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 Posted:   Jan 25, 2009 - 10:31 AM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

The oldest living major league player, Bill Werber, who was also the last living player to have been a teammate of Babe Ruth, died this past week at age 100.,0,3491973.story

The era of baseball in the 30s is now exclusively part of history with no living participants left.

 Posted:   Jan 27, 2009 - 7:30 PM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

He lived a long life.

Think about what it must have been like for him all those years ago as a kid with Babe Ruth as a teammate.

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 3:16 AM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

Any thoughts on the upcoming Verducci/Torre book, Eric?

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 4:14 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

My feelings are kind of mixed, Anz. I'm admittedly a sucker for *any* kind of insider story about baseball, but the circumstances of this book are sad in a big way, because I think there's a distinct air of pettiness in Torre attaching his name to a book that isn't even an autobio or an "as told to" book and then using it as the occasion to let loose with things that can only harm his standing with Yankee fans who just want to remember him for the good he did. I think Torre really should forget about the fact that his stint with the Yankees didn't end perfectly and remain focused on the big picture of how the Yankees gave him the best opportunity of his life and allowed him to go from journeyman manager to Hall of Famer. Managerial stints usually don't end perfectly for anyone, even with legends (Casey Stengel found that out, and even Joe McCarthy left under less than pleasant circumstances) and Torre I think should have just moved on from that and looked ahead to the day when the Yankees will honor him. I would *really* hate to see that day jeopardized because of this book.

I do think it's not right for him to take shots at Brian Cashman, because he should realize that Cashman went to the mat for him after 2005 and 2006 when the chances were good for Torre to be fired then. And I hope Torre isn't going to be less than candid about the things he bears responsibility for in terms of the post-season failures of 2002-2007 just as he deserves credit for what went right in 96-01 because you can really say that but for a couple of bad breaks and a couple of bad moves on his parts, the team could have won seven championships under his watch (01, 03, 04).

As for a broader judgment, I'll wait to read the book, but I do think it would be very sad if Torre's exile from the Yankees became anything like Yogi Berra's was. That just shouldn't happen.

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 5:52 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

It looks like my worst fear of what this means for Torre's recognition in Yankee history is coming to pass.,0,858606.column

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 6:01 PM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

Frankly, I think Torre made a big mistake getting mixed up in this "tell all" book business, especially since he's still an active manager out in LA.

Torre was always looked upon as a quiet man of dignity win or lose.
But that perception of him built up over a lifetime spent in baseball is starting to crumble as more and more tidbits from this 400 page book leak out.

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 6:42 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

That brings up another good point, Anz, the fact that he might find it hard for his own Dodger players to trust him after this.

If *anyone* had ever said back in 1996 when Torre was hired that here was the guy who was going to rewrite history in terms of how long Yankee managers last, when Buck Showalter had set a record in the Steinbrenner era by just lasting *four* years in the job, by lasting *twelve* years, they would have looked at you with the same look you give someone who claims to have been abducted by space aliens. I just guess it amazes me that Torre hasn't been able to understand or appreciate the magnitude of what he *alone* was able to do, because if he had, he would have moved on from it and developed perspective from the get-go.

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 7:34 PM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

What really boggles the mind is that Torre is close to 70 years old, his estimated worth is somewhere between 20 and 30 million dollars, he spends tons of time down in Florida in the offseason and has it made, why risk your reputation rolling around in the mud with this type of book at this point?

I believe he got 2 million to "co author" this book, and I have to wonder, was it REALLY worth it??

I mean, Torre still had a very good relationship with the fans in NY, right up to all the controversy over the one year with incentives "offensive" deal he was offered by Cashman and the Yankee brass that caused him to exit the Bronx stage and catch a plane to LA.

I just don't understand why this guy would want to even be associated with such a book at this stage of his career and life.

The one thing that has come out in the local NY media lately, both on radio and in the press, is that Torre is a guy that holds some nasty grudges when he feels he's been screwed.
And he obviously has carried these for a while now.

It's a side of him we have not seen, but this book may well show a side of him that may surprise a lot of people.
With all the hoopla and advanced press, this book looks like it's going to hit the NY Times bestseller list running.

But was it worth it?

Was it worth this man airing dirty laundry for money he really does not need and ruining his reputation in the process?

And what of his future not only as a manager of players after all this, but his standing as a Yankees icon?

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 8:48 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

The point about Torre having grudges is what I think makes everyone who always admired him feel let down, because the thing that was so great to admire about Torre was how when he came to the team, he had a nonchalant,"So what if I get fired?" attitude that served him well. If he'd stumbled that first year and been fired with no championship and ended his managing career the way it was in 1995 and been forced to spend the rest of his life in broadcasting he would have been handling it better than he is now. And that just doesn't speak well of him IMO.

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 9:17 PM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

The sad part of this whole thing is, I don't think he realises his mistake as he's gearing up for the talk shows.

He's going on Larry King soon to promote the book, and you just know that the "King" of the softball interview is going to kiss Torre's tush up and down and not ask him the really hard questions about why he did this.

He'll probably be on Francesa's WFAN show as well, and Francesa will probably try to delve deeper but not too deep because he and Joe have always been tight.

