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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Brown’

Andy speaks to reporters / Courtesy NY Times

For some reason, a large number of Yankee fans were surprised by the news that Andy Pettitte decided to call it a career. Mr. Mailbag’s inbox is overflowing with questions; I figured this is as good a time to answer them as any.

Dr. Mr. Mailbag,

Since Andy isn’t returning this year, does this mean the Yankees season is doomed?

Sincerely, Afraid

Well, afraid…in a word, no. Even if everything stands pat, the current rotation isn’t as bad as everyone seems to think. The line-up should be actually be better than last year’s. Boston did improve their team, but Tampa Bay is much worse. And if we’ve learned one thing about the Yankees in the Steinbrenner era, the Yankees won’t stand pat if the team needs something come mid-season. Barring a sudden surge by a surprise team, the Yankees should wind up in the playoffs in 2011.

Mr. Mailbag:

How can I live without Andy? The Yankees just won’t be the same without him!

-Crying in my pillow

Well, Crying, you’re not alone. I’ve seen a lot of these in the last 24 hours. I understand that to a certain generation of Yankees fans – pretty much those under the age of 30 – Andy is the starting pitcher of record. But you should understand that what makes the Yankees the most successful franchise in sports history is the way this team replaces great players with other great players. If you’re of the current generation, you probably find it hard to understand how fans of my generation can hold such high regard for Thurman Munson or Chris Chambliss. (To me, Chambliss’ homer in the ’76 ALCS is still the most thrilling Pinstripe moment I’ve ever witnessed). For fans of my father’s generation, it was Mickey Mantle. And on through time it goes, back for 90 years, to the time of the Babe and Lou. There’s a crop of talented players making their way up from the minors now; guys named Betances, Banuelos, Brackman, Montero, and a whole bunch more. Andy Pettitte can’t necessarily be replaced anymore than Munson could. But other great players will come along who will carve out their own dynasties. It’s the Yankee way.

Dear Mr. Mailbag,

How many ballots will it take for Andy Pettitte to get into the Hall of Fame? If it takes more than one, It’s a damn shame!

-A Yankee in Texas

Well, Texas… I hate to break it to you, but Andy probably isn’t getting into the Hall of Fame. He has a borderline case: in his favor, he did finish his career 102 games over .500; right now, only one other pitcher with a similar number isn’t enshrined (oddly, former teammate Mike Mussina). But when compared to the other pitchers of his era; well, his numbers don’t particularly stack up well. His career ERA is higher than that of non-HOF candidates like Kevin Brown, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, and Al Leiter. If anything, Andy should root really, really hard for Mike Mussina to get a HOF nod – because their final career numbers are eerily similar. In fact, Mussina’s are better than Pettitte’s (higer ERA+, more strikeouts, wins, complete games, higher winning percentage and lower OPS allowed), so you can bet if Mussina doesn’t get in, Pettitte won’t. Plus, Pettitte has the whole PED’s issue hanging over his career. I don’t think in the grand scheme of things it will make a huge difference, but if he’s close and that negatively influences a couple of voters…well, you get the idea.

Dear Mr. Mailbag,

When are the Yankees going to retire #46?

-A Huge Andy Fan

Um, Probably never. Was Andy an important cog in the past 5 championships? Yes. Does that mean he’ll get his number retired? No. Consider how many players from the 90’s dynasty have their numbers hanging on the outfield wall. Bernie Williams? Tino Martinez? David Cone? Paul O’Neill? Each was as integral to those championships as Pettitte; each as beloved in the Bronx as Andy – and none has their number retired. I strongly suspect that unless a player winds up in the Hall of Fame, their number will remain in circulation.

Mr. Mailbag,

Why did Andy Pettitte retire? The Yankees need him!

