From yesterday's action to that of 100 years ago to the State of the Prospectus, editor in chief Steven Goldman ranges more widely than Derek Jeter.
Steven Goldman: Good afternoon, seekers of wisdom and truth. BP E-i-C Steven Goldman here to chat about whatever-you-please, which I assume is baseball. Still waiting for my first relationship question. As the child of a psychologist, I have thwarted aspirations to fulfill.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Hi Steven. After the Red Sox cut Daniel Bard, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, and fire Terry Francona they can still win 140 games and win the World Series, right?
Steven Goldman: The panic in Boston is as exaggerated as this question, and I'm sure that if an angel sent Lot into the city to find 20 good men who weren't panicked by an early sweep, he would easily fulfill his quota and spare Beantown a hail of brimstone. The Red Sox are still the class of the league. Some champions go wire-to-wire, some don't. That's all it is.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): So who you got in the ALDS - the O's or the Royals?
Steven Goldman: Much as with rumors of Boston's demise, the rise of the O's and Royals are much exaggerated. Still, it is heartening to see the Orioles experiencing a little success for once. Sure, it's fun to mock a perpetual loser, but much more fun to see good teams throughout the league playing each other. As for the Royals, see my answer to the first question, but in reverse: some 100-game losers win a few on their way down the standings.
UCBravesKing (Covington, KY): Rank these players in their feasibility to enter the MLB Hall of Fame someday:
1. Shoeless Joe Jackson
2. Pete Rose
3. Mark McGwire
4. Barry Bonds
5. Roger Clemens
6. Sammy Sosa
7. Alex Rodriguez
Steven Goldman: I think A-Rod before any of the rest, because his usage will be seen as a dalliance and the bulk of his career is so impressive. The same, to a lesser extent, can be said of Clemens and Bonds, but the weight of his usage is so much heavier with the ongoing lawsuits, the Congressional testimony, etc. ALL the steroids candidates will benefit from some moment TBD when we have a better understanding of the impact of steroids on production, because just about everything you see is supposition.
JT (Michigan): Why do the Jays have E5 at 3B instead of Bautista? E5 could still play DH, no?
Steven Goldman: Because Juan Rivera's defensive abilities don't impress. They judged Encarnacion the lesser of two evils.
Chris (Binghamton): Steve, thanks for your time, as always. Question about Cito Gaston... I remember reading (before his return to the Blue Jays) some columnists and writers asking aloud why he never got a second job as a 2x World Series winner when so many other lesser managers did get recycled in baseball with a second team. Was he not that good manager? Did that mean teams in need mistakenly overlook him?
Steven Goldman: Bill James described Gaston as "strategically inert." He wrote out his lineup and then pretty much sat on the bench and enjoyed the best seat in the house. He also clashed with some key young players like (IIRC) John Olerud and Sean Green. I just don't think there was a lot to recommend him despite the two rings.
SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Steve,
I know this site has been advocating using teams' best relievers in high leverage situations.
Has there ever been any consideration to using them earlier in games? For example, you see a lot of managers use their 5th or 7th(if you're TLR) worse relievers in the 6th innning of a game they trail 2-1. Would it not be better to put some of your best relievers into the game at that point to keep the deficit at one, and allow the offense to score some runs?
As opposed to letting your worse reliever give up two runs to the heart of the order in the 6th, and significantly reduce their teams chances of winning.
Steven Goldman: Yes, although it's a complicated proposition because there are some natural limits on how you use those best relievers. EVERY game has its high-leverage situations, but you can't use, say, Mariano Rivera every game. Those lesser pitchers are necessary to spread out the workload, and that means that a perfectly leveraged bullpen is impossible. However, if managers chose to eschew the closer in just a few three-run, soft-save situations so that the guy could pitch the sixth now and again, it would be possible to get closer to the mark. One other problem: the moment that Famous Closer gets pounded pitching earlier than the ninth, the idiot media will jump on the manager with both feet and a ham sandwich.
This is the quietest chat in my nearly eight years at BP. Let's have some chatter out there!
Silvpak (NY, NY): Anticipating that this is (probably) his final year, are we somewhat laconic about Chipper Jones's place in history? A very strong argument can be made that he is the most well-rounded third baseman in the history of the game (and possibly the most productive); upon induction, he will have the highest OPS of any 3B in the HOF and is around 45 runs above average defensively.
Steven Goldman: Chipper wasn't the most productive 3B of all time, not when you think about Mike Schmidt, but he's certainly up there. There is no argument for keeping him out of the Hall of Fame other than perversely protective feelings for Hooters waitresses. I'm less confident in his defense than you are, and the Braves wouldn't have hustled him off to left field a couple of times if they weren't similarly ambivalent. There were several years, in fact, where the Braves might have been better off moving Jones to 1B, often an empty position for them, and letting a more agile player man the hot corner. Might have been better for Chipper's health, too.
jhp228 (Forest Hills): Willie Harris has had a fantastic start for the Mets - is there any chance it's for real, and the Mets have found something?
