Results tagged ‘ odd man out ’
Yesterday I posted a blog entry that listed various other blogs commenting on Odd Man Out. One of the blogs was written by Jeff Bercovici of Portfolio.com.
Bercovici is back tonight with another post, this time on how Sports Illustrated got taken into publishing an excerpt without properly vetting the article.
Chris Stone, the magazine’s baseball editor, says SI conducted its own, independent fact-check of the excerpt, but that its fact-checking doesn’t routinely extend to calling up people who are quoted and reading them back their quotes. (Some other magazines, including The New Yorker, do fact-check quotes.)
Stone says he’s troubled by the discrepancies brought to light in the Times but doesn’t think the book should be written off as a fraud. In the excerpt, he says, “there were some facts that needed to be amended and corrected, but not enough to suggest that this book was fundamentally wrong. These errors certainly speak to sloppiness and carelessness with the facts, and it’s inexcusable, but to compare it to the James Frey memoir — that’s a big leap.”
Bercovici quoted the lawyer for manager Tom Kotchman as saying that a lawsuit is under consideration.
Matt McCarthy, the author of Odd Man Out, is scheduled to appear in Fullerton tomorrow March 4 for a book signing.
The event according to the web site is 7 PM at the Barnes & Noble at 1923 W. Malvern Avenue in Fullerton.
Several professional blogs have reacted to the story. Here are a few.
Regarding the latter, blogger Jeff Bercovici wrote:
Of course, for now, the author is sticking to his script, insisting there were, at most, a “handful of details” he might’ve invented to fill in memory gaps. But we’ve all seen how this plays out. The publisher — Viking, in this case — will dig in for a couple days as pressure mounts; then it will flip, toss McCarthy overboard and apologize to all and sundry.
Some of these bloggers have referred to A Million Little Pieces, author James Frey’s biography about his recovery from supposed alcoholism, drug addiction, and crime. The 2005 book, which earned Frey an appearance on Oprah, was exposed by TheSmokingGun.com to be a fraud.
Police reports, court records, interviews with law enforcement personnel, and other sources have put the lie to many key sections of Frey’s book. The 36-year-old author, these documents and interviews show, wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms, and status as an outlaw “wanted in three states.”
Bercovici wrote last December about a phony Holocaust memoir and commented:
With the book business in a deep swoon, no one is going to seriously consider adopting measures that could add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of publishing a title. And the lesson of Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” was that readers don’t necessarily care whether a memoir is true as long as it packs a punch.
Still, while across-the-board fact-checking may be off the table, publishers interested in avoiding future humiliations would do well to take a page from the world of journalism. Here’s a little piece of advice every reporter hears not long after starting out: When a story sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Bercovici noted that the fake Holocaust book and another work about life in gangland L.A, that also turned out to be bogus were both published by Penguin — the same subsidiary of Viking that published Odd Man Out.
His December column was titled, “Phony Holocaust Memoir Won’t Be the Last.”
He was right.
UPDATE 7:45 PM PST — More articles on the New York Times revelations:
Along with plenty of posts on amateur blogs across the nation …
Today’s New York Times weighs in on the Matt McCarthy controversy. Click Here to read the article.
… Statistics from that season, transaction listings and interviews with his former teammates indicate that many portions of the book are incorrect, embellished or impossible … When presented with evidence of his book’s wide-ranging errors and misquotations in an interview Monday morning, McCarthy said that he stood by the contents of “Odd Man Out.” He said the book, which was published last month by Viking Press and was ranked No. 29 on the most recent New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, was drawn from detailed journals he kept during his year in the Angels’ minor league system. He declined to show how those journals corroborated his stories.
There’s also a lengthy sidebar documenting many of the discrepancies; Click Here to read the sidebar.
Alan Schwarz, who co-wrote the article, is a longtime sportswriter for The New York Times and Baseball America.
As Odd Man Out works its way into the mainstream, I’ve found a few blog reviews here and there. Click on each site’s name below to read the reviews.
If you know of any other reviews in magazines, newspapers, or blogs, please post the link or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OC Weekly, an alternative weekly magazine here in Orange County, has posted a review of Odd Man Out. Click Here to read the review, written by reporter Matt Coker.
A warning — OC Weekly has no problem with publishing R-rated language, so if you’re sensitive to such things you may not want to read it. The review does excerpt some of the more explicit passages I’ve written about.
