I admit I don’t follow the Dodgers or know much about their right fielder, Andre Ethier. Apparently, Ethier is known to get overly emotional, and sometimes it hurts his performance. After a recent emotional incident, manager Joe Torre had a closed-door meeting with Ethier, but then told ESPN about it. It makes me think about Torre’s treatment of A-Rod.
It seems screwy to have a closed-door meeting and then sit down with ESPN and reveal the essential substance of that meeting. It seems weird to advise a guy not to try too hard, and then convey that advice upon minimal solicitation to all the people the guy’s trying to impress.
In 2006, A-Rod was having a pedestrian year by no one else’s standards (sandwiched between MVP seasons), and Joe Torre talked to readers of Sports Illustrated about how A-Rod needed to chill out. In 2009, he released a book that hit A-Rod hardest, dripping salacious clubhouse gossip about A-Rod in a sloppy telling of A-Rod’s difficulties on the team. The guy switched positions, worked harder than anybody and was the best player in baseball over the years he played for Torre. I’d love to know which years they would have still made the playoffs without A-Rod. The whole team was un-clutch during those Octobers, and A-Rod burned alone for that in spite of a .300 career postseason batting average. For all we know, A-Rod’s blonde stripper could have managed the 1998 Yankees to a title. But, I bet she’d write a classier book.
Anyway, Torre’s public help is as unnecessary as it probably is unhelpful. Yet, with A-Rod and now Ethier, Torre always provides an explanation that “it wasn’t anything super secret.” Torre always reaches for something like that. I think Torre’s got an issue with people who seek approval and occasionally beat themselves. Somebody should make that public.