Should Selena Roberts’ reporting be questioned?

In his new column, Jason Whitlock of the KC Star reminds us of Selena Roberts’ past missteps in reporting. Roberts is currently receiving loads of attention for investigating Alex Rodriguez’s steroid history, which is highlighted in her new biography, “A-Rod.”

In 2006, Roberts covered the story for the New York Times about players from Duke’s lacrosse team that were involved in a potential rape. The allegations were since proven false, and Roberts never retracted the overzealous statements made in her columns.

Why it’s being treated as an unimpeachable piece of journalism can only be explained by the cushy position she’s been handed by The New York Times, ESPN and Sports Illustrated and the unchallenged institutional bias found within the elite sports media institutions.

Like the Duke lacrosse players, the elite media have decided that Alex Rodriguez is fair game for abuse. Rules of fairness do not apply.

In a rush to prove its racial even-handedness, the media initially chose to swallow the accusations of a black stripper over white college students. Roberts and others made fools of themselves. They were given the leeway to do so only because lacrosse players aren’t part of the NCAA money-making machine and unlikely to be future subjects of high-profile stories.

The players were convenient, vulnerable targets.

So is Rodriguez. Like Barry Bonds, A-Rod is a threat to surpass Babe Ruth (and Hank Aaron) on the home run chart. A-Rod, a Dominican, is the dominant player in a sport that is almost solely analyzed and defined by white American sports writers and broadcasters.

I am not asserting a nationwide racial conspiracy against minority baseball players. I’m in no way stating that Roberts’ pursuit of Rodriguez is motivated by race. I’m asserting that the media’s unwillingness to publicly and aggressively challenge itself breeds unequal and unfair coverage.

As a lifelong baseball fan, I’m kind of disappointed in myself for not really giving a damn. Selena Roberts seems like a egotistical reporter and A-Rod seems like an egotistical ballplayer. I wouldn’t want to spend my Sunday with either of them.

I have, however, thought it was fairly suspicious that this flood of evidence all came at the same time. If A-Rod has always been so disliked throughout the league, I’m sure more than one player would’ve reported something (anonymously or openly) to someone in the media. As we’ve seen, the “locker room code” of keeping mum about steroids, women, and cheating isn’t as respected as we previously thought. Since the beginning, I’ve been questioning Roberts’ reporting tactics. In the book, much of the dirt was given by unnamed sources or presented without any information on how it was obtained.

I’d like to know where this heap of damaging evidence came from before we lynch one of the best players in the history of the game. He is, and you know it. If it was all a hoax and A-Rod is really a lab creation, then fine. He’s never won a World Series so steroids as of yet have failed to buy a championship. That brings me some solace.

In all honesty, I’d like to see the guy succeed when he comes back. I agree with fellow Scores Reporter Anthony Stalter in believing that A-Rod is just a weird dude with a bunch of issues. He’s a talented wacko who has always had the ability to put up large stats. Now that everything is out in the open, I’d like to see how he plays under all this scrutiny. I don’t say this because I’m a fan of A-Rod or the Yankees. Far from it, actually. I just love baseball and love watching the best players play it. If he can’t play it well upon return, then we’ll all know what is what.

If he fails, then hey, there’s still Pujols, Kinsler, Longoria, Utley…the list goes on, really.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Report: A-Rod was involved in pitch-tipping while playing for Rangers

Along with reports by Selena Roberts that state he used steroids while in high school and as a member of the New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez is also being accused of tipping pitches to the opposition when he was a member of the Rangers. How did this pitch-tipping originate?

Selena Roberts: I don’t know the history of how it has worked in the major leagues, but from my reporting and the people I spoke with on the Rangers, what they noticed was a pattern of behavior by Alex over a pretty lengthy period of time, two or three years, where it just became more noticeable that his mannerisms on the field were different in games that were already over, its 10-2, something like that. When games were already decided, they noticed this behavior with Alex where he would do very obvious signs, presumably to an opposing hitter who would be a middle infielder on an opposing team, where they believed that he would tip the signs. Why was he doing this?

Roberts: What this was all part of was a quid pro quo, according to the people I spoke with. Alex would tip his middle infielder buddy on the other team and the player on the other team would in turn tip Alex. What it was was slump insurance. You could count on your buddy to help you break out of your slump, if you’re 0 for 3 or you’ve had a bad week. There was no intent to throw a game or change the outcome. How would he tip the pitches?

Roberts: If it was a changeup, sources say, he would twist his glove hand. To indicate a slider, he would allegedly sweep the dirt in front of him, and he would bend in the direction of where the pitch was going to be, inside or outside. I don’t know that it’s easy to decode. You’re talking about people who see a player on an every-day basis, day after day, year after year. I don’t know that it would be at all obvious to people who are watching or to a television audience. These are people who would know how to detect when things don’t feel right. If it happened once or twice, people might say, Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe we didn’t see what we thought we saw. But according to the people that I spoke with, this was a pattern of behavior.

As a baseball fan, this bothers me more than the steroid allegations.

If a ball player takes performance-enhancers, they will help him get stronger, recover faster from injuries and therefore gain an edge on the field. That’s cheating, but at least the players on steroids still have to have a fair amount of talent. It’s not like a 20-year old who has never picked up a bat before can juice up and all of a sudden turn into Mark McGwire.

