"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 5/4/09

Today’s news is powered by an interesting video montage of Marilyn Monroe and Joe D:

  • Joe Girardi has a fever, and the only prescription is . . . fewer stories/books about Alex Rodriguez:

“I have some issues with it,” Girardi said. “It’s interesting that the book date got moved up now. And I get tired of answering these questions. I don’t understand why someone would write a book like this anyway.”

The book, “A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez,” was written by Selena Roberts of Sports Illustrated. It asserts that Rodriguez, the Yankees’ third baseman, used steroids at various times during his career and had human growth hormone in his possession when he played for the Yankees in 2004.

“From the excerpts I have read, I have heard that there are other negative things about his lifestyle,” Girardi said. “I’m a firm believer that what we do off the field is our personal life.”

Major League Baseball is investigating Alex Rodriguez’s statements about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, increasing the pressure on the New York Yankees star ahead of an unflattering biography due out on Monday.

Rodriguez admitted in February to using steroids while with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03, but insisted he stopped before he was traded to the Yankees in February 2004. But the Daily News reported on Thursday that Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts’ upcoming book “A-Rod” says he may have used steroids as early as high school and even after he was acquired by New York.

Roberts was contacted by one of MLB’s investigators on Friday but she told him she couldn’t cooperate with its inquiry, according to The New York Times report.

“I said that as a journalist, I cover MLB, and cooperating with them on this would be a conflict of interest, and he said that he understood the position that I am in,” Roberts told the newspaper.

Yankees outfielder Xavier Nady is attempting a cutting-edge medical procedure that could help him return to the team far earlier than expected.

Nady told The Journal News today that he is having platelet-rich plasma injected directly into the area around the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The procedure was successfully used by right-handed reliever Takashi Saito last season. Saito, who is now with the Red Sox, was able to avoid Tommy John Surgery. Like Nady, he had a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament.

Blood drawn from Nady’s body is spun to isolate the platelets, which clot and promote healing of the ligament. The platelets are 10 times more concentrated than normal blood. It is believed Saito and Nady are the only baseball players to have had this procedure done. Hines Ward of the Steelers is another athlete who has had success with the procedure.

  • Give Chien-Ming Wang a bum foot, he’ll take a mile of rehab running:

The foot injury that shelved Chien-Ming Wang for much of last season also is responsible for his horrendous start this spring.

The Yankees have said Wang’s problem is weakness in his hip muscles caused by the sprained foot. Saturday, the righthander confirmed that stiffness in his right foot threw off his mechanics as he stumbled through three starts to an 0-3 record with a 34.50 ERA.

Wang said his back “leg came up and I was getting to the front (foot) too quick.” Pitches he was trying to keep down in the strike zone were coming in belt high and hittable as a result. “He can’t push off,” said organizational pitching guru Billy Connors. “That’s where you get your push and your torque. His pitches were up in the zone.”

When the Yankees placed Wang on the 15-day disabled list, they had his injury as weakness in the adductor muscles in the hips. He is working to strengthen them, but both he and Connors clearly think the right foot has been the culprit.

  • Damaso Marte hits the 15-day DL with shoulder tendinitis.
  • Casey Fossum has been signed to a Triple-A contract.
  • The well-traveled Miguel Cairo turns 35 today.  The Yankees were just one of his eight stops to date in a now 14-year career.  Cairo compiled a line of .269/.319/.370 over 257 games with the Bombers, spanning three seasons.
  • Joe Borowski turns 38 today.  The hefty relieveri had cups of coffee with the Yanks in ’97 and ’98, before achieving success with the Cubs in 2003.  Fun fact: Borowski led the AL in saves (45) in 2007, despite carrying a 5.07 ERA.
  • On this date in 1981, Yankees relief pitcher Ron Davis struck out eight consecutive batters in a 4 – 2 victory over the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium, tying an American League record set by Nolan Ryan.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Cru Jones   ~  May 4, 2009 9:09 am

the attempt to have the book coincide with a-rod's return isn't just "interesting", it goes to the very credibility (or lack thereof) of the whole enterprise. the more i hear about it and its liberal use of "unnamed sources", the more i think it's just some half-baked smear campaign by a "reporter" looking to cash in on someone else's hard-earned fame and success.

