While waiting for Joe Torre to arrive at the midtown bookstore earlier today, one reporter joked that there were more journlaists waiting for Torre – who no longer works in New York – than were in the room when the Jets introduced their new head coach, Rex Ryan.
Thing is, he was probably right.
The store was packed, both with media and fans. The second floor was essentially shut down, which was bad news if you were interested in picking up a DVD, a children’s book, a graphic novel of any kind or one of the several shelves of books being advertised as “bargains!”
The line for would-be signers was closed around 11 a.m. for a 12:30 p.m. signing. The store, according to one employee, had sold out of all copies it had a little after noon. Outside, snow was falling heavily but a line of people hoping for autographs stretched around the corner and halfway down the next block.
One of the people in line, John Garges of Yonkers, said he was there because he had made a deal with a friend in which he would go buy three copies of “The Yankees Years” in exchange for two other books.
Although Torre has been criticized for writing the book by posters on blogs and other message boards (including this one, obviously), there was little negativity that I saw from the folks at the store. Lots of smiles and cheers for Torre and it certainly didn’t appear that fans of Torre’s current employer are worried about his place in their clubhouse; there were more than a couple of people wearing Dodger hats grinning as they exited with signed books.
No one seemed all that upset about the notion that Torre might have broken some clubhouse trust. At one point during his time with the media, Torre tried to explain his rationale for writing so frankly about players on his team.
“What I wrote about individual players, depending on who they were, in some instances I wanted to humanize them more than they were as opposed to thinking they were one player making too much money or a lot of money,” he said. “And you don’t get an idea of what the heartbeat is. That’s why I talked about certain things in and around the clubhouse.”