Monday, May 4, 2009

The media misses the real questions to ask about the 'A-Rod' book

So there's a whole to-do today in the media over the fact that after being asked question after question after question about Alex Rodriguez and the new book about him, Joe Girardi finally spoke out in defense of his third baseman:

"I have some issues with it, that it's interesting how the book date got moved up now," Girardi said, "and I get tired of answering these questions. I don't understand why someone would write a book like this anyway, and some people may not care to hear that but I don't understand."

He also said:

“Just going into someone’s life. I have three small kids and there are things in my life that I probably wish I could have a re-do on. I wouldn’t want those dragged through the mud and I’m sure you wouldn’t, either.

Sounds like common sense to me, right? Wrong - at least not as far as the media is concerned. They're all a tizzy that Joe would dare to criticize a journalist.

Newsday's Wallace Matthews is shocked, shocked that after being asked four questions in a row about the A-Rod book, Girardi actually gave an impassioned response. Matthews writes:

Only Girardi knows what he was trying to accomplish....But whatever his intentions, all Girardi accomplished Sunday was this: He helped Roberts and her publisher, Harper Collins, sell a few more books. He left a room full of reporters scratching their heads and wondering what the hell brought all that on.

I listened to the audio on Peter Abraham's LoHud site. If anybody in the media really wondered what brought that on, they are kidding themselves. Joe's been asked questions on this book for four straight days now. And Sunday's New York Post had a story entitled, "Horny A-Rod a Lap Dunce," featuring more lurid revelations from the book. It's not a surprise to me why Girardi might have had enough of this line of questioning.

But you would have thought Girardi had set the First Amendment on fire or something. The Post's Joel Sherman waxed indignant over Joe's saying he didn't understand why books like this were written:

At this point, we can assume Girardi dislikes the Red Sox and the First Amendment equally. Watch out, movie business, you are in trouble in 2010 -- that is, if you actually think Girardi will be working here in 2010.....

Oh, snap! Guess Sherman never heard the old Tony Randall/"Odd Couple" routine about what happens when you assume.

Anyhow, Sherman continues his own rant:

So if Girardi were the Czar of the Written Word, we would never read about how the personal lives of presidents influence their decision-making. Great. Or, in the case of Rodriguez, what influences shaped the most famous baseball player in the world to be so reckless, insecure, self-destructive and egomaniacal -- by the way, all elements that impact the atmosphere of Girardi's team.

Yeah, Joel, you're right. Selena Roberts' groundbreaking reporting, featuring tidbits like how A-Rod had a clubbie put toothpaste on a toothbrush for him, and how Alex "only" tipped 15% at Hooters, is right up there with the best of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough.

And really, we all needed Roberts to tell us that A-Rod is a needy, greedy, insecure narcissist who says and does a lot of stupid things. Thanks, Selena. I had no idea!

Speaking of "elements that impact the atmosphere of Girardi's team," you would think Sherman or somebody else in the New York media would try to do a little investigative work of their own and find out which current Yankees collaborated with Roberts on her book. She has said several Yankees have volunteered incriminating information to her about A-Rod, including after his spring training press conference. It would be interesting to know which Bombers were behind Roberts' biggest bombshell - the fact that A-Rod failed that steroids test.

Oh, but we know that will never happen, much like we're not likely to see any investigation of the other 103 players who failed that steroids tests, or a tell-all about Angel Presinal's other clients (like, um, David Ortiz!). No, the media would like to have us believe that A-Rod is the only baseball player in history to ever do steroids, cheat on his wife, and use clubhouse workers as errand boys.

I don't think fans are buying that line of reasoning, though. And I don't think fans will exactly be buying this book in droves. Even though Roberts' "A-Rod" has gotten five straight days of publicity in the national media, it just cracked Amazon's top #100 today. The book is currently only at #100 (!), behind such books as Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" (which has been only been out for 50 years or so) and the latest Sookie Sackhouse book. Sheesh.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


Ross said...

Lisa - the missing link to all of this is that Peter Abraham has something against both A-Rod AND Girardi, so he was inciting that whole exchange. He was the one that asked 3 or 4 follow-up questions in a row and really set Girardi off.

Since when is it the job of a journalist to take a stance on an issue and then pester the subject until they get emotional and create a news story?

Someone needs to go back to journalism 101.

Uncle Mike said...

Abraham did go a little too far in asking question after question, much like Jim Gray did on Pete Rose a few years back.

On the other hand, that brings up the true "big story." If A-Rod is tipping pitches, then he's fixing games, and that's worse than steroids. We're talking banned for life.