2 rbj   ~  May 4, 2009 9:11 am

"Joe Girardi has a fever, and the only prescription is . . . fewer stories/books about Alex Rodriguez:"

I'm with Girardi. Soirry, but if you are going to accuse any player of tipping pitches, essentially selling out the game, you have to name names. The only names I've seen are those essentially denying it.

3 Cliff Corcoran   ~  May 4, 2009 9:23 am

I'm not defending anyone in this, but Cru, you have to understand the way publishing works. If it's at all possible to peg the release of a book to a major event, you do it, because that major event gives you a publicity hook that can help drive sales. That's why most baseball books come out during spring training (essentially for Opening Day). Regardless of the intent of the book itself, holding it back for Alex's return isn't suspicious at all, it's just good business. Believe it or not, book publishers really are trying to sell as many books as they possibly can.

As for the tipping pitches thing, Roberts says it was reciprocal (Rodriguez was only tipping pitches so that those hitters would do the same for him, allegedly), so who was reciprocating? Do we have to suspect every AL middle infielder from 2001 to 2003 until some one comes clean or names names?

4 Mattpat11   ~  May 4, 2009 9:24 am

I don't necessarily doubt anything in the book, but mainly because I have such a low opinion of Alex Rodriguez. And Selena Roberts is probably somewhere below that. Its essentially he said/she said between the new age "born liar and the other's convicted"

5 Rich   ~  May 4, 2009 9:26 am

[2] In stark contrast, Buck Showalter and Michael Young have gone on the record saying that Alex didn't tip pitches. Buck told Michael Kay that there are very few secrets in baseball, and if it had happened he would almost certainly have known about it.

6 The Hawk   ~  May 4, 2009 9:34 am

[3] I was gonna say - the timing of the book is the least suspicious thing about it.

Count me in as generally irritated by A Rod, but for some reason, the stories they've thus far revealed from this book seem like BS to me. Not sure why, but it doesn't ring true - I mean besides the fact that there's very little evidence.

Also I hate how this has infected SI, where every writer there bends over backwards to vouch for Roberts.

7 The Hawk   ~  May 4, 2009 9:36 am

Oh and that Nady story is pretty cool

8 ny2ca2dc   ~  May 4, 2009 10:03 am

So it's OK, good business even, to play games with release dates, but we're to believe they'd never e.g. stretch the truth, go with a sketchy source, etc? This isn't timing a book for seasonal markets, it's targeted to create as much buzz, scandal and hoopalah as possible. If this book comes out and is a complete, well rounded biography that while pulling no punches presents a balanced portrait of a fallible human being, then great. I might even buy and read it. But based on the salacious tidbits that have been leaked so far, and the scandal mongering publicity blitz and obvious manipulation of the release date, I'm expecting a hatchet job. And I don't approve (while withholding final judgment).

Is this book going to receive the same critical inquiry by the press as that recent book by the minor leaguer who got some dates wrong?

I don't have a problem with reporting that, shock of all shocks, Girardi is annoyed with the book and the release date trickery. But when is the press going to get around to addressing the substantive issue he brought up: that this is a hatchet job, plain and simple, and effectively an effort to make a buck by smearing a celebrity. I think any review of the book will need to include all of this context to be credible.

For the record, notice that no where in this comment am I defending ARod.

9 jen   ~  May 4, 2009 10:11 am

Joe Borowski also gave up Jeter's first (and so far only) grand slam.

