"I'll never sell this ball. Never."
Same as always. Right, Mark?
Joe Torre's Cancer
Yankees Hope And Cope
On his first full day as the third baseman on a Yankees team without a manager, Scott Brosius assured himself that things would be O.K. Then, just to be certain, he prayed.
Last week's announcement that Joe Torre was suffering from prostate cancer and would miss at least the rest of spring training jolted the New York clubhouse. (Don Zimmer, 68, Torre's close friend and bench coach, will run the club while Torre is away.) Will Torre's absence have an impact on the Yankees' performance? Unlikely. The team that won an American League-record 114 regular-season games last year possesses a remarkable self-sufficiency, a by-product of Torre's hands-off, trust-the-players approach. As catcher Joe Girardi says, "Once you're on the field, you focus on the game. That's how it works."
Perhaps no Yankee took the news of Torre's illness harder than Brosius, a sensitive man whose mother died of lymphoma in 1989 and whose father, Maury, was treated recently for colon cancer. While many on the team were numbed by Torre's situation, Brosius speaks of cancer like a human Merck Manual. He knows the ins and outs, the good days and bad days, the victories and, in his mother's case, the defeats.
"My first reaction to Joe's news was shock, but my second thought is, No matter what people say, this is not a baseball story," Brosius says. "This is about a man with decisions that have to be made about life. Joe Torre is a husband, he's a father, he's a person before he's the manager of the Yankees."
Brosius spent part of his off-season visiting with seriously ill children. He recalls one girl, just nine years old, with tumors throughout her body. There was a boy, 16, dying of brain cancer. "You can't try and figure cancer out," he says. "Why does a nine-year-old girl have it, and some 80-year-olds who've smoked their whole lives don't? It's not a predictable disease."