-Alarmed in the Bronx

Well, alarmed, as Andy said this morning, his heart just isn’t in it anymore. If you’ve watched Andy pitch over the past 5 years, then you know he’s gotten by mostly on heart. His once overpowering cut fastball doesn’t have the life it once did and neither do his secondary pitches. Perhaps more importantly for an athlete his age, he doesn’t have the drive to overcome injury – and a 38 year old pitcher is likely to step out on the mound with a nagging injury as not. Given his current state of mind, he’s making the right decision. Based on physical ability, he’s probably still better than Sergio Mitre. But without that competitive fire, Andy Pettitte would finish his career reminding Yankee fans why we hated Kevin Brown.

That’s it for now. These are representative of the most common questions I’ve seen. Somehow, I’m sure there will be more over the weekend, so stay tuned! Oh, and if you have one, feel free to shoot it out to me at Twitter or Facebook!


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There’s something wrong with A.J. Burnett. That news doesn’t come as any great shock to Yankees fans, or anyone else who pays any attention to baseball. But rarely can you find the exact point in a season when a player suddenly, mysteriously seems to lose the ability to play baseball. In Burnett’s case, we can.

Prior to May 5th, AJ was having arguably his best season. Since then, he’s having has worst. The delineation is so profound that I’m certain someone in the Yankee front office has noticed. How sudden is the drop-off? Before May 5th, the Yankees had an 83% chance of winning his starts. Since then, the team has only a 33% chance of winning. Looking at the conventional numbers shows how dramatic the performance drop is:

Win Prob IP H ER BB SO ERA WHIP

to May 5

83.3%

40.2

36

9

11

28

2.00

1.158

After

32.5%

110.2

130

78

52

85

6.34

1.644

If you’re more of a sabermatrician, the numbers get even uglier:

BA(a) TBA SP(a) OBA(a) OPS(a) K/9 BB/9 K/BB

to May 5

0.245

48

0.327

0.311

0.638

0.70

0.27

2.5

After

0.297

215

0.492

0.387

0.879

0.77

0.47

1.6

How does a guy go from less than a hit per inning to being hammered nearly every time out? Ordinarily, you would look for something physical. In AJ’s case, that isn’t the problem – he routinely hits the mid-90’s with his fastball, which is on par with his career velocity. The second most common cause is something mechanical – but AJ’s mechanics look to be the same now as earlier in the year. His pitches still have plenty of bite and movement. And he’s actually striking more hitters out per 9 now than in April.

That leaves something causing AJ to lose focus and concentration. If you don’t think that can serious problems for a pro athlete, ask Tiger Woods. Tiger is known as one of the most disciplined athletes ever, yet his personal life (and distractions) have caused his game to deteriorate to mere mortal status. AJ has always been an emotional guy; the kind of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. If you’ve watched him lately, he seems robotic, emotionless; not the AJ Burnett we’re used to seeing. He’s gone from a pie-throwing, fun-loving #2 starter to an emotionless DFA candidate.

The Yankees know Burnett’s stuff is too good for him to be getting hit at nearly a .300 clip. Burnett does, too and I have to believe that deep down, his recent performance is tearing him up.  Whatever happened on May 5th that turned AJ’s season upside down, it behooves them to find out and see if it can be fixed. Not only won’t they win a pennant with AJ pitching like this, but they have him under contract for 3 more years. Before this turns into another Carl Pavano or Kevin Brown contract, they need to get AJ back on course.

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I ran a topic on Twitter…called: #ThingsYankeesFansHate and I got a ton of responses. It even became a trending topic in New York City. I thought I would share a bunch with some of you guys. I don’t agree with all of these, but I’ll let these fans speak out (so, don’t get offended). Here is a list in no particular order:

