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Chat: Jon Sciambi

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday May 03, 2006 5:00 PM ET chat session with Jon Sciambi.

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Jon Sciambi is a play-by-play broadcaster for ESPN and is a former voice of the Florida Marlins. He also hosts a sports talk show on 790 The Ticket in Miami.

Jon Sciambi: Hey there...ready to go

rpry17a (Boca Raton): How do you think the NL East will end up with the Mets' hot start?

Jon Sciambi: I think the Mets will win it, with the Braves second. My concern is the health of Pedro and Glavine (age) to a lesser extent. That team will score a bunch.

darkhorse (N. Richland Hills, TX): Hi Jon, It must be a bit sad to see the state the Marlins are currently in, though they do have a number of good young players in the organization. As a former Marlins employee, what's your take on Dave Dombrowski's rebuilding job with the Tigers?

Jon Sciambi: Great question. I must say that I have a ton of respect for Dave. I'm a bit surprised that he hasn't made a greater impact there. When he went there he was considered an "elite" GM and now I'd say that's not the case--emphasis on "considered." This may be the year that the Tigers finally take the step but a long way to go.

rpry17a (Boca Raton): What statistics do you look at when you are evaluating a pitcher? (i.e. K/9, BB/9 etc...)

Jon Sciambi: Certainly those rate stats...I do buy into alot of the "DIPS" stuff, so basically, I'm looking at BBs, Ks and HRs allowed as the difference between the good and bad pitchers...and to a lesser extent still ERA.

Amber (Kansas City, KS): Hey Jon! I always love it when you have the play-by-play on espn. My question is who has been your favorite color analyst while working at espn? Thanks :)

Jon Sciambi: Amber, thanks. Hard to pick a favorite--I really enjoy Buck Martinez because he's open to all ideas despite his experience on Toronto. Phillips and Stone are a blast because of the unique perspectives--GM/player value and pitching.

rpry17a (Boca Raton): I was at the Marlins' game on Sunday. How can the team actually say that 6,000 people are in attendance there? There might not even be 2,000. Is there anyway to save this team?

Jon Sciambi: My typing stinks...MLB, all teams announce paid att., so no one is trying to "trick" anyone. No clue on how to save the Marlins.

Nostradamus (NY): Prediction: Madson becomes the 8th inning guy, Cole Hamels comes up and dominates, and the Phillies end the Braves' reign...your thoughts?

Jon Sciambi: I think Madson and Phils are better served with him in pen to give them and inning or two oer game but Hamels? Last 3 yrs he's pitched 152 innings(I looked) hard to count on him doing anything, no?

ssimon (Pelham, NY): Jon, Have you been at all surprised by the early-season performances of ex-Marlins Beckett and Burnett?

Jon Sciambi: No surprise on AJ as health has always been a problem. Josh has had trouble keeping it in the park the last two starts which is a touch odd but I'd expect him to be fine and if both are healthy, I'd take Beckett.

aribau97 (Orlando, FL): Jon, what's your take on the strong starts from Florida's young middle infielders, Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla? Will they be able to sustain their success this season?

Jon Sciambi: Lotsa Marlins questions, yikes. I'd be surprised to be honest. Most young players hit that bump usually and both can struggle defensively and that won't help.

templeusox (Philly): Thanks for doing the chat. I think you and Steve Stone are two of the most enjoyable voices on ESPN. While that could be construed as damning with faint praise, it isn't in this case. As a broadcaster, how much of a responsibility do you feel you have to educate the fans of the game? I think a play-by-play man has more influence over the fan's knowledge than the color commentator. Simply because the accents in which the PBP guys talks in, become part of the fan's lexicon. Whereas the opinions stated by the color man are taken as just that, opinions. If you don't refer to pitcher's Won-Loss records, focus on batting averages, or praise bunts without any context, I think the fans will follow. Your thoughts?

Jon Sciambi: Thanks and thoughtful stuff. Yes, I think I do have a responsibility to educate. As a guy who reads BP, Hardball Times, Primer daily I still have to realize my audience and I can't give someone's EQA because explaining it would people in a coma despite how good a stat it is, ya know. I push OBP and SLG on Offense and team wise I always use RS as opposed to team BA.

Bob (North Hampton, NH): Why does the national media care if johnny damon is booed in his return to Fenway? I thought it was crazy that it got so much attention locally let alone nationally.

Jon Sciambi: Yes I get you but... you have to understand though that with the amount of sports coverage there is out there, the games aren't enough for most people. There's always another "angle" to be covered that the next guy didn't get. The one thing that's funny is how Cleveland fans boo Thome for being disloyal for example but have no problem with signing Jason Johnson away from the Tiger--you can be disloyal to THEM just not to US.

iggith (Philadelphia, PA): Jon, thanks for taking the time out to do this chat. You have had a very harrowing two years. How did you rebound from the BALCO controvery to put up an OBP over .500 and a Slugging percentage over .800 this year?

Jon Sciambi: LOL...flax seed oil?

ssimon (Pelham, NY): Jon, I was at a Mets-Marlins game at Shea where Dontrelle was used as a pinch-hitter. Is he the best-hitting pitcher you've seen?

Jon Sciambi: Right up there. Livan Hernandez is very good and obviously Hampton. With all these guys the sample ends up being fairly small per year but yes, I'd take Dontelle to hit ahead of any other pitcher.

