McCarver calls comments inappropriate

Updated: July 20, 2010, 9:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Tim McCarver still believes the New York Yankees didn't treat Joe Torre fairly after he left the team. But he now says he was wrong in comparing Torre's treatment after his departure to how Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin treated generals who had fallen out of favor.

McCarver, a Fox Sports analyst and former Torre teammate, blasted the Yankees during Saturday's national telecast of the Yankees' game against the Tampa Bay Rays, saying the team had "airbrushed" Torre out of its history, and compared that treatment to how Nazi and Soviet leaders dealt with generals when they became dissatisfied with their performances.

"Although my analogy was inappropriate, in my opinion the underlying point remains true," McCarver said, according to the New York Daily News. "That Yankee management -- not the players, they have embraced Joe Torre and always will -- has erased Joe Torre from their history, for the most part."

A Yankees spokesman declined comment, according to the report.

The Anti-Defamation League, which advocates against anti-Semitism and bigotry, also believed McCarver's comments went too far.

"No matter what one thinks of the Yankees' treatment of Joe Torre, likening it to how Germany and Russia treated their generals who fell out of favor is an inappropriate comparison," the organization said in a statement.

In the fourth inning of Fox's broadcast, McCarver -- who was Torre's teammate with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 -- accused the Yankees of "corporate childishness" in their dealings with Torre.

The Yankees did not mention their former manager, who led the team to 12 postseason appearances and four World Series titles, during ceremonies honoring the team's remarkable history at the last game at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008.

"You remember some of those despotic leaders in World War II, primarily in Russia and Germany, where they used to take those pictures that they had ... taken of former generals who were no longer alive, they had shot 'em," McCarver said Saturday. "They would airbrush the pictures, and airbrushed the generals out of the pictures. In a sense, that's what the Yankees have done with Joe Torre. They have airbrushed his legacy. I mean, there's no sign of Joe Torre at the Stadium. And that's ridiculous. I don't understand it."

There is a large photo of Torre with late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at one of the new stadium's gates. Torre, now manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, also appeared on a tribute video shown on the stadium scoreboard during a pregame ceremony Friday for Steinbrenner, who died July 6.

"I know what [McCarver] was trying to say, and I certainly think he made an apology about the way he put it," Torre said Tuesday. "I know Timmy very well. He is outspoken at times. But he is very aware of history and very aware of people's feelings. He wanted to make a point. I know he wishes he would have gone about it a different way."

Torre wouldn't say whether he agreed with McCarver's point.

"I'm not even going there," he said.

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson contributed to this report.

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