Jeff Pearlman

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The Big Unit bids farewell

RJ_AP

In the coming days, people throughout baseball will pay homage to Randy Johnson, who is announcing his retirement today. They’ll talk about his power, his ferocity, his toughness. They’ll recall his pitch to John Kruk in the All-Star Game, and how he helped put Seattle baseball on the map. All around the baseball media world, men and women will leap from their seats to praise the Big Unit.

But not me.

I have nothing but negative thoughts for Randy Johnson, a brilliant pitcher but a pathetic human being. I covered baseball for a good chunk of time. I had direct access to such unpleasant men as Will Clark, John Rocker, Barry Bonds, Arthur Rhodes. But nobody—and I mean absolutely nobody—possessed the pure dismissive cruelty of Randy Johnson.

I’ve heard it a million times—no one cares how athletes treat the media. Well, I care. And Johnson was a punk. He bullied reporters, he snarled at reporters, he occasionally threatened reporters. He is one of the far-too-many professional athletes who believes the ability to throw a round piece of animal skin 100 mph grants you the right to treat other human beings as dog excrement. Just ask anyone who covered Johnson during his days in Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, New York and, lastly, San Francisco. He was a first-class pitcher and a first-class creep.

Should that prevent people from voting Johnson into the Hall of Fame? Of course not. His record of greatness is undeniable—303 wins, 4,875 strikeouts, a World Series title. But when you think of Randy Johnson, I urge you not to remember the 6-foot-10 pitching giant, but the little man who inhabited his body.

  • http://GodHatesClevelandSports.com Mike

    And he tanked his last half-season in Seattle to get traded.

  • Tom

    YES! this needs to be said more, same experience with him for me too

  • letsgocyclones

    “But when you think of Randy Johnson, I urge you not to remember the 6-foot-10 pitching giant, but the little man who inhabited his body.”

    I never met him, so I’ll probably remember his pitching.

  • Jordan

    Jeff,
    The “this guy’s a jerk” posts are getting old. You’re better than this.

  • Rollie

    Jeff do reporters ever treat athletes bad or step out of bounds? If so, have you opined specifically about those reporters because I’d like to read about them.

    We should keep the expectation of class and professionalism consistent. Seems like some fans get behind anything ripping an athlete.

  • Rob

    Then I read the Pat Jordan piece from 2002.

    Jeff, you assume that the Randy Johnson should have be a mature adult. But I assume that a 6’10″ “freak” had a tough go of things and with the media often leading the charge. After all, his “story” for many years was the same one that haunted him – being a freak in a game (and life) where conformity is the norm for success.

    The difference is all the difference in our perceptions. It’s too bad you got raw treatment. But being ill-mannered isn’t a crime.

  • http://brandonsneed.wordpress.com Brandon Sneed

    I think Jeff’s just trying to share his insight, which, due to his personal experience, is mostly negative when it comes to athletes.

    I wonder, though, how many reporters treated him with respect. I wonder if he really was such a little man, rather than a big man who deep down longed to again just be that little kid who got into baseball because he truly loved striking people out. Nobody tells kids about the hell that comes with the big leagues.

    Maybe your experience as an SI writer wasn’t as glamorous as you thought….but maybe a lot of these guys’ experiences as big-leaguers, as pro athletes making millions, isn’t as glamorous as they thought, either.

    Just thoughts. Not attacks. Just wondering, out loud. Maybe I’m way wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.

  • JR

    Rollie, I think it’s the opposite. Fans will rally around even the most underperforming, jerkoff athlete if they perceive that the guy has a battle with “the media.” The other day, a good friend of mine posted on his Facebook page how much he “hates reporters, just like Jay Cutler,” or something along those lines. Because reporters are out of line at this point questioning the guy? Seriously?

    What a lot of fans don’t get is that most reporters and subjects get along swimmingly. Read Jeff’s books. Clearly he gets a lot of cooperation from people who he interviews.

    Obviously people are going to have isolated battles in close quarters. That’s to be expected. But there’s a difference between getting chippy about a question you don’t particularly like and generally treating another person, or class of persons, like he’s a lower form of human life because of his profession. You wouldn’t do that to your garbage man. Why do grown men cheer when assholes like Johnson do it to reporters? I personally think that a lot of them just like to live vicariously through their alpha male tough guy heroes, beating up on the nerdy bookworms just like back in junior high. Pathetic.

