Five Things We Learned This Weekend: Jan. 23-25

1. Joe Torre was serious about his unhappiness in the Bronx.
In what Tom Verducci calls a "third person narrative," the story of Joe Torre's tenure in New York is told in their co-written tell-all, The Yankee Years. The New York media has been on the record that the future best-seller features Torre's dislike for Yankee GM Brian Cashman, and rants about Alex Rodriguez.

Torre describes general manager Brian Cashman as a less than supportive ally who betrayed him on several fronts, and says that his star player, Alex Rodriguez, was often referred to by his teammates as "A-Fraud" and was obsessed with his perceived rival, shortstop Derek Jeter.

New York Daily News
Both bombshells should not be surprising, but the manner in which they are rumored to be dropped, and the classy men who wrote the book, is. Verducci is one of America's best baseball writers, and Torre is one of the most professional men in all of baseball. Torre however, should be given every opportunity to slam his former employer after the ruthless manner the Steinbrenners forced him out.

For George, Hank and Hal, this should be a wakeup call. Most of the respect the Yankees built up during the Torre years is gone, and if they continue to treat their personnel with such brash behavior, then the Yankees deserve all the bad publicity they continue to get.

Until they build some heart within that franchise, the Yankees will continue to struggle, as Jeter, Posada and Rivera cannot carry the club like once could, while in their younger years. Gone are the days of Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez keeping their egos in check. The team is full of egos, and unfortunately for Joe Girardi, I don't think he can control the pressure they all put on him. Kudos to Torre for telling it like it is.

2. Chair throwing isn't limited to wrestling.
Fans at the Australian Open Friday turned the festivities outside Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne into chaos over politics. Bosnian and Serbian fans during the Novak Djokovic and Amer Delic match began throwing chairs across the plaza at each other.

The match paralleled the dueling riffs between Bosnia(Delic) and Serbia(Djokovic), and much like real-life, Yugoslavia came out on top, pushing around the Bosnians. Regardless of your political opinion, it's sad that the match brought out the childish behavior in the fans.

Despite the sour meaning to the madness, it is really interesting knowing that people throw chairs in real life, turning out to be almost morbidly entertaining.

3. Vince Young is unloved by Jeff Fisher.
Sources have reported that Jeff Fisher told Kerry Collins that he's the man in 2009 for the Tennessee Titans. So much for Vince Young being the face of the franchise. Much like Matt Leinart in Arizona, Young is getting shown up by a has-been QB who took both teams into the playoffs.

This is great news for Collins however; who definitely earned Fisher's approval. It's a no-brainer for Fisher, as Young has proved to be a fragile individual, physically and emotionally. That is not the type of quarterback you want to lead your team into battle. After a 13 win season on the arm and grit of Collins, you can't go wrong with him at the helm in '09.

The most pivotal part of this story may be if Fisher will be able to retain Collins, as Young is very much in favor with Titans owner Bud Adams. If Adams still wants to build his team around the overrated QB, Fisher will have to make a strong case for Collins. Luckily for Fisher, the Titans' 2008 record is a bright star on the credentials of Kerry Collins.

4. Digger Phelps is giving Beano Cook a run for his money when it comes to loving the Irish.
Phelps showed up on the set of College Gameday Saturday in South Bend with a green carnation attached to the front of his suit. While I love the guy for his analysis of college hoops, I really don't care for homer love when it comes to Notre Dame.

Kirk Herbstreit is a well known Buckeye, but other showing his kids clad in Scarlet and Grey jerseys while in Columbus, he never is a homer. Phelps really should take a page out of Herby's persona. Seeing Phelps bask in his Irish splendor wouldn't allow me to take him seriously.

Luckily a Connecticut win in South Bend could make Digger think about being proud next time around at Notre Dame.

5. Graham Harrell is this year's Andre Woodson.
Before Harrell's Texas Tech Red Raiders got thrashd by Sam Bradford's Oklahoma Sooners, he was considered the favorite for the Heisman. But since the 65-21 loss on November 22, Harrell has come back down to earth faster than a speeding bullet.

The loss was followed by an injury against Baylor, and a rough outing in a 13-point loss to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. But Harrell did not officially crash down on the surface of the planet until Saturday's Senior Bowl. The senior quarterback looked terrible on the field, making horrendous pass after horrendous pass, and got in the craw of NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. His passes were at the feet of his receivers, and his stone feet didn't allow him to move around in the pocket.

Just like Kentucky QB Andre Woodson in 2008, Harrell's draft stock plummeted this week, and unless he gets his act together soon, the former Red Raider might soon find himself on the Saskatchewan Roughriders. On the flip side, Harrell's demise shows just how good Michael Crabtree really is.

Photo: NY Mag


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