Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

There's nothing more to tell about. There's nothing left to be decided.

A photo I took last year of Kyle Snyder in Pawtucket. Often when I write about things that are unpleasant, I’ll throw a picture of Kyle up. It always puts me in a better mood!

Given my choice of things to read, I prefer books over newspapers, magazines and even the Internet. I like having to take days to read a story instead of the quick blurbs you get from other media. I read many different genres and make sure to throw in a few sports-themed books to the list every year. This week, there was news about three different books either on their way to being published or, in one case, shopping for a publisher. All three I find myself oddly fascinated with, even though I know at least two of them could be nothing but fables and lies.

According to Deadspin, Mark McGwire’s younger brother Jay has written a tell-all book about McGwire’s steroid use called “The McGwire Family Secret: The Truth about Steroids, a Slugger, and Ultimate Redemption”. The title says it all, doesn’t it? McGwire’s brother takes the credit (such as it is) for introducing McGwire to steroids and even relays a story where Mark’s “roid rage” come through in an interaction he had with one of Jay’s children. For anyone on the fence about whether or not McGwire did steroids, this book (if it ever finds a publisher) might help you choose a side. It’s worth noting that Mark and Jay aren’t on speaking terms and Jay claims he isn’t spilling the beans on his brother to be spiteful, he’s doing it out of love.

This is where I make a mental note to make sure anyone who loves me doesn’t run out and write a book about my Red Bull addiction.

McGwire is an odd example of a player from the, so-called, steroid era. Thought the sports writers with votes for the Hall of Fame seem to be taking out their perceptions of him on their ballots, for the most part he’s been given a free ride. Aside from the Andro in his locker all those years ago (which, at the time, was legal) no one (except Jose Canseco) has definitively linked him to steroids. People seem to want to turn a blind eye to his possible/probable steroids usage. Whether it’s because people thought he was a good guy, or there are racial undertones, or folks genuinely believe he didn’t use…they’ve been, relatively, easy on him. Heck, just the fact that Deadspin broke the story instead of, say, ESPN, tells you that there still is a preference in the media to not focus on the possibility that McGwire cheated. Unfortunately, McGwire’s brother, given his own past use of steroids and the rift between the two McGwire brothers, isn’t quite a reliable source. The fact that publishing houses are already rejecting the book speaks, I’d assume, to the lack of credibility Jay and what he wrote hold. None of this means I wouldn’t buy the book as soon as it hit the bookstores, mind you. Hell, I’d be first in line.

A much more credible source would be Joe Torre. Lucky for us, he too has written a book (along with Tom Verducci). This one isn’t about steroids, though, just what it was like being part of the Yankees organization. Early Sunday, there were reports that indicated Torre wrote a tell-all in which we’d get dirt on Cashman and ARod and other players. Tom Verducci came out Sunday evening to refute those reports. Although, truthfully, he didn’t do such a great job. When asked, straight out, if the reports about the content of the book were accurate, he responded:

I can’t comment on specific content of the book because it hasn’t reached its publication date yet and there are contracts to honor. But like I said, it’s important to understand the context of the book. The interviews with Torre were done specifically for the book but this is the result of hundreds of interviews with not only Torre but players, front office executives, executives of other teams, players on other teams. It’s a 477-page book about 12 years of baseball history. Again, it’s not a Joe Torre first-person book, so there’s a lot of reporting that’s presented in there in addition to Joe’s insights.

Smart people will judge the book upon actually reading it and not reading preliminary reports prior to its publication. Once you understand the context of the book you understand the information. It’s not a tell-all book. Anybody who reads it will understand that.

He’s honest and he takes things head on. He never goes after people in the way it’s portrayed in the headlines. There’s a lot of information in the book.

All he had to say was “no”. Interesting how he didn’t. I’d like to believe Torre doesn’t come out and write “Alex Rodriguez is the biggest dink I’ve ever worked with” (although there IS a part of me that would love it if he did!) but I think writing ANYTHING about what went on in that clubhouse is betraying confidences. Maybe if he was retired and a few years removed from he game I’d think differently. But next month Torre has to face his players at spring training. How many of those players are going to question Torre’s loyalty to them? How many are going to wonder if everything they do is being noted for another book? Torre has a reputation for being one of the “classiest” men in MLB. It’s my opinion that writing a tell-all book about the organization that made him who he is takes him off the classy list. And, again, I grudgingly admit that this is a book that I’ll absolutely be reading when it comes out!

Kirk Radomski fascinates me. I have no idea if he’s totally full of it and just has a fabulous imagination, or if he’s the only one telling the truth about this whole mess. Either way, whenever you see his name in the news, you know something compelling will be attached to it. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” had an interview with Radomski on Sunday night where he claimed that, when he worked in the Mets clubhouse, he took two urine tests for Dwight Gooden. Radomski was on “Outside the Lines” promoting, you guessed it, his tell-all book that’s coming out this Tuesday called “Bases Loaded”.

Radomski’s book is, without a doubt, the one out of these three that I’m most interested in reading. There’s something about a guy who is willing to be saddled as the guy who tainted baseball. It’s easy to ignore his claims (apparently, Gooden responded via text message with “LOL” when told what Radomski said) but it’s also easy to believe him. Through it all, Radomski hasn’t wavered from his story. Doesn’t mean everything he says is true, but I do look at it with less suspicion than I do something written by, oh let’s say, Jay McGwire.

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January 25, 2009 - Posted by | 2009 | , ,

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