    And I have no problem with being indifferent to a guy’s treatment of the media. I wouldn’t expect fans to care, really. But there’s a difference between not caring, and rallying around and cheering that kind of anti-social behavior.

  • Scott

    Randy Johnson sounds as classy as Kenny Lofton.

  • GeraldY

    The very fact that you bring up the Hall of Fame in this post provides proof for why sports writers should not be the ones voting for the Hall of Fame.

    I never met Johnson and I don’t really like him, but I also don’t like most journalists — a group of people who have a great power to do good in society, but who usually let petty complaints and their egos turn them into shallow cynics. This doesn’t even take into account the fact that journalists are rather unintelligent people. It amazes me that there are so many reporters who analyze baseball or more importantly, politics and economics, with the concepts and categories of an eight-year old.

  • Sean

    Jeff,

    And what of the far-too-many professional writers who believe that anyone with ability to throw a round piece of animal skin 100 mph grants ought to provide unfettered access to their professional and personal lives?

    I’d prefer neither animal existed, just sayin’.

  • DWrek

    Hold a grudge much?

  • SchmidtXC

    Randy Johnson sounds as classy as Jeff Pearlman

  • Matt

    Wow, another idiotic post from Jeff Pearlman. I wonder if he’s ever apologized for his false accusations of racism against the University of Delaware.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=pearlman/070920&sportCat=ncf

  • the artist formerly known as (sic)

    I’ll remember him best for his pitching.

  • Hop

    Jeff just get back at him like you did to Clemens. Write a biography about him and load it up with crap! That will fix em!

  • http://www.twonateshow.com Nate

    I’m a big believer of the “echo” principle. Treat someone like dog poop, and it will bounce back and you’ll probably be treated like dog poop too. Both the media and Randy Johnson should follow this principle. We so often neglect it and then wonder why people lash out at us.

  • Barry

    Shocker, another athletes are jerks post. If you hate athletes so much (other than Sal Fasano) why don’t write about other topics?

  • Noter

    So, pitchers don’t wear protective cups, huh? Photo evidence.

  • baycommuter

    I covered AAA baseball for a newspaper one season and was absolutely appalled at some of the players — Dave Revering comes to mind since he spat on my tennis shoes. (When I worked for a college newspaper, most of the athletes were great guys.) I didn’t become a sportswriter, it’s more fun to just be a fan and enjoy the players from the seats.

  • doug

    more specifics please. it is tough to remember someone is a “little man” based upon general charges of “he was a creep.” Did he hump your leg? Slap down your camera? (ok, that incident I know about) Wedgies? Persuade me.

  • http://www.19thoughts.blogspot.com Byron

    It’s odd, because in a strange sort of way I like finding out which athletes are “good” guys and which ones are “bad” guys. But–and here’s the odd thing–I honestly don’t care either way.

    Sean Casey was known to be one of the all-around good guys, but when he played for the Red Sox, he stunk.

    Barry Bonds and Randy Johnson are all-around cretins, but I would have loved to have them on my team during their primes.

    I guess most sportswriters don’t even know the real lives of the players that they cover either. I hate to bring out this old chestnut, but OJ Simpson was supposed to be one of the all-time nice guys.

    Stuff happens.

  • Joe

    “Sean Casey was known to be one of the all-around good guys, but when he played for the Red Sox, he stunk.”

    So an aging platoon player who hits .322/.392 stinks? Really?

  • JR

    Hop, did you even read Jeff’s Clemens book? Because that’s a gross mischaracterization.

  • David

    Deep thoughts. By Jack Handy.

    “It takes a petty man to act like a childish boor toward a reporter. It takes an even more petty man to scream to the world how boorish that other guy is.”

    Let go Jeff. It’s over.