Steven Goldman: I've always rooted for Willie, and after five years doing a convincing impression of a non-hitter, from 2007-2009 he hit well enough (.252/.352/.401) to have value as a multi-position sub. At 33, though, I'm afraid that's all that he is. Maybe the Mets capture some fluke one-year explosion, but I very much doubt that will be the case.
Mountainhawk (Salem, MA): So wait, you are telling me that the Red Sox's aren't going to go 0-162? I was really looking forward to it.
Steven Goldman: Well, until the quantum states coalesce, anything is possible...
Tom (Work): Will Montero ever play for the Yankees?
Steven Goldman: Will Russell Martin get hurt before July 31?
Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles Anaheim of Pasadena): 3 two-run homers in two days went a long way to smothering the Posada-can't-hit-as-a-DH meme before it could even started, which is nice, but it's also nice to see the Yankees (and baseball, in general) treating players as people and taking the long-term effects of concussions (and potential *future* concussions) seriously *and* proactively, don't you think?
Steven Goldman: If Posada had still been an average defensive catcher, which is about the best you could say for his glovework at his peak, I wonder if the Yankees would have been as eager to cater to the concussion. I think it's a convenient mantle in which they can cloak their real reason for taking him out from behind the plate: he had become utterly immobile, he couldn't throw, and perhaps watching him go out to the mound after EVERY pitch to get the signs straight was even more frustrating to them than it is to us. Now, where you CAN credit them for thinking about the concussion is in saying, "Look, he's not even the emergency catcher. We don't want him back there because of the head thing," and that they didn't have to do.
dianagramr (NYC): Which big-name closer should watch his back the most? Papelbon? Broxton? Other?
Steven Goldman: I wish I could say Broxton, not because it's personal or anything, but because it would tell us so much about what kind of manager Don Mattingly is. Mattingly was my favorite player, really the player who brought me into baseball in a big way, and the 14-year-old in me very much wants him to succeed.
dianagramr (NYC): What is your relationship status ... with beverages today?
Steven Goldman: I have my usual "supermug," my doublesized, handcrafted model, filled with a cocoanut chai tea that I sometimes think is very good and other times think tastes like boiled pencil shavings. I need a good, non-supermarket source for tea, I think.
On the music front, I just put on the soundtrack from "The Best Years of Our Lives," both one of my favorite films and favorite scores. I was fortunate enough to score an import CD recently. If you haven't seen the film, please do, let me know what you think.
Rob (Andover, CT): Are you enjoying the opportunity to watch Jorge Posada hit, without having to watch him catch? I am...
Steven Goldman: Just to follow up on the other Posada question, yes, I am. A lot! I was prepared to dislike Russell Martin, both because he seemed likely to hit like Joe Girardi and block Montero, but he's taken care of the former by hitting and running the bases (as I discussed in today's Broadside, elsewhere on the site) but also being able to move more than one inch in any direction. It's an incredible novelty to see that in a Yankees catcher. Keep in mind, I think Posada is an unrecognized great, maybe a borderline Hall of Famer, but his defense has been difficult to endure the last few years. It's almost subliminal, but I feel more relaxed watching Martin catch. I imagine I will feel the same way when Jeter finally moves/retires, unless they replace him with someone using a walker.
DanLong (NYC): Steve, I know you are a huge politics guy in addition to sports, so to take a break from one love for another, what are your thoughts on Obama now that he's had a chance to "Change".
Steven Goldman: During the election of 1932, Babe Ruth was asked to pose shaking hands with Herbert Hoover. He refused, saying, "Nothing doing on politics." In some versions, he adds, "Besides, I'm a Democrat." I feel a lot like Ruth. I stopped blogging about politics, despite a decent readership over there, because I am now thoroughly alienated by both parties. Obama is a massive disappointment to me. "Change" was just a sales slogan. As Theodore Roosevelt once said of William McKinley, "The president has the backbone of a chocolate eclair." He is, in Churchill's words, resolved to be irresolute, an empty suit.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): There has been some criticism launched at Mike Rizzo regarding the Nats bench (Hairston, Nix, Stairs...), in that it is a bunch of useless retreads rather than prospects. His response is that a team can't be all youth, and the vets have a job "to teach these good young prospect players how to be Major Leaguers" Is this all bunk?
