17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Not quite as controversial as the media portrayed it,
This review is from: The Yankee Years (Hardcover)
As a lifelong Yankee fan I have to say that this book is absolutely invaluable because of all the information within. I'll be perfectly honest in saying that at the end of the 2007 season I thought it was time for Joe Torre to move on. My reasoning had more to do with maybe the team needing perhaps a new viewpoint from a manager. I know that it came with the price of the Yankees missing the postseason in 2008, and to be honest I was fine with that because it was something that I personally had been waiting for since the 2004 season. Joe just managed to stave off the eventual end of the Yankee postseason runs for a few more years and he did a hell of a job in spite of the parts he was given. After reading this book I will say that I'm very glad Joe didn't come back for the 2008 season with the Yankees because I think the unfair pressure on him would have continued, but it also brings up a complaint about the book which I will address at the end of the review.
The book is a very candid look at the Yankee run under Joe Torre from the 1996 thru 2007 seasons. It reads nicely, I've always been a huge fan of Tom Verducci's writings in Sports Illustrated and he doesn't fail to disappoint here. It's very nice to get a rare glimpse of the Yankee team behind closed doors and all of the problems that individual players brought to the team ranging from the moody Kevin Brown to the high maintenance Alex Rodriguez. In addition as others have mentioned the book does a wonderful job of detailing how MLB as a whole changed over the past 15 years thanks to the Yankee dominance during the Dynasty.
Now the excerpts released to the press prior to the publication of this book were designed to drum up interest, and it worked without a doubt. What I can say is that reading those excerpts within the context of the book as a whole, they really aren't that controversial. I was initially annoyed by what Torre said when I heard about it, but after reading the book, it brought me back to the times when some of the events occurred. To be honest, it wasn't really a big secret that David Wells was lazy, or that Kevin Brown was perpetually pissed off about something (and yes he could make your life miserable due to his attitude and frequent stints on the DL). Alex Rodriguez always was known as a high maintenance kind of guy. Joe Torre wasn't really dishing dirt in my opinion, but he was rather reinforcing what was already public knowledge. It is interesting to read what he had to say about different players, and I don't think any less of him for saying what he said.
Much like Buster Olney's book The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty New Edition: The Game, the Team, and the Cost of Greatness, this book outlines many of the problems/mistakes the Yankees made in trying to continually win the World Series every single year. They missed completely what brought them the 4 World Series in 5 years, and they paid a price that most fans of other teams have not realized. Spending the money they did was not a guarantee of any championship and it was something I realized going back to the 2002 season. As a fan of the team, when they lost Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, I felt the magic of what made those teams slip away, and I never have felt it since that night. Unfortunately the Yankee front office missed that completely and because of the greed they had to win, they haven't won since.
I don't really feel I can do justice to the book with a review, so what I can say is that every baseball fan whether a Yankee fan or Yankee hater or whatever else, should read this book. While about the Yankees, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from it. I also as a Yankee fan can only hope the front office reads this book and can truly understand where they went wrong. But knowing them, it wouldn't matter if they read this book. They probably still have no idea what they lost. In spite of looking forward to the 2009 MLB season, I'm dreading the Yankees aspect of it because the team did themselves no favors by creating even more expectations with the signings of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira.
My only complaint with this book is that Joe Torre says he was willing to come back to the Yankees for the 2008 season with a 2nd year added to the contract. He discusses just how uncomfortable he was becoming with the overall situation, yet he would be ok with putting up with it for another year? Supposedly having a 2nd year would have made it easier to deal with managing even though the team could fire him at the end of the 1st year and made him a lame duck for the entire season? Sorry, I just found it to be a bit confusing logic.
Anyhow, that aside, it's a must read as I mentioned for all baseball fans and highly recommended!!!
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Initial post: Jun 11, 2012 8:02:08 AM PDT
You couldn't have known obviously, but it's funny to read this review given what happened in 2009. I agree that the book is pretty fair and not really controversial.
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