Speed Read: Lying Memoirs Come To Pro Baseball

The NEW YORK TIMES is known for strong investigative reporting, and up until now, Yale and Harvard Medical Schools both had relatively spotless reputations with the press as well. That may have all changed because of what seems to be a falsified memoir by a minor league baseball player turned doctor.

Odd Man Out

According to investigative reporters Alan Schwarz and Benjamin Hill, a book called “Odd Man Out”, allegedly a memoir about medical resident Matthew McCarthy’s one season — 2002 — with the Provo (Utah) Angels of the rookie-level Pioneer League, is fraught with errors, as identified by McCarthy’s own subjects in subsequent interviews. While the concerns haven’t reached critical mass yet, the book is already teetering on the edge of becoming a sports version of James Frey’s infamous “A Million Little Pieces”.

matt mccarthy baseball book

Need proof? Check out the disparity between what McCarthy writes about these players, and what they say about their time with the team.

Pitcher Blake Allen repeatedly talks about missing his wife and child back in Alabama; Allen, in a telephone interview last week, said his first son was born Sept. 28, two months after he had permanently left the team. Allen later is quoted saying he met his wife in Oxford, Ala., but they actually met in high school in Alexander City.

Out of baseball since that year and now living in Alexander City, Allen said last week that the more disparaging but less disprovable stories about him — crassly disparaging (Manager Tom) Kotchman, Dominican players and the Mormon citizens of Provo — were just as false. Allen added that a portion where he admitted to faking his injury so he could “just sit back and cash the checks,” which appeared in the Sports Illustrated excerpt, could seriously affect his life.

That, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Neither Viking Publishing’s Carolyn Coleburn, who is in charge of publicity for the publishing house that put out “Odd Man Out”, nor Chris Stone, Sports Illustrated’s baseball editor who green-lighted the excerpting of the memoir, could claim that they aggressively verified facts in the book.

It’s uncertain whether much will come of the new questions being raised about McCarthy’s tome, and the pitcher is already fudging some of the details about his story to make his book more defensible. Regardless, he’s bound to make serious bank on it, which goes to prove what the banking scandal should have taught us already: If someone has two Ivy League degrees, be awful careful before investing in any product they’re selling you.

matt mccarthy  baseball book

As soon as India was attacked by terrorists earlier this year, concerns were raised about international cricket and the subsequent tours to be made by European and Caribbean teams to the Indian subcontinent. Well, those fears have come to terrifying realization after five policemen were killed and several Sri Lankan cricketers were injured in a terrorist attack in Pakistan early Tuesday morning. The Associated Press puts the number of injured athletes at eight, though that number has yet to be confirmed.

“Police resisted when 12 terrorists attacked the bus in which Sri Lankan cricket players were traveling,” Lahore police chief Habib-ur- Rahman told reporters. The Sri Lankan team “was the target,” he said.

Needless to say, knowing that the Sri Lankan team was the primary target of the attack is no comfort to Sri Lanka, or to cricketers across the globe. Perhaps more than any other sport, cricket athletes travel to areas of questionable security, putting themselves in front of more loosely screened fans and groups with a motive for terror. If existing concerns over India weren’t already enough, this is exactly the kind of event that could push England’s cricket team to cancel all touring outside of Europe or the West Indies altogether.

sri lankan gunman cricket

That says nothing of Sri Lanka, which is still trying to get a grasp on this latest brutal attack.

“We take these attacks very seriously,” Gamini Lokuge, sports minister of Sri Lanka, said in a phone interview from capital, Colombo.

Yes, we’d imagine they would take the attacks seriously. Now we’ll see how serious the rest of the world takes them.

Not even McCarthy could spin his way into convincing anyone that LeBron James isn’t morphing into outright greatness before our eyes. In his latest act of late-game escape, King James helped the Cavs’ rally from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit in Miami against the league’s second-highest scoring player — behind himself — Dwayne Wade.

LeBron James chalk cloud

In the end, both James and Wade were pretty spectacular. For the second straight game since being called out by the NBA for his fashion-aids, Wade went off, scoring 41 points. The only problem was that James was even better, scoring 42 in Cleveland’s 107-100 win.

If you thought that James and Wade like playing each other because it pushes them both to put up big numbers, well, you’re right. Just how close those statistics are, however, is frightening. Through 18 games between the Cavaliers and Heat, both Wade and James’s teams have won nine times. James has averaged 2.1 more points-per-game, with 0.1 more rebounds-per-game and one more assist-per-game, though both have four 40-point games against the other’s team. Spooky, huh?

Now the question is whether they’ll face off in the playoffs. If you don’t think that would make a must-watch series, well, we’re calling you crazy right now.

Which athlete is most likely to pull the crap “The Bachelor” did last night?

View Results

One-Armed HS Basketball Player A Legit Prospect

Most basketball stars inspire by transcending what we think is traditionally possible, hitting shots that don’t seem open and finding teammates on the other end of the court that had previously seemed hidden. That’s not the case for 18-year-old Kevin Laue, which is not to say that he doesn’t do many of those things, too. Laue’s skills on the court are overshadowed by a much more basic truth: He’s playing top-level competitive basketball with one arm.

laue whitescarver
(Kevin Laue and Kelli Whitescarver, a one-armed admirer.)

Laue is a 6-foot-1o prospect from California who arrived at Virginia’s Fork Union Military Academy with the hopes of attracting an Ivy League suitor. He is, essentially, Jim Abbott playing a sport where he doesn’t have the luxury of time to anticipate reactionary movements. He’s smart, he’s immensely talented and he can hold his own on one of the most difficult prep basketball circuits in the country.

“It was a science to watch him play,” Laue’s former coach at Amador Valley (Calif.) Rob Collins said. “With Kevin, you had to have vision, bro. And how could I even care if he messed up? He’s only got one hand. He’s just an amazing dude that everyone should meet once.”

Laue is missing his left arm, but he has a quarter-length stump which he uses to grip passes. He relies on an enormous paw of a right hand to block shots and palm the ball after rebounds, a skill he’s perfected in the paint; he’s averaging 6.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game at Fork Union.

Still, it’s what coaches and teammates say about his skills that’s most impressive: Some say they almost forget that he’s missing an arm, which is understandable when you see him on film (which we have after the jump).
Read more…

Exiled Amaker Breaks NCAA Rules At … Harvard?!

The NEW YORK TIMES has a piece today on Tommy Amaker as he plumbs the depths of the bowels of college basketball at Harvard. Amaker is in his first year coaching the astonishingly, historically-inept Crimson (they’ve never won an Ivy League title?) .

Tommy Amaker Kelvin Sampson

Now, we know what a wonderfully mediocre head coach T.A. was in his previous stops at Michigan and Seton Hall. But Pete Thamel of the NEW YORK TIMES reports that he may have somehow eclipsed that futility at Harvard, by committing NCAA recruiting violations at the scholarship-free institution. Read more…

Rich Kids Triumph Over Other Rich Kids

Cornell might still be the academic joke of the Ivy League, but yesterday the school clinched its first conference title in 20 years and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a 86-53 win yesterday over fair Harvard.

Of course, the Ivy champion has lost in the first round of the tournament the last ten years running. It’s also the only conference that doesn’t have a tournament to determine its champ, because they’re privileged and lame. They think they’re so hot because the schools spend their endowment on things like education. Pfft. Losers.

Read more…