Nearly 10 years ago, shortly after I wrote the John Rocker profile for Sports Illustrated, Peter Gammons garnered an “exclusive” interview with Rocker. During their on-air sit-down, Rocker teed off on me, questioning my ethics and judgment, etc … etc.
Gammons just sat there.
This evening, I was watching Alex Rodriguez’s interview with Gammons on ESPN. Here is what A-Rod had to say about Selena Roberts, Sports Illustrated‘s excellent writer, and the person who broke the steroid story: “What makes me upset is Sports Illustrated pays this lady Selena Roberts to stalk me. This lady has been thrown out of my apartment in New York City. This lasy has, five days ago she was thrown out of the University of Miami police for tresspassing. And four days ago she tried to break into my house while my girls are up there sleeping, and got cited by the Miami Beach Police. I have the paper here. And this lady’s coming out with all these allegations, all these lies, because she’s writing an article for Sports Illustrated. And she’s coming out with a book in May. And really respectable journalists are following this lady off the cliff, and following her lead. And that to me is unfortunate.”
So what did Peter Gammons say? Again, absolutely nothing.
Over the years, I’ve only known Gammons in a Hi-and-Bye capacity. We’ve spoken on the phone a couple of times, and recently he blew me off after agreeing to talk about Roger Clemens for my upcoming book. I certainly respect the man’s knowledge of baseball, and was happy when he returned from his stroke.
That said, well, gimme a break. The reason Gammons scored the interview with Rocker a decade back is the same reason he scored one with A-Rod today: He’s the Larry King of sports television. Softball questions, limited inquisitiveness, an easy time for all involved. I’m not sure if Gammons was jealous of Selena for scoring a huge story, but he had toâ€”absolutely had toâ€”follow up Rodriguez’s presumably ludicrous accusations with a question or two or three or 10. “Alex, are you saying Selena Roberts literally broke into your building? Alex, can I see the paper you’re referring to? Alex, you rip Selena Roberts’ reporting? But wasn’t she, ahem, correct?”
Seriously, give me a break.