Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is This Where the Torre/Rodriguez Relationship Went Wrong?

I was reminded yesterday of the SI article from 2006 (also written by Torre co-author Tom Verducci) and mentioned on this blog where Verducci does a rip job on Rodriguez, so I decided to revist it and look at what it had to say in light of the recent book story.

As it turns out, if A-Rod had a frosty relationship with Torre, he had every right to be upset with his manager.

Case in point:
Alex Rodriguez still was weak from a throat infection that had confined him to his Seattle hotel room for the New York Yankees' game the previous night -- not to mention forced him to cancel a recording session for his ringtone endorsement deal -- when he walked into the visitors' clubhouse at Safeco Field on Aug. 24 and was told to go to manager Joe Torre's office. Torre asked him to close the door, then motioned to the blue leather couch in the smallish room. "Sit down."

The richest and most talented player in baseball was in trouble. Rodriguez could not hit an average fastball, could not swat home runs in batting practice with any regularity, could not field a ground ball or throw from third base with an uncluttered mind and cooperative feet, could not step to the plate at Yankee Stadium without being booed and could not -- though he seemed unaware of this -- find full support in his own clubhouse.

Torre hit .363 with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971 and .289 the following season, giving him a deep understanding of the ebb and flow of performance. With veteran players especially he operates like an old fisherman checking the tide charts, believing that the worst of times only means the best is to come. Rodriguez will hit, he thought, and he kept telling his third baseman exactly that.

In Seattle, Torre looked at Rodriguez squarely and said, "This is all about honesty. And it's not about anybody else but you. You can't pretend everything is O.K. when it's not. You have to face the reality that you're going through a tough time, and then work from there."

It was as close to a tongue-lashing as the low-key Torre ever gets. When the manager comes down on a player, he will mix in the occasional profanity, but his voice remains even and there are no threats. Here his hammer was in the rebuke that Rodriguez's unwillingness to address his slump head-on was letting himself and the team down. Torre told him he needed to show some fight, some anger even, rather than continuing to act as if he were doing just fine.

Rodriguez maintained eye contact while Torre spoke and nodded repeatedly. His only sign of discomfort was that he kept twirling his wedding ring around his finger. When Torre was done, he asked A-Rod if he understood what he had just told him. "Yes, 100 percent," Rodriguez said firmly.

Verducci wasn't at that meeting, and it's obvious Rodriguez didn't give up the information of what transpired between closed doors of a supposedly private meeting. Torre sold him out to his pal Verducci who then wrote what is essentially a hit piece on Rodriguez and made Torre out to be a wise sage (again).

Can anyone blame Alex for not trusting a manager who runs to tell the press what happens in private meetings (ring twisting and all) so they can write negative articles about him?

Labels: , , , ,

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 9:11 AM   6 comments


At 1/27/2009 11:14 AM, Blogger Rex Banner said...

I'd say the most concerning part is that the "best player in baseball" could not hit an average fastball, could not field or throw, and had no support in his clubhouse.

He needed a kick in the pants, and that's what Joe was doing.

It's just too bad that AROD is so mentally weak that anything but coddling makes it worse.

At 1/27/2009 12:23 PM, Blogger Subway Squawkers said...

Mr. Faded Glory, do you remember how that "Lonely Yankee" article made it seem as if Alex had no friends on that team? While he was never Mr. Popularity, he did have Sheffield and Damon as friends, yet they were not interviewed for that article. That told me all I needed to know about Torre's agenda back then. He should have been fired for orchestrating that article (and for batting him 8th.)

And these were A-Rod's final numbers during that terrible season: he hit .290, with 35 homers, and 120 RBI.

At 1/27/2009 12:40 PM, Blogger Mr. Faded Glory said...

Oh yes.. that "Lonely Yankee" article was Verducci as well, if I remember. The media always put Torre as being "above it all" and truly geniune when in fact he'd been orchestrating all of this stuff behind the scenes.

Oh and besides all of that, he should have been fired for being an incompetent manager, especially after refusing to bunt on Schilling in 2004 when he was injured because it wouldn't be "classy" or whatever lame excuse he gave.

At 1/27/2009 1:21 PM, Blogger Rex Banner said...

Torre orchestrated everything? Prove it - oh yeah you can't. More propaganda on this blog - yet I find it so entertaining.

I thought Torre should have been fired for bringing the IF in during the 01 WS, Mike? I guess you don't want me showing again that you don't know all.

Funny that more people are behind Torre than ARod - even those on the 3rd baseman's team. Makes you wonder.

At 1/27/2009 2:37 PM, Blogger Subway Squawkers said...

Rex, you don't think I can prove Torre orchestrated that piece? Then how do you explain that in the article quoted above, that Verducci knows everything that happened in a confidential meeting which only two people - Torre and A-Rod were a part of? Because I don't think A-Rod was the one telling Verducci about how he was nervously twirling his wedding ring in the meeting.

Look, I don't think A-Rod will win any Yankee popularity contests. He's a weird guy. And an attention-seeker. And kind of a phony.

But he's a great player, and he didn't deserve to have his manager throw him under the boss in Sports Illustrated on the eve of the playoffs. And if you don't think Torre orchestrated that story, then I don't know what to say to you.

When it comes down to it, Joe, with all his grandeur about having class, is even more of a phony than A-Rod is.

At 1/27/2009 2:56 PM, Blogger Rex Banner said...

That piece, 99.9% yes Subway. I was referring to Mike saying Torre orchestrated EVERYTHING. I think Joe's intentions were to give AROD a kick in the ass though (which he needed).

I'm just sick of AFraud lovers looking for every excuse to defend the guy. I agree Subway, I think he is a weird guy, a phony, and most people don't like him. And that gets to him, so much that in the most pressure filled spots, he thinks too much about failing, which causes him to...fail a lot. He needs to be more like Manny - go up there with an empty head. See the ball, hit the ball, not be a drama queen.


Post a Comment

<< Home

 L   I   N   K   S

P   R   E   V   I   O   U   S
P   O   S   T   S

C   O   N   T   A   C   T  

Subscribe to High and Tight via your favorite RSS reader:
Add to Google

Powered by Blogger