When will the media start asking about that? Ah, but that doesn't involve dropping one's pants to inject yourself with steroids (or to... no, I'll keep this rated PG).

I don't know what it's going to take, Lisa, for you to stop defending A-Rod. He has hurt his teams in plenty of ways, and that was before we knew about anything in Selena Roberts' book. In other words, even if it's a total lie, he's still a liability. If even half of that stuff is true, then he's embarrassed the team too much.

If I'm running the Yankees, I'd call up a few NFL owners, and ask them how I can get rid of a player and outfox the inevitable hue and cry from the players' union, and say, "You got nothin'." Then I'd watch A-Rod and Scott Boras throw tantrums until some other team lowballs them, and watch that team fail in September or October.

If, as Mike Lupica says (unfortunately, this time he's right), A-Rod is "the fact of the Yankees," then it's time for a chemical peel.

Uncle Mike said...

I meant "the face of the Yankees," otherwise the "chemical peel" joke makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Grandpa. Lisa you've been awful defensive of Arod. Granted, the book is a sensationalistic piece of trash, or maybe it's not, but it is a book. It was written to make money. people decide whether they want to buy it, or if they want to believe it. but posting 5 times a day to discredit the author is a little much.
Is arod the only man to cheat? on his wife, on the sport? no, of course not. but he is arod. he matters. he is the highest paid player in the game, playing for the highest profile team in all of sports. most of the attention on him is self-inflicted. jeter is a pretty high profile guy, but you don't see all this crap coming out about him, do you?

leave it alone, his legacy will be what it will be. unfortunately for you, and others, right now that legacy is tied to the yankees.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you; Sherman's piece today was a bit over the top.
1st Amendment? Really? Girardi was saying he doesn't get it...who reads these things? And, that I understand whether it is the unauthroized biograpghy of Princess Di or Frank Sinatra or Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, or Britney Spears who cares? Pick up a copy of the National Enquirer...same thing.
You know what I care about? Whether ARod will choke in October or not.
It is ARod. We've heard all of this before and it is time to move on. Hopefully this will be a story without legs and we can focus on baseball and what the heck is the deal with the bullpen!


lb said...

Joel Sherman's article today just reminded me why I hate the NY media.

Anonymous said...

104 men in the major leagues were caught using sterioids in 2003. Alex Rodgriquez was the only one outed. Why? When will we find out who the other 103 guys are? Miguel Tejada didn't tell the truth before a congressional committee; not a peep form the media, he's quietly playing games in Houston. I guess the Astros are no longer a part of Major League Baseball. What hypocrites.
Now he's got to answer to "unamed sources" and accusations with no face behind them? and you want folks to spend good money on a book like that? Names, Selena, give us NAMES.Otherwise talk a long walk please.

Question, if he were tipping pitches, at some point wouldn't that get back to the pitcher who was victimzed by this and wouldn'tthat pitcher either a) plug him in the ribs the next time they faced him or b) report it to the league?

I mean if the other poster is correct in saying taht this is equivalent to game fixing, I would think he'd be gone in a second, no questions asked.Gambling did in Denny Mclain and Pete Rose is still on the outside looking in at the Hall of Fame.

Selena Roberts needs to put up or shut up; don't hide behind that cloak of "confidentiality"; to me that went out the window when she decided to hold off publishing the book until Alex returned from the disabled list. Either you have the goods on him or you don't. Otherwise its a waste of time.

NAM said...

At least NY has a media to hate. It's day to day if Boston will have a paper to read (and I don't mean that other trash paper in town). Of course, it os owned by the NY Times so maybe Boston does have the NY media to hate.

As for A-Rod; he and his career are an oddity wrapped in a mystery. It will be interesting to see what happens when he returns to the majors.

Good luck to both teams tonight. I think both teams need a little luck.

Anonymous said...

Anytime you want to criticize the media when they deserve it go for it Lisa. I don't care if its A-Rod, Bush, Obama, Jeter.

Its not about A-Rod when it comes to this First Amendment crap.

Jonmouk71 said...

I'm not sure why all the wasted space about tipping pitches. This has been going on for years in baseball. Just check out the baseball bible, Jim Bouton's Ball Four. He relates two or three stories where players gave "help" to ex-teammates or people trying to hit .300 on the last day of the season. So why is this such a shock? Ball Four also contains the line, "If a pitcher could take a pill that would win him twenty games but take five years off his life, he'd take it." So why was anyone shocked over steroids?

Dustin said...

Great site, I heard you on Baseball Honeymoon and decided to check it out.

I think Jason Whitlock did a good job of summing up Selena Roberts.

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