Steven Goldman: Does "prospects" in this instance equal Roger Bernadina, 27 years old? Wilson Ramos isn't good enough? Nix, Stairs, and Hairston have their uses, while Alex Cora does have a tremendous reputation in the game, so maybe there is something to having him there even if he can't contribute much on the field. I think calling the group useless is unfair.
DanLong (NYC`): sadly, it's what many of us have come to expect from politicians: sales slogans that sound great and even earn a Nobel Peace Prize...but rarely come with results.
Steven Goldman: Right. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." And Pete Townshend was right: I won't get fooled again. But now I'm like a Pirates fan, all dressed up with no one to root for. What is a patriot to do? A Pirates fan can always learn to root for the Phillies or some other club, but we can't just change our allegiance to Luxembourg.
Silvpak (NY, NY): Can you expand on the Broxton point a bit? Are you saying Donnie should consider replacements? Jansen is NOT yet ready for that gig (check his walk numbers) and Kuo is lights out, but cannot be used on back to back nights. Brox's velo is still strong - other than Torre potentially blowing him out in last year's Yankee game, I see no reason to jump the gun on him now.
Steven Goldman: My answer was overly condensed. The uncollapsed version: should Broxton continue to give up a home run a game, whatever his velocity, and thereby bring the Dodgers to a point where a change would seem to be necessary, we will learn a lot about Mattingly by seeing how he reacts to the situation. In such a situation, would he be aggressive, or just sit back and hope it sorts itself out? I didn't mean to imply that the moment for such a move is NOW, just that it could come.
Matt (New York): If you're looking for tea, try some Yerba Mate. Stuff of the gods.
Steven Goldman: I drank quite a bit of it for awhile, and then I read about some cancer correlations with consumption of the stuff. Having had cancer twice and not looking for the threepeat, I backed away quickly. It's too bad, because I liked it a lot.
Chris (Binghamton): Steve, baseball has been, and still is, being changed by the adoption of sabremetrics and a more sophisticated analylitical tools. Could other professional sports... basketball... football... hockey... be transformed by the adoption of improved and more sophisticated stats and analytical tools? Or is there something unique about baseball?
Steven Goldman: They are certainly trying in all of those sports, and you can see some of the results here with our sister sites. That said, baseball is more penetrable by the analytical approach than most in that it's not a giant collision of bodies. The hitter is at the plate by himself, the pitcher is on the mound by himself, the fielder picks up the ball by himself, and you can isolate so many aspects of a performance, whereas you're limited in analyzing, say, any football player in a vacuum because he's part of a larger organism of interacting parts.
Any BP non-subscribers in the audience today?
DrManhattan (NYC, NY): Nova: Ian Kennedy Vol. 2.0, or legitimate starter in the AL East?
Steven Goldman: Jury is still out. I'm still a bit pessimistic. Last night's fourth inning was helped by some unlucky bounces, like the infield hit to A-Rod, but I'm still not sure he has enough in the way of offspeed pitches to get the strikeouts he will need for consistent success.
#2 ... Derek Jeter ... #2 (NYC): So just how poorly would I have to hit/field this season to force the Yankees hand regarding a position/batting order shift?
Steven Goldman: It would have to be an utter collapse on the order of Lou Gehrig 1939. Let's hope that doesn't happen.
Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles Anaheim of Pasadena): Both the YES and ESPN announcers pointed out during last night's broadcast that Jeter has had trouble implementing Kevin Long's mechanical changes, going back to his old stride in batting practice and generally looking caught in-between during games. Curtis Granderson took 3 days to implement Long's changes last year and came back raking. A difference in age and accumulated muscle memory, or ego?
Steven Goldman: Can I go with "C" all of the above? Jeter has a long record of experiencing great success doing it his way, and I'm sure that's hard to let go of. At the same time, he doesn't have the skills he used to, and has had trouble recognizing that. His work with Long would seem to indicate that he finally saw the writing on the wall in terms of his declining hand speed, but recidivism isn't surprising.
Chris (Binghamton): Another non-baseball question for ya... some time ago on PB, who wrote a great piece on the top 10 Cary Grant films. Would love to get a another list of great films by a specific actor you enjoy.
Steven Goldman: That was me, and it was the result of a wonderful moment (for me) where I found myself sitting next to Roger Angell in the Yankee Stadium press box (actually, he took my chair, but YOU tell Roger Angell to move)and somehow we got into a conversation about Cary Grant. I'll do another one soon. Actually, because I have sooooo much free time, I was thinking about starting up a site with some movie commentary on it. Any interest?
Silvpak (NY, NY): "Bartlett for America."
Steven Goldman: I would have voted for Bartlett, but his son is too much of a nutcase.