  • http://iamwhaleman.wordpress.com The Whale

    Ah, the entitlement argument. Randy Johnson is a jerk because people who write about sports for a living are entitled to ask whatever they want, write whatever they want, and be greeted by those they write about with a smile. Randy Johnson not wanting to be your friend doesn’t make him a jerk…it makes him a guy who doesn’t want to be your friend. Making him out to be a jerk, on the other hand…

  • Bill K

    Wahhhh!!! Another pro athlete was better than me and didn’t bow down to the all mighty press! Wahhhh!!! Once again, the notion of press entitlement rears its ugly head.

  • LT

    Worse than Albert Belle?

  • Ben

    i won’t apologize for someone i don’t know, or things i didn’t see, but perhaps what reporters do to athletes is, for their job, treat them like they are less than human beings, like they are objects who provide them quotes and insights, usually marginal insights. And perhaps it would be more human if reporters, realizing that a guy didn’t want to be bothered, didn’t bother him, instead of getting offended when he doesn’t behave the way you feel he should. i understand the argument that this is what goes a long with the job, but should it really be what goes a long with his job? No, it’s what goes along with the reporter’s job.

  • David

    Jeff Pearlman,

    Examples, please. How are we supposed to remember him as a small man when we have no experience to go on other than your general condemnation? What did he do that was so awful?

    I think if you’re going to write a post like this, you owe it to your readers to clarify. If you’re not comfortable telling locker room stories, then your post just sounds like sour grapes.

  • Randy

    Pearlman’s probably like the little weasel reporter in *61. Hey Rog. Hey Rog. Hey Randy. Hey Randy. How’s the knee holding up? Being someone who seriously didn’t like being pestered or even really talked to by someone like you, I could see Randy not actually being what you describe, overall. I could also see the weasel reporter in *61 writing the article you just wrote on the day he announces his retirement. Low class. I like Randy even more than I did before your article.

  • Jim

    Sounds like someone’s got small unit syndrome.

  • Randy

    Pearlman’s probably like the little weasel reporter in *61. Hey Rog. Hey Rog. Hey Randy. Hey Randy. How’s the knee holding up? Being someone who seriously didn’t like being pestered or even really talked to by someone like you, I could see Randy not actually being what you describe, overall. I could also see the weasel reporter in *61 writing the article you just wrote on the day he announces his retirement. I like Randy even more than I did before your article.

  • Joe

    NOBODY CARES!! And you are wrong, if anything, it should be painfully obvious that throwing a baseball 100 mph gives people the right to act like jerks. Tom, a neighbor on my street, still hasn’t received any awards or accolades for being an outstanding human being. Stephen Strasburg on the other hand just got 15 million dollars just for throwing that little baseball fast…

  • Classicist

    Of course you care. You’re the media. And you’re sensitive.

  • Sweet

    I agree with Jordan.

    Pearleman, you’re being a little man.

  • http://anonymouscommunist.com/blog Anonymous Communist

    My mom’s all-time favorite player is Randy Johnson.

    Not because he was one of the best pitchers ever, but because he visited her cousin’s child in the hospital as the kid lay dying of cancer.

    Mom’s cousin said he spent the hour chatting with them and was as nice as could be.

  • Paul

    Jeff – that was great. By all accounts he was a jerk

  • Dan

    This post is worse than sour grapes. Maybe Pearlman will only remember the “little man” inside because – boo hoo – Randy Johnson treated him so mean.

    Everyone else has no possible reason to remember anything but the remarkable on-field achievements of one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

  • Michael

    Bitter much?????

  • Really?

    Can we get some example of his jerkness in order to come to the same conclusion as you? This is to substantiate your case unless we are just supposed to believe everything we read. I’m not a fan of his and never cheered for him but am curious as to what exactly makes him a jerk when treating the media like dogsh*t.

  • http://www.19thoughts.blogspot.com Byron

    David, the one thing that I can remember that Johnson did was his first day in NYC (after his trade to the Yanks) he knocked over a camera man.

    I’m sure that there are other things.

  • Alan

    I strongly agree with David on this one. Why should anyone lend any credence to your unsubstantiated opinon?

