File under “Interesting”

Selena Roberts’ allegations about A-Rod tipping pitches to the opposition hinge on the observations of his Ranger teammates. Interesting to note, however, that two of Alex Rodriguez’s teammates with the Rangers are calling the allegations “ridiculous” and “b.s.“:

Michael Young played just the other side of second from Alex Rodriguez, so he’d probably notice any funny business between A-Rod and opposing hitters.

And Young’s take on allegations that A-Rod occasionally tipped pitches in lost causes?


Jeff Brantley is more emphatic:

Chris Russo: “It says here in the excerpts [of the book] today [in the New York Daily News], that the opposing team, in a blowout game, a friendly [player] would tell A-Rod what pitch was coming to help break him out of a slump. How about that?”

Brantley: “No, no, no. That’s b.s. There’s no way. There’s nobody that is going to do that, not in this game. Not even the worst of the worst.”

Russo: (reading from the NY Daily News article) “’In one shocking disclosure, the book accuses A-Rod of “pitch tipping” when he was with the Rangers – letting a friendly opponent at the plate know which pitch was coming in lopsided games.’”

Brantley: “That did not happen. There’s no way that happens.”

Russo: “So there’s no way A-Rod could tip off a friendly opponent batting against Jeff Brantley in a blowout game one way or the other? That could not have occurred?”

Brantley: “Now, I’m not going to say that he couldn’t do it but I’m telling you he did not do it.”

Russo: (reading from the NY Daily News) “’Rodriguez expected players he helped would do the same for him when he was having an off night and needed to get his batting average up and it would not affect the outcome of the game.’ You’re saying that is not accurate?”

Brantley: “No way. No way.”

Maybe it’s hard to see what A-Rod is doing when you’re playing next to him and thus not watching him like Young, or when you’re way out in the bullpen like Brantley was. But they’re certainly on the record here. I eagerly anticipate hearing from Roberts’ sources about this, assuming there are ever any names attached.

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  1. Vegas Watch said...

    Selena Roberts’ reporting is irrefutable, she said so herself.  I’m not sure why you’re even bothering to refute it…and attaching names to the sources!?  Foolish, really.

  2. db said...

    You know what is unbelievable about this, who thinks Arod has any friends?  He is hyper-competitive with little of no personality.  How many friends does he have on the other team who would do this type of stuff?

  3. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Total—she’s the one making the case here. It’s her burden to prove that she’s right, and we won’t know if she’s carried it until her book comes out and we can all read and assess it.

    On a macro level, however, she has been proven to have an unwavering disdain for Alex Rodriguez (see her NYT reporting on A-Rod between 2005 and the present) and a reckless disregard for the facts on the ground when imposing her moral judgments (see the Duke Lacrosse case).

  4. mkd said...

    So how long before Law & Order does an episode about the young female reporter with an axe to grind turning up dead and an embattered sports star the most likely suspect?

    (spoiler alert: the super-Agent with a God complex did it)

  5. Anonymous said...

    Well as Ms. Roberts anonymous source, I saw A-Rod giving away pitches to the opposing hitters. It was very obvious for anyone who knows what to look for.

    Now granted, I “may” have been drinking, and I “may” have lost one of my shoes (I think in a bet), and I “may” not have actually been at the game, but rather watched it on TV, which “may” have been off at the time.

    And the only reason I’m anonymous, is because I can’t remember who I am. But I definitely know what I saw. It’s all very clear to me. And players wouldn’t be able to tell the tip-offs because they were telepathic.

  6. Sara K said...

    The beauty of it is that there’s a ready-made defense – “of course ballplayers are going to deny cheating in this form, as it amounts to throwing a game and could get them banned for life.”  Now, we watchers would assume that it’s extraordinarily unlkely that an arrangement like this could occur without having caught the notice (and subsequent lockerroom beating) from the victimized teammates, but who are we?