Baseball Babe (dacitay): Wtf is wrong with the Royals. They need Jason Kendall and Willie Boom Boom more than ever. Have you ever seen Dragon Ball Z where the Z fighters fuse? Do you think these 2 could fuse and become the grittiest player in the game?
Steven Goldman: This one can stand on its own without any help from me.
Scoresheetwiz (Great Lakes Region): Wanna talk about the Angels . . . due for a continued collapse . . . still starting Jeff Mathis, still employing Brandon Wood and Reggie Willits, hiring Fernando Rodney to close, and still riding Scott Kazmir - now the worse starting pitcher in the league?
Steven Goldman: Writers like to pick the Twins every year just because the Twins seem to overcome expectations, and they like to pick the Angels because they have a long track-record of excellence, but I think in both cases they've missed the boat this year. These teams had maybe the worst offseasons in baseball. In the case of the Angels, I still have some belief in Willits as a fourth/fifth outfielder, but as I discussed in today's Broadside (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13452) the Mathis thing is terrible and retaining Brandon Wood simply cruel.
I used to have great admiration for Mike Scioscia's talents, but it seems like he's ossified and his worst instincts now control him.
jhardman (Rangerland): Now that Elvis Andrus has established himself as a power hitter, will the 162-0 Rangers set the all time season record for home runs? Also, since they signed my dog to pitch out of the bullpen, is there a good chance they might also use him to shag homers on "bring your dog to the park" night?
Steven Goldman: I saw the highlight last night, and how is it that no one shouted, "Elvis has LEFT the BUILDING" when that went out?
dianagramr (NYC): So if Donnie Baseball was your fave player back then, who have you loved since then?
Ichiro is my guess.
Steven Goldman: I don't think I've ever felt quite the same way about anyone. You can only have one first love.
hotstatrat (American Canadian): I agree with you about Obama, but I keep whispering to myself hopefully that if he can manage to get re-elected he can start implenting more meaningful Changes. Is that totally unrealistic dreaming?
Steven Goldman: Dreaming. He's capitulated to the opposition so many times, with and without a Congressional majority, that his nickname should be "Unconditional Surrender." That was Grant's nickname too, of course, but it meant something different.
PS (NJ): In 1000 words or less, explain why Jacoby Ellsbury is an up-and-coming star and Brett Gardner is a placeholding OF? Seems to me they have similar skill sets and are similar ages, with Ellsbury commanding a sliver more power and speed, and Gardner a little more plate discipline.
Steven Goldman: I've known some folks in Boston who would sooner drink hot lye than call Ellsbury a star. He hits less than you would think even at .300 and takes some spectacularly poor routes in the outfield, and he's 27. I'd take Gardner over him every time, assuming Gardner remembers the plate discipline he had as recently as last week in Florida.
bb10kbb10k (erie, pa): Do we have a link for the Cary Grant piece?
Steven Goldman: http://pinstripedbible.mlblogs.com/2009/04/20/what-a-strange-season-and-weve-only-just-started/
Hoagy Carmichael (The Sconnie Office): Two questions:
Is there a better Cary Grant film than The Philadelphia Story?
Any plans to hold a BP event (say, a Bourbon Feed) at Butch's Bar in Boone City?
Steven Goldman: Will you play "Lazy River" for me, Butch?
BTW, that's the old Pinstriped Bible address. We're now at http://www.pinstripedbible.com/
Bob (Seattle): Who would have thought that Bartlett's daughter would have worked in advertising.
Steven Goldman: I saw about 30 mns of "Get Him to the Greek" the other day (I gave up at that point), which she is in, and I was shocked at how pretty she is outside of the dowdy clothes and makeup they give her on "Mad Men."
JZirinsky (Washington, DC): Steven: Great work at Politics & Prose last month! Anyway, where are you on the Phil Hughes velocity issue: a) still building up arm strength or b) something nefarious is going on and this is an ominous sign?
Steven Goldman: Thanks! We love going to P&P and I hope the recently-announced sale does good things for the store. Re Hughes, that's the $100,000 question, and I wish I knew the answer. In our last Collateral Damage here at BP (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13436) Corey Dawkins had some dire things to say, but I hope he's wrong. The last thing the Yankees need is to start believing that only veterans stay healthy or something. What I wonder is if this issue, if indeed it is an issue, really began last May, not this April. Hughes has not pitched consistently well since the middle of May, 2010.
Randall (America): With your crazy idea about politics how the hell can I think your insanity wouldn't carry over to your baseball prognostication?
Steven Goldman: I can only imagine I am being castigated by an Obama fan, which is a novel thing for me.
Tom (Work): Yes, I am a non-subscriber.
Steven Goldman: So how can I get you to subscribe?
kgballs (nyc): Tejada/Giants. Why?