Things Yankees Fans Hate

  1. The Boston Red Sox and Red Sox Nation
  2. The Wave
  3. Dallas Braden and “His Mound”
  4. West Coast Night Games
  5. Fox, Joe Buck, Tim McCarver
  6. Fans who wear Yankees jerseys with a name on the back
  7. ESPN, ESPNNewYork.com, Joe Morgan, Jon Miller, John Kruk
  8. Morons who say Jonathan Papelbon is “the best closer in baseball”
  9. Playing in Anaheim
  10. Fair weather/Bandwagon fans
  11. Games televised on MY9
  12. The Rally Monkey
  13. “Rays Fans”
  14. Luis Gonzalez and his bloop single off Mariano & Game 7 of the ’01 Fall Classic
  15. Listening to Sterling & Waldman on the radio
  16. The Cleveland Indians drum
  17. The “Yankees Suck” Chant
  18. Joe West. You sir, are a disgrace to umpires everywhere
  19. The Zales Fan Marquee & people who actually pay money to be on it
  20. W.B. Mason Commercials
  21. The suits sitting in the expensive seats
  22. Mike Lupica, Ian O’Connor
  23. People who really believe you can buy a championship
  24. When girls say yes to marriage proposals at Yankee Stadium
  25. Carl’s Steaks with a 20-minute line and 67 hot dog stands with no line
  26. Outrageous facial hair
  27. Fans of other teams doing a roll call
  28. Curt Schilling, Kevin Youkilis, Kevin Millar, Jason Varitek, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee
  29. Carl Pavano, Chan Ho Park, Hideki Irabu, Kyle Farnsworth, Jaret Wright, Kevin Brown, John Rocker, José Valverde
  30. Fans of other teams sitting in the bleachers
  31. Mascots
  32. John Henry
  33. Rainouts and off-days
  34. Flash doing commentary
  35. Michael Kay and his man-crush on Paul O’Neill
  36. Kate Smith’s rendition of God Bless America
  37. Josh Beckett’s Game 6 performance in the 2003 World Series
  38. Giuseppe Franco
  39. Yankee Stadium Parking Garages $
  40. Derek Jeter double plays
  41. Fans who really think Cervelli is Posada’s heir apparent
  42. Empty Legends seats
  43. The price of the Lobel’s Prime Rib Sandwich
  44. YMCA and Cotton Eye Joey
  45. Not being able to hit a pitcher we haven’t seen before
  46. People who bring gloves up in the grandstand
  47. Felix Hernandez, Edgar Martinez, Francisco Rodriguez
  48. The 2004 ALCS
  49. Pink Yankees hats
  50. Jimmy Rollins talking shit during the 2009 World Series
  51. The B Train
  52. Bill Mazeroski
  53. The Rays tank at the Trop, The Green Monster
  54. A-Rod (Pre-2009)
  55. Stupid Yankees Fans
  56. Losing
  57. Stub-Hub Saturdays
  58. Box Seats, according to the Bleacher Creatures
  59. ROGER CLEMENS IS IN GEORGE’S BOX AND ROGER CLEMENS IS COMIN’ BACK. OH MY GOOD–GOODNESS GRACIOUS! OF ALL THE DRAMATIC THINGS–OF ALL THE DRAMATIC THINGS I’VE EVER SEEN, ROGER CLEMENS STANDING RIGHT IN GEORGE STEINBRENNER’S BOX ANNOUNCING HE IS BACK! ROGER CLEMENS IS A NEW YORK YANKEE!

Now, I’m sure you could come up with a lot more. If you want me to add more to the list, feel free to drop more in the comments section below.

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     I shared my thoughts on the state of the Yankees over the last five years over at WasWatching.com. This is what I had to say:

From those who were 19 years old or younger when the Yankees last won a ring in 2000:

From Kevin of Zell’s Pinstripe Blog answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

Over the last five years the New York Yankees have gone after the wrong players. It’s not bad to go after big name players, but you need to go after the right guys. Sheffield over Guerrero? Big Unit over Beltran? The Yankees won in the 1990’s with clutch players who were hungry to win. They weren’t all about the big bucks. The idea over the last five years was to buy everyone they could. I don’t blame the organization for trying to get the Yankees back on top, but spend the money wisely. Don’t just get a player just for the sake of bringing in a big name. Get a player who will help benefit the team and is devoted to winning a World Series ring. Some other mistakes they made…Kevin Brown, Jaret Wright, Javier Vazquez, Raul Mondesi, Kei Igawa, Clemens. (in ‘07) These moves just didn’t make sense. The Yankees finally made the right moves this off-season. They brought in the two best pitchers out on the free agent market. (Sabathia, Burnett) They obtained Mark Teixeira to play first base, which is a big upgrade over Jason Giambi. They finally have a legitimate top of the line rotation, and have depth in the minor leagues. They haven’t had that for a long time now. They improved their defense as well. They have a gold glove winning player at first base, and they will have either Gardy/Melky playing in CF over Damon. If this isn’t the year they win it all, then I don’t know when it will come…

