Lisa Guerrero: The buzz at the Bowl with the boys is Torre's book
While you'd certainly expect some pretty strong reactions to Joe Torre's tell-all from the baseball community, other sports stars have plenty to say about him dishing the dirt on his former players.
"It's terrible," Floyd Mayweather Jr. says of Torre's tome. I caught up with the undefeated welterweight champ at Jim McMahon's Swang "N" Super Bowl Bash celebrity golf tournament on Thursday in Bradenton, Fla.
"It's not right. A manager is a father figure to his players. He broke their trust. Problems should be resolved in private in a positive way, not written about later in a book. I don't approve ... what a betrayal!"
The news of the Yankee Years and the bits of the book that have been released have done wonders to build sympathy for Alex Rodriguez within the fraternity of pro athletes, a group that he is not very popular with to begin with.
A player that I spoke with here who didn't want to be named told me, "Look, Alex is a jerk. Torre's insights are probably 100% accurate about how his teammates feel about him, but there's no reason to air that dirty laundry in a book."
Otis Wilson (Chicago Bears 1980-88 and Raiders '89-90) wondered, "What message does this send to the Dodgers in the locker room? Believe me, there will be no trust with that guy. Players will be worried about what they say in front of him. Why would he do it? Does he need the money?
His disgust was shared by O.J. Anderson, former Cardinal from 1979-86 and Super Bowl XXV MVP while with the Giants. Everyone has an opinion, Anderson said, "but a manager shouldn't share his in a book."
My husband, Scott Erickson, was in the Yankee locker room in 2006 and acknowledged that many of those stories about Rodriguez are true. He takes issue with the fact that Torre or anyone writing about certain players' bad behavior, but then chooses not to write about others.
Will Torre "out" the guys who cheated on their wives or cheated on the game (steroids, etc.) if he personally liked them, even if he knew about those stories? And believe me, a manager
does. Picking and choosing who to rat out is the manager's prerogative, I suppose. Kinda like who to start, who to bench and whose dirty laundry you want to air in public.
As Mark Rypien, Super Bowl XXVI MVP, told me at the tournament's pairing party last night, "What happens in the locker room should stay in the locker room. I feel sorry for the Dodgers."
Interestingly, all of the media folks I've talked with here have picked the Steelers to win big on Sunday, but my polling of the athletes was very different. Each of the 13 current and former players I spoke with last night was pulling for the Cardinals.
McMahon said, "A good offense trumps a good defense. I'm picking Arizona."
Anderson agrees. "It's the right place at the right time for Arizona. Kurt Warner is the man -- you can't discount his experience."
Wilson picked the Cardinals because he's "a conference-loyal" guy, and he, too, loves Warner: "Nothin' like old school!"
Mayweather Jr. can relate to Warner: "He's like me, always the underdog ... gets benched then battles back and earns respect. Kurt was an underdog on the field, I was an underdog in life. My dad was in prison, my mother was on drugs, but I battled my way out and became a champion. I'm pulling for Arizona all the way!"
-- Lisa Guerrero
Lisa Guerrero has covered Super Bowls, the NBA Finals and the World Series, along with the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys. As an actress, she has appeared on "Frasier" and "The George Lopez Show" and as Billy Baldwin's long-suffering wife in the film "A Plumm Summer," which she executive-produced.
Photo (top): Joe Torre, right, with Tommy Lasorda after the Dodgers lost Game 5 of the NLCS to the Philadelphia Phillies on Oct. 15, 2008. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
Photo (inset): Lisa Guerrero