Steven Goldman: I think they looked at a very weak shortstop market and decided to take a high-risk/low-reward gamble on the old man. Didn't seem likely to pay off over the winter, doesn't seem to be paying off now.
Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): Hi Steven, regarding Yerba Mate (of which we have a lot down here) I think it is only dangerous if you drink it too hot, it can cause throat cancer.
Btw, we had our first ever international baseball series here in Montevideo last month, Uruguay Argentina split two games. Although most of the uruguayan team was caribbean immigrants.
So, no real question!
Steven Goldman: You might be right. I know there's a separate issue of the damage continual throat-scorchings can do in the way of inducing cancer, but I think that applies to any beverage, not just YM. Good to hear from Uruguay!
Yatchisin (Santa Barbara): Does this player comp work--Mattingly and Preston Sturges? Great peak value, but then we got Donnie's 1990 season and "The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend." And while Sturges never got a chance to manage, Mattingly will probably never invent a kiss-proof lipstick.
Steven Goldman: Yes, it does, and I'll give you another parallel: Mattingly worked for George Steinbrenner, while Sturges had the bad judgment to leave Paramount for Howard Hughes, a move that pretty much ended his career right there. Of course, we know what ended Donnie's peak, whereas Sturges' dissipation after his great run is much harder to pin down.
Really????? (mom's basement): One idea to get people to subscribe, talk about something other than politics and Carey Grant. Jesus.
Steven Goldman: I've answered 40 questions so far, sweetheart, and 26 of them were purely baseball items. I also pick the questions that you submit, so hit me with a baseball question instead of a complaint.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Are you much of a stadium aficionado? I'm curious how you think the new new Yankee Stadium compares to the old new Yankee Stadium.
Steven Goldman: I know it's heretical to say so, but I like the new park better. It's cleaner, better lit, more comfortable, and moves crowds far more easily. I don't like the bandbox aspects of it as much, but on the whole I'll take it.
kcroyalsguy (outside): Do you think Jake Fox will get 300+ at bats this year or has his ship already sailed so to speak?
Steven Goldman: Well, it would be nicer if he got his first at-bat before we project him for 300. He might get a few at-bats around the inevitable Derrek Lee DL stint. I don't know that it would be a good thing anyway, given the 10 walks he would draw against those 300 ABs.
Sorry for the momentarily slow responses. I'll be picking up again in a moment.
Scoresheetwiz (trendy urban neighbourhood): The Twins: true: Pavano can't have a second fine year in a row. True: Thome is 40 and Cuddyer is near his end as well. True: Nathan doesn't look anything like the Nathan of old.
However, I wouldn't rule out Nishioka and Casilla outplaying last year's Hudson and hobbled Hardy. You gotta expect the Twins to make fine relievers out of whoever they have - perhaps, Slowey will be dominant? Although, I am old Detroit fan, we can't shake Gardenshire and Mauer now matter how superior our Tigers looks in March.
Steven Goldman: Nishioka is an unknown quantity, but I don't see Casilla outplaying Hardy this year or ever. The Twins' have been fortune's favorites, rewarded for a series of mediocre choices. They're not going to get that this year.
Had an important phone call about my father, who is in the hospital. You may recall that almost exactly a year ago he was there, too. I'm done now and can get back to thinking about baseball, and Cary Grant, and etc.
SS (San Francisco): Regarding the Giants/Tejada, are we in The City going to see a revolving door at the position for the forseeable future? It's frustrating to have a hole in our roster, and no solution on the horizon.
Steven Goldman: This answer is sort of glib, but I think EVERYONE but the Rockies are going to see a revolving door there for the foreseeable future. The next generation of Jeters and Garciaparras just hasn't arrived. They're playing football or chess or something.
BL (Bozeman, MT): What are you reading these days, baseball and non-baseball divisions?
Steven Goldman: Baseball: Two items: (1) the new bio of Roy Campanella, for a review here at BP, and (2) Baseball Between the Numbers, in preparation for our new version.
Non-Baseball: This is normally not my thing at all, but I got intrigued by the forthcoming "Game of Thrones" miniseries on HBO and am now on the fourth volume in the series. I usually dislike fantasy, but this is fairly well done with a minimum of annoying unicorn-type elements. It's more a medieval political story or soap opera.
Jambois (Middleburg): With Brendan Ryan and Jack Wilson manning the middle infield, the Mariners seem to have gone overboard in their attempts to improve their defense at the expense of their offense. I know a run saved is just as valuable as a run scored, but isn't the spread of runs produced by hitters wider than the spread of runs saved by fielders, making a focus on improving defense less beneficial than a focus on improving offense, especially for a team as offensively challened as the Mariners?