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 67 Days Until Home Opener: April 16, 2009

4 Days, 22 Hours Until Pitchers & Catchers Report

Angels, Yanks have big holes to fill / The Yankees’ rise and fall

Swisher, Bruney shed pounds this offseason / Rice Struck Fear Into Yankees

To Brian Cashman, ‘A-Fraud’ no real worry for Alex Rodriguez / Ball Four

Game used Staten Island Yankees jerseys available / Canseco looks ‘Vindicated’

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     Did Joe Torre break the code of what happens in the clubhouse should stay int he clubhouse? Jim Bouton doesn’t think there is any clubhouse sanctity anyway. When you become a professional baseball player..you are open to criticism and you will be written about. Bouton believes that most of the things being said in the book is stuff fans already know. He was also laughing at the diea that a player would actually feel violated by the book. Can anybody tell me what we learned from the book? If you think about it..most of this stuff we already knew. Wells and Torre clashed, Brown and Pavano were bums, Steinbrenner was crazy and Cashman and Torre had different views on some topics.

     Joe Torre seemed like the same classy guy on Larry King that he was when he was the Yankees manager. The book doesn’t change my opinion of him. Feel free to bash away though…

And to anyone offended that unflattering accounts of his behavior landed in a book, Bouton offered simple advice: “Books are going to be written. Therefore, don’t act like a jerk.”

“It is almost 40 years later,” he said. “Why in the world anyone is still talking about the sanctity of the clubhouse is beyond me. Baseball and the Yankees should feel lucky that this book is generating so much attention in January… there is no job hitting a ball with a stick unless a lot of people are convinced it’s important.”

“These guys have voluntarily gone into a business where people know that everything that they do or say is subject to being written about. They act as if they’re surprised when somebody tells what they do. Roger Maris always wanted to be a private person. Well, get into the shoe business if that’s what you want.”

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Citi Field, the David Wells/Kevin Brown debate and some old quotes

Damon weighs in on Torre’s book  /  Banks facing blowback over NY stadium deals

Mariano Rivera – The best ever and not even debatable  

Yanks considered Matsui for Washburn 

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     I just watched Joe Torre on ‘Larry King Live’ and I thought Joe put things in perspective. If you listen to what he says..it really seems like the media blew the book out of proportion. He wasn’t really attacking anyone, but he wanted the readers to further understand what was really going on during those 12 years. Doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, or it’s not interesting, but everyone jumped on Torre and started bashing him. I took notes on the interview, so those who missed it can see what Larry and Joe talked about.

 CNN also had live blogging of the interview where people were submitting questions to Joe.

Here we go….

  • Tom Verducci and Joe decided to write this book two years ago. This was all decided before he left the Yankees organization. He wrote it to encompass the 12 years he spent in New York. Both the good times and the bad.
  • The book tells people the changes that went on. How the Red Sox changed their style of business and the steroid era.
  • He didn’t want to shock people with the book. He thinks that people will always resent some of the things said, but it’s the truth. Joe wanted to share his story and feelings during his tenure with the Yanks. He says that he wants his reputation to be honest, and that is exactly what the book is.

he was asked…

Why soil your own legacy?

Joe said he doesn’t think the book takes anything away from his legacy. If you keep it in context..you will appreciate the book. It was just an inside peak of what went on. He thought it added personality to the players, and helped the readers relive those golden years.

Did leaving the Yankees make you feel bitter?

He said he can’t look back on those years with the Yankees and be bitter. The years he spent with the club was wonderful.

Did you violate “the code”?

 He really dodged this question. He went on to talk about Boomer, and how he felt about the comments he made. Joe said that David and him always had that sort of relationship. They respected each other professionally. Joe asked him to come to his dinner which honored the 1998 Yankees..and he David responded by saying: I don’t like you, but I’ll go. Haha. That’s Boomer for ya.

