Diamonds and Ice

Tell-all book about Angels, former Kernels might be inaccurate

A recent book by a Harvard graduate and former minor leaguer in the Los Angeles Angels system has several inaccuracies, according to a story in Tuesday’s New York Times.

Matt McCarthy has written a book entitled “Odd Man Out: A Year On The Mound With A Minor League Misfit” about his 2002 season pitching for the Rookie-level Provo. Teammates included major league pitcher Joe Saunders and third baseman Matt Brown, as well as former Iowa, Northern Iowa and Marion High School catcher Alex Dvorsky.

McCarthy skewers several of his teammates and especially manager Tom Kotchman for his constantly profane behavior. The author alleges Kotchman told Dvorsky to try steroids, which Dvorsky has denied ever happening.

Here’s a link to the New York Times story.


10 Comments so far
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Hmm, I read this book. It never states verbatim that Dvorsky was told to take steriods.
Basically, it recounts a conversation that McCarthy alleges took place between Dvorsky and the author, where Dvorsky is mulling over what Kotchman had said about the Angels not needing catchers who can drive the ball all over the park, but not out of it.
Here, IMO, is what is tough. McCarthy kept a journal throughout that season. To ask Dvorsky, “Did you have that conversation with either Kotchman or MCarthy?” six years after the fact is unfair. I’m guessing know, but I doubt Dvorsky kept a journal six years ago recounting conversations he had earlier that night.

Comment by pud'nhead

And, McCarthy graduated from Yale, not Harvard. I should’ve reworded that comment about what Kotchman said. It was basically that the Angels don’t need catchers to hit liners to the gap, they needed catchers who could be big boppers.

Comment by pud'nhead

my bigger issue with his “detailed journal” he is basing this book off of are the inaccuracies of the timelines for players involved in his stories. I didnt fact check these but it seems like someone with the publishing company should have.

example from the times article :
In early July, while the broadcaster Larry King was in the stadium as the team’s special guest, the young infielder Matt Brown is depicted as being punched in the groin by King’s 8-year-old son, and then profanely threatening to kill the child. Brown is also shown chugging beers while under age and talking with McCarthy on a long mid-July bus ride to Medicine Hat, Alberta. But Brown did not report to Provo until July 30, according to Major League Baseball’s official transaction log.

Comment by seth

Just finished reading the book. I’m sure there are plenty of things that are off from a timeline perspective but I have no doubt many of the events took place as many of the players were described exactly as some folks in Cedar Rapids knew them. Brown comes to mind. Kernan Ronan is also portrayed extremely accurately in my honest opinion, which leads credence to the belief others are as well whether they wish to admit it or not.

The uproar over the book from those depicted, especially from Kotchman, is similar to what Jim Bouton went through with “Ball Four.” They’re more upset that the sactity of the clubhouse was violated than they are that they look like buffoons.

On the Dvorsky story, many sites, including Future, have taken it out of context to imply Dvorsky was ordered to take steroids. Kotchman made a comment about the Angels needing catchers to do more than collect base hits and that was it. It is the truth. Steroids aren’t brought into the equation until another teammate tries convincing Dvorsky that they are the way to meet Kotchman’s suggestions and McCarthy never claims Dvorsky took them.

That said, Mr. “McCorksky” (read the book) won’t be winning a Pulitzer for this breezy read.

Comment by Jorge Vino

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stories may be true but it seems like they might be more secondhand stories than the author actually being there for each as he portrays it. felt like canseco did the same thing. from both books, they seemed to take rumors/situations that people knew about and turned them into “i was there when” nonfiction.

Comment by seth

Maybe you should have used an example other than Canseco. We all know how that turned out… 😉

Comment by Jorge Vino

The Times article was written by what one would call baseball purists. Real baseball for them are statistics and mathematical formulas not human beings playing a game. The Times chose to look at box scores and transaction reports that professional baseball provided them to discredit the book… It is odd that they did not interview the countless number of ball players who passed through Provo to determine whether Kotchman was a wildman or not. They did not seek to determine whether a cultural divide existed between latinos and anglos. They certainly were not interested in locker room antics. Anyone that has been in a locker room knows that stuff goes on. One of the few media sources that did not buy the Times story was Forbes and they found that the times made the same minor errors in their story that McCarthy did. Forbes concluded that the McCarthy was no Michael Fry. My question is why did they do it?

Comment by Harry

Have you bothered to follow-up on this? The New York Times invented many of the so-called errors in McCarthy’s book. Odd Man Out isn’t being retracted. They’re not even publishing a revised edition. The New York Times should be held accountable for such irresponsible journalism.

Comment by Anonymous

A quick comment about the steroids matter … The material sent by the publicist with advance copies stated that the book would reveal “rampant steroids” used by the team. It also included a series of questions the publicist suggested McCarthy be asked when he was interviewed, one of which was about steroid use on the team.

This was at the same time that Sports Illustrated was about to run the A-Rod steroids tale. And when SI published the A-Rod article, what happened to be in the magazine but an excerpt from “Odd Man Out.”

So to me it was clear the publisher was pushing a claim that the book documented “rampant steroids” — their words — used by the 2002 Provo Angels.

I made that very clear in my review. I never said McCarthy claimed “rampant steroids.” I said the publisher was claiming it, but the book had only an incident where a bunch of players were sitting around a table at Applebees speculating about whether Kotchman’s remark meant they should take steroids.

McCarthy wrote that teammate Brian Barnett said that night that he knew of five teammates doing steroids, and also claimed he could get them steroids if they wanted. But McCarthy himself wrote that Barnett was a big storyteller, and McCarthy doubted his tales.

There’s a clear pattern of embellishment that starts with the book itself, then runs up through the publicist and the publisher. Viking published two others books in the last couple years that turned out to be fabricated. When confronted by the discrepancies in “Odd Man Out,” the Viking rep simply said, “We expect our authors to fact check themselves.” Boy, that’s reassuring. Not.

Comment by Stephen C. Smith

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