The Yankees have been on my mind over the week, in no small part because of ARod, but also because I just finished The Yankee Years. Some random thoughts...
1. Even if he did write (or dictate) the book, and even though there isn't one word of direct criticism of him in it, Joe Torre still comes off like a complete wimp-worrying constantly about his job, allowing Steinbrenner to treat him like crap in the most public of venues, groveling for an extra year from a team that even the most casual observer could clear see hadn't wanted him for several years. Reading the book, you get the idea that Joe had been living in a bit of a fantasy world since '04 on that score.
2. Another thing that really jumped out at me was...who was managing the Yankees all those years, Torre or Derek Jeter? If there is no real critical appraisal of Joe Torre in the book, Jeter comes off as absolutely Christ-like, a serene, infallible being floating in a sea of fuck-ups. Whatever Jeter said or did is portrayed as the balm of Gilead in triplicate, absolutely necessary for the Yankees at the time, any time. 'A perfect fit in New York', 'playing hard is the only baseball Jeter knew how to play', the endless references to his "heroics" and "clutchness" in the postseason, especially in comparison to Rodriguez (who, before he hit the Bronx, had pretty good post-season numbers himself, actually). I mean, it makes you want to barf. Just more evidence, in my opinion, that Jeter is second only to Iago for passive-aggressive manipulation and treachery.
3. One guy who comes out looking less than stellar is Roger Clemens. First off, Joe, I did not have to know that other guys rubbing linement on his balls got the Roider all hot and bothered-that's a visual I can't shake and I'll hate Torre forever because of it. But, visuals aside, the goofiest story had to be the one about Clemens breaking down sobbing after he threw that chunk of broken bat at Piazza during the 2000 World Series because he thought it was the ball (hey, I mistake sharp pieces of wood for soft cyclical objects every day, don't you?) Yeah, right. My guess is he was only crying because he missed taking out Piazza's kneecaps.
4. For all the nauseating Jeter fawning, Torre has no problem throwing other guys under the bus *cough* Johnny Damon *cough* David Wells *cough* Randy Johnson *cough*.
5. Speaking of Damon, did you hear that he's broke? At best, he can't get ahold of his money and is having to give out IOUs. I find this ridiculously amusing, especially considering who his gold digging wife is. Can't you just imagine her freaking out, calling at him and screaming after her credit card gets declined at Saks? Sheesh. Johnny better be careful-Alex Rodriguez is single now, has full access to all his moolah, and clearly has no problem taking sloppy seconds.
6. ARod deserves his own post, but pretty much everything nasty that could be said about him has been, and I agree with it all. You know things are bad when the chief Yankee apologist, Keith Olbermann, has it out for you. Over the past couple of nights Olbermann has been hammering ARod with the kind of contempt he usually reserves for The Three Stooges (Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Gonzales), essentially calling him an idiot and liar (and a choker before he was a liar.) Here it is, from last night:
Love Richard Justice's remark..."He's switched the topic from what did you do and when did you do it to, how dumb are you?"
(Keith makes a brief slip back into Yankee apologentsia when he says Giambi has been completely forgiven. I don't think that's true-it's just that he's old news now. He's never recovered the respect he had.)
Man, ARod is just lucky our economy is too messed up for Congress to bother with him right now. (He might not get the Republican brown-nosing Clemens did, seeing as he's not a Texas right-winger or anything.) The worst he'll likely have to face, at least for now, is Fenway.