Great Moments in Fact Checking: the Mike Piazza biography

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Mike Piazza was wrong about his interaction with Vin Scully back in 1998, but there was some emotion and, at least on some level, a subjective aspect to all of that. Piazza thought that Scully was “crushing” him and, even if he was overreacting in the extreme, it’s (a) understandable that someone could have walked away feeling that; and (b) it’s not something an editor would feel obligated to “correct.”

Rob Neyer found something else in Piazza’s book that doesn’t fit that description at all, however. A memory — and some ruffled feathers on Piazza’s part — about something Tom Glavine wrote in his own autobiography. Except Glavine never wrote the book Piazza claims he wrote and the anecdote can’t be found anywhere.

I know celebrity bios are notorious for bad facts and hands-off editors, but man, really?

UPDATE: Piazza’s co-author commented on Neyer’s post, addressing the discrepancy:

“Rob: I hate to say it, but it appears that you’re absolutely right. You’re right, also, that it’s a very weird thing. I can’t explain it. There’s a reference to that book in my notes, but I’m at a loss to say why it wasn’t checked and verified. As I’m sure you’re aware, in a book like this it seems that there are about a dozen items that have to be checked in virtually every paragraph. Fortunately, the Internet age makes it comparatively easy, most of the time. And this would definitely fall under the category of checkable. So I can offer no defense. I can only acknowledge that it was clearly, regrettably, my mistake. Sorry. I’d like to assure you that nothing in the book was published willy-nilly, without accountability, but I’m afraid your catch has challenged that statement. Hopefully, it’s the only error of that kind. Meanwhile, the editor has assured me that the passage will be corrected in the next printing.”

Tim Anderson on Joe West: ‘I don’t have much to say about him. Everybody knows he’s terrible.’

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During the top of the ninth inning of Saturday night’s 7-3 loss to the Cubs, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was ejected by umpire Joe West. Anderson attempted to complete a double play started by second baseman Yoan Moncada, but Javier Báez slid hard into Anderson at the second base bag to disrupt him. Anderson’s throw went past first baseman Matt Davidson, allowing a run to score.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria challenged the ruling on the field, but it was upheld after replay review. Anderson had a brief conversation with umpire Joe West then went back to his position. Shortly thereafter, West ejected Anderson, who became irate.

After the game, Anderson said of West, via Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago, “I asked him a question, and he kind of got pissed at me. I asked him if he saw [Báez] reach for my leg in the replay. He asked me if I was going to argue that, and I said, ‘No, I was just asking a question.’ And after that I didn’t say anything else. He started barking at me. Kept staring me down. I gave him, ‘Why you keep looking at me?’ Did that twice and threw me out.”

Anderson then said, “I don’t have much to say about him. Everybody knows he’s terrible. But I didn’t say much and he threw me out. It’s OK.” Anderson added about the play in which one can see Báez reach his arm out to interfere with Anderson, “Yeah, definitely. You could see it in the replay. That’s just one of the many that they missed in New York, I guess.”

Anderson’s criticism of West doesn’t come as a surprise. West has had a reputation as an instigator for decades. Major League Baseball almost never holds umpires accountable for their conduct on the field and some umpires, like West, take advantage of this knowledge.

It was a bittersweet ending for Anderson as he homered earlier in the game, becoming the first White Sox shortstop ever to have 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season. It’s just the sixth 20/20 season in White Sox history, joining Alex Ríos (2010, 2012), Ray Durham (2001), Magglio Ordóñez (2001), and Tommie Agee.

Anderson accounted for the only run the White Sox scored on Sunday against the Cubs with an RBI double. On the season, he’s hitting .243/.284/.412 with those 20 homers, 26 steals, 64 RBI, and 76 runs in 594 plate appearances.