An A-Rod-inspired anti-tabloid rant

Mike's 20 Most Important Yankees
Two ex-Yankees on their times in the Bronx

A year ago in April, we issued a Tabloid Declaration of Independence. Spurred on by a winter of rumors, some true, others nowhere near reality, we declared that with a few exceptions — Mark Feinsand’s news reporting being the most notable — we would no longer be linking to stories in The Post or The Daily News.

At the time, Joe wrote, “Every day, these publications assail our better senses and bring us little in the way of opinion and insight. We are constantly bombarded with fabricated rumors, flimsy analysis, and half-baked opinions that do not pass muster to the educated fan.”

We felt that we could provide intelligent and well-reasoned analysis that far eclipsed what many of the tabloid writers were producing on a daily basis. Our analysis would be as fair as we could make it and our reasoning as transparent as possible.

By all accounts, we had a successful summer doing so, and over time, we struck a balance between accepting what the tabloids say as analysis and what they report — or sometimes “report” — as rumors. In fact, we’ve even linked to a Post piece over the last few weeks about concerns surround Joba’s velocity in Spring Training. While those concerns may be George King’s and King’s lone, they deserved a nod.

Yesterday, though, I was served a firm reminder of our tabloid ban when seven or eight RAB readers e-mailed me the same story and a few others linked to it in the comments. That story dealt with A-Rod, of course, and it was printed not in the sports section of The Daily News but rather on George Rush’s gossip pages. In a nutshell, Rush claims that A-Rod is one of the Spitzer Madam’s other clients and that A-Rod allegedly told one of the high-priced prostitutes that he took steroids. (It’s here if you insist on reading it.)

In a time when New York City’s mass transit is in the midst of a financial crisis, as the nation’s economy founders, a gossip column’s story about a baseball player’s hiring a prostitute is somehow considered front page news. What’s next? Dog bites man?

Not only am I reminded why we eschew the tabloids as reliable news sources that strive to bring a level of intelligence to the daily discourse, but I again see the A-Rod Double Standard at work. Will George Rush look into the lives of the other Major League Baseball players, the vast majority of whom have probably earned or paid for their fair share of one-night stands? Will we see a catalog of Joba’s exploits? Jeter’s ladies? Or do we just get tales of A-Rod because he’s the $270 million whipping boy?

I don’t even think I want to know the answers to those questions.

In the end, then, at the end of March, 11 months after issuing a tabloid ban, we’re right back where we started. If sports gossip is your game, try Deadspin or any of the countless other sites that have reached for the lowest common denominator of reporting. We’ll keep trying to raise the discourse, and while we don’t always succeed and while we’ve made our mistakes, the least we’re going to do is rely on sourced articles that hack-job gossip pieces with dubious motives behind them.

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Mike's 20 Most Important Yankees
Two ex-Yankees on their times in the Bronx
  • WhizzoTheWize

    Whizzo finds that hookers make baseball all the more interesting.

    They should be at the ballpark.

    Thank You Mr. Rodriguez!

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      Since Roy Hobbs’ days with the Knights, hookers have always had an important place in baseball.

      In all seriousness, this post is why I think this blog is the bees knees. Thanks for all of the good work!

      • usty

        this post is why I think this blog is the bees knees.

        23-Skidoo!

  • usty

    But but but…how are the newspapers supposed to keep up the cycle of putting him on the front-page for something, then following it with the inevitable A-rod is a distraction BECAUSE he’s on the front page story? They report one day and then criticize the next for something that they created. Drives me crazy. I fully support your ban.

  • J.R.

    While I agree with your position about tabloids and the magnitudes of other problems in comparison to Arod banging a hooker, isnt this all appropriate for open threads? A place where we can discuss the news of the day, no matter how trivial it is?

    • Drew

      Who said it wasn’t? As long as we “play fair” it’s all good!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15305165&ref=profile Doug

    RAB trashing Deadspin?

    It’s like Mommy and Daddy are fighting.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    In a time when New York City’s mass transit is in the midst of a financial crisis, as the nation’s economy founders, a gossip column’s story about a baseball player’s hiring a prostitute is somehow considered front page news. What’s next? Dog bites man?

