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Monday, February 9, 2009

Another Sports Illustrated writer has a book coming out about a Yankee

What's up with Sports Illustrated and the Yankees? First, Tom Verducci worked on "The Yankee Years" with Joe Torre for two years without disclosing that conflict of interest in his column. And, as I squawked about previously, he criticized the Yankees repeatedly during that timeframe.

Now, as I noted yesterday, Selena Roberts, co-author of SI's expose on Alex Rodriguez testing positive for steroids, also has a book coming out - this one about A-Rod, called "Hit and Run: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez." The book is due out in May. And like Verducci, she is not disclosing with her work in Sports Illustrated that she has that book deal.

Unlike Verducci writing a book with Joe Torre while accusing the Yankee front office of having blood on their hands for Torre's departure from the team, I don't think Roberts has a conflict of interest here. But I do think she has an agenda.

While I'm not questioning the veracity of her SI story, I am still wondering, like I wrote earlier, why she isn't going after the other 103 players with positive test results. And I'm also wondering why she can't be straightforward about the book deal.

Here's what she said in an interview with SI.com:

SI.com: One hundred four players tested positive for steroids in the survey testing of 2003. Alex Rodriguez is now the only known name among those 104 players, leading to some speculation that he was somehow "singled out." Can you explain why we know only of his inclusion on the list?

Roberts: David Epstein and I were working on a profile of Alex -- he was a staple of the news this past year, whether because of Madonna or his broken marriage or the Yankees' dive in the '08 standings -- when we began hearing rumors about steroid use. You hear a lot of things in this business, so we went about our due diligence in nailing down the truth: Was this rumor or real? In a meticulous process, we verified and re-verified our information, because this is a human being here, so you absolutely do not want to be wrong. We made a decision to confront Alex with the evidence we had regarding his positive test, and give him a chance to explain. He chose not to.

Here's the thing - she goes into contortions to show how fair SI was to Alex, but Roberts never answers the question about why she only investigated A-Rod, and not the other 103 names.

I also can't understand why she doesn't just say that she heard rumors while working on a book - not merely a feature story - on A-Rod.

Yankee blogger J-Boogie of Baseball and the Boogie Down has been wondering a lot about Roberts as well. He notes that Roberts told SI.com that they had "no hard evidence about any year other than 2003." J-Boogie comments:
So do you have hard evidence? Why haven't you mentioned what that is? 4 people telling you something is true isn't "hard evidence." Not in my book anyway. Hard evidence would be the list of the 104 players that tested positive. Do you have that? If so, where are the other 103 names? Do you have a failed drug test with Alex's name on it? What evidence do you have that hasn't been mentioned? Inquiring minds want to know. I'm just seeking the facts and you really haven't presented any.
While I think Roberts' evidence is real on A-Rod - SI would be facing the mother of all lawsuits right now if she didn't have the goods on him, and Alex would have a heck of a lot more to say than telling her to talk to the union if he were innocent - I think she should be more straightforward on what evidence she has.

Because if she indeed does have a list of the other 103 names, now would be a pretty good time to disclose them. And if she won't, A-Rod isn't the only one with some explaining to do.

But what do you think? Leave us a comment!

2 comments:

Uncle Mike said...

Talk about "throwing the book at somebody."

Lisa, I know you've defended Rodriguez through many things, but he deserves all these slings and arrows. I mean, how many chances is he supposed to get?

One thing is for sure, Ladies and gentlemen: If you before ever called him Anybody who now calls him "the best player in baseball" or "the man who should be playing shortstop for the Yankees," you might want to stop now. As that great Yankee Fan Billy Joel would say, I have been a fool for lesser things. But I wouldn't want to be a fool for that one.

A-Roid should not be playing baseball for the New York Yankees. Or for any other team. He is a disgrace. He has embarrassed everybody. His teammates. His manager and coaches. His team's management. His team's fans. The game itself. The fans of said game. His wife.

This, on top of his performance, which has often been glorious from April through September, but hopeless in October.

Today, I was at Nevada Smith's, the New York bar that shows soccer games from around the world on multiple big screens, and bills itself as "Where Football Is Religion." They showed Arsenal against their nearby North London arch-rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. (Don't ask: It was a scoreless draw, with the ref giving Spurs every call, including disallowing an Arsenal goal and sending off an Arsenal player. Basically, from the 37th minute onward, it was 10 Gunners against 12 Spurs.)

What does this have to do with A-Roid? This: Spurs recently got former (and again) captain Robbie Keane back from Liverpool, where he was awful. And they paid more for Keane than they got from selling him to Liverpool. And whenever he was on the screen, the Arsenal fans in Nevada's chanted, "What a waste of money! What a waste of money! What a waste of money!"

Not more than A-Roid. The Yankees have invested so much in him, money as well as public relations, and what has he done for them? Made a little money back.

The New York Yankees are about winning World Series first and making money second. Alex Rodriguez is about Alex Rodriguez first, second, third, fourth, etc.

This after Derek Jeter publicly stood up for him following the controversy over former manager Joe Torre saying in his book that A-Rod was nicknamed "A-Fraud" by his teammates. They were right.

It is time to cut Rodriguez loose. And if the Players' Association (the ballplayers' union) objects, tough. I don't care what it costs the Yankees to get rid of A-Rod: If he stays with them, he will cost them far more than money.

Anonymous said...

i am impressed grandpa minj, a very strong stance against a yankee player. I didn't think you had it in you. even more strange, I agree with all that you said, except for all that soccer stuff. i don't know what the hell you are talking about, but i'll take your word for it this time.
km