  • Joe talks how Kevin Brown and David Wells drove him crazy. He said he didnt’ have anything against Brown, and that he actually liked him because he tried to do well. Torre said that Brown didn’t leave room for any mistakes and was hard on himself.
  • He then started to talk about A-Rod. He said that Alex is a special player, and that there is no other person more talented then him. Baseball is A-Rod’s life. He didn’t want Alex to be “the guy”  all the time. He wanted Rodriguez to be himself. Fans were only interested in wins, while Alex wants records and statistics.

– Joe said that he puts a great deal of pressure on himself, and he tried to help him out.

– Alex didn’t have problems with teammates.

– Torre said that the A-Fraud thing was more of a joke..that was said right in front of him and not behind his back.

Did Rodriguez have a conflict with Jeter?

Joe said no. They weren’t best friends, but they acted like professionals.

What do you think of A-Rod’s divorce and Madonna?

The divorce surprises him. He also understands that he’s a lightning rod, and that gives him a great deal of attention.

Is Alex Rodriguez a  minus to the Yankees?

Joe said no. He spoke about Alex coming into NY, and how everything he does draws attention.

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some other tidbits…

– He thinks the ’01 World Series was the greatest of all the ones he managed. With those 3 amazing nights..and especially since it was after 9/11.

– Joe gets along fine with Many Ramirez. He described him as a fun loving guy. He spoke about how Manny scared him to death when he was the manager of the Yankees. He hopes Ramirez returns to the Dodgers this upcoming season.

-Torre’s name is on top of Verducci’s because T goes before V. Haha

Think it will effect your players right now?

He said no.

Do you think you were burning any bridges?

No. He didn’t think there was any sensitive material in the book that he felt shouldn’t have been in there.

– Watching some of the World Series clips gave him goosebumps. He wanted to share those moments. Joe said that without the bad times..it wouldn’t be an honest book.

– His last year with the Yankees was very difficult. He said it was mutual and he needed to move on.

When did you last speak to Alex Rodriguez?

He hasn’t spoken to him since he left NY. He said that nothing in his book should make Alex angry.

You never got trust from the front office? That bothered you. Are you angry inside?

He said the front office didn’t trust him, but he isn’t angry inside. Joe said that Steinbrenner was always cracking the whip and he wanted to be in control. He wasn’t able to enjoy what he did for very long, because Steinbrenner was always thinking about the next thing. Joe went on to say that it’s worth the price you have to pay. When you get an opportunity to win..you pay the price for it.

Did you feel betrayed when you left the Yankees?

No. What bothered him was that they gave him a one-year deal with incentives. He felt that it wouldn’t change anything, and the club thought it would make him a better manager. It wasn’t about the money, but the thought that he needed motivation bothered him.

Did you sign an agreement with the Dodgers since the book has come out?

No he hasn’t. Torre says that this isn’t the first time this idea has come up. The Yankees have asked him before about not writing a book. He never agreed to anything. Torre likes to believe that it is only retracing his years spent with the Yankees. Joe is shocked by the initial reaction, but he’s not upset. He thinks that once people read the book..people will further understand exactly what went on.

What did you say about Steinbrenner?

Joe said that George would be proud of things he said. Georgie was proud to be the boss. It wasn’t criticism, but he was  just describing him. Torre said that George got him the players, and that he couldn’t have done it without him.

-Steinbrenner talked about giving out no bonuses to the coaches after the Yanks beat the Mets in the WS. After new years eve…he called them and changed his mind. Joe said that Steinbrenner just wanted to get their attention..

What are your thoughts of a Yankees/Dodgers World Series?

He said it would be wonderful to play in a World Series again. He smiled at the idea of Manny facing the Yankees again.

Betrayed by Cashman not in the book, but was implicated…?