The New Haven Advocate has posted a review of Odd Man Out. Click Here to read the review.
New Haven is where McCarthy’s college baseball career played out at Yale.
Reviewer Craig Fehrman makes this interesting observation:
(“I lied” seems to be the most common phrase in Odd Man Out as McCarthy feigns everything from bad report cards to a love of Chris Rock.)
Given the mounting allegations that parts of the book are untrue, that observation should be given some weight.
Angels broadcaster and former major league infielder Rex Hudler has written a memoir called Splinters. You can read more about Rex and his book at www.rexhudler.com.
The Orange County Register has a review by columnist Jeff Miller. Unlike some recently published player memoirs, Hudler chose not to go the low road. Miller writes:
His recently released memoir “Splinters” isn’t a tell-all, only a tell-some, and all the tales center on Hudler, who, as a player, liked to describe himself as being “bootleg” and, as a writer, says his favorite author is Dr. Seuss.
Some people would prefer to read trash about successful players because they think it makes that player no more successful than they are. Personally, I’d rather read a book by someone whose positive attitude made him a success, rather than dwelling on others’ inadequacies.
BronxBanterBlog.com has an extensive interview with Matt McCarthy, author of Odd Man Out.
A couple Q&A’s of interest:
BB: Can you talk about the arrested development of the clubhouse culture. How do boys become men in that world?
MM: See: Kotchman, Tom. The Angels are very fortunate to have Kotchman. He could easily be a big league manager but instead he’s chosen to coach a rookie ball team. He’s able to influence players who’ve just signed very large (and very small) contracts and instill in them a culture of winning and for that the franchise owes him a large debt of gratitude. I don’t know if there are many guys like him still around, but I hope there are. That lucky charm of his — a large black ***** with two baseballs glued to the base — is something I’ll never forget. And the same is true of his Andrew Dice Clay impression. I’ve been out of baseball for six years and I still think about the Dice Man. He’s mentioned in recent interviews that he’s planning to retire from coaching sometime soon to become a full time scout. As I say in the book, I hope he reconsiders.
BB: Can you explain your relationship with your pitching coaches. How much input did they give you? How much were you left to figure things out on your own? And were players in your position in a much different spot than say a top prospect?
MM: Minor league pitching coaches have a difficult job. They’re working with players who have been very successful doing things their own way, and many are hesitant to make major changes to their mechanics. I had a funky delivery and wasn’t particularly interested in trying out new deliveries against the best hitters I had ever faced. But I was fortunate to have an excellent pitching coach, Kernan Ronan, who went to great lengths to explain his pitching philosophy and I think it’s why he was able to connect with so many of his players. He was also wise enough to append any suggestion with the disclaimer that “ultimately this is your career, and you have to decide what’s right for you.”
BB: You are out of the game now. Are you worried at all about the responses the book might get from some of the players?
MM: I’m in touch with a handful of guys from the organization and several have said they are disappointed that they’re not featured more prominently in the book. I’m sure others won’t feel that way.
BB: Who do you think might be upset?
MM: It’s no secret that I’m most critical of other pitchers in the book- particularly the left-handed pitchers. If a position player hit a home run, my first thought was, “Hey, good for him,” but if a left-handed pitcher struck out the side, my first thought was, “what does this mean for my career?” We used to joke about the half-hearted high-fives that guys competing for the same position would give each other.
USA Today has an interview with Matt McCarthy, author of Odd Man Out, the controversial book about the 2002 Provo Angels. Click Here to read the article.
Two Q&A’s from the article:
Are you anticipating getting a phone call from any of these guys who you call out in the book — from Tom Kotchman to Erick Aybar?
I don’t know how they’re going to respond to the book. I just don’t know. I look forward to seeing how they’re going to respond. But I haven’t heard anything.
Are you anxious about how some of the incidents you recount are going to be received? From the lurid incident with Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo with the hot dogs or Tom Kotchman’s replacement of the rally monkey with something a little more X-rated?
You know, I just wanted to provide an unvarnished account of what it was really like. This was going on. I don’t have an axe to grind. I loved my time playing with the Provo Angels and the Angels organization. I thought it was an interesting time in baseball where you had this infusion of talent from Latin America and these guys were struggling with their new lot in life, just as I was.