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Chat: Steven Goldman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday March 06, 2006 1:00 PM ET chat session with Steven Goldman.

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Steven Goldman is an author of Baseball Prospectus and co-editor of Baseball Prospectus 2006.

Steven Goldman: Good afternoon, campers. Steve Goldman, co-author, co-editor of BP 2006 here. I also count among my myriad duties around here writing the "You Could Look It Up" present-through-the-past column (back on the regular schedule at last) and keeping Joe Sheehan's bowl filled with peanuts. And of course I can't fail to mention the Pinstriped Bible at www.yesnetwork.com. I've got an oversized Mickey Mouse mug filled with green tea, Mel Torme's classic CD "Lulu's Back in Town" on the stereo, so I'm ready to field any question you care to pitch. I hope we get to talk a lot about the annual. How are you digging it so far?

dianagramr (Brooklyn): Hi Steven ... thanks for chatting ... Do you think BP, with the branching out into books such as "Mind Game" and "Baseball Between the Numbers" has begun to reach the mainstream in terms of the "average" fan recognizing the name of the company as a reputable baseball research group? p.s. its time for you guys to sell BP t-shirts ...

Steven Goldman: Hi ya, Diana, good to see you here again. I think the new books are helping get the message out to the mainstream, but this also seems to be a time where the press is particularly receptive to some of the things we have to say. "Moneyball" opened that door a bit, but it took a few years for the controversial aspects of the book to die down enough to let the informational aspects shine through. The old guard still may not completely accept our approach, but I think they're beginning to recognize that like it or hate it, you at least have to be cognizant of what BP and some of our more distinguished colleagues (by which I mean in BP and out) are saying.

steve (nj): do you see Kevin Thompson or even Kevin Reese making the team ahead of Bubba? he could play RF twice a week and let Sheff DH.

Steven Goldman: There's another Steve in NJ with an interest in Yankees fifth outfielders? There's an E.A. Poe story about this stituation, his only novella... I happen to think that both of those players have more to offer with the stick than Crosby, which will be important if Joe Torre follows through wih his plan to give Gary Sheffield and Hideki "The Only" Matsui extra time at DH this year. Crosby probably is the only one of the three who has the defensive chops to play CF, so that's going to play into the decision, even though Johnny Damon makes having a reserve CF less important than it has been the last couple of years. I think that's going to be the deciding factor, though, which is too bad. I could see Reese being a sort of Chad Curtis-style player for someone down the road.

knuckleball (Virginia): Why does Kyle Farnsworth seem to get all the hype as one of the fastest major league pitchers? Daniel Cabrera of the Orioles threw 37 pitches over 100 mph, and Kyle only threw 14. Is Cabrera under rated, or is he still to oung to attract the attention of the rest of the baseball community?

Steven Goldman: Daniel Cabrera is one of those O's pitchers who will most benefit from the Mazzone Effect, if there is such a thing. He has as much stuff as anyone. Farnsworth isn't all that consistent either - it would be interesting to see just how many pitchers who can throw that hard develop control in the end - I mean, it took Nolan Ryan, what, 50 years to stop walking 150, 200 guys a season?

PJ (Parsippany): All things being equal (even though they never are), if you ran a big market team, how would you define the DH role? I like the idea of the yankees using the role to give their regular players half-days off, but I also see the need to use the slot for a place where bad contracts go to die.

Steven Goldman: We used to use the term "sunk costs" around here a lot. Once a bad contract is signed, the money's gone and there's no getting it back. As such, DHing a player who can't make a strong offensive contribution makes no sense. It's not helping you win.

There's no right way to define the DH role, though maintaining flexibility means that you hope the DH can play in the field sometimes. The Red Sox obviously benefit from David Ortiz, but it would have been immensely helpful to them over the last few years if he could have played 1B well enough that they could have gotten Millar and Mientkiewicz etc out of the lineup.

One of my touchstone teams, the 1984 Tigers, had no regular DH - they just rotated players through depending on the matchups and injury needs. If the Yankees do that this year that will work on the surface- they actually got decent production out of their DH rotation last year. The problem is that it means that Bubba Crosby and Bernie Williams are really the DHs - and they won't hit.

Elaine (San Diego): Do you have a rooting interest in the ongoing Bagwell situation. On one hand, I sympathize with the team, but it seems like that insurance clause should be reserved for more extreme situations than simple skill deterioration.

Steven Goldman: I'm rooting for Bagwell in the sense that the Astros handled the situation badly. I don't know the ins and outs of sports insurance well enough to know just what the best way for teams to make use of their coverage is. If Baggy physically can't play it seems like a fair claim - they're not saying he can't hit anymore, they're saying he's not physically capable of playing. It's a fine distinction, but a real one. What provoked controversy here was the early deadline to declare Bagwell unfit and the unseemly way the Astros were salaviting after the dough.

James (Lake Hopatcong): How concerned should redsox fans be with the fact that Manny and Wells didnít get the trades that they requested?

Steven Goldman: Ironically, Mel is singing "You say tomato, I say to-mah-to... Let's call the whole thing off." That's a George and Ira Gershwin tune, doncha know... Further irony: the Red Sox would have been better off without Wells, I suspect. The non-trade of Manny should be a win. They just weren't going to replace his production with anything even close. They'll have to deal with another year of weirdness from baseball's Space Oddity. It will be worht it.

Has anyone here gotten the book yet? They're definitely out there.

Jessica (New Brunswick): Did Jon Stewart drop the ball at the Oscars? His opening monologue in particular seemed very reserved and George Clooney did more in his acceptance speech than Stewart did all night. As an aside, how many times were dvds and illegal downloading mentioned during the night, and do you feel guilty for not paying 30 bucks to take the family out to see a mediocre movie?

Steven Goldman: Okay, so I got suckered last time... My last BP chat there were like 50 women clamoring to have questions answered, and I mentioned how pleased I was that we had such a turnout from the estrogen-favoring part of our demogaphic. It turned out that there was one woman and 49 fake entries by a guy who wanted some extra questions answered. Which I would have answered anyway. So, when there's a Jessica from New Brunswick, which happens to be the next town over from mine, my first instinct was to shout "Howdy, neighbor!" But now I'm suspicious.

I had a quick note about the Oscars in my YES blog today. I thought Stewart was visibly nervous at first but warmed up, which is no crime - if you look back at Johnny Carson hosting the Oscars he was the same way. As I wrote in the blog, I felt hassled by the constant suggestions that I stop buying/renting DVDs and go out to the movies. It's a very expensive proposition and generally not that rewarding. I GREATLY prefer the home theatre experience.

Then again, I'm the only member of BP who professes to like watching the game from the press box, so maybe I'm just a recluse in the making.

Kevin (DC): Over/Under on Bernie Williams OPS this year? Under .700 is my guess.

Steven Goldman: Hey, Kevin in DC. I'll be down there April 1 at the wonderful Politics & Prose bookshop, along with Christina Kahrl, and Clay Davenport to chat about baseball. Stop by.

The reason I like this Torme album is the arrangements by Marty Paich. They're very spare, sort of anti-Riddle charts. I love the Nelson Riddle stuff, but sometimes it's nice to have something a little different going on.

Bernie: .700 ballpark, I guess. George got sentimental, the ol' teddy bear. It's not sufficient if he's going to get 200 PAs while Sheff and Mastui DH. Those PAs have to go to someone who can hit. And throw.

I forgot to mention those T-shirts before. I'll pass that along to the powers that be. We used to give 'em out from time to time, but got away from that. The last t-shirts went out just as I joined the group (I took over for Pete Best).

Jessica (New Brunswick): Hey, I am in fact real. I'll treat you to a fat cat at the RU grease trucks if you don't believe me!

Steven Goldman: I'm tempted to take you up on that, Jess, though those Fats Cats scared me when I was at RU and they scare me now. Talk about your instant heart attacks. For those not in the know, this is one of those classic cholestorol sandwiches with meat, fries, eggs all under one bun. So while I'm up for talking baseball with any local types, It's been a few years since college and I'm afraid if I ate one of those things I would, well, die. And I'm much less the charming ranconteur when dead.

dianagramr (Brooklyn): Got the book Thursday .... (east coast delivery from Amazon). Nice improvements all around. The Huckaby piece is required reading for ALL BP subscribers, and non-believers.

Steven Goldman: I'm really pleased by Gary Huckaby's essay on just what sabrmetric types bring-and don't bring-to a real front office. Since Huck has been there, he speaks from experience. It's unflinching, it doesn't conjure any false hopes, so I think some may be taken aback by it.

Among the "mundane" team chapters, I think back fondly over the Oakland chapter, authored by our C-in-C Nate Silver, and the Royals chapter, done up by Dr. Rany, natch.

mattymatty (Philadelphia, PA): What do you think of the Buck O'Neil situation? Should he be in the Hall (I think so), and if so how can he get there now?

Steven Goldman: I've been thinking about this a lot, actually. I think they blew it, yeah. His record as a player doesn't seem to support his entry, but there is a precedent for taking in people who made a broad contribution to the game. I can see O'Neil qualifying on that basis. The credentials of some that they *did* pick were so shaky in comparison. I have been very hesitant to argue with the committee, which supposedly had access to materials that the rest of us haven't seen. Seems to me, though, they overlooked the human element both in who they took (not all of whom had unblemished reps) and in who they didn't.

I have a hard time with Minoso, too. The BWAA never did much with him and his Negro Leagues career was too brief to really qualify him that way, so he was left out. The numbers, though, are outstanding.

efeder21 (new yorl): bellhorn or barfield

Steven Goldman: Based on nothing other than the traditional aversion to strikeouts, Barfield. Barfield has the higher upside, natch, and embracing that now makes sense.

The Casey Candaele Project (NYC): You guys doing a Coliseum Books event again this year? Also, I heard something about a Yogi Berra Museum thing...what's the deal with that?

Steven Goldman: We will be at Coliseum Books this very week. We always have a great turnout there, so I'm very excited. I'll be there, as well as Christina and Cleveland chapter author (as well as host of the much-esteemed Bronx Banter Blog) Cliff Corcoran. That's Saturday at 6PM.

I'm very excited about the Yogi event, which I helped put together. I think of it as a kind of BP Convention. There's going to be so many of us there, more than have ever done an event together. For more information on all of our appearances over the next week and the Yogi event as well, see http://www.baseballprospectus.com/events/.

Tuna (Wilmington, NC): Hey, my friend keeps sending you all sorts of questions many of which are fake and/or inside jokes...Is he a loser or is it just me?

Steven Goldman: Your "he" friend isn't Jessica from New Brunswick, is he? I'm going to be so disappointed. Every one of these chats turns into "The Crying Game."

Gosh, but it's hard being BP's resident romantic.

steve (nj): you took over for Pete Best? are you Ringo? that would explain the Beatles obsession and the beard.

Steven Goldman: I've wanted to shave the beard for awhile, especially since grey started creeping in roughly the minute I turned 30. My daughter, though, really hates the idea so I'm going to defer to her until she's old enough to realize that life is full of disappointments.

Alfonso Soriano (Second Base): Is Brian Cashman going to call Jim Bowden and get me out of Washington sometime this season? Or am I going to have to wait until the offseason for the Yankees to bring me back?

Steven Goldman: Alfonso, we have posses guarding all of the bridges and tunnels with instructions to shoot on sight. You won't come back here if you know what's good for you.

...What do the Yankees need with a second baseman who has less movement to his left than Dick Cheney? There's just no point. Soriano's H/R splits were also scary bad last year, and if he plays in RFK this year no one is going to be recruiting him, not even those rank sentamentalists, the Yankees.

...People keep phoning me during this chat and I keep hanging up on them. That's how much I love you - though if any of them had been Jessica from New Brunswick I would have made an exception.

Handol (Fort Lee): Any thoughts on Peter Gammons joining the commentary for ESPN's sunday night baseball?

Steven Goldman: I really like the idea of Gammons being there as a way to add some content to an evening in which it's generally more educational to mute the sound and quietly chant "ba... ba... ba..." to yourself. I just worry about Peter's health. There are times on Baseball Tonight when Harold is making some obviously wrongheaded point and they cut over to Peter and you can see veins popping out in all the wrong places.

Bryan (Toronto): Hey Steve, I really enjoyed the League-Go-Round that you did over at the Pinstriped Bible/Blog a while back. I could nitpick at a few of your decisions (the division you made between Righty and Lefty starters seems particularly arbitrary to me, especially since it benefitted the Yankees in particular), but overall I think it did give a rather accurate overview of the division. Even with all the hype surrounding them, my Jays still look very much like a 3rd place team to me. How likely is the possiblity of the Jays sneaking into the playoffs? And what particular weaknesses do you think will end up holding them back? (I see SS and RF as the biggest problems). Thanks, and keep up the great work both here and at YES.

Steven Goldman: Glad you liked the League-Go-Round. I wish I had had more time to play with it, but the nature of daily deadlines is that you've got to work fast. The division between righty and lefty starters WAS arbitrary and I regretted it, but I was following Bill James' blueprint for the feature and decided to stick with him right down the line, even when it was plainly going to lead to a bad place. Again, given more time to think rationally, I wouldn't have done that.

Earlier this year, I was talking with Rob Neyer who was arguing about changing one aspect of the format of the BP annual (which we ultimately did). My rejoinder, "But Bill did it that way!" was met with a stony, "So?" I think about that frequently. Neyer's "So" was the terse equivalent of Boby Dylan's "Don't follow leaders, watch your parking meters."

Sure, the Jays could sneak in, but I think they're still a big bopper away. The outfield looks particularly light in the hitting department to me. That being said, if the pitching is creditable and the depth-challenged Sox and Yankees suffer a few pulled hamstrings, the Jays could float past them.

tommy (montclair): What exactly is the event being held at the Yogi Berra Museum on March 26th? How long will it run for?

Steven Goldman: At 1 PM on March 26, Jonah, Christina, Nate, Jay, Neil, John, Cliff, our pal Allen Barra, and, perhaps, others (still rounding up some unusual suspects) will gather at the Yogi to argue all points baseball in the service of both BP06 and Baseball Between the Numbers. I'm not yet sure of the exact format - we may have one big panel or break the group up with two panels - but at the very least you can expect that Jonah and I will make some introductory remarks, there will be a moderated discussion, a Q&A, and some book signin'. We'll even do a singalong if it will you happy.

As for how long will it run? As long as the good curators of the Yogi allow us to go, or until Yogi needs his stuff back. Whichever comes first.

Jessica (New Brunswick): Oh man, my husband is going to have a fit with all these comments! now YOU owe ME a grease truck. Cheesesteak, Gyro meat, fried egg, and fries....Hold the rabbit food, heavy on the white sauce.

Steven Goldman: To say nothing of my wife. But she knows that I live for my art and I have no talent for self-censorship, so I get away with a lot. Plus women who are knowledgeable baseball fans are just inherently fascinating.

steve (nj): "why don't we do it in the road?" has to be a top 10 stinker, no? nothing redeeming there.

Steven Goldman: I think it's meant to be funny, and if you take it that way, it is.

My understanding is that Paul recorded many versions of that before the sort of raunchy version that appears on the White Album. There are apparently bootlegged versions that have a very different feel.

Larry Beinfest (Miami): Who is my second baseman?

Steven Goldman: I guess it's going to be Uggla now. We don't expect him to hit much... Or field much... Or sound great on talk radio... Really, we don't expect anything. That being said, better new blood than Pokey.

to jessica (nb) (northern nj): that sandwich sounds nauseatingly disgusting. yet delicious.

Steven Goldman: I never did try one, but I have a friend who used to have them. He takes Lipitor now.

Back in my meat-eating days I used to smuggle the odd gyro from those trucks into lengthy night classes.

Steve (Montreal): I don't have a beatles question, but... Ever hear "A perfect circle's" cover of "imagine"? It's very haunting, and gives the song a whole new meaning.

Steven Goldman: No, but being a covers junky I'm obligated to go find it. Thanks a lot. Is it on iTunes?

Mattymatty (Philly): The Red Sox are "depth-challenged?" Explain.

Steven Goldman: They have an excess of pitching, it's true, but the lack of great position players at the upper levels - Pedroia aside - means that if any of the starters goes "twang" they're going to have a hard time making up the production.

dianagramr (Brooklyn): Harold Reynolds has NOTHING over Joe Morgan in the "huh?" category. If Gammons sat in the booth with Morgan and Miller, he mind end up taking a swan dive into the field boxes! BTW, Gammons' HOF speech was classic Gammons. p.s. too bad about Kirby ... :-(

Steven Goldman: Exactly right about Morgan. That's why if Peter takes 15% of Joe's air time, our qualify of life will have improved by roughly... 15%.

If Peter dives out of the broadcast booths at Yankee Stadium, there's a good chance he'll hit the screen, so I'm not worried about New York. BP will have to do a survey of the other stadia to find out their Gammons Survivability Quotient.

Shaun P (Medway (MA)): OK, I'll bite, here's a book question for you - who came up with the 'NOOGY' term used in the Yanks' chapter? I couldn't stop laughing after I read it! It sounds like something you'd say - so was it you, or whichever of your mysterious colleagues who wrote that chapter? (And if you can tell us, who was that person?)

Steven Goldman: Humbly, it was your servant, myself. As editor, I assigned the Yankees chapter to myself. It's good to be the king.

I'm glad you enjoyed the NOOGY. It has the rare felicity of being both funny and true.

ScottBehson (Nyack, NY): I am an avid fan of BP, and I know that when smart people have access to good data, they tend to come to similar conclusions. But my one qualm about BP is that it seems as if there are few areas of disagreement among your writers. Can you fill us in on what some of these areas for disagreement may be?

Steven Goldman: I got the book Fantasyland the other day, the one about Tout Wars in which BP figures prominently. If you turn to the index, you will see the entry, "Baseball Prospectus, arrogance of."

I hear this arrogance stuff all the time, and groupthink comes up second-most often. Neither is remotely true. If there's anything to either, it's that BP has a certain analytical point of view and that it tends to attract writers who share that point of view. Joe Morgan has as little interest in writing for us as we have in listening to him.

That's as far as it goes, though. We often don't agree on many things, big and small, and the internal debates, when they happen, are one of the best things about being here.

"Arrogance," I think, is a code word for "They charge money."

Areas that we disagree upon? Naturally nothing comes to mind... When we debated the prospect rankings for this year's book, I'm doctrinaire enough about walks that I would have placed Hermida at the top of the list. I failed to carry the day, in part because PECOTA sees Young as having a lot more room for growth. We shall se.

Dan (Pasadena, CA): Somebody recently compared Kevin Youkilis to Nick Johnson, fair?

Steven Goldman: Nope. Not fair. Johnson has more power, is a terrific glove, and was an established major leaguer at 23. Youkilis is just six months younger than Johnson.

Cheese (Surf City): Speaking of Announcers, who would you rather have in the booth...Harold Reynolds (when he's not talking about himself), Joe Morgan (when he's not talking about the Reds) or Scooter(when he remembered where/who he was)? Also, these fat sandwiches seem like the only thing going for Rutgers, of course Jessica too, baseball knowledge and an appetite of a 300 lb lineman...that's hot, assuming she hasn't dropped dead of a heart attack.

Steven Goldman: When Phil Rizzuto was partnered with Bill White - this was up until the point that White became NL prexy - he was still paying attention, and White did a good job of keeping him on target most of the time. I have very little interest in listening to Morgan under any circumstances. I don't mind Harold when he's explaining the correct way to cover an attempted stolen base or something, and I hear he's a decent guy.

Remember when the Padres and Rockies opened in Mexico City a few years ago? Dante Bichette hit a home run that night, and Morgan's words, "this guy can hit ANYWHERE," still ring unpleasantly in my ears.

chrisc (Ann Arbor, MI): Someone recently compared Daric Barton to Nick Johnson, fair?

Steven Goldman: Getting warmer.

I forgot to say in the last comment - women who eat like linebackers are a turn-on? Interest in your interests, like baseball, I can see. Physical beauty, naturally. Can't forget intelligence, because that's what it's all about. But eating like a pig? That's exciting?

johnny (tacoma): Most inept : Royals, Knicks, or Bush Administration?

Steven Goldman: You forgot "D: All of the Above."

Actually, that's not quite fair, as neither the Royals or the Knicks have wiretapped anyone that I'm aware of.

chaneyhey (jefferson city, missouri): Hermedia or Francouer??? Who would you take? Thanks. Brian

Steven Goldman: I alluded to my answer above - Hermida, in a walk, if you'll pardon the pun. I have my doubts that Francouer is going to keep hitting with his approach. He certainly started to tail off last year.

Nick (San Francisco): are there any managers today as creative and good as Casey Stengel was? And if not, any managers who at least approach his level? And finally where do you put Torre on the totem pole of managers today?

Steven Goldman: Nope, and I'll tell you why. It's not because they lack his innate ability, necessarily - although you don't get a Casey in every generation - it's because once you start carrying 12 pitchers the manager's options have become so limitd that he has to sit on his hands.

This was something that Casey knew. He said he would love to carry 12 pitchers, but he needed some position players to work with. As with so many things that he said and did, people just thought he was being weird. He wasn't. He was telling them how to run a baseball team.

leroi (mt. vernon): quick thoughts on the following players - howie kendrick, cliff lee, kelvim escobar

Steven Goldman: I lovelovelove Kendrick and can't wait to see what he can do in the bigs. Shoo, Adam Kennedy! Fly away! I don't really have strong feelings about the other two, pitchers being so variable.

...I now have a "go back to China, freedom-hater" comment in the que because of the thing about the Royals and the Knicks and you-know-who. Man, I hope that's supposed to be satirical.

russadams (St. Cloud, MN): Is Dustan Mohr going to be a good enough fourth outfielder for the Red Sox?

Steven Goldman: I think he'll be okay provided he's not doing much more than platooning with Trot Nixon. If he has to play everyday because of an injury it's more of a problem.

beanpj (Washington, D.C.): I think the "arrogance" charges are hardly unique to BP. Rather, it's merely symptomatic of anti-intellectualism in America, which has no short history. Plain and simple, really. You guys are great...

Steven Goldman: I agree with you, but if I admit it, people are going to say that I'm arrogant. How dare we say we're intellectual...

(But you're right)

Cris E (St Paul, MN): A recent column by Ken Rosenthal decried the dearth of good young catchers today. It seems to be a cyclical thing we read about every decade or so, but are we in a down period right now? And if so, in the few years it'll take to pump the minors with youngsers how does a GM replace Posada and Varitek?

Steven Goldman: It's definitely cyclical. I remember reading the same comments back in the mid to late 1980s, when it seemed like the only catchers who were coming along were Ron Karkovice types. This was when Benito Santiago was thought to be the best thing at the position since sliced bread. Then Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Piazza and Jorge Posada came along and you stopped hearing about all that, not to mention shorter term guys like Mike Stanley, Mickey Tettleton, and Chris Hoiles, who hit the heck out of the ball in for a couple of years.

Right now, believe it or not, I think there's a bigger dearth of interesting outfielders than catchers. Sure, there's Hermida and Young and some others, but there's not a ton of great looking guys coming up.

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): No question here, but - its truth is precisely what made the NOOGY line so funny to me. I think I may begin including it in my comments on Bronx Banter, if you don't mind. I was also very pleased to see the comparables list included with the PECOTAs. A very nice touch, indeed.

Steven Goldman: You know, I want to point out those comparables, because we worked them in a little late in the game and didn't get to publicize the addition as much as we did some other things. For those that haven't seen the book yet, every player comment now features that player's top three PECOTA comparables. Kudos to Nate Silver for going the extra distance there.

I hope y'all are enjoying the shorty comments too. Credit where credit is due - it was an idea I lifted from Aaron Schatz's fine Pro Football Prospectus.

Dennis (Newark): Steven, you made a classic vorp mistake. Taking 15% away from Morgan and adding it to Peter is worth 30-45% in terms of quality of life...at least.

Steven Goldman: It's ironic given that I'm a BPer, but the math end of things just isn't my specialty. I'm not sure what my speciality is, actually. Maybe I'm the tranquility coach. There's a trivia question for you - what team actually had a major league tranquility coach, what was the coach's name, and what manager did he work under?

David (Seattle): The arrogance stuff comes from the sense that sometimes comes through in the articles that BP has discovered The One True Way of Baseball and anyone who makes a move that the writer wouldn't is a complete moron.

Steven Goldman: There is a difference between being arrogant and assertive. I can't speak for everyone in the group, but I'd like to think we all approach our work with due humility. I do. I'm very humble. I'm the MOST HUMBLE! I AM THE HUMBLE-EST GUY EVER!!!

Anyway, I think sometimes the latter gets mistaken for the former. Someday someone will have to compile some examples if they really want to make that case. All I can tell you, as one who has worked closely with BP for three years as a writer and an editor, is that it's not editorially directed. We all find our own way/voice/approach here.

bctowns (Chicago): Steven, The book is great. I just got my copy on Sunday. By shorty comments, do you mean the brief comments on players that didn't make the regular chapter? Thanks for chatting.

Steven Goldman: That's exactly what I mean. I found them fun to write, too.

mike (NYC): why is the tribe so fixated on the stopgap talent of broussard, boone and blake? Wouldn't they be better off giving Garko, Marte and Snyder a chot?

Steven Goldman: I don't know and yes. Let's see the spring play out. The contracts those fellows have will play a part, of course, though they shouldn't.

Getting into the last few minutes here as I have to go off to the doctor and get my meds adjusted. If my medication isn't just right I get... arrogant. Which is better than getting incontinent, I guess.

googlemaster (anywhere): Yankees, Willie Horton, Yogi Berra. Your YES blog was where the answer was found, of course.

Steven Goldman: Except that Billy Martin was the manager. If I said Yogi I deserve to have my license to practice taken away.

phil44 (Boston): Regarding BP areas of disagreement, I hope politics is one of them. Please tell me there are some of my fellow conservatives on the staff. Not that it makes your collective opinions any less insightful, I'm just curious.

Steven Goldman: Absolutely. We take all kinds here. I would say that the BPers run the full spectrum of political thought.

Tuna (Wilmington, NC): I don't know this Jessica, but who is going to suffer a season ending injury during the WBC? My money is on Jeter.

Steven Goldman: Jessica is in the WBC? That would be another point in her favor, right?

I had another question about WBC injuries here somewhere but it disppeared on me somehow. It was asking why there is "paranoia" about injuries. I don't think there is, particularly when it comes to position players. The main concern is with pitchers, who might push themselves harder in these games than they would with their own teams at a comparable point in the spring.

Dennis (Newark): As a follow up to Nick's question, wouldn't the fact that managers are more risk advese now also play into it? In terms of job security, it's safer to do what's popular instead of something creative.

Steven Goldman: That has always been an issue, but the truth is that I doubt that many of them are really grappling with the received wisdom. Managers aren't any more risk-averse now than they were in Casey's day. They have less reason to be given the amount of money some of them make. Heck, Casey himself never had more than a two-year deal with the Yankees.

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): So which are the worst 10 Presidential administrations of all time? (I think #1 worst is a very close tie between Harding and GWB - the old peak vs longevity argument.)

Steven Goldman: I just saw this one now. I would really like to answer it except that, (1) I'm almost out of time, and (2) I can see myself getting aggreived phone calls from Nate and Jonah for going political (again) and torquing off half the electorate (again). I will say that Buchanan, who had the Civil War brewing up and didn't do much about it would have to be in there, Hoover, for general non-responsiveness to the Depression, Coolidge for not doing more to cushion the inevitable stock bubble bursting in the years before Hoover, and Wilson for domestic racism and foreign policy ineptitude (see? Got a Democrat in there!)

Gerry (Bayonne, NJ): Steve, Love the book this year -- my favorite edition since my first. One criticism though: I just don't find VORP intuitive. What does the "value" part stand for?

Steven Goldman: So glad that you're liking it. The whole gang really worked hard on it. VORP is really RORP. Think of the V as an R standing for Runs.

Dennis (Newark): Hey, you set yourself up for that question from Shaun on your own website. Be careful what you ask for!

Steven Goldman: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

dorkus14 (SD): Carter has to be up there for his economic policy.

