out yesterday and saying nothing - as usual - about the Torre book several blogs have been questioning Jeter's leadership. Mike Silva at NY Baseball Digest asks if Jeter is a good captain, and Lisa Swan over on the Subway Squawkers blog says it's "Time for Jeter to stand up for his teammates." Jeter has always been a great leader on the field, but off the field he leaves a lot to be desired.

I, like Lisa, think this is a time where he needs to step up and defend his teammates. Brian Cashman said the other day that "the best way to try to deal with it is, I guess, rally around each other the best you can." That will only happen if Jeter says something.

What do you guys think Jeter should do?

Jeter and Posada are Waiting to Read the Book

From Doug Miller:
Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada will take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to commenting on Joe Torre's controversial new book.

Their answers, or, more accurately, non-answers, were reported by The Associated Press, which also quoted former Yankees such as coach Don Zimmer, first baseman Tino Martinez and manager Buck Showalter.

"To be quite honest with you, people were saying this and saying that," Jeter told the AP. "Then all I hear is people saying, 'Wait until you read the book.' To be fair to everyone, I think you have to wait to see what's in it first and then give Mr. T an opportunity to address it."

Posada had similar things to say.

"I've got to find out what it's all about," Posada said. "You really can't comment on something that you don't know. I have no idea right now. I've got to read it. It's a matter of time for us to sit down and read it, and talk to Joe."

"It gets to a point where it seems like we're always talking about the same thing," Jeter told the AP. "It seems like every year at this time it's the same questions about the same things. I think everyone is eager to get to Spring Training and start playing on the field."

Am I the only one who thinks the both of them will try to avoid this subject as much as possible?

As far as Zimmer, Showalter, and Tino, they had this to say:
"When I look at the book, then I’ll know," Zimmer said. "Sometimes you hear things that Joe said, and I don’t believe all of it. He might have said some things. That’s what sells the book. But you can’t believe everything you hear. You have to read the book."

Former major league manager Buck Showalter isn’t sure he’d want to write a revealing book about his days in baseball.

"I’d have to make up my mind that for sure I wasn’t going back on the field before I ever wrote one," Showalter said. "I have feelings about it. Obviously I haven’t done it. There’s a certain privilege to having those jobs that you have to live up to."

Former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez, currently an assistant to general manager Brian Cashman, didn’t expect his former manager would write a book.

"It caught me off guard. I was little surprised Joe would write a book," Martinez said. "I loved playing for Joe Torre. I know we all did. You have to read the book, and I haven’t read it."

This book seems to be a surprised to even the guys who played for him.

Yanks Looking at Future Confidentiality Agreements

From Wallace Matthews:
The Yankees are considering including a "non-disparagement clause" in future player and managerial contracts in order to prevent any more tell-all books such as "The Yankee Years," co-written by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Yankee official said yesterday that some members of the front office staff already are required to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to protect "proprietary knowledge of our business model." The proposed clause is intended to ensure that future books about the Yankees are "positive in tone," and "do not breach the sanctity of our clubhouse."
Confidentiality agreements, some with meticulously spelled out rules and stipulated monetary penalties for their violation, are standard equipment in most contracts between celebrities and their hired staffs, as well as between corporations and their CEOs. ...

"Up to now, we have always operated our employer-employee relationships on a basis of trust," the official said. "But we never expected what we got from Joe. We may have to get a little tougher on this issue."
While I understand where the Yankees are coming from I'm not a big fan of this idea. Not that it hurts the Yankees in any way, it would probably help - they'd avoid any embarrassing future book. But I'm all for people speaking (or writing) what's on their mind, even if they don't always have the nicest things to say.

Go Read This

Here's a great article by Bronx Banter's Alex Belth. It's about A-Rod and his legacy (so far) in New York. I just wanted to make you guys aware of it if you weren't already. It's a great read.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Yanks Are Pissed

When I first heard about the book I really didn't care. I don't really care now to be honest, but the more I hear about the book the more I can understand how people are as angry as they are. I guess I'm just used to this kind of stuff and have become a bit desensitized. With that said, I wish he wouldn't have thrown so many of his former players under the bus, that's the one thing about the book that does bother me.

From the article below it seems the Yankees are not very happy either.

From Wallace Matthews:
In the course of one horrendous season, Joe Torre went from St. Joe to Joe Blow.

Now, over the course of 477 pages, Torre may well have blown more than just a playoff series or two. He may have blown his entire Yankees future.