  • Ben

    When Johnson was in SF this past year, all his teammates and the local media guys raved about what a gentleman he was, and he impressed fans with his candor at public events as well. He may have been a jerk to you. I wasn’t there so I don’t know if you did anything to deserve such treatment. All I know is that this cowardly little slam piece makes you a jerk too. You can never believe one side of any story if you weren’t there, and the fact that you have shown questionable character in printing this attack makes me think that you were probably not blameless in whatever transpired between the two of you. If he treated you like you’re beneath him, maybe it’s because you are.

  • Anonymous

    My brother has worked in a high-end retail business in San Francisco for most of the past decade, and thus has had the pleasure (or displeasure) of meeting a huge percentage of the bay area sports stars during that period. He maintains to this day that Randy Johnson was the nicest, most pleasant professional athlete he’s ever met.

    I find your article stunning… but I guess even Randy Johnson can have one really, really good day.

  • tim

    Reason # 4,567,723,876 why your writing sucks.

  • Neuschler

    Jeff:

    Will Clark was probably the best hitter of his time (at least according to Bill James), and his ample belly was proof that he didn’t cheat. He played the game hard, and the right way. Who do you think you are to cast judgment on others who aren’t nice to the media? Here’s a news flash most Americans don’t like your kind, and place the media just above child molesters and politicians, but hey maybe you’re considering a run this year.

  • Chris

    Summary: Randy Johnson was an immature poopface!

    Way to be the bigger man, Jeff.

  • Alex

    Dude you’re really not doing much to dispel the stereotype of “sportswriter who is bitter because he never got to write about anything quote-unquote important.”

    I’m NOT saying thats what you are, but pieces like this can come off that way.

  • JR

    The hero worship by grown men is unreal. Sports writers are like “child molesters”? What the hell is wrong with you people? Jeff has written a series of highly informative, highly entertaining best sellers that he worked his butt off on, and you start attacking his worth in this world because he had the audacity to criticize one of your heroes. Grown men. Unbelievable.

  • Nik Jones

    Jeff: I am wondering… has any one post ever generated so many comments? Seriously, this will be #51 and it’s about Randy Freeking Johnson.

    • http://www.jeffpearlman.com Jeff Pearlman

      oddly, i got 60-something on xavier nady and the pirates. sorta odd.

  • Dave

    An example or two of Randy Johnson’s behavior would do a lot of good for this post. I do recall the cameraman shoving incident but that’s all that comes to mind.

    As it is, the reader is left to take your word for it…

  • http://brandonsneed.wordpress.com Brandon Sneed

    Wow. Been a few hours since my comment, but wow. Jeff, don’t take a lot of them too seriously, man. Maybe you were wrong about Randy Johnson, but you’re a good guy, too.

    For those of you ripping into Jeff here for being an a-hole, a petty man, a little man, you should know he’s spent a lot of time advising me, answering pretty much any stupid question I could come up with as I’m working on my first book and trying to get my career going in this crapper of an economy.

    I don’t agree with you all the time, Jeff. I don’t agree with you about Randy Johnson and lots of other things. But you don’t deserve a lot of the crap these guys are throwing your way.

    Keep working hard, man. Looking forward to your next book.

  • Chris

    JR: Randy Johnson played baseballs for 22 years, won 300 games, and sold a LOT of tickets for his respective franchises during the best years of his career. He’s one of the five best left-handed pitchers of all time. And Jeff seemed to have no reservations about devoting a post belittling his career due to being a “little man.” So is calling Pearlman out for it a low blow? Not by the example he set by calling Johnson a “pathetic human being.”

    It’s kind of like saying five years from now, “When you think of Jeff Pearlmen, I urge you not to think of the author and dedicated sportswriter who penned multiple bestsellers, but the little man who barked his dislike for Randy Johnson to the empty reaches of the blogosphere.”

    In the internet age, you have to practice what you preach if you want to get away with panning someone like this. Generalizing your opinion to such a large degree is irresponsible journalism. Period.

    Does it make Mr. Pearlman a bad person? No. But I think he demonstrated poor judgment in this instance.

  • JR

    Chris – That’s fair enough. Really. But the personal attacks on Jeff as a person were way out of line. Basically saying that he’s a loser because he writes sports books. I always laugh at the irony of people attacking sports writers for not doing something more important when most of those people would kill for the job, and while away their leisure hours posting on blogs and obsessing over games.