[3] I have no problem with publishers releasing books to coincide with an event. What I do have a problem with is not admitting that they're doing it. When they changed to date from mid-April to May 12 the reason given was that Roberts needed more time for the book, which sounds like utter bullshit to me. If he wasn't on the DL that book would've came out by Opening Day.

10 Chyll Will   ~  May 4, 2009 10:12 am

[6] The whole enterprise leaves me cold. Either way, everyone involved is dirty. If Alex had killed someone or was selling drugs to younger players or kids, I'd find that newsworthy. If there was solid evidence of either one, I'd find the reporter commendable for strong research. Neither have exhibited a sense of admirable character or qualify as the good guy in all of this, so I just don't care.

11 Alex Belth   ~  May 4, 2009 10:15 am

Interesting that Young and Buck--no friends of Rodriguez--along with Doug M. have come out in Alex's defense.

12 Chyll Will   ~  May 4, 2009 10:18 am

[8] Let me add to that there is certainly a sense of "CYA" among the people involved who have gone on record about the book. This is, if nothing else, a defense of the access to sources and subjects that the media currently has; that some would abuse it for debatable purposes should not reflect on the entire industry, but that's exactly what it does when you come to defend the abuser, fair or not.

13 RagingTartabull   ~  May 4, 2009 10:28 am

[11] Actually I think Young was one of A-Rod's few friends on that team. If I remember correctly he was in Alex's wedding party. Buck on the other hand...

14 williamnyy23   ~  May 4, 2009 10:34 am

[3] That's all well and good, but then please don't try to pass this trash of as journalism. That's the problem I have with this book. If Roberts was willing to accept what she is...a paparazzi-like smut peddler looking to make some cash...I'd have no problem with it. Instead, she has been masquerading as a journalist for several years (aided by the Times and SI) and presenting this as something more than a Page 6 tome.

[6] I agree. I think SI has killed its credibility by hiring the likes of Roberts and Pearlman in the first place, but now it seems like they are requiring their other writers to shill as well. Unfortunately, SI has abdicated its position as a standard bearer for sports journalism and decided to swim in the cesspool of tabloid headlines. That's really sad.

[11] Even more interesting is that Roberts didn’t bother to include them as sources in her book, nor has SI done any follow-up on Roberts’ claims.

15 williamnyy23   ~  May 4, 2009 10:46 am

I am not sure if anyone saw Selena Roberts on MLB Network with Costas last night, but the impression I took from the interview was that Roberts had absolutely no facts or named sources to back up any of her claims. Her "evidence" is basically Arod's bench press really increased in H.S....of course, she doesn't actually provide any expert medical opinion to suggest that his increase would suggest enhancement. I guess Selena Roberts has an MD somewhere we don't know about.

Unfortunately, Costas did a very poor job challenging Roberts, especially about her credibility after the Duke Lacrosse case. I would have asked her something like this:

"You keep talking about your experience as a reporter and the vetting process you put sources through. Did those elements betray you when you wrote several borderline libelous columns about the Duke lacrosse players wrongly accused of rape? And, if so, why should we believe they haven't betrayed you again?"

Instead, Costas basically lobbed softballs, but even so, Roberts still came off as very swarmy. For example, when Costas played Girardi's cut, Roberts' sarcastically responded something like, "Does that mean he doesn't like books"? If I was Costas, I would have replied, if you believe books are worthwhile for books sake then I guess you believe Mein Kampf contributed to our society"?

The worst part of the evening, however, was MLBN allowing Verducci, who has become a real shill and damaged his credibility, to participate in the discussion after the interfview. They didn't even mention he was a colleague of Roberts, even though Young's defense of Arod was pretty much dismissed as a teammate sticking up for another.

16 Diane Firstman   ~  May 4, 2009 10:54 am

Long live Boomer!:

"It sounds like Blue Oyster Cult out here. Need more cowbell."
—New TBS broadcaster David Wells, on the acoustics in Tropicana Field.