His perspective..doesn’t mean everyone will agree that that’s the case. Joe said that he had disagreements with Brian, and he didn’t have his support at the end. Torre said that Cashman “saved his bacon” a time or two. He said that Cashman was ready for a change. Not just that..but Brian changed as well. Joe said he did things differently. His last year with the Yankees was the worst year of his 12 year tenure. He didn’t want to be asked everyday on his current status. Joe wanted a two-year contract, and he didn’t care about the terms. Torre said that if he was fired in the first year of the two-year contract that he would be paid for both years. He wanted one year to concentrate on baseball, but he couldn’t get the Yankees to agree with him

-Joe gave Larry King a Dodgers cup. Larry than poured his drink into the new cup and drank from it. Haha

How do Dodgers fans compare to Yankees fans?

He said it is hard to duplicate what went on in NY, and that you could feel the heartbeat in the Bronx. He said Dodgers fans were Lukewarm in the beginning, but when they went on to beat the Cubs..they got very excited. Joe put Yankee Stadium in a class by itself.

Joe was asked if he would run for President?

He didn’t say no. Haha. He likes Obama. He thinks he is very bright, but people need to have patience.

Was the book purely monetary? Will money go to charity work?

Not monetary. They were both paid for writing the book.

Who is the most purely gifted athlete?

A-Rod. He said that Alex can do it all..hit for power, hits to the opposite field, plays great defense, etc.

What went on with Gary Sheffield?

He said that Sheffield was always suspicious person and that he had mood swings. They had a good relationship, but he called him out once for not hustling. Joe said that he was treated fairly.

What did you know about steroids?

He said he never saw it..never talked or heard about it. Joe said he never went in a players locker and respected players privacy. Joe said that everyone is to blame for the steroid era.

Did you speak to Giambi about Steroids?

He said that they spoke around it. He was hesitant to approach him, but he wanted to make sure he was okay. He thought that he wasn’t the person who should be asking those questions, because they could have changed his livelihood. 

How are you doing Joe?

He talks about overcoming prostate cancer. He was first diagnosed in 1999..and 10 years later..he is doing fine. He said that cancer is not something you cure, but you try and extend your life as much as you can.

-He like LA. His daughter was first upset about the move, but she made adjustments.

-He said he doesn’t think he said anything bad about Bobby Abreu in the book. Haha.

UPDATE: 12:31AMET: Here is a transcript of the Larry King interview

 

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Other reactions to Torre  /  Logistically, Yanks can’t sign Dunn or others?

Joe Torre book fills the winter vacuum  /  SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!!!

SOFTBALL TOSSES FROM TORRE  /  The story behind The Yankee Years

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     Looks like the Yankees are testing out the lights at the new ballpark. Thank WCBS’ Tom Kaminski from Chopper 880 for supplying me with these photos:

 

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With Joe Torre’s new book coming out…I thought I would put up a new poll about it. Check it out on the right side of this page.  The question is:

What are your thoughts on Joe Torre now that he has released his new book?

Go Vote!!

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Joe Torre saw a ‘coldness’ in Randy Levine’s dealings  /  Getting what you pay for  /  A-Rod’s underappreciated greatness: a familiar story 

Joba and Jon Lester  /  Torre on Jeter, A-Rod, Beltrán, Pavano, Brown and More

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     The Yankees are going to be reporting to Spring Training in a few weeks, and Nady and Swisher are both on the team. Would it really be that bad to carry both of these players? If a deal doesn’t get done..it’s not like they can’t use more depth. If they can somehow get a deal done for Adamn Dunn, then go for it…

from Heyman:

More teams have shown interest in Nick Swisher than Xavier Nady, but it’s possible now that the Yankees take both players to spring training. After getting Pettitte back so cheap, they don’t appear to be in quite the rush to unload one of the outfielder’s contracts. While Swisher may be drawing interest, the value of Nady, who outhit Swisher by quite a bit last year (.305 to .219), has to be much higher.

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Bernie Williams forgot his son at Yankee Stadium 

Kevin Brown said he was good to go for Game 7 in ’04

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     I guess this will be one of the many major stories this off-season, and I don’t see this stopping any time soon. This book has become very controversial, and people have different opinions on it. Not only will he be on Letterman, and doing his book signing at the Yogi Berra Museum, but he will also be on Larry King Live this Friday.

