Radomski Rites

I find that there is nothing less nutritious in life than quickie autobiographies of Warholian figures. These are people who are fleetingly famous for a very specific purpose, with said purpose capable of thorough exploration in the space of a mid-sized magazine feature. We nevertheless get full-blown books out of these guys for some reason, and are forced to slog through approximately 76 pages of the author’s uneventful childhood before getting to what we all really want to read, which is the part where he screws everything up in his life and gets arrested.

Thankfully there are people like Michael Schmidt of the New York Times. Schmidt sweet-talked a copy of Kirk Radomski’s book from a clerk at Books-a-Million or someplace, and has the highlights:

In a portion of the book that is likely to attract attention, Radomski states that he was asked by Mitchell about a handful of major leaguers who were not among his dozens of customers and who did not end up being named in the Mitchell report. Radomski names this group of players in his book — several of them have been previously linked to performance-enhancing drugs in other books — and says that he told Mitchell that he had no firsthand knowledge about their possible use of drugs.

Mitchell, through a spokesman, disputed Radomski’s claim that he was asked about specific players who were not named in the report. “At no time did we raise the names of specific players who had not previously been identified to us by Mr. Radomski,” John Clarke, a spokesman for Mitchell, said in an e-mail message . . . “He said that he couldn’t remember the names of all the players he had dealt with, so after the first interview, we provided him with a list of all the players who were on major league rosters during the relevant time periods for him to review,” Clarke said.

Fine, Mitchell didn’t raise names for Radomski. He just gave him a list of every friggin’ ballplayer there was and asked him to pick some. I suppose that’s kosher enough, but the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the list was kind of like those photo lineups that courts are always ruling to be unduly suggestive. Like, Larry Bigbie and Eric Gagne’s name were double-bolded and italicized or something.

In any event, after reading Schmidt’s article, I hope that none of you feel an overpowering need to go buy Radomski’s book. There is so much garbage being published these days that we shouldn’t be in the business of encouraging any more of it.

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