Apparently the book is filled with tawdry tales about sex, drugs and jealousy. Plus, based on advances from the book, A-Rod is a really bad tipper, too.
Regardless, Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi doesn’t get why something like Roberts’ book would be written, let alone published.
And yes, Joe Girardi lives in a cocoon.
But like the admitted steroid user she writes about, Roberts is taking a few shots from folks in the media. Certainly that is fair based on the dish-out/take-it dynamic that exists in our in-everyone’s-business atmosphere in our little digital world.
Clearly the reasons for the backlash are twofold. One reason is that a lot of people don’t ever want to believe that athletes of Rodriguez’s caliber would ever do anything wrong. You know, that whole bit where celebrities can never do wrong and that they are thoughtful and articulate.
Usually the people that thing this way dot there I’s with smiley faces.
The other major complaint is that some of the evidence against A-Rod is thin, which very well could be true. Of course some of the source material might be difficult to prove with mere statistics. That’s especially the case with the charge that A-Rod tipped the upcoming pitches to the opposition in blowout games with the hope that the favor would be returned. Some of Rodriguez’s ex-teammates said they never saw hints of pitch tipping to the opposition. Hell, it would be tough to catch a guy with a less than average poker face from studying video tape of the games.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
According to some research by SI’s Joe Posnanski, it’s quite possible that opposing players like Bret Boone and Miguel Tejada (amongst others) may have benefited from something.
As Posnanski writes:
Now, before showing off a few numbers, I want to reiterate that, I believe, it would be almost impossible to the find the answer in numbers. For one thing, Texas’ pitching sucked from 2001 to 2003. Two, the Ballpark at Arlington is a bandbox. Three, a hitter who knows what pitch is coming would not hit 1.000 or anything close to that. I have absolutely no idea how much better you can expect a hitter to be if he knows the pitch and the location … fifty points of batting average? One hundred points of slugging? More? Less? No idea. So I would not have any idea what kind of numbers we should be looking for anyway … especially because the charge is that A-Rod tipped pitches ONLY IN BLOWOUT SITUATIONS.
Still, I think the following number is pretty striking.
American League West middle infielders facing the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003: Hit .309/.375/.558. They banged 44 homers and drove in 184 RBIs in 281 games.
And the two real middle infield stars — Miguel Tejada and Bret Boone? Tejada hit .347/.406/.613 in 57 games against Texas. He hit 17 home runs.
Bret Boone hit .315/.386/.570 in 58 games against Texas. He hit 14 home runs.
There are other pretty good numbers. Mark Ellis and Frank Menechino in their full seasons hit .300 with some power against the Rangers. In 2003, David Eckstein hit .249 against everyone else, but .311 against the Rangers. Carlos Guillen hit lousy against the Rangers in 2001, but in 2002 and 2002 he hit .319 and .351. But this is what I mean when I say that there is really too much statistical noise to get at much here. I would find it very hard to believe that A-Rod would have worked out a deal with David Eckstein or Frank Menechino. I can’t believe there would be much percentage in that.
Check out the full post for more striking research that may not be a smoking gun, but it sure is one crazy coincidence otherwise.
On another note, my favorite reaction to A-Rod’s alleged fascination with Madonna was this quote from an unnamed teammate:
“Obsessed, pretty much. It was like, 'OK, Alex, you're with Madonna. And I'd give you a big high-five for that -- 15 years ago.' Hey, she looks great, but she's 50. It's like sleeping with your mother.”
And Girardi doesn’t understand why that stuff gets published? Sheesh… what kind of weirdo water is Steinbrenner giving his guys?