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Dodgers’ Joe Torre talks about domestic violence, steroids in sports

Says that McGwire made matters worse by also claiming that he could have hit the home runs even without the use of performance-enhancing drug.

Joe and Ali Torre announcing the expansion of the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation in the West Coast (Text and photo by Dionesio C. Grava)

STA. MONICA, January 13 -- Baseball great Joe Torre took a breather from his game and talked about secret demons that have haunted him since childhood. The psychological trauma of growing up in a house ruled by an abusive father was a well-kept family secret such that his wife, Ali, narrated her astonishment when Joe bared it for the first time during a seminar about domestic violence that they both attended.

Later, Joe went public with it in his autobiography, Chasing the Dream: My Lifelong Journey to the World Series and in 2002 the couple established the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation dedicated to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to grow up in a safe and abuse-free environment. Its goal is to raise awareness and develop educational programs aimed at ending the cycle of domestic violence and saving lives.

Currently, the Foundation has 11 school-based programming initiatives called Margaret's Places in New York City and Westchester County. These are comprehensive programs which provide students with a safe room in schools where they can talk to each other and to a professional counselor trained in domestic violence intervention and prevention. Core components of the program include individual and group counseling, prevention workshops, peer leadership groups and staff, parent/family and community workshops.

The Torre couple was at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica this afternoon to announce the expansion of the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation in the West Coast. An office will be set up in Los Angeles and a Margaret Place will be established here by the Fall.

Joe Torre played for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, and the St. Louis Cardinals. He later managed all three teams as well as the New York Yankees from 1996-2007. He has been the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers since November 2007 following the resignation of Grady Little.

Asked about the steroids controversy besieging sports, Torre said that it is an issue that needs to be resolved in order to regain the trust of the public. He also commented on Mark McGwire's admission on Monday that he used steroids when he broke baseball's home run record in 1998. Torre said that it had taken McGwire too long to come out and that he should have left it that way, admitting that he messed up and apologized. Instead, McGwire made matters worse by also claiming that he could have hit the home runs even without the use of performance-enhancing drug.

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Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.






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