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Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Why we can’t take Selena Roberts at her wordI have another somewhat lengthy piece about the Roberts/A-Rod book up over at CTB.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:26am
Wow, I’ve never really read her stuff before so I’m amazed by Roberts’ bombastic, arrogant, condescending writing style in the Clark and Beane pieces. Even without analyzing her content, you get the sense that this is a writer who has a slightly above-average knack for stringing words together, but is so obsessed with seeming like a brilliant wordsmith that each sentence drips with an aggressive desire to impress. To use a simile Ms. Roberts might employ, she writes as if through clenched teeth.
Posted 05/05 at 09:56 AM
Sara K said...
Those links within the article detailing Roberts’ history of spiteful, fallacious character assassination are golden. Thanks for posting, CC!
Posted 05/05 at 10:12 AM
Nice article. I listened to her on WFAN yesterday and she kept talking about her sources “passing the litmus test” as if that cliche actually means anything. She is an ignorant hack.
Posted 05/05 at 10:39 AM
Craig Calcaterra said...
That comment may be more telling than she thought, Anthony. She was probably going for something like “passing the smell test,” which is rough judgment on whether someone is telling the truth or not. A “litmus test,” however, is a term in politics used to describe a situation in which someone subscribes to a particular opinion or othodoxy.
I have no problem believing that Roberts had a litmus test here: say something bad about A-Rod, and you pass. Say something good about him, and you don’t.
Posted 05/05 at 10:41 AM
Aaron Moreno said...
It’s not the complete inability to grasp baseball that gets me, it’s the seemingly random strings of adjectives, often from other sports.
Posted 05/05 at 10:48 AM
Good article and it’s good to see a few fellas actually answer the call of Jason Whitlock for journalists to actually question and think critically of people in their own industry.
RE: Pitch-tipping. Joe Posnanski, a writer of baseball and pop culture, did the next-best thing to looking at the video tape of the Rangers games: he looked at the stats.
Bottom line? In his years with the Rangers, A-Rod’s OPS:
Blowout games: 1.084
Blowout game was defined as a 5-run differential.
He did find that Bret Boone and Miguel Tejada mashed Rangers’ pitching, but I don’t think that anybody thinks that that matters for anything.
Bottom line: There remains zero evidence that this occurred. It comes down to Selena Roberts vs. Buck Showalter/Michael Young/Jeff Brantley/The Stats/Doug Mientkievicz.
Who’s more credible?
Posted 05/05 at 10:51 AM
Brian Cheetham said...
Well, OK, but you have to consider Rodriguez’ track record here too. Slapping the ball out of Arroyo’s glove? Yelling “I got it” behind Howie Clark on a pop up? Lying to the perky Katie Couric?
Rodriguez has shown himself to be what I would call “without honor” in numerous situations. If he would try to slap a ball out of a fielder’s glove (and then deny it, even when the ump calls him for interference), then it is impossible not to believe that cheating is part of his “game.” Juice? Tipping pitches? Madonna? It’s all believable, because we’ve all seen enough of Rodriguez to understand *who he is*.
Posted 05/05 at 11:05 AM
Craig Calcaterra said...
Brian—I can’t argue with the premise: given his track record it would not be particularly difficult to believe these allegations, assuming there was some evidence other than Roberts’ word here. If she had one person on the record about pitch tipping, or if she had some video analysis evidence, or if she had some statistical evidence, her predispositions or previous and errors would be far less relevant.
But she has nothing, and no matter what we know of Alex Rodriguez to date, and no matter what we think he may be capable of, we have to have something on which to hang our hat, here, don’t we?
Posted 05/05 at 11:11 AM
No, I don’t know “Who A-Rod is” and I highly doubt that you do, either.
Steroids? Sure he did it. Along with hundreds of others. Lots of pathetic American men love getting government-approved steroids in the form of pharmaceuticals from their doctors because they have low “t-levels”.
Sleep with Madonna? Every single heterosexual man would sleep with Madonna. If you wouldn’t, well, I mean, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”
A-Rod’s numbers were worse in blowout games than in close games. Every single person in the know has refuted proven-liar Selena Roberts’s claims about pitch tipping. If it did occur, it would be as easy as watching the game film from 2001-2003. Yet no video evidence was offered.
I know you think that you’re cool or tough for hating this man who you’ll never know in all of your life. But, like, you’re not.
Posted 05/05 at 11:13 AM
It appears that we have an agenda seeking journalist (with both her materials/ideologies and career desires) with a questionable history of getting on the right side of a story and a self-professes liar and cheat who is consumed by his need to be loved and appreciated. Neither comes out looking good to me but as a trained academic I struggle more with the agenda seeking professional who appears to violate ethical practices of her profession when it serves her personal agenda. Neither passes the aforementioned smell test for me.
In my opinion journalism as a whole has continually lowered its ethical bar as it has taken on more of a business model that caters to market demands more than seeking to present information that attepmts to find the truth within a story. Why hasn’t ESPN vetted her stories better - because it sells ad space on their web site, moves more magazines and gives blowhearts like Colin Cowherd ammo to rank for hours.
As a interesting side note - I miss the days of Jason Whitlock on The Sportreporters and cannot watch when Roberts and Lupica are holding court (Lupica is a fixture I have accepted by getting more coffee when he goes off on his rants). Heard that Whitlock is gone partly because he wouldn’t speak the party line and dared to present a view that may give credence to another perspective of a story (i.e. the non-ESPN perspective).
Posted 05/05 at 11:30 AM
70’s fringe writer Bill James
Posted 05/05 at 12:17 PM
kranky kritter said...
That’s the right takeaway, aint it? That the allegations are both very believable, and totally unsubstantiated, right?
My sense is that such conditions are ones where bullshit thrives. Skeptical folks seem to be asking the right questions about the absence of any on-the-record testimony whatsoever. Add in the author’s eagerness to insist that she has to “protect her sources” and it’s all going right by the script.
We already knew that ARod is something of an unscrupulous A-hole. This book neither adds to nor changes anything on the reliable record. Next!
Posted 05/05 at 12:38 PM
Mike in brooklyn said...
I only read one of the Selena Roberts links you provided—the Beane and James one. It was truly horrible writing. I don’t mean what she said so much as how she said it. I found it absolutely boring and wouldn’t have read past the 1st paragraph if I’d just run across it in the paper one day. And if Bill James is fringe, please, god, let me be fringe someday—in something, anything!
Posted 05/05 at 01:18 PM
What in world does Roberts not believing in OBP or OPS have to do with her credibility as a reporter? If you’re going to attack her credibility, do it with examples of her misstating or getting facts wrong (Duke lacrosse is fair game). Not because she doesn’t believe in the importance of a particular statistic.
Posted 05/05 at 07:35 PM