Bud Selig (Milwaukee WI): When will the good people of Dade County see that the Marlins need a new stadium to survive? Don't make me break out the C (contraction) word!

Jon Sciambi: Nice to hear from you Mr. Selig...Look, any of the counties stepping up would help the cause--Dade, broward or palm beach. Didn't happen for Huizenga or Henry,so I have trouble seeing it happen for Loria.

Jon (Iowa City, IA): BOOG (by far, the best nickname for any sportscaster)! Does ESPN have any plans to change their baseball coverage (like, will the wednesday night doubleheaders ever return?) Keep up the great work!

Jon Sciambi: Jon..Thanks.Not sure that any changes are on tap right now. They're not booing, they're Booooooooging :)

rudd48 (lexington, ky): Do you think the Marlins are committed to Reggie Abercrombie as their everyday CF, or will his slow start mean we'll be seeing more Eric Reed?

Jon Sciambi: I don't think they are committed to either. Whoever is playing better will start. Reed feels a touch like Jason Tyner to me and Abercrombie walked about 130x in roughly 2500 minor lg ABs.

Justin Singer (Miami, FL): Boog, Glad to finally see a South Florida boy on Prospectus...I'm a friend of Zaslow. I saw him for the first time in awhile last week, and the first thing he said to me was "Are you still reading Prospectus?" The Prospectus guys have never done a Pizza Feed down here (they cancelled one in Tampa when I was in college). Maybe you can convince them to have one down here? Lets go Marlins!!! Oh, and did Hubert Davis really foul Pippen?

Jon Sciambi: yes, Pizza feed in Miami!!!!!!

ssimon (Pelham, NY): Jon, Are the Marlins disgracing baseball with their absurdly low team payroll, or have they been the victims of a disgraceful stadium lease? Both?

Jon Sciambi: I'd say more the latter. No one beefed when their payroll was way,way past what revenues were for the past three years. I don't believe they'll make money even this year.

Bob (North Hampton, NH): I've been watching a good amount of Diamondbacks games, I think they have all the talent to win the west. How long before the rest of the country realizes how good Chad Tracy is? Looks to me that he could be on a career path similar to Lance Berkmans, maybe with a bit less power (but he does play in the thin air of Arizona).

Jon Sciambi: I'm not quite there on the Berkman comp--he's had one very good year but playing home games in that park should continue to help. If he stays steady as a 900 or so OPS guy like last year, he'll be very valuable.

Rachel (New York, NY): Hey Jon! Read any good baseball books lately? Talk to you later!

Jon Sciambi: Rachel...Shameless plug--Baseball Between the Numbers by the guys at BP was excellent. During the season my "leisure" reading is usually not baseball stuff...and my baseball reading is usually more informational.

abmantle (Middletown,NJ): Jon, do you think Griffey will reproduce his numbers from last year? or will find his way back to the DL

Jon Sciambi: Last year was the first year he'd played more than 120 games since 2000. I'd guess probably numbers a bit less than last year rate-wise and certainly counting-wise.

Albert (Snatfeld, MN): Jon, what baseball websites do you check on a daily basis? Thanks!

Jon Sciambi: BP, Hardballtimes...I get Lee Sinnins reports, BA prospect reports mailed to me daily. Love baseball reference and ESPN.com...Too many blogs to name but I do love Baseball Musings by David Pinto.

lyricalkiller (The OC): Now I'm curious to hear you. When and where can I? I have mlb radio, if that helps.

Jon Sciambi: I do a talk show daily 1-4pm eastern on 790 the ticket in Miami--available online as well. Also, I do about 45 ESPN tv baseball games and about 10 or so ESPN radio games

rpry17a (Boca Raton): How about the AL East?

Jon Sciambi: I'd still go Yanks, Sox, Jays, O's, Rays...but I like the Sox pitching and don't think the step back on Offense will hurt much. If the Sox won the division, it wouldn't surprise me.

russadams (St. Cloud, MN): Is a Twins firesale in the near future?

Jon Sciambi: No idea but if a stadium is totally dead AND they stink, it's gotta be a possibility.

packerfan0042001 (miami): hey boog long time listen 790 the ticket down here, anyway dont the tigers remind you of last years whitesox? good pitching (bonderman,verlander,maroth) power (shelton,magglio,pudge)... basically are the tigers for real?

Jon Sciambi: I see where you're going but that seems like a stretch. The Sox hit over 200 hrs last year and were elite defensively in collecting outs as a team. I think the Tigers will hang in but I'd expect the Tribe to be more legit contenders this year in the Central.

Bob (North Hampton, NH): With all the problems getting new stadiums for teams isnt the best solution to contract a team or two? I would hate to see jobs lost and the sport I love admit they've failed, but it seems that there's not as much demand as the MLB has supplied.

Jon Sciambi: Great question...and I answer with a question--For what purposes? Competition? The Marlins for example don't need a new stadium to be competitive--they've been that for 3 straight years plus a title--they need a stadium to make money. I don't know what problems contraction would solve.

Patton1941 (NYC): were you around for the first Marlins firesale? If so, what was it like observing how the fans reacted to the whole thing?

Jon Sciambi: I was there for that. Fans were angrier then because Huizenga never gave that team a chance to defend the title. Meanwhile, Loria gave 03 a chance to be 04 and then 05 with quality teams. Anger in 98, apathy in 06 in my opinion.

Jon Sciambi: Hey, thanks for the questions. Hope to do it again soon...we'll see you on TV!!


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