17 ny2ca2dc   ~  May 4, 2009 10:59 am

[15] Wow, they had Tom "Chapter x: The Problem of ARod" Verducci on also? Why not get ARod's ex-wife to talk about how he leaves his underwear on the floor?! Tonight we have Selena Roberts arguing that ARod eats babies, but for balance we have Tom Verducci who says maybe ARod doesn't eat babies all that often.

18 Diane Firstman   ~  May 4, 2009 11:01 am

All we need now is Rick Reilly trying to be funny at A-Rod's expense, and the "clusterf**k" of "journalism" will be complete.

19 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 4, 2009 11:03 am

'Standards' in journalism have taken such a hit today it is almost a punchline for a joke. Roberts gets caught in the 'protecting sources' vs 'there ARE no good sources' dilemma, I guess. On the other hand, protecting sources can cover you when you have none! But those suggesting here that the more junk one can throw at the wall in a book like this, the better are surely right. I'm with Cliff as to timing: that's the name of the game, and in the same way, you don't declare why you are delaying. Why bother? Consider it like an 'undisclosed lower body injury' in sports. For what it is worth, and I have NOT read it all, just skimmed, the Bonds/Balto book didn't feel like a quick-and-dirty hatchet job.

I'd be interested in seeing someone competent do a wider piece on the history of the game and pitchers, catchers, other players 'helping out' opponents. I KNOW I have read of a few 'mercy' batting practice pitches in blowouts. It could be argued that if a pitcher chooses to raise his own era that's different from a catcher or infielder doing it to the P. But in order to assess how shocking tipping pitches in blowouts is, we need to know how unusual, unique it is. Did Alex Rodriguez actually invent this? Is he that smart?

And that leaves aside the Showalter/Young and other denials. I linked the SI piece yesterday with 'teammates saddened' as the headline, but the content basically is teammates KNOW nothing of it, never saw or heard, and WOULD be saddened if it proved true.

20 williamnyy23   ~  May 4, 2009 11:07 am

[17] Verducci had a classic line that went something like this: "A lot of great journalism has been done with unnamed sources".

I was dumbfounded by that comment. For starters, much more awful journalism has been built on a foundation of unnamed sources. What's the old saying about a blind squirrel finding a nut?

Even more pertinent to the issue is this book isn't journalism...it's a money making venture akin the Star and Inquirer. Otherwise, why didn't Roberts report these earth shattering stories in SI? Isn't that what journalists do?

21 Raf   ~  May 4, 2009 11:08 am

Unfortunately, SI has abdicated its position as a standard bearer for sports journalism and decided to swim in the cesspool of tabloid headlines. That’s really sad.

I guess there's more money in tabloid headlines? If that's the case, I look forward to the next swimsuit issue :D

22 rbj   ~  May 4, 2009 11:15 am

[15] I skipped it. Peter Gammons on BBTN was better, which isn't saying much.

What really bothers me is that Selena seems to have a vendetta against A-Rod. Did he lie about steroid use? Yes, but has every other PED using player except for Jose Canseco. Why not do an expose about steroids in baseball in general. Or even about PEDs in professional sports in general. You cannot tell me that those 300+lb linebackers are all natural. I wouldn't want by daughter, well niece, to marry the guy, but off the field stuff is off the field. The list of pro athletes who've strayed is long and would shatter a lot of illusions. Not to mention all those who used drugs or were drunks.

Of course, if we were to hold journalists up to the same standard that Selena wants to hold A-Rod up to, well that would be interesting.

Didn't a couple of Angels come out last month, or in March, that they had used PEDs? Seems that that got swept under the rug pretty quickly.

23 OldYanksFan   ~  May 4, 2009 11:39 am

There is another factor here, aside from the allegations and the suspect nature of this entire enterprise.

ARod is under a microscope, because someone can generate profit and/or notarity from it. I wonder how many people, if any, could stand this type of scutiny and not have something unplesant revealed.

