Joe Torre was back in New York today, hosting his annual charity golf tournament at Trump National in Westchester.
Journal News reporter Harold Guttman was on hand and sent along these comments:
On coming back to New York: “It still feels like home, there’s no question about it. I’m glad I’m in L.A. because of what I do for a living, it’s not as stressful, but it’s always nice coming back to New York. I have plenty of fans and friends and family, and it always feels very comfortable.”
Comparing Jason Giambi to Manny Ramirez: “Jason was a little more comfortable talking. What Manny wants to do is just play baseball and be a teammate. He really doesn’t want to talk about it. There are some similarities, but Manny with who he is and what he’s done over the years, probably gets more attention than he wants, although his antics sometimes makes you think he wants that, but I think that’s just him having fun.”
On Manny’s comeback: “He’s admitting he did wrong and he got suspended and he’s not crying foul in any way. But this is where we are as a society. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a positive or a negative thing, there’s a good deal of attention. The message you don’t want to send is what he did is OK, and have the youngsters take that and think it’s OK. We glorify a lot of stuff, whether it be positive or negative, it’s all about being the eye of the storm. The one thing I go back to is Manny’s a fun person, and he’s been a good teammate.”
Was he offended by Manny: “I think we’re disappointed, but if you look at the big picture, they’re talking about 100-and-something names. … It’s something that may have started small but evidently the competition thing, if you’re going to be able to compete on a level playing field, I’m going to try and keep up with what you’re doing, and I’m not saying it’s the right thing, but I’m guessing this is what snowballed into what it became.”
On the steroids issue: “I think we’re all guilty. I’ve been in baseball my whole life, even though I didn’t literally see anybody do anything, and I’m naive in a lot of ways, I don’t want to think bad things about people because I want to trust people, but I certainly didn’t think it was as widespread as it turned out to be.
I remember seeing Bob Gibson on TV, somebody said they had something for you to make you better, not that it would be illegal, you’d think about it. The difference is, years ago you would have done something to help you win a ballgame. The more recent years it’s all about putting statistics up. Different motivation, I think.
I put players in certain catagories. You’re Alex’s and Manny’s, you watch them play over the years, when they hit home runs it doesn’t surprise you. That middle group is the one where there’s a lot of questions about numbers. Would these guys have hit as many home runs? Possibly. Would they have hit them as far? Maybe not.”
On steroids users being in the Hall of Fame:” I feel that ability-wise there are guys that, cheating aside, Barry Bonds is a Hall of Fame-type player. Before anyone questioned him about anything he won four MVPs. Does that mean he should be in the Hall of Fame? I’m not saying that. Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame, and he certainly has the credentials. I think Clemens and Manny and Alex and all those people are in that upper group of guys who, ability wise, with steriods-stuff aside, are legitimate players to be in.”
Did Manny taint what the Dodgers did last season? “I don’t think so. He obviously did something he got punished for. As far as tainting, no. What do you think about Andy Pettite and Alex? I think baseball right now is tainted, and we need to get the trust back. Even your guys who have never possibly taken anything will hit a home run and there’s still going to be someone sitting in the stands saying, ‘What do you think?’ Hopefully we have a grip on it now and we’re going in the right direction.
“When I say we all have to take blame for it, a lot of stuff went on. Guys were hitting 60 home runs every year like it was no big deal and we were glorifying that instead of wondering about it. We all have to take our share of the blame, and it’s too bad, but it’s an era that hopefully we can get through and gain trust back. The most important thing in life is trust.
“When you go out to a ballpark you want to be entertained, you don’t want to be deceived. You’re getting away from your problems. They don’t want to work hard when they go out to the ballpark. They pay money to get away from that part of their life, and they want to be entertained. We’ve seen players hit 10, 15 home runs. All of a sudden they’re hitting 30, 40. That’s a suspicious thing. If you see someone who’s a good-sized guy, all the mechanics seem to work, I can see myself believing he legitamately does that. I don’t think we should question every single thing that happens in that game. The middle group that was hitting more home runs than made sense, those are the guys you scratch your head over.”
Interesting comments there by the skipper. He had Bill Clinton, Yogi Berra, Donald Trump, Don Mattingly, Tino Martinez, Larry Bowa, Darryl Strawberry and others in the tournament.