LOS ANGELES -- He was in awe at the size of the Yankees clubhouse, how it stretched into right field with the built-in "iPad screens" at every locker station. He buried the hatchet with general manager Brian Cashman after a book came between them, and he met with the family of his old boss, George Steinbrenner. And Joe Torre was emotional to say the least when, while dining in the in-stadium steakhouse, he received a standing ovation.
Torre had his homecoming at the new Yankee Stadium on Monday, his first visit to with the club not only since it moved into its new home last season, but since he left after the 2007 season.
"We walked through just about everywhere in that stadium," Torre said. "Then you wound up down in the clubhouse, you see [Joe] Girardi. People are all of a sudden coming up behind you and grabbing you and stuff. It was emotional. it was great, it was great to be back there."
Torre and Don Mattingly were both at the unveiling ceremony of a monument to Steinbrenner, who passed away in July. Torre nearly returned to the Bronx on a previous occasion, but his relationship with the organization had been generally strained after contract negotiations fell apart after the 2007 season. The Yankees offered an incentive-laden deal, and Torre, insulted, went to the Dodgers.
Then there was The Yankee Years, the 2009 book Torre co-authored with Tom Verducci, that bothered at least two core Yankees, Alex Rodriguez and Cashman. Torre and Cashman spoke in private on Monday, and Torre said the conversation went "fine."
"As I said, we talked it out," Torre said. "He told me what things in the book that concerned him and I just tried to explain again. And maybe I don't do a good job of explaining, [in the book] I just tried to relive my emotions for those 12 years. Some of those things he didn't agree with, which I'm not changing -- it's OK not to agree with. For the most part, our relationship there ... [was] very productive and successful."
Torre said the loudest on-field ovation he heard on Tuesday was for his replacement as manager in Los Angeles, Mattingly. Mattingly was passed over as Torre's replacement in New York for Girardi.