Publicly, the Yankees are mum about "The Yankee Years," the soon-to-be-released account of Torre's managerial tenure co-authored with Tom Verducci. Privately, they are livid.

Over time -- a long time -- that may change, but right now, David Wells will be named the team nutritionist before Torre is invited back to the Bronx.

Although none of the principals have commented publicly, I have it on impeccable authority that general manager Brian Cashman is "devastated," team president Randy Levine angry enough to be considering having future managers sign some sort of confidentiality agreement, and various players so disgusted with their former manager that they'll even embrace Alex Rodriguez.
"Even devout Torre guys who worshiped him can't believe he would do a thing like this," a Yankees insider told me yesterday. "It's -- -- terrible. To them it shows what the guy was all about.
"I think his ego's gotten so big that he thinks he can do no wrong," a Yankees source said. "And the Dodgers winning the division was the last straw. I think he truly believed he had the Midas touch, that he could do no wrong."

Instead, Torre may have committed the one sin the Yankees find virtually impossible to forgive.

"The same thing he was so upset with Wells and Jose Canseco about, he did himself," the source said. "He violated the sanctity of the organization, the sanctity of the clubhouse. He broke the trust we had in him."
As an important part of recent Yankees history, photos of Torre will still hang in the new ballpark. "We gotta be bigger than this," a Yankees official told me. "Besides, the guy's already hanged himself."
I've always liked and defended Torre, and I still am a fan of his for what he did here as manager. But this book is really going to hurt, and maybe destroy his legacy, there's no doubt about that. It's a shame things ended up this way.

A Colorful Night at the New Stadium

These overhead shots come from
WCBS880's Tom Kaminski and Chopper 880.

(hat tip to Peter Abraham)

For the main updates page click here.

How About Some More From Torre's Book?

Oh well, what the hell else is going on?

Towards the middle of the post we find out that Torre blames Mo for David Roberts stealing second in game 4 of the '04 ALCS.

Tyler Kepner has these great tidbits:
*To demonstrate a key difference between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, there is an anecdote about Rodriguez visiting Jeter’s house and flipping on the TV. Rodriguez asked Jeter where he can find the baseball package, and was stunned that Jeter does not subscribe.

“It was just so funny because Derek will never watch a baseball game other than the one he’s playing in,” said the former Yankees bullpen catcher Mike Borzello, who was there that day. “They’re just complete opposites. I remember Alex’s reaction to it was like, ‘How is that possible?’”
The Yankees should have talked to Tim Raines before signing Carl Pavano. Raines, the former Yankee who was coaching with the White Sox when Pavano signed, had played with Pavano in Montreal. During Pavano’s first Yankees season, Raines told Borzello, “He didn’t want to pitch except for the one year he was pitching for a contract. I’m telling you, he’s not going to pitch for you.”

Of course, by then, the Yankees already had a bad feeling about Pavano: team officials were startled to see him rudely rebuke his mother in April, using a mild curse word. Why? He was angry at his mother for wearing a Yankees’ “NY” in face paint on her cheek to the game.

* Though he accuses Kevin Brown of “pitching stupid” by taking the ball in Game 7 of the 2004 A.L.C.S. despite an ailing back, Torre expresses more pity than anger at the troubled right-hander. “There were a lot of demons in this guy,” Torre says, and he mentions that after Brown allowed six runs in the first inning of this 2005 game, he stormed into the visitors clubhouse at Tropicana Field, curled up on the floor in a corner of a storage area and told Torre, “I’m going to go home.” Torre told Brown that if he did that – if he quit on his teammates — he would never be welcomed back.

Brown got up, fired his cellphone across the locker room, put his jersey back on and threw four more innings. The authors do not mention it, but Brown won his next four starts, the final four victories of his career.
The book/Torre even blames Mo for David Roberts stealing 2nd base in game 4 of the '04 ALCS:
*When the pinch-runner Dave Roberts stole second base in the fateful ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 A.L.C.S., Tom Verducci and Torre write, he had no intention of stealing second on the first pitch because his legs were not yet loose. But Mariano Rivera helped him by making three pickoff attempts before his first pitch to Bill Mueller. “Rivera had done him a favor,” the book says. “Roberts was now fully immersed in the flow of the game. His plan had changed. He made up his mind to steal on the first pitch.”
How does Torre, or anyone, know what Roberts was thinking when he came into the game? All I know is what I thought as it was happening; oh David Roberts is running, he's going to try to steal.

