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Chat: Emma Span

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday March 24, 2011 1:00 PM ET chat session with Emma Span.

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Who needs a third wheel when there's Span and Sain(ity)? Check in with contributor Emma Span in her first BP.com chat in what figures to be an entertaining introduction.

Emma Span: Hey there, and thanks for coming by. Bear with me as I figure out the mechanics of my first chat, but let's get started...

ssimon (Pelham, NY): So, Emma, how DO you pronounce "Honus Wagner"?

Emma Span: As I learned on Tuesday - from Steve Goldman, who ought to know - it's "HA-nes," not HO-nuss as I'd been saying my entire life until then. Whoops!

Pounded Clown (3RF): Your opinion on the biggest issue of the spring, Mariano Rivera's high socks?

Emma Span: I'm a fan of the high socks in general (or, as Rivera has pointed out, regular socks with shorter pants). Of course, if I were superstitious, I would say: you're Mariano Rivera. Why change ANYthing?

PJ (Austin, TX): Thoughts on Braves v. Phillies in the NL East? Buster Olney caught a ton of slack from Phillies fans (who doesn't?) by picking the Braves to win the East.

Emma Span: I'm not going to pick against that Phillies rotation, but Olney has a point. I do think the Braves have a slightly better-rounded team, and I wouldn't be too surprised if they pulled it off. And I'd say Atlanta's better equipped to handle a few things going wrong.

kowloonwc (Oakland, CA): Hey, Emma. Welcome to BP etc. 1. Were you surprised by the reaction to your slash-fic piece? B. Do you think the reaction would have been the same had a man's byline been attached to it? Keep up the good work!

Emma Span: Thanks! I was a bit surprised, honestly - just by how much attention it got and how strongly some people felt. To me it was a fairly light look at a strange, interesting phenomenon. As to whether the reaction would've been different if I was a guy... it's tempting to think so, in at least a few cases, but there's no way to know for sure, so I try not to assume.

Jobert (TX): More importantly, where do we find the Honus Wagner slashfic?

Emma Span: Ha. Go forth and Google, if you dare...

Bill (Denver): Followup to the Rivera question: When will we start seeing really high stirrups become common again and who will be the trailbreaker?

Emma Span: Well, if Rivera does it, I'd imagine the rest of the Yankee bullpen will follow. Although it's not for everyone... it's amusing to think of, say, C.C. Sabathia or Youkilis going that route.

The Apple (Yonkers, NY): If you could be any kind of P.E.D., which would you be?

Emma Span: Oh, Desoxymethyltestosterone. Definitely.

Dennis (LA): Hi Emma, thanks for the chat. What are your top three favorite baseball books? Do you play any fantasy baseball - if so, how do you prepare?

Emma Span: Hi Dennis! Picking just three is tough, so I'm going to cheat and say The Glory of Their Times, Veeck as in Wreck, and everything by Roger Angell. As for fantasy baseball, I did play up until a few years ago, but haven't recently just because I don't want to overload on baseball (it's hard, but possible). And of course I prepared by reading Baseball Prospectus cover to cover... that, and a good amount of "I'm going to take this guy because he has a funny name."

dianagram (NYC): If Major League Baseball suddenly banned "Girardi's Binder", would Joe's in-game managing actually improve?

Emma Span: Hi there Diane. Well, if they could ever get him out of the fetal position, then... maybe? (Honestly, I think the issue is not that he has a binder, but what's in it. He could stand to go outside the box more often).

Stephen R (NY): Whats the difference between music and comedy? Do you ever use music in your comedy?

Emma Span: Congratulations, you've stumped me - not sure how to answer that one, although I could probably write a term paper on it if needed. And I really only use music in my comedy in that I often use song lyrics as blog post titles...

Dan46S (Boston): Hi Emma, In BP's top 101 prospects, you rank Moustakas #7 and Belt #22. Both are available in our H2H keeper league. If I pick up one I have to play short. Looks like Belt may be closer to coming up. Pick him up, pick Moustakas, or pass on both to play with a full roster? Yhanks for the advice.

Emma Span: While this is an excellent question, it's probably one that you want to ask BP's resident prospect expert Kevin Goldstein, or Marc Normandin, one of our fantasy gurus. I believe Belt is going to start the year with the Giants, though, where as Moustakas is going to the minors first - for what that's worth.

The Apple (Yonkers, NY): I've never been to a spring training game. Do Phillies fans use the spring games to work on their brawling and vomiting fundamentals?

Emma Span: Greetings, Mets fan! To answer your question: No, because you only have so many bullets, you know? You don't want to waste them in spring training.

