Blog Entry

The A-Rod book: One thing's wrong, for sure

Posted on: May 6, 2009 1:53 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2009 2:47 pm
It took me less than an hour to find a mistake in A-Rod, The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez , the Selena Roberts book that debuted this week.

And I wasn't even trying.

I got to page 79, read that A-Rod was "hitting a dismal .105 . . . with April nearing its chilly end," and that he then met with a guy named Jim Fannin "in a downtown Milwaukee hotel room."

I wasn't covering A-Rod in 1996, but I was covering baseball. And it seemed stunning that he could have been hitting .105 near the end of April. It took me all of three minutes on to find out that he wasn't.

No, when A-Rod was hitting .105, it was April 7, six games into the season. And while the Mariners had just finished a series against Milwaukee, it was at the Kingdome, not at County Stadium. And while the Mariners then left on a road trip, they went to Detroit, not Milwaukee. The Mariners' lone trip to Milwaukee that season was in late July, not late April.

Now, does any of this really matter?

Not really. We've all made sloppy mistakes like that, misreading our notes or trusting someone else's faulty memory. But here's the thing: An author who relies on innuendo, speculation, pop psychology and anonymous sources for her strongest accusations is also asking for our trust.

It's possible that any or all of Roberts' accusations -- the repeated steroid use dating back to high school, the marital indiscretions, even the pitch-tipping -- are true. In fact, with what we already know for sure about A-Rod, it's not hard at all to believe that they're true (well, maybe except for the pitch-tipping). But Roberts doesn't exactly produce an air-tight case in support of any of them.

In fact, after saying that A-Rod used in high school, she then sets up scenarios to suggest why he may have begun using at various other times during his career (in Seattle, Texas and New York). After suggesting that he fell in with a steroid culture in Texas, she follows up by saying that he hid his own use.

The effect is that by the end of the book (and yes, I've now read it cover to cover), the reader isn't completely sure what to believe.

Roberts gets some benefit of the doubt for her excellent work in breaking the original A-Rod steroid story, in February. She had the goods on A-Rod then, because of a positive test result that he couldn't deny.

A-Rod himself gets little benefit of the doubt, because of his conflicting explanations after that story broke.

You go into reading the book ready to believe anything. And perhaps most of what she writes is true.

Already, we know one small part of it isn't.
Category: MLB

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The A-Rod book: One thing's wrong, for sure

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The A-Rod book: One thing's wrong, for sure

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The A-Rod book: One thing's wrong, for sure

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:59 am

The A-Rod book: One thing's wrong, for sure

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Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:44 pm
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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:56 pm

The A-Rod book: One thing's wrong, for sure

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Since: May 12, 2009
Posted on: May 12, 2009 4:01 am

The A-Rod book: One thing's wrong, for sure

Sorry Mr. Knobler, despite the praise you have received in your comments, no one actually went the extra mile to actually determine if your fact-finding expedition was accurate.

First, you took Ms. Roberts' comments out of context. What she actually wrote was:

"He was floundering. At the outset of his first full season with the Mariners, Alex was hitting a dismal .105. He needed a faith healer for his psyche. Fortunately, he knew who to call."

The comment about "April nearing its chilly end" was in the next paragraph... a complete and separate thought that was clarified later in the chapter by identifying when Jim Fannin came into A-Rod's life. It's context, sir.

But then there's that bigger claim about the Mariners not playing in Milwaukee in April. Now, I wasn't covering A-Rod in 1996 nor was I covering baseball. But it seemed stunning that the Mariners would only play ONE series in Milwaukee since they played them 13 times that season.

So, I did some digging and I used Baseball-Reference to look at the Mariners gamelogs.

As you can see, the Mariners visited Milwaukee on April 26, 27 and 28. Ironically, it didn't take me an hour to find that mistake. It actually didn't take me 15 minutes.

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