And then there was this story from the 2007 playoffs:

* Before the 2007 playoffs, when Torre arranged for his friend Bill Crystal to make a short film to show the players in the clubhouse in Cleveland, Crystal knew how to get laughs. The film started with a pornographic scene, prompting nervous laughter, before Crystal replaced the pornography and said, “Now that I’ve got your attention….”

Crystal and Robin Williams then went into a 12-minute comedy bit, poking fun at various players before turning serious. They told the players to be grateful for the opportunity and for their health. “And there is somebody we should all pray for, because he has not been blessed with the same great health. So before you go out there, when you hit your knees, say a prayer … for Carl Pavano!”

The room, the authors write, erupted in laughter.

The more I hear about the book the worse Torre looks, but with that said the book is going to be very entertaining.

Moose: Book Won't Hurt Clubhouse

A day after Michael Kay let it be known that Mussina blasts his former closer in Torre's new book, Mussina claims the book won't hurt the Yankees clubhouse.

From Mark Hale:

As the season nears closer, Mike Mussina sounds very confident that A-Fraud-gate won't hurt Alex Rodriguez too badly.

In a phone interview yesterday, Mussina - the Yankees' retired 20-game winner - said he didn't believe the revelation in Joe Torre's book that Rodriguez was referred to as "A-Fraud" in the clubhouse would be a lingering clubhouse problem.

"He's the best player that I've had a chance to play with," Mussina told The Post. "And he works hard at it and if he sat around and worried about everything that happened, he wouldn't be able to be the player that he is.

"I was in that clubhouse for eight years. I've seen a lot of stuff go on. A lot of stories go out. I've seen Alex deal with a lot of things, this past year and in other years. I don't foresee this as being a major issue."

"What goes on in the clubhouse and teammates razzing or giving each other a hard time doesn't necessarily mean we're cutting into people," Mussina said. "Did I ever hear anybody call him that? It's possible. But that doesn't mean it's meant in a harsh way. We're stuck together for six months and we're trying to have fun with each other and get people motivated. I don't look at that as something that's nasty. Yeah, maybe it was wrong, but it's what guys do."

Mussina said any such comments by Bowa were not meant to be hurtful.

"If Borzy would have said something like that, it was a way of making sure that Alex was ready to go," Mussina said. "I'm completely honest in the fact that Alex's best friend on the club was Borzy."

Within every close group of friends there are jokes and insults that fly around. They usually are harmless, that's what Mussina is talking about. With that said, I would have liked to know what he has to say about the Rivera quote.

Wells: Torre Better Back Up His Smack Talk

From the NY Post:
"If you're gonna go out and talk smack on somebody like that, you'd better be able to back it up."
"A-Rod says that he's not worried about it, but deep down, you can't help but think, 'Why did this guy say something? Why is he making these remarks?'" Wells says in an video.

"Now you're gonna go on the road during the season, you're gonna get bashed by every fan out there. Especially in New York, if you have a bad game, [then it's] 'Joe was right.'

"Now it's gonna make Joe look good and A-Rod look bad, or vice versa."

"If he's gonna start being derogatory, he can probably hurt some of these guys," Wells said of his former manager.
The story of this book keeps getting uglier and uglier.

Yanks Season Ticket Sales Strong

While the Yankees might be having trouble selling all of their luxury boxes and some of their premium seats, according to Ronald Blum of the AP, they're not having any trouble selling normal seats:

Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said about two weeks ago that the team had sold the equivalent of 39,393 season tickets for the roughly 52,000-capacity ballpark.

That's a lot of tickets going to season ticket holders, which doesn't leave much for the single game ticket buyers out there.

... In other stadium news, the cost to replace the parks that were taken over by the new Yankee Stadium has skyrocketed. In the last four years it's gone from $116 million to $195 million. That should make city officials and the tax payers happy.

The increase in cost is being blamed "on revised designs, additions to the projects, unanticipated hazardous-waste cleanup, and construction-work price overruns and delays."