Adam (NY): It's funny, every spring I get ready for the inevitable 86 mph, straight as an arrow "cutter" from Mo's arm signaling, at the very least, the beginning of the end. And every year I'm pleasantly surprised by status quo. This can't go on forever...can it?

Emma Span: Shhhhhh! Of course it can! Don't be silly! (Sob)

Frank (Vegas): if the Pirates are not in the NLCentral cellar on Oct 1, will it be due to their improvement, or the ineptness of the Astros?

Emma Span: The ineptness of the Astros. Although I don't think they'll actually be worse than the Pirates this year; the Pirates are still the baseline. (Sorry).

Frank (Vegas): Hi Emma, best outside-the-redar prospect for the Bucs is ???

Emma Span: Let's ask Kevin Goldstein! http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12400

Steven Goldman (BP Secret Island HQ): The difference between music and comedy is that no one ever laughs during Mozart's "Requiem." Although it might be liberating to try.

Emma Span: What if you were being tickled?

Shaun P. (Bronx Banter): Hi Emma! If Garcia fails, and when Colon fails, who do the Yanks turn to first - someone from AAA, or from outside the organization?

Emma Span: Hey Shaun - I think FIRST they'll go to someone from AAA (Mitre if he hasn't flamed out yet, maybe even Banuelos for a few starts), but I do think they'll make a trade or get someone off waivers at some point this summer. Not a star necessarily, but someone who, you know, isn't Bartolo Colon. (What's Sidney Ponson doing these days?)

R.A.Wagman (Section 203): Opening day is next Friday in these here parts and there are still a few inches of snow on the ground and the temperature out there is below the freezing point and windy. Wax poetic on the great game and warm my soul, won't you.

Emma Span: To quote Ernie Harwell quoting some "Solomon" guy:
"For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."
I hope that helps, even if the "voice of the turtle" turns out to sound alarmingly like Tim McCarver.

matteckstein (Nova Scotia): Hi Emma, welcome to the BP fold. What are your (baseball) interests and what do you think you'll be focusing on most here? I became curious once I realized I wasn't sure what to ask you (!).

Emma Span: Hey Matt, and thanks! I guess I'd say I'm a baseball generalist with an emphasis on the silly, ridiculous, or just plain strange aspects of the game. And probably a bit of an east-coast bias, even though I usually try to pretend that I don't think New York City is the center of the universe.

dianagram (NYC): Podcast-type question: What are you drinking/eating/listening to right now?

Emma Span: Oh, now I wish I had a more interesting answer than "drinking Diet Coke and listening to Gary, Keith and Ron call the Mets spring training game." It's an exciting life. If you asked me in 12 hours you'd get better/worse answers...

Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles Anaheim of Pasadena): Greeting from the Banter and congratulations on the next step in your multi-site march towards world domination! Any early personal candidates for your eventual MFY (most frustrating Yankee) of the year? Andruuw Jones has been groundballerrific in the early going, but the 10-cent-head guys, AJ and Joba surely can't be counted out, no?

Emma Span: Hey there Cult. See, to be TRULY frustrating, I feel like the player in question has to be someone you don't totally expect to be frustrating. I think Yankees fans are fully prepared for Burnett and Joba to drive them insane. I'm going with Russell Martin, who has a strong track record of frustrating Dodgers fans that cannot be overlooked.

Ratcatcher (Narnia): Who's your pick for "first all-star Yankees fan demand a small-market team trade to them for a pile of sweatsocks and an Orange Julius"?

Emma Span: Are we not counting Francisco Liriano? Because that already happened. Beyond that, "Dave Robertson for Ubaldo Jimenez. Who says no?!?!"

Ratcatcher (Gormenghast): I figured we'd wipe the slate clean on Opening Day. And the Rockies would at least demand the life-sized Cervelli bobblehead.

Emma Span: Heh. And let's not forget, all the best ludicrous-Yankee-fan trade suggestions are legally obligated to include Joba Chamberlain, as they have been since 2009.

Ratcatcher (Erewhon): So where do you see the Joba saga ending? The rotation? The bullpen? St. Louis?

Emma Span: The Yankees seem set on keeping him in the 'pen, so the best case scenario for them is he gets back to being a fairly dominant late-inning guy. I think best-case scenario for HIM is the trade him (although not, I expect, straight-up for Francisco Liriano) to a team that stretches him out to start again - but every season that goes by, that gets less likely. So yes, sadly, I believe Chamberlain is now The World's Most Famous Middle Reliever.

Emma Span: Well, I think that's everyone... thanks for the questions, and enjoy the return of real baseball next week!


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