For those who aren't aware, author Jeff Pearlman has a new book coming out in less than 2 weeks (3/24/09) called "The Rocket That Fell to Earth". While most of us are totally sick of Clemens' legal issues, I remain fascinated by the stories leading up to all of this, including his misguided defense strategy. The NY Times has an advance copy and asked Cashman about a reported comment he made in 2002, this about Jason Giambi:
The book said that when Giambi went through a slump in the 2002 season, his first with the Yankees, Cashman was heard yelling at a television in the Yankees’ clubhouse during a game. Citing “one New York player,” the book said that Cashman screamed, “Jason, whatever you were taking in Oakland,” get back on it.
The book said that Cashman then added, “Please!”
In a telephone interview Thursday night, Cashman said that the anecdote described in the book never happened.
“That is completely false,” Cashman said.
He added, in reference to the author: “This guy never even called me and asked me if it was true. You think he would have done some fact-checking.”
In a telephone interview on Thursday night, Pearlman stood behind his account.
“The source was a Yankee player who was an eyewitness and in whom I have 100 percent confidence,” Pearlman said.
“I wrote the book to be a biography of Clemens more than anything else,” Pearlman said. “I wrote this book because I was honestly curious about what led Clemens to the point where he finds himself and what contributed to him becoming who he is.”
UPDATE (12:20am, 3/13/09): Just heard back from Jeff Pearlman. With his permission:
"I really don't have much more to add. Read your post—appreciate it. I mean, the one thing I'll say—that you can write—is that, when it comes to performance-enhancers in baseball, Cashman's track record is brutally bad. He didn't merely employ users of performance-enhancers, but he signed three: Jose Canseco, Kevin Brown, Jason Giambi—who were known throughout the baseball world for their ways. We couldn't report it, because we, the media, didn't have proof. But all three were discussed among players ... writers ... executives; it was hardly a secret. So if Cashman wants to play the 'I had no idea, and any suggestion that I did have an idea is ludicrous!' card, well, I find it hard to fathom. That doesn't make him different than many (if any) of his GM peers, but it's odd to watch all these players go down in flames, while executives who paid huge salaried for 'enhanced' players walk away clean, with their jobs and reputations without stain."For me, I've oft wondered that very thing: how come Cashman has never come close to saying "I had my thoughts and heard rumors but without testing, my hands were tied"... or something like that.
[Addendum from Jeff: "I misused the word 'signed' ... I know Canseco and Brown weren't brought in as free-agents ... just saying Cashman added them without Qs."]
That being said, Brown wasn't signed by NY; he came via trade. Canseco wore a bunch of uniforms before and after NY. But the list of the guilty (Mitchell Report or by other means) players who have worn the pinstripes at some time or another is much longer than I care to examine (Knoblauch, Ron-DL White, Canseco, K.Brown, ARod, Sheffield, Grimsley, D.Neagle, R.Villone, M.Stanton, Giambi, Leyritz, R.Velarde, Pudge, Clemens, Pettitte, Mitre).