Friday, May 21, 2010

Latest "Steinbrenner" book needs a fact-checker

I got Bill Madden's book Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball from the library today, and was thumbing through it just now. And in just taking a cursory look at the book, I found two pretty silly errors. If these are indicative of the rest of the biography, then I don't think I'll be reading any more of the book!

First error is on page 392, regarding the 2000 World Series: "After two extra-inning wins by the Yankees in games one and two at Yankee Stadium, the scene shifted to dilapidated Shea Stadium...." Um, no. The Yankees won in extra innings in Game 1. They won Game 2 thanks to Roger Clemens' great pitching performance - eight innings, two hits, no runs, and one thrown bat! Although the Mets did rally against the Yankee bullpen in the ninth, no extra innings were involved in that game.

The second error I found was a real giggler. It's from page 428, the last page of the book, and it's about the music performed before Game 2 of the 2009 World Series. Madden describes how George Steinbrenner "seemed oblivious to the sounds coming from the field of rapper Jay-Z, clad in a purple jacket, thigh-high boots and a Yankee cap, performing his anthem "Empire State of Mind," which includes the lyric 'I made the Yankee hat more famous than any Yankee can.'"

Aside from the fact that the lyric actually says "than a Yankee can," not "than any Yankee can," Madden seemed to have confused Jay-Z with the purple-clad Alicia Keys. Don't think Jay-Z would look very cool in her outfit, especially the thigh-high boots!

Maybe these errors seem trivial, but if I'm going to invest the time to read a book, I expect that there will be some sort of serious fact-checking involved on the part of the publisher. The errors I found are pretty easily verifiable things that should have been caught before making it into the hardcover. And every time I see such sloppiness in a book, I wonder what other things are incorrect in it. Which is why I doubt I'll be reading much more of "Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball."

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The Omnipotent Q said...

That drives me crazy, Lisa: authors who don't bother to check the facts. I read that awful Johnny Damon book, "Idiot" back in 2005, and it was so full of errors (typos and factual mistakes) that I felt embarrassed to be reading it (and for the record, it was while he was still with the Sox). Peter Golenbock should be ashamed that a book like that with so many factual mistakes came out.

And I have just about no respect for Bill Madden. So thanks for the heads-up about this rubbish as well.

Uncle Mike said...

Well, I haven't read the Steinbrenner bio yet. I have read the new bio of Reggie Jackson, and while it seems not to have any provable factual errors -- unlike Reggie's own storytelling, sad to say -- it's a major hatchet-job, and not just on its main subject. George doesn't come off too well in it, either. Hardly anybody does, outside of some of Reggie's Oakland teammates and manager Dick Williams.

But Bill Madden is a Hall of Fame sportswriter. He should know better than to let mistakes like those slip. I can understand if he's not a Jay-Z fan and heard the lyric wrong (and I can certainly understand if he was staring at Alicia Keys), but how hard is it to look up the lyrics? And as for Game 2 of the 2000 World Series, that game was kind of memorable, what with the Clemens bat-throw. Maybe Madden had it confused with another Met World Series? That's not it, since they come so rarely it's hard to confuse them!

I als haven't yet read the new bios of Roger Maris and Thurman Munson. I'm hoping they're better.

Sports Talk with Justin and Pat said...

I think you should give it a second chance, Lisa. I read it and thought it was great. I really think those two issues are trivial. The book was a great read.

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