But A-Fraud telling his fellow cheating friends what pitch is coming is flat out despicable. I don’t care if the game is 2-0 in the seventh or 20-0, you don’t help out the opposition so they can pad their stats and in turn, so you can pad your stats. That’s freaking ridiculous and I hope MLB is investigating these allegations instead of turning a blind eye to them like they did when they found out players were using steroids. (I’d be interested to find out what A-Rod’s numbers were in Texas during late innings of blow out games.)

If these allegations are true, then Rodriguez is even more of a joke than he was when he admitted to using roids. Someone who tips pitches to their opponent obviously doesn’t respect the game and he should be suspended, fined or completely banned from ever playing again. (And that goes for all of A-Fraud’s cronies that allegedly helped him in this charade, too.)

A-Rod refuses to address latest allegations

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Alex Rodriguez has decided not to discuss latest allegations that he used steroids as a member of the New York Yankees.

“I’m not going there,” he said after homering in an extended spring training intrasquad game in Tampa, Fla. “I’m just so excited about being back on the field and playing baseball. My team has won two games (in a row) up there and hopefully I can come back and help them win some more.”

The Daily News reported in Thursday’s edition that Roberts’ book offers an unflattering portrait of the MVP slugger as a needy personality who wanted his ego stroked constantly.

Rodriguez said he wasn’t worried that the steroids issue was being brought up again.

“No. Not really,” he said. “I’m in a good place. I think more importantly physically I feel like I’m getting better everyday. We’ve had a great week here. We’ve worked extremely hard, and I’m just very anxious to do what God put me on this earth to do, to play baseball.”

The book also goes on to say that two anonymous Yankees said they believed A-Rod was using banned substances based on visual side effects, and that a clubhouse staffer said management had a suspicion that that the third baseman may have been juicing.

What’s interesting to me is the differences between A-Rod and Barry Bonds when it comes to each player (allegedly in the case of Bonds) using steroids.

Bonds took steroids (again, allegedly) because he knew he was getting older, his body was breaking down and he wanted to add years onto his playing career. He wanted to play as long as he could so that he could break records and (try) to be remembered as the best to have ever played the game.

But by all accounts, it seems that A-Rod really just took them for vanity purposes. Everything you read on this guy is that he’s not a bad person – he’s just a weird dude with several complexes. He’s self-conscious and always worried about how he’s perceived. He’s arrogant, but he’s not a total jerk (unlike Bonds, who was both). He didn’t need to take steroids to help his on-field performance, but probably wanted to take them to improve his total look, which is probably just as important as his numbers in his eyes.

Bonds felt the need to take steroids to prolong his career. It seems like A-Rod needed them to feel good about himself and project a certain image. In both cases, it’s sad.

Report: A-Rod was on the juice while with Yankees

According to Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts’ new book, Alex Rodriguez was on steroids after the 2003 season and may have begun taking them as early as high school.

Roberts was the one that initially broke the news that A-Rod took steroids as a member of the Rangers and while he claims that he stopped taking performance-enhancers in 2003, she writes that he showed steroid-use symptoms into the 2005 season.

Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts, who broke the story that A-Rod flunked a steroid screening in 2003, reveals fellow Bombers nicknamed the third baseman “B—h T–s” in 2005.

That was after he put on 15pounds in the off-season and seemed to develop round pectorals, a condition called gynecomastia that can be caused by anabolic steroids, she writes.
In addition, an unnamed major-leaguer is quoted as saying Rodriguez and steroid-tainted pitcher Kevin Brown were seen together with human growth hormone – HGH – in 2004.
Two other anonymous Yankees said they believed A-Rod was using based on side effects they saw – and a clubhouse staffer said management wondered if he was using banned substances.
“No one ever asked Alex directly that I know of, but there was a lot of suspicion in house,” the employee is quoted as saying.

You knew there had to be more to the story and that it would eventually come out that he was juicing while as a member of the Yankees. The smoking gun was when it was reported that he still had a relationship with steroid-linked trainer Angel Presinal well into his Yankee days. Why have Presinal around if you’re not juicing?

What’s infuriating about all of this is that the Yankees had to have known. If his teammates were calling him “Bitch Tits” and people saw him with Presinal, they had to have known he was juicing. But instead of doing something about it, they took a page out of the MLB handbook on how to deal with a player on steroids and they just turned a blind eye.

This news couldn’t be any worse timing for A-Rod since he’s scheduled to play in a spring training game in Tampa today. The Yankees thought that they would be getting their All-Star third baseman back soon, but what they’re really going to get is another media frenzy.

A-Rod to be back by April?

Yankees’ third basemen Alex Rodriguez was able to take a couple of light swings on Sunday for the first time since his hip surgery and is now eyeing an April return to the lineup.

Alex RodriguezThe Yankees believe A-Rod could be back in their lineup in mid-May. When Rodriguez initially elected to have surgery, his return was projected in 6-9 weeks, meaning he could also be back as soon as late April. Long said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Rodriguez returned at the end of April or early May.

Long said he planned to see Rodriguez in Tampa when the Yankees are in St. Petersburg, April13-15, to play the Rays. At that point, A-Rod likely will be doing his rehab workouts at the Yanks’ minor-league complex near Steinbrenner Field, the Daily News reported.

All HGH jokes/allegations aside, A-Rod has always been a fast healer so this news shouldn’t surprise anyone. But the Yankees should still be cautious with his return. You don’t want to rush him onto the field only to have him suffer a setback and have to return to the DL.

Also, the sooner he comes back, the sooner the media frenzy starts again in terms of his performance-enhancing drug use. And allegations will certainly fly about his quick recovery from hip surgery if he does come back as early as April.

Related Posts