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Baseball Books Touch On Players, Steroids

B: he is about to throw a fragment of a broken bat that was flung in his direction accidentally and he threw it back at the batter.

MIKE PESCA: Yeah, that was aimed at Mike Piazza, and remember, his explanation afterwards was, well, I thought it was the ball.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: Well, he's got a pretty good forearm as he's throwing here.

PESCA: In fact, of all the books I've ever read about baseball, I would say this is as thoroughly researched as can be and right now it stands as the definitive book about the Steroid Era at the moment.

: And Mike, we'll stay on the subject of performance-enhancing drugs for a moment, shall we? Because the next book on the stack here is called "A-Rod" by Selena Roberts.

PESCA: When this book came out, there was a lot of fanfare because in advance of the book Selena Roberts, who is a reporter for "Sports Illustrated," broke the scoop of the season, which is that Alex Rodriguez took performance- enhancing drugs when he was a member of the Texas Rangers. "A-Rod" is supposed to be a biography of A-Rod. And the problem is that Selena Roberts doesn't have any on-the-record interviews with A-Rod. And we don't really get a good picture of him. I mean she convinced me that Alex Rodriguez is a pretty shallow person, and so that's a problem. I'm reading a 200-plus page book and the message is here's a guy that's not that complex. Either Selena Roberts got it wrong and he really has all these different layers, or she got it right and I'm saying to myself, well, that's not very satisfying.

: One more book on our stack here is called the "The Yankee Years." It's by Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager along with Tom Verducci, well-known sports writer. And when you title a book "The Yankee Years," the implication is those years are gone.

PESCA: And let me also add one more thing that Verducci does. He talks about how Alex Rodriguez does this thing when he's on second base, conspicuously pointing at the outfielders as if to say I'm noting the depths that you're playing at. This is something that every player does, he notes the depth, but he doesn't have to go and point to every outfielder. Other players hated Alex Rodriguez for this. They made fun of Alex Rodriguez for this. I got that from the Verducci book. From 200-plus pages of the Selena Roberts book that sort of exact detail from a game situation was missing.

: Mike Pesca, thanks very much.

PESCA: You're welcome, Steve.

: And the books that he reviewed for us are "The Yankee Years", Joe Torre and Tom Verducci; "A-Rod" by Selena Roberts; "An American Icon," by the New York Daily News sports investigative team. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Mike Pesca
Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent for NPR based in New York City.
Steve Inskeep
Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.