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A great interview with Tom Veducci

Jan 2, 2013, 12:35 PM EDT

Tom Verducci

Jeff Pearlman interviews Sports Illustrated’s and MLB Network’s Tom Verducci, and it’s a great one. There’s something here for everyone, really.

Some great baseball stories, including about how going to bars was a prerequisite for covering the Billy Martin Yankees. Some great insider stuff about how and why so many player quotes are baloney and how one must behave as a reporter in order to get around it.  He also talks about how he became the first reporter to get someone — Ken Caminiti — on the record about steroids in baseball. Which, by the way, those of us who were paying attention to this back in 2002 knew had far more to do with uncovering the PED story than Jose Canseco’s book did.

Oh, and there’s an offhand mention of Albert Belle believing that Italian people carry luck, which I have no problem at all buying that Albert Belle truly believes.

Check it out.

  1. kirkvanhouten - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    “Which, by the way, those of us who were paying attention to this back in 2002 knew had far more to do with uncovering the PED story than Jose Canseco’s book did.”

    True, but did Caminiti or any journalist ever come up with a list of New Years Resolutions *This* fantastic:

    1. spend more time with my daughter
    2. get stronger and fitter
    3. help people who are getting screwed wherever i can
    4. return to pro baseball as player or manager and have dinners with McGwire, La Russa, Bonds, and Selig.
    5. Fight Shaq in MMA cage match
    5. develop and launch Ponce de CAnseco a real anti aging drink (not an error on my part. He has two #5’s)
    6. Get elected to a important political office in the U.S. or canada to help all people and governments with there problems
    7. Become a world class entreprenur and found at least two great companies that make peoples lives better and funner
    8. Write a third book and do a move deal for Juiced!
    9. Do at least 100 promotional deals for good companies and products like Animal Rights, Human health, Environmental, and Beer companies
    10. Use position as A List entertainer doing reality, TV, movies, blogs, columns, appearances to be able to do more charity

    https://twitter.com/JoseCanseco

    …or maybe I just have a soft spot since my list of New Year’s resolutions was remarkably similar when I was nine-years-old.

    • sportsdrenched - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      If you had a daughter when you were nine years old…I’m thinking becoming a world class entreprenur would be easy.

  2. mrfloydpink - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Nice to know Murray Chass was a douche 30 years ago, too.

  3. Ben - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    I thought these two paragraphs were particularly pertinent, given all the HoF sturm und drang.

    “T.V.: I remember before the 2002 season we had an SI meeting, with writers and editors, to talk about story ideas for the upcoming season. I said, “Guys, the next big story is about steroids in baseball. I guarantee you it’s going to be written. And it better be written by us.” The issue became obvious to me in 2001—not just innuendo or rumor about a few renegade players—because clean players were coming up to me and saying, “It’s an unfair game. There are so many guys using steroids that now I am at a competitive disadvantage.” The excuse makers today don’t want to acknowledge what it was doing to the game. You either had to stick a needle loaded with illegal drugs in your butt—God knows where the drugs came from or what it would do to your testicles—or you were at an obvious competitive disadvantage when it came to your job and your earning potential.

    SI encouraged me to begin reporting the story. I was making good progress, but nobody wanted to give their name. For instance, I spoke to a minor league player who defined for me the insidious nature of a game being turned over to drug cheats. He wasn’t a power hitter at all—in fact, he was a speedy outfielder. He told me he was totally against steroids—knew they were illegal and wrong. His wife was against them. But he compromised his own values because others were getting ahead of him. He juiced up and he immediately felt the difference. His bat was quicker. He got to pitches he otherwise wouldn’t get to. And if he started to wear down, if his bat started to slow, he went back on the juice.”

    Baseball’s responsible systemically for the rampant steroid use by fostering the environment, but let’s not try to pretend some HoF cases might be padded by steroids. Their single greatest advantage might that you just don’t wear down so quickly.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 2, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      Yes, and I think Caminiti told nothing but truth when he estimated 80% of players were using. People can decide the best answer now is retribution against the whole generation, or they can accept that what happened happened and seek to understand it, learn from it, and move on.

  4. iladel90 - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Check out this fun free baseball game

    http://brushbackbaseball.com/index.jsp?rf=1233

  5. p1nick - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    This kind of stuff is the reason Jason parks touches himself…constantly

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