    There was a good example in the NYT today. Tyler Kepner wrote that Johnson got angry with him when he lobbed a softball to him about his guest appearance on “The Simpsons.”

  • http://www.19thoughts.blogspot.com Byron

    “So an aging platoon player who hits .322/.392 stinks? Really?”

    Yeah really. He had 218ABs and showed no power.

    And he really wasn’t a platoon player at all. He was supposed to provide off-the-bench pop and spell Youkilis on random days.

    He obviously didn’t do his job, because the Sox had to go out and get Mark Kotsay to fill his role.

    So yeah, I’d say that he sucked in Boston.

  • jb

    Chris- and you’re a little man for barking your dislike for Jeff Pearlman. Get over yourself and stop being such an apologist.

  • http://stuartshea.blogspot.com Stu

    Reader comments can be the scariest thing in the world. You people taking the time to rip a reporter a new one really need to find something else to do with your time. Pearlman was there; he works with these guys; he knows more about them than you do. He’s here to give his perspective; you are, apparently, here to insult and whine.

  • bux

    The vast majority of fans who have actually met a pro athlete met him at a FanFest or during a game when the player took five seconds to sign a baseball. Maybe a few people here and there have actually had a conversation with a player (I talked photography with Barry Zito once), but that still doesn’t give us a full picture of what kind of human being a guy is.

    My personal experience with Randy Johnson was in Toronto in 1997 when the Mariners were in town to play the Blue Jays. After the game, a few dozen kids were waiting outside the players entrance with their parents when every kid’s dream came true. In a span of about two minutes, Johnson, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens each walked out of the stadium. All three of them breezed right past us. Clemens and Rodriguez didn’t even make eye contact with us peons (A-Rod even bumped into me, almost knocking me over, and just kept on walking), while Johnson stopped and signed a ball for one kid before he moved on, saying he had to catch his cab.

    When I think back to that experience, I tend to think of each of those players as jerks. But what do I know? Maybe all three of them signed fifty autographs before the game. Maybe Johnson really did have someplace he needed to get to, and he didn’t want to look like a total jerk by not signing for anyone.

    The point is, we don’t really have the right to judge these guys – whether it’s the athletes or the reporters who cover them. And when it comes to the media’s opinion of players, I really only tend to trust beat reporters who are basically with the team non stop for eight months out of the year.

    In short, I really don’t think it’s fair for Jeff Pearlman to call Randy Johnson “a pathetic human being”. Jeff – I’m sure you may act a bit different at work, when you’re under a deadline, than you do at home. And when it comes to Randy Johnson, how do you know that he isn’t an amazing husband and father and a great friend? You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but perhaps you should have left that part out, as your experience with Johnson was limited to baseball clubhouses.

  • Fermo

    Dear JR: I agree with your comment. The amount of hate being hurled at Jeff is utterly astonishing. A pitcher like Randy Johnson makes $15 million a year and yet still behaves like a sour, unhappy person. It boggles the mind.

    And just once, I wish many of you could experience the feeling of humiliation caused unnecessarily by athletes toward a media person. Many of you seem to be under the impression that the writers got what they deserved from a guy like Johnson. In a minority of cases, that might have been true. In the vast majority of instances, however, that absolutely is not true. Of course, when somebody acts rude to you in public, I’m sure every last one of you turns the other cheek and thinks to yourself that somehow you must have had it coming.

  • Chris

    jb: I don’t know Jeff Pearlman, and if you actually read my comments, I don’t do anything of the sort. I said that he “demonstrated poor judgment in this instance.” Randy Johnson doesn’t particularly need defending, and I would stand by my comments if this were about Johnson, Carlos Zambrano, A-Roid, or any other professional athlete (except maybe John Rocker, but his bigotry is well documented).

    This is Mr. Pearlman’s blog, and it’s his right to post anything he wants here. But as someone who makes his living as a journalist and published author should understand that there is a certain expectation – albeit an unfair one – that anything he writes will be ready for consumption. Particularly since most of the negative crowd here was likely drawn here through a link by Rob Neyer on ESPN.com, where the blogging is passed off as more journalism amidst their 24-hour news cycle. So, perhaps there is a bit of a double-standard at work here on the part of the commenters.