I think the only way you can judge Torre is after you read the book. Most people are just taking stuff from headlines and bashing Torre.

Here are some of the headlines:

Torre issues first comments on book

In his first public comments since excerpts from his book, “The Yankees Years,” began to surface over the weekend, Joe Torre told The New York Times on Tuesday that he is prepared to answer for the contents of the final product.

In the book, a third-person collaboration with Tom Verducci, Torre touches on a variety of controversial topics — among them, his dealings behind closed doors with Alex Rodriguez, general manager Brian Cashman and more.

“Knowing that my name is on it, I know I’m going to have to answer for it,” Torre told the Times in a telephone interview from Hawaii, where he is on vacation.

“I’m comfortable with what I contributed to the book, even though I’m probably going to get more credit or more blame than I deserve, whichever way you want to look at it.”

Torre’s book: Selfish players ended Yankee dynasty

Beyond the blunt critiques of Alex Rodriguez and rising tensions with Brian Cashman, one theme dominates “The Yankee Years,” the new book “co-authored” by Joe Torre:

That the Yankees of the former manager’s final six seasons were a self-absorbed, overpaid imitation of the famously gritty bunch that brought him four rings in his first six years.

“It was just not an unselfish team,” Torre says of the revelation that hit him in 2002.

“The team wasn’t tough enough . . . A lot of those players are more concerned about what it looks like as opposed to getting dirty and just getting it done. Those other teams, they were ferocious.”

TORRE’S TRASHING CONTINUES: BOOK RIPS BROWN, WELLS, PAVANO, BIG UNIT

But Torre doesn’t hold back, with more than his share of caustic comments about other players, too:

On Kevin Brown: “I think he had some emotional issues. There were a lot of demons in this guy. It was sad.”

On David Wells: “The difference between Kevin Brown and David Wells is that both make your life miserable, but David Wells meant to.”

On : “The players all hated him. It was no secret.”

In ‘The Yankee Years,’ David Cone spills juice on Joe Torre’s clubhouse

According to the authors, players often joked about teammates who worked out with McNamee when he served as an assistant strength coach for the Yankees in 2000-2001, especially players who grew dramatically stronger, bigger and leaner in a short period of time. “He’s on Mac’s program,” was the joke, or “He’s on The Program.”

“They were on his program, guys like Roger, Andy and maybe (Mike) Stanton,” the book quotes Cone as saying. He says he thought McNamee “had some GNC stuff he was putting in shakes, maybe creatine or Andro or whatever you can get over the counter.”

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“I didn’t like McNamee,” Cone said in the book. “Not that he was a bad guy. I never thought he was properly vetted.”

Torre: I didn’t feel ‘betrayed’

“I heard the word ‘betrayed’ and I knew that it wasn’t part of the actual book,” Torre told The New York Times yesterday by telephone from Hawaii in his first interview about the book. “I can tell you this much: I know there’s stuff Brian and I disagreed on, and I had one perception and he had another, which, to me, there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re obviously two different people.”

MUSSINA SAYS TORRE BOOK WON’T HURT: A-ROD CAN HANDLE ANOTHER DISTRACTION

“He’s the best player that I’ve had a chance to play with,” Mussina told The Post. “And he works hard at it and if he sat around and worried about everything that happened, he wouldn’t be able to be the player that he is.

“I was in that clubhouse for eight years. I’ve seen a lot of stuff go on. A lot of stories go out. I’ve seen Alex deal with a lot of things, this past year and in other years. I don’t foresee this as being a major issue.”

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“What goes on in the clubhouse and teammates razzing or giving each other a hard time doesn’t necessarily mean we’re cutting into people,” Mussina said. “Did I ever hear anybody call him that? It’s possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s meant in a harsh way. We’re stuck together for six months and we’re trying to have fun with each other and get people motivated. I don’t look at that as something that’s nasty. Yeah, maybe it was wrong, but it’s what guys do.”

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