Joe Torre was on with Mike Francesa this afternoon, and the master media manipulator did a nice job of defusing the hoopla over his tell-all tome. You can find the interview here, and I just wanted to run through the major points that he made.
1) Joe said that he was surprised by the reaction to the book, as he wrote the book to celebrate his time in NY and show people that winning did not come easy. It It was important to him not to be the primary voice of the book, but he stands behind everything Verducci wrote. Joe also said that there were things that he held back, and that he had no control over what Verducci wrote. The book was not intended to be an expose or a negative tell-all type, it was not written out of bitterness, and would have been written even if he was still managing the Yankees.
2) In regard to Mussina’s comments about Rivera, Joe responded as I did- “Is any of this stuff not true?” He said that it was not a knock, just stating facts, and that Mo was so perfect, it was tough to live up to himself.
3) He said that his relationship with Alex has not changed, and that it was not bad. Joe said he constantly tried to help Alex adjust to NY. The A-Fraud was just typical clubhouse agitating. He thinks Alex will probably get a title in NY eventually.
4) The Torre-Cashman relationship changed after ’06. They always got along, but went in different directions on what was important- Cashman geared more to numbers, Torre wanted to stress that the game had a heartbeat. They fought over Bernie, who Joe felt was more of a threat than Phelps as a switch hitting pinch hitter off bench, and it ticked him off because he was ignored. He thought stressing OBP was not appropriate for a pinch hitter role.
5) He said that it was probably time to leave, and that he was relieved when it was finally over.
6) He did not think they had an inordinate amount of guys on juice, but said that it doesnt free him of blame. He did not realize how widespread it was, where players felt like they had to do it to compete.
7) In regard to his legacy, he cannot worry about it because he has no control over it.
8 ) He never said Cashman betrayed him, it is apparently not in the book. He just had to consider that maybe Cash wasn’t an ally. Torre conceded that Brian saved him from the chopping block a time or two.
9) He loved the Pavano move, wanted Tino back rather than Giambi, and regretted not being able to do more for Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown.
Update: Just found a more complete transcript, here.
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