Joe Torre has always been seen as a classy guy who is loyal to a fault to his players, especially tenured veterans. Now he's once again being diplomatic as he, won’t pick sides between Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee, the former Yankees strength coach who accused the Clemens of using performance-enhancing drugs. Considering the intimacy he had with both men, it would not be unexpected that Torre is being mum; however, he'd be a great source of insight into the whole debate as he was the manager of the Yankees.
From the New York Times: "You're not going to get me in that jackpot,'' the former Yankees manager said Wednesday. ''I'd rather just stay away from making any in-depth comment about the whole steroid-HGH thing.''
"I'm very close to Roger. When I say close to him, he was a great competitor for me. Andy the same way. And I certainly know they're two proud individuals that only like to do the right thing," Torre said. "I'd just like to leave it at that."
Torre managed the Yankees for 12 seasons, winning the World Series four times in his first five years, before leaving at the end of last season and becoming manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A total of 20 current and former Yankees were identified in Mitchell's report. Torre said the high total likely was due to two of Mitchell's primary sources being from the New York area: McNamee and former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski.
"It made it look like a lopsided report," Torre said. "Plus, don't forget, the Yankees have so many people coming through there on a year-to-year basis. We changed over quite often, whether it would be a player for the month of May, a player for the month of September. But I think the big part of it was the access, where these two people were both based in New York."
Torre suspects use may have been more widespread.
"When you're talking about 80 players that supposedly were using one thing or another, to me it may be an incomplete report," he said. "The only thing I do know is that the most important thing for us in baseball is to make sure that when we take the field, that the fans trust us. So whatever we have to do to make that happen, I think that's important."
As much as I respect and have an affinity for Joe Torre being that I am a lifetime Oriole fan, at times when you say very little, you're saying a whole lot. More or less, I see him taking sides with Clemens, a guy who has in turn been loyal to Torre, but more importantly has helped him to win and become a little piece of his legend. Whether or not, Torre cares, the way I see it, everyone from top to bottom knew what was going on and while things were good, they decided to turn their heads. In the end, Torre's response I figured was that he hopes the issue just goes away and the sport can move on.
Folks, it is really just not that simple -- especially when you have a legend involved.