Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The ambush

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 12.11.27 PMInteresting exchange from earlier today on Twitter.

Having just seen run a photograph of Adrian Peterson’s young (and apparently abused) child, I mildly teed off on the website. This is what I wrote:

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 11.59.43 AMOne of my followers, the creatively named @IronMikeGallego, fired back this …

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 12.00.56 PMIn case you’re one of the 99.99999999 percent of humans who did not read The Rocket That Fell to Earth, my biography of the legendary pitcher, the book concludes with a reporter knocking on the door of Randy Clemens, Roger’s older brother. Much of Rocket details the Clemens family and, specifically, Roger’s relationship with Randy, who struggled with drug addiction and was blamed, in a sense, for the death of his ex-wife (who was murdered by people who entered her home seeking out drugs).

Taken in the 140-character vacuum of Twitter, I can see one saying, “How scummy! You ambush his brother? What the f*ck!”

Such, however, was not the case.

Randy Clemens did not have a working telephone. Or, at least, a listed telephone number. All I could find was a singular address in a Texas apartment complex. I actually paid a local writer to knock on the door and—if it was, indeed, Randy—see if he’d answer the questions I desperately wanted to ask (about his brother, about their childhood, about addiction). Some may call this an ambush—I call it, well, reporting. Not only are you supposed to seek out Randy Clemens. You’re actually obligated to speak with him—or at least exhaust all possible efforts. Not because you’re hoping for a scene of some drugged-out, beaten-down sibling, or because you want to “get” Roger Clemens and his family.

No, you do so because it’s journalism.

It’s reporting.

PS: Unrelated side note. Yesterday had Shawn Green, former Major League slugger, speak via Skype to my sports journalism class at Purchase College. Can’t thank the man enough. Great insight, wonderful stories.

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