This whole thing will not certainly affect Torre's eventual election into the baseball Hall of Fame, but it definately will put a hold on any # 6 retirement ceremonies at the new Yankee Stadium for the near future.

It's sad, it's really sad.

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 9:26 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Larry King is one of the worst interviewers of all time. He just comes in with a list of questions and never pays any attention to the answer to the previous question because he has to be more concerned with going down the ones on his list.

Francesa does have Torre lined up. Don't expect him to go on Michael Kay's show. And I fully expect Letterman to go into softball mode with cheap shots at Steinbrenner in between the softballs.

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 9:39 PM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

I've been listening to Michael Kay recently, and his reaction to the book has not been too kind.. to say the least.

Just makes you want to shake your head..

 Posted:   Jan 28, 2009 - 9:58 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

And from what I'm seeing on message boards elsewhere, Yankee fans across the board are very upset about this. If this is indicative of Yankee fandom as a whole then Torre will have shockingly turned himself into the equivalent of what Mike Keenan became to Ranger fans after he quit the team after winning the Stanley Cup.

I will NEVER bring myself to say a nasty word about Joe (the new epithet that seems to be catching on is "Classless Joe" calling to mind the "Clueless Joe" headline from when he was hired) because you can not disregard what he meant to the team in making it the last great dynasty we may ever see in baseball. But I am very heartbroken to see this kind of rift emerge. And the Yankees as a team and as an organization, must hold their heads up high and not let this distract them from their focus for 2009.

 Posted:   Feb 3, 2009 - 5:16 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Well, I've just finished going through the book. It's readable, a must-own for understanding more about Yankee history in this era, and it provides a great deal of insights into the changing face of the Yankees and baseball itself over the last decade.

But that said, it strikes me as bizarre that we have "Torre's book" and yet it is written entirely in the third person voice of co-author Tom Verducci. At one point is it Torre's recollections ending and Verducci's reporting beginning? To me, this project would have had a lot more honesty if it were billed entirely as Verducci's book based on his heavy reliance on Torre and interviews with others because then that would have necessitated interviewing other Yankees who come in for less than flattering treatment (A-Rod and Brian Cashman in particular) to give us a more complete picture. As it is, I think it's dubious for Torre to be going around presenting himself as an "author" of something that is in the end more a case of him just being the #1 source for a general overview of the Yankees in this period. Well-written and fascinating to read, but that's ultimately more of Verducci's doing, especially in light of the format.

I think where I am disappointed is the fact that Torre is really not held accountable for his own faults. Yes, we are beaten over the head a good deal about how the chemistry of the club changed after 2001 but in all candor that should not be held up as the be-all explanation of why the Yankees failed to win afterwards, because the Bronx Zoo Yankees of 77-78 and before that Charley Finley's A's *proved* how irrelevant clubhouse chemistry can be sometimes. And you have to ask yourself this: Even if these players were more dysfunctional in their overall makeup, shouldn't it then have been Torre's responsibility to work some more of that magic that gave him his reputation for being such a genius? Or is Torre's ability to be a great clubhouse manager predicated only on the nature of the players?

And hey, bottom line is that in 2003 and 2004, this more dysfunctional group still could have and should have prevailed and just as Torre should be hailed as a genius for outmanaging Bobby Cox in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series to help turn things around, he also has to take the hits for his bizarre moves in 03 (leaving Jeff Weaver in, in Game 4), 04 (Tom Gordon) 06 (giving the Tigers a confidence boost in Game 1 by yanking Wang prematurely and letting Detroit rally) and 07 (not taking the team off the field when the bugs came in). In the end, you can talk about clubhouse chemistry and bad trades all you want, and you still can't leave out of the equation what wasn't done on the playing field for which Torre deserves his share of the blame too (not saying he deserves more of it, just that his own failings have to be acknowledged).

I also think in the end, that despite the value this book will have to baseball history nuts, it was still a terrible mistake for Torre to do it at this point, because I would gladly trade all of this insight and knowledge in a good read for the chance to have seen Torre honored at the Stadium for what his genuine accomplishments and achievements in Yankee history are, and which is the occasion where the memories of what didn't go right can be allowed to dim and take their place in the area of lesser significance to the achievements. This book has the unfortunate effect of highlighting more of the failures that took place and that in the end only produces the kind of bitter backlash we're now seeing from many fans and the organization. Torre should have saved this kind of stuff for another time, when he would have had a lot more objectivity about his Yankee experience than I think comes off here, because far too much of it is colored by clear bitterness over the declining era. By contrast, when Ralph Houk wrote his own book about his days as Yankee manager long after his retirement, it concentrated on his glorious first year of 1961 and wasn't about the last eight frustrating years of his managing reign during the dreary CBS era. Houk by then had learned to develop perspective in a way that Torre clearly hasn't.

I recommend the book, but there is also a real sense of sadness I felt in reading this, knowing that the rift between the Yankees and Joe Torre is likely to be permanent. And Joe IMO has to ultimately bear the greater responsibility for that.

 Posted:   Feb 13, 2009 - 6:33 AM   
 By:   Donna   (Member)


Bring on the 2009 Season!