  7. Total said...

    “she’s the one making the case here. It’s her burden to prove that she’s right, and we won’t know if she’s carried it until her book comes out and we can all read and assess it”

    I understand that she’s the one making the case.  I’m asking if, in previous cases where she broke new facts, she’s been shown to be wrong.

    The Duke Lacrosse case was an embarrassment for her, as is her general disdain for A-Rod, but that (as you yourself pointed out) is not the same thing as her being wrong in the facts that she herself brings forward.

  8. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Total—point taken.  Answer: I know of no instance where she simply blew the facts.

  9. themarksmith said...

    To be fair, ARod’s system could have been a bit more secretive than someone on his team might have noticed. Remember, you make signs so that the dumbest on your team can understand them but the smartest on the other team cannot. In this instance, his team was the other team. I don’t know what it would have been, but his signals could have escaped the notice of his teammates.

  10. Jim said...

    I’d be interested to hear what Pudge has to say.  If A-Rod was really tipping pitches, Pudge is the one who would have noticed.

  11. Sara K said...

    And another thing…If Roberts’ informant knew that Rodriguez had a deal with certain players to swap pitch tipping, what do we make of the fact that the other players aren’t named?  Either the informant is saying that he *knows* ARod did it but he doesn’t know who he did it with, which seems like a serious credibility issue, or that the informant/Roberts/both know who the other players are and aren’t saying, which would seem to make this an ARod witchhunt.

    Any other scenarios to explain this…?

  12. Ron said...

    In a 12-1 game, a SS who has a former teammate at the plate might lay back on a groundball and let the guy get an infield hit when he’s in a slump.

    A batter gets brushed back and the pitcher doesn’t retalitate, a SS might let a runner score from 3rd by laying back in a blow out.

    It can happen, it has happend, and it will happen again.

    Tipping pitches to let guys get hits is in the realm of the Black Sox and Pete Rose. It’s cheating. It’s throwing games. It’s unethical and illegal.

    Is that what she’s claiming?  Game fixing? That’s a serious charge and that takes a lot of chutzpha. I want to see some proof and not just heresay. Of course, she’s never ben good at that.

    And who/when/where? Unsubstantiated claims are just that.

    I’m not an A-Rod fan, but it would take a lot more than some hack crying game-fixing to get me to believe it.

  13. susan mullen said...

    Re: Selena Roberts’ facts. A blog called The Yankees Republic mentions how she deduced the Duke players were guilty (even after they were proved innocent). Her proof was “irrefutable (jock) culture” of “misogyny, racial animus and athlete entitlement” and fans who were the “khaki pants crowd of SAT wonder kids.” As the blogger notes, though she said evidence was ‘irrefutable’ she didn’t cite any of it. He notes her NY Times article, “Closing Case will not mean Closure at Duke,” 3/25/07. On 3/31/06 she writes of Duke University, “virtuous on the outside, debauched on the inside.”  This was a statement of fact by Roberts which might have been true if Roberts had been right in her thesis. But her thesis (that they were guilty) did not prove true. She apparently wanted it to be that way. Or her bosses wanted it that way. In any case, the word ‘respected’ should never be used to describe a person who has freely chosen to go into Roberts’ line of work. (Blogger’s post entitled, “Selena Roberts’ Poison Pen: An Inoculation.”

  14. Millsy said...

    I find it EXTREMLY hard to believe that a player would get away with this at the Major League level.  Someone would be bound to say something at some point.  Period.  With all the scrutiny these players are under, it seems virtually impossible that no one would pick up on this during the time he played in Texas.  Constantly on television, thousands of fans, the fact that eyes are always on A-Rod.  If that’s truly the case, there should be plenty of evidence on video showing some consistent actions that he takes in the blowout games when specific players are up.  But given the closeness in the clubhouses, etc. how could pitchers never hear about this from other players?

  15. brian said...

    Lots of Joe Morgan-types here. You’re supposed to read the book before you criticize it or question it’s claims.

    All we have are excerpts, and we could be missing quite a bit.