    The prostitute? Michelle Obama.

    BAM! THAT JUST HAPPENED!!! NOW IT’S FRONT PAGE NEWS!!!!!!

    • Jack

      I’m dissapointed in you, tommie. The post mentioned hookers and included the line ” . . . A-Rod because he’s the $270 million whipping boy?” and you couldn’t find a way to combine the two?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I wanted to go right for the shock value. It was either the sitting first lady or Mother Teresa.

        Or possibly Mike Jones, the gay male prostitute hired by Ted Haggard. (But I didn’t want to have anybody confuse that Mike Jones with the rapper Mike Jones.)

    • Tom Zig

      Would that be worthy of a Joba fist pump?

  • Jason

    Hold on a second…neither Harriet Byrd nor Memo Paris were prostitutes. Hobbs did catch the bullet meant for the Whammer from the psychotic Byrd’s revolver, and Memo was kind of a floozy, but strict money for sex? Nope.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Yeah, but his childhood sweetheart, Iris? She was a dirty ho. Turned tricks left an right in order to buy that snazzy house in Chicago.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        In the book, Roy takes Iris up to a cabin in the woods and bangs her in a lake.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Nickel for every time I’ve done that!

  • J.R.

    Ok now this is funny from the GM of the Reds,

    John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer asked Reds GM Walt Jocketty about Gammons’ Harang note. Jocketty said, “I’m not going to comment on something when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Via MLBTR

  • Drew

    Well said Ben. “Dog bites man.” Some of these sports(gossip) stories are so Hollywood driven. They really make me cringe when I hear them on the 11:00 news or read them in a headline.

  • random


    Will we see a catalog of Joba’s exploits? Jeter’s ladies?

    I’m pretty sure Joba isn’t that famous outside of baseball yet and that Jeter is in there all the time. This is what tabloid gossip is…I really don’t see the double standard here.

    What next, a rant about how stories in the National Enquirer are embellished?!?!?!

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Jeter may get into the tabloids every so often, but when was the last time there was a full story ran about his romantic exploits? A blurb on Page Six or in Rush and Malloy is hardly the same as the Rodriguez treatment of recent memory.

      On Joba: I do remember a tabloid story about someone spotting him with Alyssa Milano after the ESPYs or some shit.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Joba hooked up with Alyssa Milano?

        Man, when Carl Pavano finds out about this, he is so going to painfully injure himself trying to kick Joba’s ass…

      • random


        Jeter may get into the tabloids every so often, but when was the last time there was a full story ran about his romantic exploits?

        You don’t think that if this exact story was told to the DN but replace Arod’s name with Jeter that they wouldn’t print it? Don’t be silly.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Post Headline:

          Selfless team Captain wisely uses “escorts” to relax so he can keep helping the team win ballgames

        • whozat

          No, I think that story never gets printed because everyone knows no one really cares. Reporters aren’t out asking around about jeter’s sex life, because its not worth more than a blurb. Madams aren’t calling papers to tell on pettitte or damon or anyone else because they know no one will care.

          • Chris C.

            “No, I think that story never gets printed because everyone knows no one really cares. Reporters aren’t out asking around about jeter’s sex life, because its not worth more than a blurb.”

            No way! There’s a TON of reporters in this country who would love to break some real dirt on Derek Jeter. Heck, if Ken Davidoff of Newsday could find one thing on Jeter, he’d run it to the hilt! Instead, they all have to settle for “he stinks on defense!”

      • Chris C.

        “Jeter may get into the tabloids every so often, but when was the last time there was a full story ran about his romantic exploits?”

        Apparently Jeter’s smart enough not to leave a paper trail.

        “A blurb on Page Six or in Rush and Malloy is hardly the same as the Rodriguez treatment of recent memory.”

        Maybe it’s beause Jeter’s dates are as boring as his quotes.
        Jeter also isn’t a married man.

    • J.R.

      I’m pretty sure we see Joba’s DUI all over the tabloids.

      • random

        Yeah, that is different though. Thats an actual story, that needed to be reported.

        • Moshe Mandel

          Because Joba got caught? I mean, both were illegal.