(Excepting, of course, the idea of someone like Jim Thome playing shortstop).
Steven Goldman: I wonder if the Ryan-Wilson tandem was as much a reaction to available talent as a doubling down on last year's gloves uber alles strategy. As I said, there's not a ton of middle infield talent out there right now. That said, I think your formulation is pretty much correct. Arguably, no team of the last 40 years needed an offensive infusion more than the Mariners, whose 2010 offense ranks among the worst in the history of the game.
dianagramr (NYC): "The next generation of Jeters and Garciaparras just hasn't arrived."
So, is Jose Reyes a Met come August 1?
Steven Goldman: For that reason he should be, assuming performance consistent with his past. He has his flaws, but you're not going to replace him with anyone nearly as good.
SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Steven Goldman: This answer is sort of glib, but I think EVERYONE but the Rockies are going to see a revolving door there for the foreseeable future. The next generation of Jeters and Garciaparras just hasn't arrived. They're playing football or chess or something.
Hanley Ramirez is offended.
Steven Goldman: Hanley is great, though his defense may get him moved at some point as well. Still, one Hanley and one Tulo hardly constitutes a wave, and after them... who?
Teraxx (Strong Island, NY): I too am just finishing the fourth book in the Game of Thrones series...Are you a Lannister, a Stark, a Targaryen or Baratheon?
Steven Goldman: Whichever one is least inclined to procreate with a close relative.
Hoagy (Boone City): What's your pick for most overrated "crtically acclaimed" film of all time? My usual choice is Network, a fantastic concept undermined by reams of cringe-inducing dialogue (yes, even Paddy Chayefsky can write bad dialogue).
Unless you consider Titanic "critically acclaimed."
Steven Goldman: Can I vote for the recent "Star Trek" reboot?
JT (Michigan): I'm starting to see a whole lot of chatter again about closers: i.e., Rodney's not being best in the pen so he shouldn't be the closer. This is on saber sites, not just the world wide leader. Have we abandoned the ace reliever theory already?
Steven Goldman: Already??? That's one belief that will outlast, say, paganism (surely there are a couple of Zeus-worshippers out there somewhere). Closers are born, not made, donchaknow. Except, of course, they're not. Rodney is actually proof of the fallacy of the theory, as he's never been a particularly good pitcher, yet has 85 career saves. He's like the question and the answer all in one if the Angels are willing to see it.
Matt (New York): Will only time tell about Granderson hitting lefties or did he look that good in spring training?
Steven Goldman: Kevin Long and he really have seemed to figure out an approach that works for him, and I'd like to think he will be surprising LOOGYs all year long. One reason I believe is that the Yankees have had some recent lefty hitters, like Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, who were unusually adept at altering their approach and hitting opposing lefties, and so there is a history of success and reservoir of learning to be drawn from there.
Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles Anaheim of Pasadena): A "Song of Ice and Fire" is "fairly well done"?
The Lannisters are one of the greatest fictional families in literature.
Winter is coming, Steve.
Steven Goldman: I have to admit, I love the dwarf. If my praise is faint it's because I'm just innately skeptical of this kind of material. Given that I'm something like 3500 pages in, I'm obviously enjoying it. I find the writing overly descriptive sometimes, and there are some subplots that linger on long after I'm ready for them to be over, but on the whole I can't complain.
dianagramr (NYC): This was a recent Twitter meme:
Best movie with the worst sequel ...
I suggested "Sat. Night Fever/Staying Alive"
Steven Goldman: Rocky/Rocky IV?
Ken (NY): But was there really that much of a wave of great SS even 10-15 years ago? At most, there were four (Jeter, Arod, Nomar, Tejada) and in how many years were all four both above average players and still manning SS?
Also, you're not alone in preferring the new Yankee Stadium. I find the game watching experience to be just as good, and moving around the stadium during and after games much, much easier.
Steven Goldman: I never liked the cattle-pen feeling exiting the old ballpark. You felt like you were one shout of "fire" from being trampled to death as you headed down those ramps, and the near-perpendicular nature of the upper deck, while it made for GREAT sight lines, was a scary climb. And I haven't even mentioned the swaying of the ancient steel superstructure. If you read my piece in Alex Belth's book "Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories," you know I actually got to go into the structure and walk around the catwalks, and I came away feeling like the place was held together with chewing gum.
BL (Bozeman, MT): If you could start a Coaches Wing of the Hall of Fame, would you? And who would you induct?
Steven Goldman: I have some trepidation about any Hall of Fame that would inevitably enshrine Don Zimmer.
Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Hey Steven, hope your dad is doing ok. I've heard some NY-based sportswriters speculate that Montero is destined to be traded in July for the best available pitcher. I just can't figure out who that is. The only pitching free agent to be (of value) is an old and possibly worn down Chris Carpenter. I can't think of a single "small market team" possibly looking to save money who has an established pitcher they might want to trade. Did the sportswriters not think this through, or am I missing someone?
Steven Goldman: Hey, Shaun. I keep thinking, "Um... Mark Buehrle?" The upcoming free agent class isn't too impressive. I also think Montero is a harder trade than he has been made out to be, because if he's not a catcher, he's a 1B/DH, and there are a limited number of openings.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Raiders of the Lost Ark/Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... not even close.
Steven Goldman: That was depressingly bad, yes. But then, I wasn't a big fan of "The Last Crusade" either. Less weak comedy, more adventure, please.
Rick (Chicago): As a Reds, I'm loving the outpouring of confidence in Drew Stubbs across the blogosphere. But other than Stubbs being a bit less of a fly ball hitter, convince me he's different than Chris Young. That's not a bad thing, certainly, but has his ceiling been overstated?
Steven Goldman: Yes, I think it has. I think we saw it last year. Given his age and overall abilities, if he stays right were he is, that's not a bad thing. It's not a star, but it's a very valuable thing nonetheless.
Adam (NY): Re: Obama. I feel the same way you do, Steven. However when I look at 2012 I feel resigned to the fact that I'll be bubbling the hole next to his name on the ballot. I feel gross about it but I don't see any other way.
Steven Goldman: Yup. Further, deponent sayeth not.
noone (nowhere): I thought the first three books of Game of Thrones were terrific. That fourth one, though.... well, I hope Dance with Dragons (due in July!) proves to be a return to form for GRRM.
Steven Goldman: I am finding #4 to be more of a slog than the first three, but I'm committed now, damn it.
Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): Alfredo Griffin, 6780 lifetime ABs.. free topic.
Steven Goldman: (A) 1984 season: 441 PAs, 4 BBs. (B) I feel fortunate to have watched him run the bases in person on a number of occasions. One of my most vivid game memories is sitting on the first-base line at Yankee Stadium and having a perfect view of Griffin being picked off, this would have been 1986 or 1987. I mean, I didn't get to see Babe Ruth hit a home run, but I saw one of the worst baserunners of all time do what he did best.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): I vote for 'Avatar' on the critically acclaimed overrated list- it's Dances with Wolves or Last Samurai set on Pandora.
Steven Goldman: Good choice. I was surprised at how predictable it was after all the hype.
Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles Anaheim of Pasadena): I think Godfather I/II & Godfather III is far worse than Rocky & Rocky IV.
Rocky IV isn't an objectively "good" movie by any stretch, but it's a ridiculously stupid fun movie subjectively. It's just one of those quintessential 80's films, like Commando or Red Dawn ...
p.s. As great as Tyrion is, Jaime is the greatest of the Lannisters put to paper ...
Steven Goldman: I buy that argument. The third Spider-Man film was terrible compared to the first two...
Ken (The Sconnie Office): Best movie with worst sequel? Yogi Berra / Dale Berra.
Steven Goldman: Win!
John Carter (Toronto, ON, OK?): Greatest Original Movie to Sequel ratio has to be Chinatown : Two Jakes.
Steven Goldman: Oh yeah. Well, that's a sad story, with Robert Towne apparently planning a whole Jake Gittes trilogy, and for whatever reason it couldn't come together, so we never got what he was planning. "Two Jakes" was terrible, but the whole story just makes me feel sad.
Silvpak (NY, NY): Steven, going to see a game at the "new" stadium is like seeing a game in Grand Central Station.
Steven Goldman: Which is... an architectural landmark?
Tom Hanrahan (Lexington Park MD): BP recently re-ran their 'Hilbert problems' piece from a decade ago. Nice.
Q: It seems to me that if someone/ some group was able to come up with significant breakthroughs on development of young pitchers; innings, pitches, per year, per game, etc. - that this would be the Single Most Valuable piece of info to MLB teams; worth at least answers to 20 microstudies on lineup or bullpen usage. Thoughts?
Steven Goldman: It would be a huge thing, but I suspect that tolerances are too individualized for any kind of mass study to make sense. You want a breakthrough on that, develop a sensor that can be inserted somewhere around the shoulder than can give you 24/7 monitoring of the inside of that arm.
BL (Bozeman, MT): At the risk of being out-and-out offensive, do you have any affinity for Gary Cooper?
