- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (Feb. 23 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061791652
- ISBN-13: 978-0061791659
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 322 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #270,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez Paperback – Feb 23 2010
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Her reporting is diligent, detailed, and overpowering. This is not a book of conjecture: It’s one of bootstrap journalism. (New York magazine)
Important ... devastating ... merciless. (New York Times)
We learn many of Rodriguez’s secrets in Roberts’s meticulously reported psychological profile… (New York Times)
About the Author
Selena Roberts, formerly a columnist for the New York Times, is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. She lives in Connecticut.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The biography aspect of the book was interesting. Alex had a rough life early on and struggled through poverty and having a Father who abandoned him at a vulnerable age. Many of the people he encountered helped shape him and make him into the ballplayer we see today. To me, it's always interesting to see how a superstar athlete like A-Rod was shaped.
Unfortunately, the book doesn't tackle enough of that. And when it does, it quickly uses it to point out flaws in his character. There are a lot of assumptions Roberts makes in the book as well. She tries to tie aspects of his childhood to his personality today. His Father's abandonment to his desire to be accepted. His growth spurts in high school to steroids. Anonymous sources that state he tipped pitches to opponenets. Many of these assumptions are not sourced well (if at all) and come from people who may or may not have known A-Rod well. It comes across like an amateur psychologist and not an in-depth expose.
Which brings me to the biggest problem I have with the book. It reads like something written by a bitter ex-girlfriend and not an impartial, investigative reporter. While we all have character flaws, Roberts drives home every one of Alex's in excruciating detail. Even things that Alex has done in his life that would appear positive (charities for instance) are bashed as self-serving interests. By reading this book, it would appear that Alex Rodriguez could do nothing right in the mind of Selena Roberts.
Now I know her journalistic integrity has been brought into question following the Duke Lacrosse case. I will give her credit though for being the reporter who broke the steroid story on A-Rod. She has clearly done her research and contacted countless people who have come in contact with Rodriguez in his life. I do believe that some of the facts presented are probably true. But I also believe that some of the stories in the book were fabricated by sources with an axe to grind with Rodriguez.
It's an easy read and I guess something you may want to check out if A-Rod is a figure you are interested in. You'll gain some information about the guy, but probably won't change your opinion one way or the other. It comes across as an amateurish attempt to write a book like Game of Shadows. Despite her thorough reporting at times, Roberts seems more interested in turning the reader against A-Rod then allowing us to form an opinion on our own.
Overall, it's more tabloid than investigative journalism in my mind. That's not a defense of A-Rod, but a knock on the constant use of anonymous sources and stupid assumptions (for instance the Rangers ERA being higher because A-Rod was tipping pitches). If you're into that stuff, you'll like it. If you're looking for something more journalistic, wait till one of the more respected sports writers puts together a book chronicling his life.
However, I probably will not read it. A-Rod comes across in this book as very one-dimensional, almost narcissistic. He cares about himself and his statistics. He is competitive, but with his own vanity.
I would never defend A-Rod against his many critics, but some things in this book are advanced without much substantiation, as in alleging that A-Rod first started taking steroids in 1992, when he was only 17 years of age.
What might have made this book more interesting for me is some attention given to A-Rod as a baseball player: an analysis of his swing, for example. His supposed collusion in relaying his own catcher's signs to an opposing batter--in exchange for receiving similar treatment--is fascinating, but also under-reported. Where does Roberts get this stuff?
This book seems more like an extended gossip column than a baseball book--and baseball is worthy of serious historical treatment and cultural analysis.
My biggest grievance with this book is the high number of factual errors. The author justifiably criticizes Alex Rodriguez for claiming to use a wooden bat in high school when simple research shows he used a metal bat like everyone else. Why is her own writing not able to withstand basic fact-checking? I found the following blatant factual errors:
"He [Texas Rangers general manager John Hart] signed Carl Everett despite the hotheaded outfielder's feuds with management in Boston; he signed the closer John Rocker..." (p. 134 of Kindle edition)
Actually, the Rangers did not "sign" either of these players; the two players were acquired in trades. Carl Everett was traded by the Red Sox to the Rangers on December 12, 2001. John Rocker was not signed by the Rangers, but traded by the Indians to the Rangers on December 18, 2001. Baseball-Reference.com is a very useful tool.
"On September 3, 2002 as the Rangers were getting ready to play the equally horrific Kansas City Royals..." (p. 151 of Kindle edition)
The '03 Rangers finished 71-91 (.438) whereas that year's Royals team was 83-79 (.512). That's hardly "equally horrific." Going into that September 3 game, Kansas City's record was 70-66 while Texas's was 64-75. It's easy for a casual fan to just assume the Royals are a bad team on most any given year since the days of George Brett, but the Royals had a winning season in 2003. Either Selena Roberts screwed up or her fact-checkers did.
"He [Alex Rodriguez] was even lauded for his flawless return to shortstop for three games when Derek Jeter was injured." (p. 193 of Kindle edition)
This statement by Selena Roberts might not be incorrect, but it certainly is misleading. A-Rod moved over from third to short for a total of six innings at shortstop in three games in 2005 (May 22, June 4, June 5). He did not start a single game there and had only three fielding chances while there.
I'm just an amateur, and if I can check facts, surely a supposedly professional author/journalist employed by a professional publishing house can check facts as well.
I do appreciate that the author defends herself against some of the bogus statements Alex Rodriguez made about her in the media, such as "stalking" him and getting a police citation.
This book could have been so much better.