          • radnom

            What the fuck man. One puts other peoples lives at danger. One is a random moral outrage. Seriously. What the fuck. You’re comparing paying for sex to operating a deadly hunk of metal while completely lacking motor function? Geeze……talk about double standards….

            • Moshe Mandel

              Whoa, you need to relax. Why exactly does the fact that one puts lives in danger make it more reportable? Both are crimes, whether you like it or not. Just because one strikes you as more morally reprehensible doesn’t make your opinion any more valuable than those who may see both as wrong.

            • Chris C.

              What the fuck man. One puts other peoples lives at danger. One is a random moral outrage. Seriously. What the fuck. You’re comparing paying for sex to operating a deadly hunk of metal while completely lacking motor function?

              He wasn’t comparing. HE said “both were illegal”. Didn’t rate one higher than the other. Unless you are you implying that Joba received some kind of pass on his DUI? Because that was the most publicized DUI I’ve ever seen, aside from the ones that actually do cause injury.

              • Moshe Mandel

                Exactly. I personally think DUI is worse, but the law deems them both illegal. That makes them equally reportable (or not-reportable)in my book.

  • random

    I think the worst revalation from that article is that Arod does not know the difference between “your” and “you’re”. That always drives me crazy.

    • Chris C.

      “I think the worst revalation from that article is that Arod does not know the difference between “your” and “you’re”. That always drives me crazy.”

      Well, even he admits he’s never been good with words. He’d have corrected thw writer’s grammar immidiately, if his emails to the madame didn’t come across like a 14 year old student sending notes to his hot teacher.

  • SmittDogg

    I love RAB for this stance. It’s weird that in this day and age you have to take a stance against poor reporting to be the exception to the rule. Ideally, the trash and unsourced rumors should be the exceptions themselves.

    A-Rod gets far too much attention, primarily because people are bored. When the season starts and these hack writers have less pressure and more material to write on, this kind of crap will get pushed to the backburner.

    And by the way, who cares if he banged some hookers. I don’t. I’m sure most of the general public has made the following assumptions of all professional athletes and entertainers:

    They generally have loose morals.
    The men cheat (often with hookers).
    Everyone is on drugs (athletes = PED’s, entertainers = blow,heroin etc..)
    They are surrounded by “Yes men” and therefore have a sense of entitlement that often gets them in trouble.
    They become so used to attention, that they come to need it.

    My capacity for surprise or outrage is essentially gone, because I operate under these assumptions when it comes to people in the public eye. Politicians I hold to a higher standard (they are supposedly selected for their intellectual and emotional intelligence) but even they have proven to merely be attention seeking mini-celebrities themselves.

    Having worked in the worlds of professional sports as well as the music industry, and first hand working with the “talents” of each, I can tell you that the type of people who thrive in both are bad people, with loose morals. Operate under that assumption and you’ll be right more often than you are wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’d venture a guess that the only reason that athletes and entertainers do so much hookers and blow is because they have the disposable income with which to do hookers and blow.

      I think your character observations about the morals of athletes and entertainers would probably be true of the general public and are not somehow unique to those two groups. There is no reduced moral fiber somehow attributable to the rich and famous, just more opportunites afforded them to be amoral.

      The only reason ARod has a hooker problem and the guy living next to you who works at Safeway doesn’t have a hooker problem is that the guy living next to you can only afford one hooker every 5 years. ARod can afford one every night. That’s it.

      • random

        There is no such thing as a hooker problem in my book.

      • SmittDogg

        I shouldn’t say that their moral fiber is any different than anyone else’s and you do make a good point. Their opportunities are different than ours. But I stand by the following two personal observations which may even play a bigger role in this kind of stuff than anything:

        They are surrounded by “Yes men” and therefore have a sense of entitlement that often gets them in trouble.
        They become so used to attention, that they come to need it.

        I’ve seen some very quiet, respectful and grateful people become surrounded by admirers and people making money off them and quickly go off the deep end. People who used to shy away from attention will actively seek it once they’ve had it for a prolonged period of time. I’ve seen it happen. And whether or not these are concious decisions, these same people will act in ways that will get them that attention, even if it’s negative attention. It’s much harder to get someone off of a stage than it is to get them on it.

      • Chris C.

        “There is no reduced moral fiber somehow attributable to the rich and famous, just more opportunites afforded them to be amoral.”

        I agree….however, I believe that some who are rich do indeed lose the same moral fabric they once had when they were just scraping by……..due to the increased opportunities now presenting themselves. And I stress the word “SOME”.

        “The only reason ARod has a hooker problem and the guy living next to you who works at Safeway doesn’t have a hooker problem is that the guy living next to you can only afford one hooker every 5 years.”

        Now this I don’t buy.
        I know people who are extremely well off who would never touch hookers, because WHY THE FUCK WOULD THEY HAVE TO???
        Getting together with hookers is a moral issue, not a financial one.
        AROD can do whatever he wants……..he’s a grown man. But don’t imply that we’re all aspiring to make enough money to bang hookers every day.

    • Chris C.

      “A-Rod gets far too much attention, primarily because people are bored.”

      Very true.

      “When the season starts and these hack writers have less pressure and more material to write on, this kind of crap will get pushed to the backburner.”

      Yup……..totally true. Their jobs is no different than anyone else’s. When the usual business is slow, you have to look for other things to suppliment your time.

      “I’m sure most of the general public has made the following assumptions of all professional athletes and entertainers:

      They generally have loose morals.
      The men cheat (often with hookers).
      Everyone is on drugs (athletes = PED’s, entertainers = blow,heroin etc..)
      They are surrounded by “Yes men” and therefore have a sense of entitlement that often gets them in trouble.
      They become so used to attention, that they come to need it.”

      It certainly doesn’t help AROD that he happens to fall under ALL of those categories.

      “My capacity for surprise or outrage is essentially gone, because I operate under these assumptions when it comes to people in the public eye.”

      Well, that’s a bit extreme. You can’t seperate the way Don Mattingly carries himself and the kind of life AROD lives? I mean, people are people and everyone’s different……but to assume it’s “sex, drugs, and rock n roll” with everyone, and you’d have the same “shock value” with any athelete is a bit crazy.

      “Politicians I hold to a higher standard (they are supposedly selected for their intellectual and emotional intelligence)”

      This confuses me. None of the qualities they are in office for has any resemblance of those needed to stay out of trouble. I know people who have 10 times the moral compass than any politician you can think of…….and they don’t hold any office.

      “Having worked in the worlds of professional sports as well as the music industry, and first hand working with the “talents” of each, I can tell you that the type of people who thrive in both are bad people, with loose morals.”

      That’s a result of more temptation and free time. Not because they are inherently bad people. There’s alot of very good people who are successful in these fields as well. Since you’ve been there, you shouldn’t need to be told that, right?

  • Yankeegirl49

    Its stuff like this that made my daughter want to be a sports journalist…IN FIFTH GRADE!! Even then she would say “aren’t reporters supposed to REPORT and not just give their opinions with nothing to back it up?”
    Fortunately, she followed her dream and will be graduating from college next June with a degree in journalism. Unfortunately, she decided to pursue “visual journalism” and likes video and design better than straight reporting, but maybe one day she will do both as she loves to write as well. She knows her stuff and I hope for all our sakes, there are more like her out there.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Unfortunately, she decided to pursue “visual journalism” and likes video and design better than straight reporting, but maybe one day she will do both as she loves to write as well.

      Heh, with newspapers dying left and right, she may have made the right choice. She can probably shoot some quick Flash movies and throw them on a site with a minimum of written accompaniyment and instantly have better job security than a newspaper columnist.

      • Yankeegirl49

        Well, I didnt mean that it was bad, but even with newspapers dying, she could still report for online news sites.
        She covered the Special Olympics last month and her footage was on ABC News Now. She also did photo and video editing for MLB.com last summer. When Worthless was traded she called me saying “I just had the most gratifying moment of my life, I put a Tiger hat on Worthless”. She is hoping to work for them again this summer, her boss wants her back, but doesnt know if he is getting any summer intern help.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Tell her congrats and good luck, and tell her RAB thinks her mom is a MILF.

