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October 24, 2013

Playoff Prospectus

What the Media Asked the Managers (and What it Means)

by Zachary Levine


Conceptually, if not always in actuality, the baseball manager’s pregame press conference is an incredible opportunity.

For 162 games a year, plus playoff games and spring training games, credentialed reporters are able to ask baseball managers anything they want and can reasonably expect to get an answer. Really, you can ask them anything. Ask them goofy questions, and they’ll sometimes play along. Ask mean-spirited questions and despite some blowups that make it to television, you’ll usually get a nice answer because the managers have to do this. It really is a wonderful luxury.

But here’s the thing. The reporters already talked to the manager after the last game, and there’s a very good chance that nothing has changed since. At the World Series, this escalates with 3-5 days since the last game and multiple days of access with no changes in any of the stories. Not only that, but you also get national writers in who haven’t been familiarizing themselves with the storylines all season and are looking for big-picture stories that would seem mundane in the market.

And the answers are what you’d expect about topics that have been raised with the manager from April to October. Not much detail, lots of clichés, no real insight into how to attack the opposition, because why would you, etc. So then what can you learn about these teams from the press conferences? Maybe it’s not in the answers.

I went to four pre-series managerial press conferences—two on media day Tuesday and two before Game 1 Wednesday, none with any news beyond some predictable roster decisions—with one goal in mind. I was going to learn as much as I could about the teams from the questions, rather than the answers.

In other words, what could the questions that each manager was asked tell us about each team, or at least the perception thereof.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: A... (10/24)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Wo... (10/23)
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Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Wo... (10/24)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Wo... (10/24)

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