    I know Roberts has a dubious track record with the Duke lacrosse story, but that doesn’t mean she’s incapable of reporting. She has a career as a reporter, so she must have done something right along the way to get where she is.

    What really bothers me though are the responses from Brantley. His answers just too insistent to be taken seriously.

  16. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Ben—I’ve never once disputed that A-Rod is a liar. And in fact, if you read my posts, you’ll also see that I’ve never called Selena Roberts a liar.

    The point is that A-Rod can be a liar and still not be worthy of the hit pieces she has already written about him and whatever this book is going to turn out to be. The point is that Roberts can be 100% accurate about every distinct fact yet still commit an act of slanted, hateful, and irresponsible journalism.  Writers do it all the time.

    Life is more complicated that a true and false test.

  17. moses said...

    The rules of reporting for a newspaper for anonymous sources would be verified by at least 2 other independent sources and the editor would have confirmed them as well- ala Watergate-
    I don’t know if it’s bs or the truth but she’s not the only one with an obvious agenda- bias is a 2 way street it seems

  18. Total said...

    “The point is that A-Rod can be a liar and still not be worthy of the hit pieces she has already written about him”

    Sure, but that’s not what this post is doing.  This post is going into denials of the facts that she’s bringing forward, something you explicitly have said that you’re not interested in doing.  From an earlier post:

    “Indeed, as I’ve said three times today, I don’t even think that I care if the facts are true or not, because the facts don’t interest me as much as the way in which they are presented, the context, and the conclusions they cause Roberts to draw.”

    If you want to dispute the facts, go ahead, but don’t play coy.

  19. Sara K said...

    Total – Not that Craig needs help or anything, but I don’t understand how the second bit you quoted demonstrates that Craig is trying to deny whatever facts the report may be offering.

    Moses – With reference to the allegation of ARod exchanging pitch tipping, I don’t understand how a newspaper could possibly verify her anonymous source. Maybe I’m misinterpreting what you are trying to say. 

    What bothers me is this: suppose that Roberts has it absolutely right, that her source is 100% legit, and ARod conspired with players on other teams to cheat. Who are these other players? Wouldn’t it be hard to trust a source who *couldn’t* say who it was that he supposedly conspired with? If this information is known, what reason would there be for it not being a part of the report? Naturally, if it turns out that Roberts actually names everyone she knows to be involved in this conspiracy to alter the outcome of games, this suspicion will be proved premature. But if the *only* player named is ARod, I don’t see how Roberts could say that her primary motivation is truth or the integrity of the game. *If* this is should be the case, she would have her “facts” absolutely right and still be on shaky ethical grounds.  IMHO, anyway.

  20. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Total—I’m not making it my business to get into a truth verification business on this story, but this is still a news-based blog, and when something that informs the news of the day, I’m posting it. That’s just how I roll.

  21. Ben2009 said...

    You know who else has a pretty poor track record?  Who actually has blown facts?  A-Rod.

    A-Rod told Katie Couric that he never used ‘roids.  Lie.

    A-Rod told Peter Gammons that Selena Roberts had been thrown out of his apartment building.  Lie.

    A-Rod told Gammons that Roberts had been kicked off the U of Miami campus.  Lie.

    A-Rod told Gammons that he had “the paper” proving all of this.  He didn’t.  Lie.

    If I have to choose between believing Selena Roberts and believing A-Rod, I know who I’m choosing.

  22. David said...

    Whew.  Great to see some logic and well-deserved skepticism infused in this anti-steroid, anti-ARod, and, in my opinion, flagrantly racist mania.

    There is no evidence that’s even remotely plausible that’s been reported thus far.

    Logically, the burden of proof should be on the accuser.  She’s making outrageous allegations without a shred of evidence, as far as I can tell.

    The book ranks #190 on Amazon’s bestseller list.  Good to see that people aren’t piling on as much when you’re not in Bristol, Connecticut.

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