Steven Goldman: Not his politics, and I can't claim to have seen even a majority of his 100-plus films, but in certain parts he's quite good, such as the professor in "Ball of Fire," or "High Noon," a movie that probably clashed with his own sensitivities. Overall, I find him stiff and almost nervous-seeming in many parts, wondering what he's doing there. Recently TCM had "Friendly Persuasion" on a couple of times and I caught pieces of it--he played an 1860s Quaker. Scary stuff. And just to bring this back to baseball, I find his Lou Gehrig in "Pride of the Yankees" endearing but overly simplified and unrealistic.
Heiddi (Boston, MA): Hi Steven! I was wondering if you could give us an update on any upcoming books from the Baseball Prospectus team? Is Baseball Between the Numbers coming out in a Volume 2? Thanks for the time :)
p.s.- i'm going to go out on a limb and say the Red Sox will win a game this week...
Steven Goldman: Yes, BBTN will be out in a revised edition (some old stuff, lots of new stuff) next year. As for other books, too soon to say, but we always have some things in the hopper. One of the challenges of my new position here is trying to take a small staff and get it organized to move in so many different directions at once. Books are one of those directions, but I've been more focused on the site in my first months here.
Matt (New York): Oh c'mon, aside from the lame Old Spock/New Spock meet up, the reboot wasn't that bad. Simon Pegg as Scotty...priceless.
Steven Goldman: No plot, bad comedy attempts subtract.
Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): NYY lineup for today:
Jeter SS, Swisher RF, Teixeira 1B, Rodriguez 3B, Cano 2B, Posada DH, Martin C, Jones LF, Granderson CF, Sabathia P
Over/Under on HoF from this lineup 2.5, what do you take?
Steven Goldman: Over. Jeter, A-Rod, and Sabathia go in, Posada maybe, Teix maybe. A few years ago I would have said Jones as well, seems unlikely now.
dtisch30 (Ithaca): Steve, I love the work here and at PB. Does Nunez have any trade value for the Yankees? Would they deal him as part of a package and do other teams see him as a starter at SS like the Yanks do?
Steven Goldman: Thank you! Given the dearth of shortstops we've already discussed, I think he would have value to many teams. Say he can hit .275/.320/.370 with good defense. That's something in today's market. Given how Jeter is sliding down the razor blade of life, I'd like to see the Yankees hold on to him.
Silvpak (NY, NY): FYI: Game of Thrones (or A Song of Ice and Fire) is, to a substantial extent, a fictional take on the War of the Roses - there are direct correlations throughout the series to historical figures. If you're interest in medieval politics, it makes sense that you'd dig the series.
Steven Goldman: I do, and it makes sense. I hadn't thought of that. One of the best books I read LAST year was Hillary Mantel's "Wolf Hall," about politics in the court of Henry VIII. It's kind of a rebuttal to "A Man For All Seasons." It wasn't constructed to be easy, but the main character of Thomas Cromwell was just beautifully drawn.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): re: Nunez's trade value. The Nats got a semi-prospect pitcher for Alberto Gonzalez. 'nuff said
Steven Goldman: Bingo!
TGisriel (Baltimore): As Baltimore rejoices in the Orioles 4-0 start, I am (surprisingly) not hearing many claims that this team will "go all the way". The talk is about having a competitive winning (.500 or above) team that is fun to watch, which I think is a realistic goal for this team. Your thoughts on the Orioles?
Steven Goldman: It has been too many years of suckage for anyone to jump on the bandwagon that quickly. I'm still looking for 81-81, though the way pitchers are dropping (Guthrie, Matusz) that may be increasingly difficult despite the start. And then there's positional depth. There aren't any great players standing behind the starting lineup, so if the oldsters get hit by injuries, look out.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Also on the original/sequel list: True Grit/Rooster Cogburn.
Steven Goldman: I imagine the Coen Brothers won't be touching that.
jhardman (NC): Will Chris Davis break out for the team Texas trades him to? Or is he doomed to be a AAAA player?
Steven Goldman: If he can just become a bit more selective, he could have Russell Branyan's career. He seems to be just straddling the line between a Branyan, who is redeemable, and a J.R. Phillips, Billy Ashley type, who has great power but just can't make consistent enough contact. I think Davis is redeemable, but that's just instinct.
TGisriel (Baltimore): My theory is that the Orioles trade either or both Guerrero and/or Lee at the deadline, move Scott to DH or 1B, and bring up Reimold to play LF. Pie remains the 4th outfielder.
Steven Goldman: I'm not sure how much faith there should be in Reimold at this point...
Steven Goldman: And on that ambivalent note, I must ring down the curtain on another chat. I had a great time and I hope you did, too. On behalf of the staff and myself, thank you for spending part of your day with Baseball Prospectus. I'll be back again soon, and also please check out my appearance at the Museum of the City of New York, talking Casey Stengel: http://bit.ly/fos0GD. Have a great afternoon, everyone.