    I’d still like to hear evidence to substantiate the claims that “nobody—and I mean absolutely nobody … possessed the pure dismissive cruelty of Randy Johnson.” So if Mr. Pearlman, a journalist, doesn’t want to be held to journalistic standards for reporting, he should post a simple disclaimer as a header or footer to his blog. If this content, as is, were published in a book, you can be sure that he would be dogged about it by the 24-hour news cycle, like Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas, and numerous other examples.

  • Campy5

    Pearlman, who gives a shit. Sports writing is the most worthless profession in the world, Johnson doesn’t owe you shit, you probably deserved it.

  • Stephen E

    Dear Mr. Pearlman,
    It would be fortuitous and fortunate were you to heed your own advice regarding Mr. Johnson:

    He is one of the far-too-many professional athletes who believes the ability to throw a round piece of animal skin 100 mph grants you the right to treat other human beings as dog excrement.

    With only minimal adjustment it can read

    He is one of the far-too-many professional [writers who believes that access to 3 inches of national byline] grants you the right to treat other human beings as dog excrement.

    I have read far too many of the Rick Reillys of the world ever to blame an athlete for holding all sports writers in perpetual distrust [and perhaps scorn], presuming that anyone of them will twist, slant and otherwise distort any quotation to create a story where there would have been none. They are by and large as narcissistic and callous as any group of people outside of Washington D.C. as may exist. Judging from your product, you are no exception. The Steve Carleton’s of the world are not rare nor without reason.
    SEC

  • franklloyd

    As a Seattle fan, I’m sick of the unfounded accusation that The Big Unit tanked the first half of the ’98 season in order to get traded. Ridiculous on its face, since he was a free agent at the end of the ’98 season and went on to sign with Arizona.

    The brillian http://www.USSMariner.com website provides a comprehensive analysis that convincingly refutes this insulting garbage accusation about one of the most relentlessly competitive pitchers ever to play the game.

    http://ussmariner.com/2007/01/15/refuting-the-randy-johnson-quit-on-us-canard/

  • Paul

    Jeff,

    It’s fine if you’re going to remember him for being nasty, especially if he was nasty directly to you. But to “urge” other people to remember him the same way when they haven’t had the same experiences?

    C’mon. You’re better than that.

    • http://www.jeffpearlman.com Jeff Pearlman

      Point taken. But there’s nothing worse than telling someone “You’re better than that.” It makes one’s skin crawl. How do you know what I’m better than? And by what standards?

  • Seadog

    Someone asked for examples of RJ and his anger management problem, well here are just but a few of the public ones:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/sports/2005/01/11/2005-01-11_big_unit_does_get_physical_p.html

  • Brett Powers

    Sorry, but without substantiation, this sounds like either sour grapes, or the birds coming home to roost. And even with examples, let’s have some anecdotes that tell the FULL story, not just the side where the Unit gets cranky at the end of a long day.

  • Chris

    Again, I don’t claim to be deeply familiar with your work; my opinion is largely based on your post “Why this site is so negative.”

    “There. I said it. The blog is my vent. My chance to moan, to whine, to complain, to gripe, to rip. If you read my work on SI.com, I’d say 80 percent of the columns are either neutral or positive. OK, maybe 40 percent. But, if you come here, I’m pretty harsh. Randy Johnson is a jerk. Brit Hume is a tool. Sarah Palin stinks. On and on and on and on. Whine after whine after whine. Why? Because it feels good to get stuff off my chest. For 11 hours per day, I sit in a coffee shop, working on my book. I love the gig—absolutely love it—but it can be extremely isolating. Hence, every so often I feel the need to scream. Or, to blog.”

    That’s a perfectly understandable and defensible sentiment. You are fully entitled to your opinions. But again, for every blogger writing, there are twenty bloggers critiquing, and in your case as a writer, people expect you to poop out finished work that’s ready for page 1 of the New York Times. Is it a double standard? Absolutely. But a rejection of it doesn’t save anybody from it.

