If you are a Yankee fan, this is must reading. If you are a Red Sox fan, you may enjoy the book more than you think. If you are a Rays fan, it will give you hope. If you are a Dodger fan, it will add to your admiration for Joe Torre.
I admire Joe Torre and as a life-long Dodger fan was thrilled when he came to Chavez Ravine to manage. I wasn't surprised when the Dodgers made the playoffs. It's a big loss for the Yankees, but the miracle is that Torre was willing to put up with the Yankee ownership and leadership so long.
I also live in Boston and usually don't miss a pitch of any Red Sox-Yankee games. I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Yankee Years explores the underlying reasons why the rivalry went from being one that the Yankees comfortably dominated to one that has more recently favored the Red Sox. Just to give you a sense of how seriously people in Boston take the rivalry, I was stopped several times as I walked down the street carrying this book by people belligerently asking me if I was a Yankee fan.
Although the Yankees are the subject here, the book spends a lot of time on the newer ways of picking free agents, the effects of the luxury tax and subsidy to the small-market teams, better ways to develop players, steroids and HGH, and other general baseball subjects. For someone who isn't a Yankee fan, this made the book more interesting. If you are Yankee fan, you probably won't think it's all so great since much of it points out weaknesses in the Yankees.
Although I don't read the New York baseball reports columns, I was surprised to see that the book contained very little information about the Yankees that wasn't covered in Boston. Now if you don't live in New York or Boston and can't watch a lot of the Yankee games, this book may be of more interest to you than someone who keeps on top of the franchise.
I liked the way the book lets the record speak for itself in pointing out how badly pitchers picked up by the Yankees have performed in recent years. Joe Torre is a classy guy and he wasn't going to just trash everyone. Using numbers and statistics to portray how well Torre did with an ever weaker set of players . . . despite having a very expensive payroll . . . was deftly done.
I found the book overall to be enjoyable, but too long. With some editing, it could have been much shorter. A lot of the points are repeated way too often.