Heyman's Latest: Yanks Could Bring Both Swisher and Nady to Spring Training

From Jon Heyman (hat tip to Scott Proctor's Arm):
More teams have shown interest in Nick Swisher than Xavier Nady, but it's possible now that the Yankees take both players to spring training. After getting Pettitte back so cheap, they don't appear to be in quite the rush to unload one of the outfielder's contracts. While Swisher may be drawing interest, the value of Nady, who outhit Swisher by quite a bit last year (.305 to .219), has to be much higher.
Good, this should have been their plan from the start regardless of what happened with Pettitte.
Heyman also had this to say about Juan Cruz:
Terrific reliever seems to be hurt by his tag as a Type-A free agent, a designation that would weigh down any non-closing reliever. No team wants to have to give up a first-round draft choice for a set-up man, even a good one. Perhaps that rule needs to be changed. But for now Cruz is hoping that the Yankees, who already have signed $423 million worth of free agents and would only have to surrender a fourth-rounder at this point, might eventually consider him. Wherever he goes, he looks like he'll be a major steal.

Torre: Teammates Hated Damon in '07

More explosive quotes are coming from the Torre book, this time from Torre regarding his former center fielder, Johnny Damon.

From Neil Best:
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."

The more we find out about this book, the worse it gets.

Cone: We Knew Who Was Juicing

Here's some more info that has come out about the Torre book. This time about comments made by David Cone in the book regarding steroids in the Yankees locker room.

From the NY Daily News (hat tip to Was Watching):
But in "The Yankee Years," David Cone said the players had a good idea about who was juicing. There was speculation about players who worked closely with Brian McNamee, the trainer who told the Mitchell Commission, Congress and federal investigators that Roger Clemens used steroids and human growth hormone and that Andy Pettitte used HGH.

According to the authors, players often joked about teammates who worked out with McNamee when he served as an assistant strength coach for the Yankees in 2000-2001, especially players who grew dramatically stronger, bigger and leaner in a short period of time. "He's on Mac's program," was the joke, or "He's on The Program."

"They were on his program, guys like Roger, Andy and maybe (Mike) Stanton," the book quotes Cone as saying. He says he thought McNamee "had some GNC stuff he was putting in shakes, maybe creatine or Andro or whatever you can get over the counter."

Torre and Cone saw McNamee as an interloper in the locker room who got a job with the Yankees without paying his dues because of his relationship with Clemens...

"I didn't like McNamee," Cone said in the book. "Not that he was a bad guy. I never thought he was properly vetted."

Cone's ideal trainer would have worked his way through the minor leagues like the players, and Cone thought McNamee had taken a job from somebody more deserving.

So are you as upset with Cone and Mussina's comments as you are about Torre's?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mussina, Cone Provide Biting Commentary in Torre's Book

I'm wondering how you guys feel about this bit of info.

Besides Torre and bullpen catcher Mike Borzello other Yankees added their commentary to the upcoming book The Yankees Years, including Mike Mussina and David Cone. Here's some info from Ronald Blum:
Pitcher Mike Mussina and bullpen catcher Mike Borzello also provide many biting commentaries.
Torre, Borzello, Mussina and David Cone provide insights in the book as to what went wrong, on how the replacements for Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius were all flawed in some aspect.
I've very interested to see what the two pitchers had to say, aren't you?

UPDATE: Today on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio, Kay was talking to Ian O'Connor discussing the Torre book. This is a quote from Kay: "... there's a really, really, harsh, harsh quote that Mariano Rivera is not what he used to be, hasn't been the same since he blew the save in game seven against the Diamond Backs... and it's a quote from Mike Mussina."

If the guy Kay spoke to was telling the truth, that's a surprising quote.

I know many of you are very angry at Torre, so to those fans, and any one else who feels like answering, how do you feel about these comments?

1/27 New Stadium Photo Update

These are from Mishmash from NYYFans
forums via GordonGecko from Baseball-Fever.

These four are from Channeling Harry Doyle
This is Thurman's locker. It will be in the Yankees museum,
which I believe will be in the great hall.

And this overhead shot comes from Gary Dunaier
(click to enlarge)

For the main updates page click here.

Joba and His Innings

OK, I've had enough of the Torre book for now (although I know something else will surface in the next few hours), so let's move on to something else....

There has been a lot of talk about Joba Chamberlain and his innings limits for the upcoming season. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors and Roto Authority asked 11 baseball writers for their opinions and here's what they had to say (hat tip to Zell's Pinstripe Blog):
The average comes to 142.9 innings.
Last season he threw threw 100.1 innings, and he pitched a career high 118.2 innings with Nebraska in 2005. I worry about his health, but he should still be able to throw 145-150 innings this year.

What do you guys think, how many innings will Joba throw in 2009?