Monday, February 9, 2009

Book Proposals From Other Former New York Coaches

After the strong early publicity generated by former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre’s new tell-all book The Yankee Years, other New York coaches of the past are looking to capitalize on the trend. Published here for the first time are excerpts from several proposals currently being considered by major New York publishing houses. (Note: Former coaches of the Devils, Nets, and Islanders have been contacted by leading acquisition editors and informed in no uncertain terms that they are insufficiently “New York” for the purposes of this Freakonomics-style copycat publishing meme.) All of these manuscripts have been co-authored by Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated writer and collaborator on The Yankee Years, who has publicly requested that no one judge these works without reading them, until such time as he cashes his royalty checks.

Eric Mangini: Jets 2006-2008
Tentative Title, The U-2 Spy Plane Wore Green

“Everyone knows about the Patriots and Spygate, the team’s taping of opponents’ signals. They got caught, the team and coach were fined, they lost a draft pick, and everyone thought that was the end of it. No one realizes how much deeper this goes. I was a spy for the Patriots during my three years coaching the Jets. Bill [Belichick, Patriots coach] identified the Jets as our greatest threat in the division, so he let me go interview with them. It worked better than we could have hoped for: I got the job and made sure the Jets never threatened the Pats. It was Bill’s idea to have me get involved in the Spygate accusations so that we wouldn’t be suspected. That’s why we never shake hands after games anymore: Bill was worried he’d start laughing, which would blow our cover. We finally got caught this year. [Jets GM Mike] Tannenbaum knew something was up when I kept playing [Jets quarterback Brett] Favre down the stretch even after his disastrous December interception streak. Bill’s a good guy, though, and he used his old Browns connections to get me hired there right after the season ended. God knows they weren’t impressed by my coaching.”

Pat Riley: Knicks 1991-1995
Tentative Title, Riled Up

“The players drew a fair amount of notoriety for shaving their heads during those great playoff runs we had. Most people assumed this was just a way to display team unity during the playoffs. Eventually it turned into that, but it started off because Mase [Knicks player Anthony Mason] screwed up his patented “Words shaved into the head” haircut. His barber made some type of mistake, and his head said, “Except to Win.” That obviously isn’t acceptable in the playoffs. He had to shave it off, but he was too embarrassed about going clean-shaven after taking so much pride in his hair throughout the season. So he brought a pair of clippers on the team plane and shaved off a tuft of everyone’s hair. He forced the other guys to shave their heads too. The New York media bought whatever I was selling those days, so we got away with it.”

Davey Johnson, Mets 1984-1990
Tentative Title: The Bad Guys Won!

[Johnson submitted to numerous publishers dog-eared copies of The Bad Guys Won!, the 2005 book by Jeff Pearlman chronicling the 1986 World Series Champion Mets. Johnson blotted out Pearlman’s name on the cover with a Sharpie in less than half of his submissions. This proposal is still under consideration.]

Willie Randolph, Mets 2005-2008
Tentative Title: The Yankee Years Were Better

“It drove [Mets GM Omar] Minaya crazy that I was always talking about how the Yankees are a better-run organization. One time after he made a trade at the deadline, I emailed him to say that [Yankees GM Brian] Cashman would have made a better deal. I think he signed Billy Wagner just to spite me.”

Isiah Thomas, Knicks 2006-2008
Tentative Title: If I Destroyed a Franchise, Here’s How

“I was never really good with numbers as a kid. I used to have nightmares the night before math tests in high school. I tried to ignore the salary cap because I suffered really bad headaches any time I thought about it.”

“I was sued for sexual harassment. That was pretty embarrassing. Especially because we lost the case. We had to pay $11.6 million.”

“I think I alienated some fans when I got caught saying that I don’t care about white people.”

“I tried committing suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. Then I blamed it on my daughter.”

[Note: Publishing insiders are reporting that too many of Thomas’s revelations are already public knowledge, possibly hurting his advance.]

No comments: