When it comes to Selena Roberts and Alex Rodriguez, baseball writers have largely taken two sides. On the one side are many traditional print journalists such as Peter Abraham, and, to a lesser extent, Joel Sherman who have taken everything Roberts has reported as true no matter how tenuous her sources or qualifying statements are. On the other hand are bloggers such as us and Shysterball’s Craig Calcaterra who are more skeptical of Roberts’ sources and see a lot of players on the record denying Roberts’ accusations.
That divide will only grow deeper today as the baseball world awakes to the news that Major League Baseball is investigating A-Rod’s drug use and that Selena Roberts, for what are admittedly very valid journalistic reasons, will not cooperate. “I said that as a journalist, I cover MLB, and cooperating with them on this would be a conflict of interest, and he said that he understood the position that I am in,” Roberts said to Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt this weekend.
Schmidt had a few details about the MLB investigation into A-Rod. So far, the Commissioner’s Office is looking only into the allegations of drug use beyond the 2001-2003 period. The pitch-tipping inquiries will have to wait, but more on that in a few paragraphs. Schmidt reports on the investigations:
Major League Baseball is investigating the accuracy of statements by Alex Rodriguez about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, according to people within baseball who were briefed on the matter.
Investigators have contacted several of Rodriguez’s associates to determine whether he used performance-enhancing drugs for a longer time than he has admitted, the people said. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation.
They said that the investigation began shortly after Rodriguez met with investigators March 1 in Tampa, Fla., because they had questions about the consistency of his statements at the meeting…Questions about the truthfulness of Rodriguez’s statements were heightened among baseball officials last week after details of a new book about Rodriguez were reported by several news media outlets. The book…asserts that Rodriguez used several different steroids under the supervision of Presinal and had human growth hormone in his possession when he played for the Yankees in 2004. In 2005, the book also says, Rodriguez was mocked by teammates who suspected that he was using drugs.
Schmidt goes more in detail on what Bud Selig can and cannot do as Commissioner. The Times scribe notes that Selig, lacking subpoena power, cannot compel testimony from anyone, and if Roberts won’t give up her anonymous sources, baseball is going to have a tough time uncovering concrete evidence.
Now, it will be really easy for the public to demonize Roberts yet again over this decision. In fact, her reliance on anonymous sources is exactly why reporters tend to believe her and others don’t. In today’s media, reporters depend upon their anonymous sources, and reporters are loathe to believe that others’ anonymous sources would be lying.
Yet, as more and more players step forward on the record, it sounds as though Roberts’ sources were less than reliable. As Shysterball detailed on Friday and as I discussed then as well, more players have been coming out vehemently denying the Roberts’ allegations.
In the end, baseball has to investigate to look good for Congress, and Roberts shouldn’t give up her sources any time soon. But for the rest of us, this scandal is just another story in the long line of blows to Bud Selig’s reputation and Roberts’ credibility. The tide has turned on the steroid issue, and while A-Rod will hear boos, the sport should be looking forward to a drug-free era instead of looking back while relying on a book with seemingly less evidence than some J.F.K. conspiracy theorists.