Steven Goldman: Off the cuff response, not backed up by research: Carter had some tough breaks in that department - OPEC madness and the bills from 20 years of Vietnam and the Great Society coming due. It would have been tough for anyone to do a good job with those cards. But yes, the Carter administration had problems. Carter just wasn't decisive enough.

Jim Bowden (DC): OK, now what do I do with Soriano?? Get 50 cents on the dollar? On an unrelated note: Marte vs Gordon. More impact this year? Next 3 years?

Steven Goldman: Yeah, maybe you get 50 cents on the dollar. I mean, who asked you? Here is a ballplayer who is ill-suited to your team in every regard and yet you acquired him anyway. You deserve what you get, chuckles.

Marte vs. Alex Gordon? Tom Gordon? Gordon from Sesame Street? Marte is the better bet in the short term, natch. As for Alex, we just have to take the scouts' word for it for now. Looking forward to seeing him get some real actual playing time.

Last NJ GOPer (New Jersey): But, can't it be argued that Carter is the one who got us all into this middle East mess...that whole hostage thing that I heard about...

Steven Goldman: Nope, with all impartiality, you can't argue that. The screw-ups in Iran go back years before that, when the CIA toppled a liberal/leftist elected government in exchange for the unpopular, authoritiarian Shah. That's where the trouble began.

jerhardt (editing your column): Let phil44 know that I'm BP's resident libertarian, Steven.

Steven Goldman: A cameo from BP's own John Erhardt, ladies and gentlemen! Meet John at the Yogi Berra Museum on March 26!

mattymatty (Philadelphia, PA): Looking forward to the Philly talk coming up... I have the book, and as always I'm quite happy with the content, and the analysis is spot-on, but there seem to be a fair number of simple gramatical errors. I guess that would be my only complaint (not that you asked for complaints). Other than that small bit, great job, and thanks for your hard work! My question: I've got ESPN on here and Andy Marte just crushed a glavine pitch into the left field wall (not quite out). How do you think this Crisp/Marte trade is going to look in five years?

Steven Goldman: I'm looking forward to the Philly talk, too. That one will have me, Chritina, Cliff and possibly Jay and Clay. Have to doublecheck on those last two. I'll also be taping a spot for the Comcast Net's "Out of Bounds" show that day, airing that evening, so there will be a lot of my bloviating for my bloated self that day.

As for grammatical errors, it's a real frustration of doing this kind of book that the speed at which we have to move prevents some of the editing steps that you might normally take, like lingering over a copy for a month, looking for typos. That's the cost of our having our keeping our deadlines late so the book is more current when it comes out than any other annual. That being said, we edited the heck out this sucker, and if errors still snuck in I can only blame... gremlins.

Five years from now the Crisp/Marte trade will be all Marte, but for the next couple of years it was a good move by the Sox.

Ross (England): Oh man, i can't wait until the inevitable "that's it, i'm never talking politics again in these chats...it just gets me in trouble" comment from you. I'm loving it right now though!

Steven Goldman: See, what you don't realize is that right now Jonah is emailing Nate a memo with the subject line "Regarding Letting Goldman Ever Host a Chat Again."

Anthony (Long Island): Congratulations on getting through the whole chat without mentioning Tony Womack. Well done.

Steven Goldman: Nor did I bring up Miguel Cairo, I - oops.

Andy (Oak Park, IL): In Ryan Howard's comment, he's accused of having outstanding power but less than great bat speed. I know my physics, and you can't have one without the other unless you're using Babe Ruth's bat. What does this really mean?

Steven Goldman: Let me ask chapter author Gary Gillette to clarify that one and I'll post the answer in an upcoming YCLIU here at BP.com. I'll also ask a physicist. I've got a couple of those on speed dial for just such an emergency. That and sudden universal entropy.

Steven Goldman: Friends, I have reached the end of my temporal tether. As much fun as I'm having, it's time for me to be off on other errands. Again, I hope you enjoy BP06 and that you'll come out and see us as we travel about promoting it and the wonderful Baseball Between the Numbers. See the events page for all the fun. I hope to meet many of you as we take to the road. Until next time, Steve, signing off.


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