Joe Torre spoke to the New York Times' Jack Curry by phone from Hawaii on Tuesday and spoke about "The Yankee Years," his new book, for the first time. The book has the baseball world abuzz because of reports about Torre's criticism of Alex Rodriguez, Brian Cashman and others he worked with during his 12 years as Yankees manager.
Although Torre was limited in what he could talk about -- according to Curry, he's obligated to give his first in-depth interview to Larry King on Friday -- he did say that he was "comfortable with what I contributed to the book." The only specific gripe he had with the way the book has been portrayed has to do with the use of the word betrayed to express his feelings about Cashman.
“As far as the betrayed thing, that’s the reason I called him,” Torre added. “I knew there was no word betrayed in there in regards to feeling that he left me out there somewhere.”
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As for A-Rod, Torre said that he didn't feel there was anything said in the book that the manager hadn't said already. Curry, who has read the book, took issue with that statement and writes that "Torre’s comments in the book about Rodriguez are more candid and critical than the comments he previously made to reporters."
Torre did say that he understands that he will have to answer for the book's contents because his name is on the book. That's a nice change from his co-author Tom Verducci's attempt to absolve Torre from anything to do with the book's juicier bits. Although it is written in the third person, it is clear from the excerpts published in Sports Illustrated that Verducci had to get much of the information directly from Torre.
His first interview gives the impression that Torre will stand behind the book, despite the out offered by Verducci, which is good. Whatever your feelings about his justification for airing dirty laundry while still working in baseball, you've got to appreciate that he isn't trying to back away from it because of a bad reaction.