I know about 1/2 or better of my generation did some amount of recreation drugs. I guess if you dig into sexual practices, family relationships, work and business history, you could dig up 'news' on just about everyone.

Jeter seems like a great guy. But he's 35 and unmarried. IS HE GAY? INCAPABLE OF LOVE? He dates noting but prime meat, but can't stay in a relationship for a full season. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM????

I think if you have an axe to grind, and can have print material based on 'unnamed' sources, 'suspicions', 'it sure looks like', 'can there be another explaination', innuendo, and other kinds of exploitive without a shread of evidence material, that a smart and manipulative writer can make the Pope look like the next coming of Hitler.

Mind you, I'm not saying that ARod may not have had some questionable behavior. But ARod is just one single human being. It is this whole process that stinks, and it is being done PURELY to generate commerce.

Selig and Fehr both testified at the FIRST Congressional hearings that they did not know about steroids in baseball. This is obviously a lie. Are they being chased for lying to congress? Why are Bonds and Clemens on the hot seat but not Selig and Fehr? We don't even have to talk about owners, GMs and managers.

This stuff is all crap. I'm just so tired of it.

24 dewitt   ~  May 4, 2009 11:45 am

What really bugs me about this whole sitution is the publicity the MLB Network is giving Roberts with that Costas interview. Then to top it off, the NY TImes reports that MLB is investigating A-Rod.

Why is MLB providing free publictity to sell more of Roberts books ? What is that all about ? Instead of investigating A-Rod perhaps MLB should investigate why only A-Rod's names was released from the list of 104 players and by whom, a list that should have been destroyed.

25 The Mick536   ~  May 4, 2009 11:49 am

Is there some kind of a connection between the JoeD and MM video and A-Rod, like Madonna?

Just a few questions about the video. Who are the White Sox in the pictures? Is the picture of her with the flowers of her wedding? Is that Lee McFail in the foreground? When did she write the ditty that closes the piece, during Joe or after? Were any of the pictures the ones that caused him to divorce her?

Guy treated her like scum. He didn't respect her or appreciate her talent or appeal. Not that she was free from blame; she told Sidney Skolsky, her LA scribe, upon her return from her honeymoon that she would marry Arthur Miller.
Mrs. Norma Jeane Dimaggio.

26 williamnyy23   ~  May 4, 2009 11:53 am

[24] I think MLB is doing two things here:

1) Trying to bend over backwards to establish credibility by not pulling any punches. If that means going overboard, so be it.

2) Aligning itself with SI in it's battle with ESPN. Ironically, SI is out-ESPNing ESPN, which has basically forced the world-wide leader to take the high ground on this issue. Hopefully, MLBN will establish its own credibility and sever ties with SI asap. Otherwise, its own credibility will be damaged.

27 PJ   ~  May 4, 2009 12:02 pm

And some of us have the audacity to sincerely wonder why print journalism is going the way of the dodo, as the NYT cannot deal with members from the Boston Globe Union because of the ridiculous idea of lifetime compensation...

How about we skip the semantics and alligator tears, and shut these tabloids down in a Chrysler type fashion, and "with tha quickness?"

Then they can all write such books, that nobody will buy.

I read Joe Torre's book. The only "truth" I found in that sleaze bucket was Joe Torre's failure to accept any accountability during his twelve year tenure other than the insect swarm game in Cleveland! Journalistic "credibility" at it's finest...

It seems that Detroit paying Gary Sheffield simply to "go away" is going to be a trend rather than an anomaly!

28 Cru Jones   ~  May 5, 2009 5:48 am

[3] thanks, cliff, for your insights on the publishing world. i don't have much knowledge about it. however, i think you're proving my point a bit about it being a "business" to play around with release dates, fill pages with unsubstantiated rumors and (gasp) stories of hedonism, etc. doesn't qualify as journalism in my book.

at any rate, comment [8] did a much better job of expressing what i was thinking. thanks for that.


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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