    There will always be dissenters, there will always be haters, there will always be trolls and homers every other variety of person you might never want to meet but will always Google you anyway. My best advice, honestly, is to trim down the paragraph I pasted above, throw in a “This blog is not edited for content and may make you want to claw your eyes out, but I don’t apologize for it, have a jolly day,” and post it into your blog as a header on every page for the people who are too lazy to scroll to the bottom.

    Hell, Jim Rome gets away with saying things far worse than this on cable TV. He just has the good fortune of only having those comments exist for 30 minutes a day, without a chance for his viewers to respond. At least you’re engaging your readers, on some level.

  • Jay

    I did have the fortunate opportunity to have Mariners PR rep Dave Aust set up an interview for me with Randy Johnson in the Seattle Kingdome clubhouse in the 90s.

    He gave me a very thoughtful and insightful interview on topics ranging from his family, little league career, his rationale for choosing college baseball at USC over the minor leagues, and his major league career to date.

    I found him friendly throughout, and we had a nice conversation afterwards. I look forward to seeing him take his deserved place in Cooperstown.

    I was very grateful that he took the time to talk to me

  • http://MyinterviewwithRandy givemeheadlines

    Technically, Randy Johnson was my first interview subject as a reporter. It was the M’s magical ’95 season andI was an intern at the NBC station in Seattle. Randy plunked Jim Leyritz, and I was sent to get his “reaction” to the game (the M’s won on a 3r dinger from Tino) and the plunk. Let’s just say Randy wasn’t interested in sharing his reaction. He was a great pitcher, but he was also a jerk. Mr. Pearlman, you had a lot more ab’s with the Big Unit than I did, but he definitely went 0-1 with me.

  • grow up jeff

    a lot of you clown writers and reporters are such sensitive bitches. athletes dont have to be nice to you at all. if you made 10 million a year or more you would probably be a jerk too. you shouldnt determine their hall status because of some personal vendettas. you got racist clowns like bill madden who kept jim rice out because he didnt like him. you are complaining about randy johnson. so what? what the hell does randys actions toward you and everyone else have to do with how he played? i love how bonds acts because he acts like hes militant like his father.

  • Billy Jack

    I guess Mr. Pearlman has much fonder memories of Charles Haley’s trouser snake.

  • http://tycobb.com Ty Cobb

    Randy Johnson is a angry freak! Horrible to his team, press, fans and most importantly his family.

  • Tim from Toledo

    What a sad article. Johnson was clearly a reclusive person, which by nature makes it difficult for him to be comfortable talking to people. Does that make him a jerk? Probably not – just incredibly shy and recluse.
    It’s a shame that a journalist would write such a nasty article because he didn’t like a guy’s personality…..get over yourself Jeff Pearlman. I’ve decided I don’t like you now, but I’ll do the classy thing and keep it to myself.

  • David Nieporent

    Just ask anyone who covered Johnson during his days in Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, New York and, lastly, San Francisco. He was a first-class pitcher and a first-class creep.

    How about if we ask players who you covered what they thought about you?

  • Apu Whopooped

    Jeff, sadly you’re not better than this. It is truly disturbing that someone pays you to write for the public. Please, do the world a favor and quit.

  • I Ate the Chocolate Squirrel

    Just because Jim Rome is a well-paid embarrassment to humanity doesn’t mean you need to be a poorly-paid one. Go back to your mom’s basement before the stat-geeks beat you up.

  • I Cried Myself to Sleep on a Giant Pilla

    Randy Johnson is my personal hero, because he ignored/mocked/kicked sports reporters.

  • GJHawk (& M’s fan)

    Perlman’s history and evidence seem to show that he’s a prime example of ‘Those who can, do, those who can’t do, coach/teach and those who can’t do either, criticise and/or write negative commentary’

    No, RJ was not a pleasant interview. However, many of the previous posters have documented a lot of the reasons why this was so.

    If y’all would learn how to treat athletes like human beings instead as objects to be exploited/used to get you your ‘story’, you still might not get your interview, but I’ll bet you also wouldn’t get the antagonistic response that your attitudes/actions deserve!

  • A

    I just wonder why writers like Jeff write really badly for SI/ESPN/Yahoo etc etc and actually manage to write fairly interesting stuff for Deadspin and occasionally for their own blogs.

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Showtime Book
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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life