With no game played on Sunday because of rain, Yankees manager Joe Girardi couldn't bury himself in a pile of charts so that he could put his Northwestern education to work on bullpen pitching matchups. Instead, he held court on the publishing business. His lecture went about as well as his handling of pitchers, which is to say Girardi's side wound up losing badly.
"I have some issues with it, that it's interesting how the book date got moved up now," Girardi said, "and I get tired of answering these questions. I don't understand why someone would write a book like this anyway, and some people may not care to hear that but I don't understand."
Girardi can't possibly really not understand why someone writes a book like Selena Roberts' "A-Rod." He may not like that they wrote it, but how can the manager of the New York Yankees expect anyone to believe he's so Pollyanna-ish as to really wonder about why books like that exist? He really pushed the issue, saying that no book should feature information about people unless they volunteer it themselves.
Bad news for Roberts, Doris Kearns Goodwin and publishers of the Bible.
He would have been better served to read Jason Whitlock in the Kansas City Star, even though it is about other people, and point out that everyone is accepting as fact the work of a woman who has been spectacularly wrong before. While printing bits and pieces of Roberts' book, the New York Times warns that many allegations "are based on anonymous sources, and others are simply presented as knowledge the author has without an explanation of how the information was obtained."
As Whitlock points out, that same kind of reporting helped Roberts turn the Duke lacrosse program into a criminal gang of sex offenders who were convicted without any kind of trial. Once the players were cleared of all wrongdoing, Roberts dropped the story and moved on, without so much as a retraction. That doesn't mean she's wrong about A-Rod, but it definitely means there should be a bit more measured in their response to a work that appears to be short of smoking guns.
If Girardi were to make such a citation, he wouldn't have to play naive about the book's intentions. He could say that Roberts and her publishers are interested in selling books first and getting the story right second, otherwise they would have insisted on well-sourced facts. It's about commerce, Joe, plain and simple.