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Tom Verducci Desperately Struggles to Remain Relevant

posted Feb 14, 2009, 11:40 AM by Steven Seagal   [ updated Feb 15, 2009, 1:01 PM ]
As my other personality pointed out during A-rod's steroid interview, the person most upset about Rodriguez's positive steroid test being released is not Rodriguez himself, but Tom Verducci - who's A-Fraud "scoop" looks so petty and inconsequential compared to the earth shattering steroid story and subsequent Peter Gammons interview that nobody remembers Verducci wrote a book.  Think of it this way, before Verducci and Torre's book hit the shelves, if someone told you A-rod was a considered a phony outcast in the Yankee clubhouse, what would your reaction be?  "Yeah, and the sky is blue... so what?"  Any buzz over the book (outside of, which named it the 2nd most influential book of all time behind the Bible) was due to the fact that Torre was airing out the Yanks dirty laundry - not that the dirty laundry existed.  Everybody already knew that everyone hated A-rod, because everyone hates A-rod.

Now let me ask you this - if someone told you that the greatest natural talent in the game today, the man who would someday break Bonds' tainted home run record (along with almost every other meaningful offensive record) and clean the top of the record books of Bonds' steroid-synonymous name, was actually not clean at all, but hit at least 150 of his home runs while juicing, what would your reaction be?  I know what mine was - "Holy fucking shit, no way."  In fact, my first assumption was that SI jumped the gun and they would have to issue a retraction.  I just really believed deep down that, though undeniably a douchebag, A-rod was at least clean.  Clearly, I was wrong.

Verducci had one accomplishment in the A-rod situation - he got Torre to agree to put his name on the book.  That was no small accomplishment, and I don't want to take anything away from it.  I'm sure the dollar signs helped convince Torre, but he had the reputation for being a rock, not a gossip.  But that's it.  His accomplishment was a business deal, not a journalistic one.  He didn't scoop any story.  Everyone already knew A-rod was a prima donna drama queen.  And now, even that accomplishment is overshadowed by a much bigger story.  And Verducci is mad.

Look at this pathetic piece of "journalism."  Gammons handled Rodriguez carefully, like the fragile flower he is, there is no doubt.  Can we criticize him for it?  Sure.  Did he ask the hard hitting questions and make A-rod squirm like we wanted to see?  No.  But I'm sure that part of the deal was that Gammons would stick to a list of pre-approved questions and not deviate from the script.  The bottom line is, he got A-rod to publicly admit on television to taking steroids - no matter how much Verducci wants to parse words and criticize the "banned substance" terminology he actually used.  This is A-rod saying he used steroids.  And it's an ESPN reporter - not and SI reporter - getting him to say it.  And it's making Verducci's book a shrinking object in the rearview mirror of baseball's national consciousness.  And Verducci is mad.

My favorite part is that he can't even resist plugging his own book in his own article.  And he can't resist reminding us of the inconsequential "A-Fraud" tag, which Verducci clearly thought was going to be HIS legacy.  When Tom Verducci closed his eyes at night, just before drifting off to sleep, he pictured fans in opposing stadiums holding up A-Fraud signs, and the commentators calling the game discussing Verducci's book - he'd fall asleep with a smile on his face.  Until he woke up and "A-Roid" was plastered all over the NY Post, and his dream was instantly shattered with the reality that the sign they'd be holding would be "A-roid," and nobody would mention Verducci's book.  And Verducci is mad.

He comes off as a pathetic, sputtering writer trying to remind us all of why we should care about him.  This is the guy who said the greatest moment in 2008's baseball season was the first round performance in a losing effort in a meaningless exhibition home run contest.  Is Verducci really that out of touch with what really matters in baseball?  I doubt it.  He just wanted to write something "compelling."  Anybody can argue a reasonable point, like, say, the Phillies winning the World Series as the most memorable moment in the season (it's hard to pick a year when winning the world series isn't the most memorable moment in a sport in which 162 games are played with that goal in mind), but it takes a special mind and a skilled writer to argue something obscure, like a guy not winning the home run derby as the most memorable moment.  Anybody who could write such an article and pass it off to his editor with a straight face must be special kind of writer.  Or a special kind of douchebag.

Either way, I tend to dislike picking apart sports journalists because it's so easy, like making fun of a retarded kid.  But when the sports journalist is a retarded kid, I can't help myself.