It's understood that once you sign on to play for the Yankees, you have to make certain sacrifices in order to play for the most recognizable franchise in baseball. Some must give up their privacy; others must surrender their position, both on the field and in the clubhouse, while a few will have to part ways with their facial hair.
No player or manager, however, should ever be forced to give up their right to free speech.
With the release of Joe Torre and Tom Verducci's forthcoming book, The Yankee Years, and rumors of some disparaging comments that Torre may or may not have said, the Yankees are considering putting confidentiality clauses in future contracts.
Now let's forget for a moment that such a provision would never fly with the Players' Association or any respectable agent and let's play along with the Yankees, who are under the impression that protecting baseball clubhouse secrets is on par with the protection of national security information.
The Yankees are well within their rights to make sure their current players and coaches do not disparage the organization that pays their bills and reveals the inner workings of the team, while under contract. Once that player or coach, however, leaves the team, they no longer have the authority to determine what they can or cannot do and what they can or cannot write. Any attempt to prevent them from doing so would be more absurd than the contract they gave Alex Rodriguez.
The fact is, many retired players and coaches can make money is writing a book about their experience and the only way these books make any money is if they hold nothing back -- making it a headline-grabbing tell-all. Now this is obviously bad news for the Yankees, which only want the positive side of the team written about but pure gold for everyone else who gets a glimpse at what it's like to coach or play for the most talked-about team in sports.
Is it wrong for a player or coach to divulge clubhouse secrets or confidential information after they've left a team? It depends. Torre will always be loved by Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Paul O'Neill, who he spoke highly of. He will no longer be liked by A-Rod, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown and David Wells, who he wasn't as kind to in his book. As long as he's fine with that, he did nothing wrong.
It isn't as if he accused a player of taking steroids or blamed a player for his downfall; he simply gave an honest, truthful, unfiltered account of what he thought of his years with the Yankees. It might not be the story you'd find on the YES Network but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be told; and it doesn’t mean the Yankees can prevent him or anyone else from doing the same.