          • Yankeegirl49

            LOL…Im not sure how she would react to that one :)
            If we do a group game this summer, she will be there.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Oh, snap, I see from my Second Ave. Sagas twitterfeed ( http://twitter.com/SecondAveSagas ) that you’re going to be on the Channel 4 NBC News tonight, speaking about the MTA fare hikes. Congrats, Ben.

    (Tommie = second greatest hype man in the business)

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
      • Tom Zig

        Sesquipedalian? Nice touch

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I use words that are, um… big. And stuff.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Now I wish I wasn’t up in cow country and still got the NY news.

  • daneptizl

    Burnett doesn’t have a full no trade clause. ‘Limited no-trade clause (Burnett may block deals to 10 clubs each year)’- Cot’s

  • Drew

    Gammons on MLBTR: I see the yankees goin after Matthews JR. but the contract could be a problem. Why the hell would we want Gary Matthews Jr.?

    • Drew

      Why would we want him.. unless we get a solid prospect/chone figgins to take the contract.

    • Tom Zig

      I saw that too. I was like huh? Why would the Yankees want ANOTHER outfielder? Especially when we already have 5 outfielders on the roster, 6 if you count hit-deki.

      Also its Gary Matthews Jr., would he really be that much of an upgrade over Melky/Gardner?

      • UNION YES.

        Let alone another ex-HGH user.

      • Chris C.

        “Also its Gary Matthews Jr., would he really be that much of an upgrade over Melky/Gardner?”

        I don’t even think he’s an upgrade over Gary Matthews Sr! Maybe we should get him out of the Phillies booth!

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      One thousand times NO.

  • Scott of 3 Kids Tickets

    Isn’t it bad enuff this country is barely a democracy anymore and more closely resembles France? Report all the news, let the comments fly where they may. Let’s not say “this news is worthy, but not that news”, unless you like Russia’s democracy…lol

    Steroid talk is discouraged. Anti-Alex talk is discouraged. Is this the path you really want to take?

    -Scott

    For the record (full-disclosure), an “Alex is a cancer” fan ;)

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      No one is discouraging steroid talk or Anti-Alex talk. We’re discouraging unsourced reporting from self-proclaimed gossip reporters like George Rush. We’re writing about it with our own take. If you want unfiltered news, read a news wire.

      Over the last few months, we’re written plenty about Joe Torre’s book, A-Rod’s steroids scandals and various other negative stories. We’ve relied on things we know and not things that don’t add to the discourse. I’m still waiting to hear how “baseball player pays prostitute” is a cover-worthy story in a newspaper in 2009 if not for some unobjective hatred/obsession of A-Rod that NY tabloids seem to have.

      • Joe R

        IETC

      • Moshe Mandel

        The only argument that can be made concerns legality, which is the same argument made for the obsession with Steroids by Congress- they were illegal. I personally do not agree with this point, but to play devil’s advocate, if I was a reporter, an individual making millions of dollars using an illegal service is likely a story. It was for Elliot Spitzer.

      • Scott of 3 Kids Tickets

        I really don’t want to start, and geneally agree about the quality of reports from the rags, but there were at least 4 or 5 times articles from this blog started out how the writer “was tired of steroid talk, or tired of the A-Rod saga” and didn’t want comments on such items. That concerns me….

        -Scott

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          If you see that, it’s generally because old stories or pointless arguments — see, for example, anything written by Ian O’Connor — are passed off as news. If there are no developments, all you get is punditry and blind attacks.

      • Chris C.

        “I’m still waiting to hear how “baseball player pays prostitute” is a cover-worthy story”

        HUH??? That kind of story is always covered. Especially when the queen of the prostitutes is willing to give you an exclusive on it.

    • UNION YES.

      Yeah Scott, you totally missed his point.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Isn’t it bad enuff this country is barely a democracy anymore and more closely resembles France?

      Way to start your rant with a ridiculous non-sequitur character assassination that is utterly untrue.

      (rolls eyes)

  • UNION YES.

    Ironically, it’s the very media you’re defending that’s ruining journalism and putting an end to a free and independent media(which is as democratic as you can get). Not to mention, garbage tabloids like the Post are more in line with state-run news agencies than anything else. However, no one is telling them to cease publication.

    Scott, I’m reporting you to the Ministry of Truth.

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