Matt McCarthy, a graduate of Yale and of Harvard Medical School now working as an intern in the residency program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital in New York, has gained national attention in recent weeks for “Odd Man Out,” his salacious memoir of his summer as an obscure minor league pitcher. He writes about playing with racist, steroids-taking teammates, pitching for a profane, unbalanced manager and observing obscene behavior and speech that in some ways reinforce the popular image of wild professional ballplayers.
But statistics from that season, transaction listings and interviews with his former teammates indicate that many portions of the book are incorrect, embellished or impossible . . . Several times in the book, which he devotes mostly to the antics of libidinous teammates and his manic manager, Tom Kotchman, McCarthy directly quotes people stating incorrect facts about their own lives and tells detailed (and mostly unflattering) stories about teammates who were in fact not on his team at the time. The book’s more outrageous scenes could not be independently corroborated or disproved; several teammates who were present said in interviews that they were exaggerated or simply untrue.
McCarthy is standing by his story. Well, sort of:
During the interview Monday, McCarthy said that the notebooks in which he wrote most nights that summer were very specific and “extremely detailed with regards to dialogue.” After being told of the many errors, he said several times that he strived to recollect events six years afterward.
“I think that there are a handful of details that I did my best to re-create,” said McCarthy, 28. “For the most part, it’s a detailed account of what was going on. If somebody comes out and says, ‘I would never have said that, therefore it’s not true,’ I can’t do anything about that.”
That, my friends, is stage 1 of a classic backpedal. I’m not entirely sure what the next stage will be, but you can bet that the final stage will be a teary interview on “Outside the Lines” or “Oprah” or something.
(thanks to Neate Sager for the heads up)