Books written by former baseball players and writers are ones that I spend most of my time reading for pleasure and make up a majority of my collection (with the exception of school books and books for teaching). Over the past few years, the release of Juiced by Jose Canseco and Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, sparked such a great deal interest for me that I ran out to the stores and bought the book within the first week being released. I think it is the behind the scenes and the secrets of the game that you don't spend a lot hearing about that are what seems to spark the interest of fans. I own two copies of Ball Four (I scored a brand new copy of the new edition of it at a library sale for .50!) and it was a book that I just could not put down. Based on the interest that has come out with the release of these books, it is quite apparent that I am not alone in wanting to read about behind-the-scene antics that come with former and current baseball players.
The NY Post recently came across a copy of the book "The Yankee Years", a book detailing the time that Torre spent while managing the Yankees. Before even examining the "so-called" components of the book, I think it is interesting to look at the motives and the aspects of "why" former players and managers decide to publish a book pertaining to their career. In the case of Jose Canseco, it appears to be a notion of greed- among a state of anger towards Major League Baseball. I would say in his case, greed was the most motivating factor. Looking at Joe Torre's case, I think it goes beyond that. I would imagine that Joe Torre is living a pretty good life, at least monetary wise. While the underlying reason for publishing a book is to make money, I believe Torre still hold a grudge against what happened to him in 2007 and wanted to get his word out to others.
Based on reports from the Post, New York Times, and the Daily News, it would appear that many are critisizing Joe Torre for writing the book and releasing details about certain topics that should have been left alone. I would share those sentiments somewhat if I was a player, but as a reader and fan, this is the type of book that I enjoy reading. I think that Joe Torre did what he had to do, and I think in the end, the details of the book will not be as horrible as the media is portraying they are. What type of headlines would the post have for uncovering the book if they said "Torre Writes Book; Loved His Time in NY."
I am sure this book contains just as much information about the good times that Torre had while managing the Yankees. But as a fan, and a reader, we want to also read the not so good times. The things that teams tend to hide form fans. Sure, some of it isn't always our business, but when you put yourself out there you are signing yourself up for that (See A-Rod).
Mike Lupica wrote a great article today in the Daily News that I feel everyone really should take a few minutes to read. In this article, Lupica states:
"And it is some scene, in Verducci's hands but written from Torre's
point-of-view. When you read it, and begin to judge this book fairly,
you tell me which part of it you don't believe. It is pretty terrific, and
nothing from which Torre nor Verducci should have to distance themselves,
or apologize for. You hope the rest of the book reads like this, and this well."
All in all, I guess it is hard to really make a good evaluation of the book until players, and fans are able to read the book. The attention that this book has received will work extremely well for Torre and Verducci, as I know I will be picking up a copy of the book when it is released on February 3rd. I hold a great deal of respect for Torre, so while I hope the book makes for an interesting read, I really hope this was written in a tasteful manner, and not purely out of whatever vengeance he still holds towards the Yankee organization. This is the great part about America. We can write about things we want to write about, and I am sure there are plenty of stories out there about Joe Torre himself. So who knows, maybe a book entitled "The Real Life of Joe Torre" will emerge sometime in the future.