I watched Mike Francesa interview Mike Mussina yesterday about his participation in Joe Torre's new book, "The Yankee Years." Mussina admitted that he didn't even know that Verducci was writing a book when Francesa asked him about how heavily he was quoted,
Francesa: And you were prominently displayed and I guess you knew it was going on or knew that Verducci was readying something because you were obviously in the book a lot.,
Mussina: Actually no, I didn't know.
Francesa: Oh, you didn't know,
Mussina: No. I mean Tom's around all the time.
Francesa: Right, so you didn't know when this, so this wasn't like he said, I'm doing this book and let me talk to you about this, this and this?
Mussina: No, not in those terms. I mean we talk all the time about miscellaneous stuff so the stuff that he put together could have been spread out over a season or more. I don't know in particular about specifically. We talked a lot about different things and it ended up, he used quite a bit of it with Joe.
Francesa: Is that OK with you?
Mussina: Well, I'm not upset about it. I mean I've always liked Tom and I loved playing for Joe. I really don't have any problems with I guess.
You can listen to the podcast here.
I've been interviewed for books in the past and was always told by the author that what I was saying was going to be used so I didn't fell like I was being sandbagged, even if what I said was completely appropriate to use. I found this rather appalling behavior by Verducci myself. And Torre for that matter. I could sense that Mussina wanted to support Joe and when he said "I guess," it was like he was saying " What choice do I have know since it's out there." And if he did go off over it there would be more fireworks following Mussina around.
Tom is a good writer and obviously a well respected journalist or he wouldn't have been granted the unlimited access to the Yankee infrastructure like he was given, but it seems like this was a hidden project.
It doesn't sound like Mussina was all that happy about it either, but he's a pretty straight forward guy and explained his opinions openly and honestly. He wasn't attacking Mariano Rivera when he said that if The Great One had been perfect, the Yanks might have done better in 2001 and 2004. That's just fact.
When the Yanks have had the opportunity to be in as many playoffs as they were, obviously they were going to fail at times as much as they stung. Mariano isn't a robot. He's still the best ever. For comparison just look back to the great Yankee teams of the 50's and 60's. The lost a few World Series titles that they should have won in that time and they didn't have to go through the extra rounds of games to get to a title.
I'm reading the book now and it is good, but I have a long way to go. I'll let you know how I feel when I finish, but I do think this book has hurt Torre's legacy. He did break the code of the locker room that he so cherished even if he did keep a lot of stuff out of the book. I still love the guy, but feel he betrayed a trust for a few extra dollars--no matter how many times he denies it.