More juiciness from the book of Torre. This is getting more and more spicy.
About 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.”
All this was during the Yankees’ near-fatal 21-29 start.
Intriguing. I wonder how many people felt this way, or if it was just a few players. Also, we need to take this statement in context – it will be interesting to see what is written on page 393 and 396 relating to this issue.
From John Harper of the Daily News, who has read an advanced copy of the book, apparently the criticisms continue:
Neither was he shy about detailing disagreements and personality conflicts with the front office, primarily GM Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine
Among the players, there don’t appear to be any real surprises among the targets of Torre’s less-than-flattering appraisals. For the most part they are the same guys fans and media have hammered for their failures and/or selfish, petulant behavior in recent years.
Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Randy Johnson, Gary Sheffield … you don’t need Torre’s take to recall that for one reason or another, these guys turned out to be train wrecks as Yankees.
On the other hand, David Wells was a fan favorite who helped the Yankees win a championship in 1998, but it was no secret that he and Torre clashed over various issues during their time together, and the former manager saved perhaps his best zinger for the hefty lefty.
“The difference between Kevin Brown and David Wells,” Torre says, “is that both make your life miserable, but David Wells meant to.”
Harper mentions several other topics that Torre addresses in the book, such has how he wanted to bring back Bernie Williams, but was essentially strong-armed by Cashman. Torre also talks about the train wreck that was Kevin Brown and recalls some interesting episodes with the pitcher. Harper seems to sum up my thoughts about all this very well,
In short, the book is far more than an opportunity for Torre to take shots at players he didn’t care for or the organization that essentially dumped him after one of the most storied managerial runs in the history of baseball.
Yet for a manager who constantly preached trust and loyalty to his players, Torre has unquestionably left himself open to criticism himself by revealing unflattering details about those players.
I am curious to see where this all goes and how this affects not only Torre’s relationship with his former players, but with his current ones. How can his current players trust that he won’t write a book about them in 4 years? Torre may have shot himself in the foot here.