 Posted:   Feb 13, 2009 - 8:03 AM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

I echo the sentiments, Sis, because the sooner the game can begin, then maybe the less we can start hearing about all this off-the-field junk.

I am no defender of A-Rod, and this thread is loaded with my caustic observations made during his dreadful slumps at the plate, but I also have to admit I have reached a point where I'm fed-up with the steroids scandal being used as the occasion to pile on selective individuals while the full story on the full extent of how widespread this was remains hidden. While A-Rod IMO was stupid to accuse Selena Roberts of "stalking" (just one of several silly things in that interview, though he blunted the impact of the silliness by doing a general confession which would get the biggest headline), I do think Roberts was on a fishing expedition to feather her own nest for a book project which IMO is not what we need to see at this point from supposedly serious journalists. I would have more respect if A-Rod's name came out as part of a *general* revelation of ALL 103 names in that 2003 list because IMO we need to learn more of the names that escaped the notice of the report headed by Boston Red Sox board of directors member George Mitchell.

Instead though, the issue is becoming one of all A-Rod, all the time and IMO while that is devastating for those who wanted him to atone the record book's integrity by being clean in contrast to Barry Bonds, we now I think have to look in the mirror and just admit that the *entire* era is so tainted across the board that instead of obsessing over who was clean and who wasn't and whose record is clean and whose isn't, we just finally consider this *entire* era from the early 90s to mid-2000s to be an era with its own artificial inflation in the way we judge the Deadball era as different etc. and that it's ultimately up to us and HOF voters to decide if the player, even one exposed as a cheater at some point in his career still merits HOF selection in spite of that, if the player was taking the substances *before* the ban policies went into effect and *if* the player demonstrated enough talent to show that even if he was an admitted user at one point, did it mean *all* of his career was dependent on it.

We've been able to properly rule McGwire out of the HOF because without steroids he is just a one-dimensional Dave Kingman type player. A Barry Bonds without a perjury rap facing him is another matter because unquestionably he was already HOF worthy before he bulked up, and maybe what disqualifies him ultimately is the integrity issue if he gets convicted (this could be the reason for keeping Clemens out too). OTOH, if A-Rod after confessing then goes on to play ten more years without failing a test and putting up good numbers, then long-term the case against him for the HOF would be impossible. A-Rod in that context will have, imperfect as the analogy might be to some, be no different ultimately from the HOF pitchers who padded their stats by scuffing the ball or loading it with vaseline (Gaylord Perry). We may have to decide that there is a different standard between those who cheated in an era where you could under the rules get away with it, and those who cheated in the time frame when the rules were in place and penalties of suspension and banning were on the books.

None of these are perfect suggestions, I admit, but at some point, we as baseball fans, and those who love the game do have to move beyond all this crap and not keep wallowing in it forever, even as we recognize we can't just white it out from the historical record and it will always be there. But baseball has to live with the reality of a segregated past before 1947 and other sordid things at various points, that if we would just let ourselves return to the essence of why the *game* is so great, we can in the end I think move on and put this behind us with some perspective. But one thing that has to come is for reporters to start doing their job about finding more about the *wide* nature of this scandal and who else we need to learn about, and not just focus on one player for the sake of a book contract, as Selena Roberts (a reporter I might add who disgraced herself by leading the lynch mob chorus against the Duke lacrosse team, and who never published an apology or retraction for her comments, so it's not as if she has the most stellar of backgrounds)

A-Rod meanwhile has to be a man and deal with the onslaught of questions and boos, and not delude himself into thinking he put it all behind him in one controlled interview. The initial admission was a great first step but that's going to have a short shelf life if he doesn't learn to build on that and show more character in a way that he generally has not over the years.

Anyway, that's my jumbled bit of rambling pertaining to all of this. The season can't start soon enough for me so the focus can be back on the GAME.

 Posted:   Feb 13, 2009 - 10:22 AM   
 By:   Donna   (Member)

Those who want to use that junk in their bodies will always be a step ahead of the tests.

It's an individual decision for players, but I don't want to pay for their medical care when their heads explode!

We have tix to 3 Spring Training games in March. I'm looking forward to sun and baseball....steroids be damned!

 Posted:   Feb 18, 2009 - 4:46 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

The last piece of Shea Stadium was removed today. A historic, and I'm sure sad moment for many Met fans.

 Posted:   Feb 18, 2009 - 5:10 PM   
 By:   Max Bellochio   (Member)

 Posted:   Mar 3, 2009 - 4:35 PM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

Shea Stadium as it stood is all gone now, except for the memories.

And I have plenty of good ones to remember.

I'm looking forward to the 2009 season at the Mets new home Citi Field, knowing full well that Johan Santana is going to miss his first start of the season.

Santana's elbow problems in spring training are indeed a downer for me, but I'm looking forward to seeing major league baseball again.
I'm looking forward to seeing beautiful Citi Field and watching to see if it is truly the "pitchers park" that Shea was.

I'll be keeping my eye on young Daniel Murphy in left field. The Mets are depending on him to have a breakout season and they will need his bat production in the lineup this year.

Spring has sprung despite the snow here in the northeast.


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