Baseball writers can't ask for autographs, but they might end up with some anyway.
Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
We now know for sure where Joe Maddon stands on sabermetrics.
Rays manager Joe Maddon has long been known as one of baseball's most statistically savvy skippers, but extensive Googling suggests that despite doing a two-part interview at BP, he has never stated explicitly and on the record that sabermetrics rule. Until now.
Tradition has journalists putting themselves in strange situations and writing accounts of their exploits. Hunter S. Thompson did a lot of drugs and went to a motorcycle race in the desert. David Foster Wallace went on a cruise. George Plympton played sports against actual athletes. Me, though, I'm no journalist, so here's what I did: I went to Oakland A's FanFest at Oracle Arena posing as a journalist.
Can someone be good at representing a player and a bad person or vice versa?
Everything in baseball tends to run in cycles. Players come and go, money comes and goes, children become fans and fans later have children, who also become fans. Teams win and lose and players are gods for a day, then sit at home the next day. Even the agent world tends to be cyclical. A generation of agents has its reign over the industry while the next group anxiously waits its turn to run things.
We're in Philadelphia today for a one-game makeup. I forgot entirely about the game and barely caught our charter flight. I wasn't alone--there were four of us charging down the concourse, to be faced with all the kids who'd been trying to get autographs from Pedro, and had started to walk back to their buses or scooters or whatever. They recognized us, and started flipping through their card books to match names to unsigned cards. Then you've either got to go through the kids, and that's a disaster either way because Abbie Markham of Action 6 News is live from Logan Airport, where a young kid who just wanted an autograph got a mark of an entirely different kind...
Fortunately, Mirabelli was first and had this scowl on that made him look like he might enjoy eating well-fed children. Dude is huge, and he's used to having very large people try to knock him down to win games, so some 50-pound kid's going to bounce off him like a quarter off J.Lo's ass. The kids parted in front of us and we made our gate. I was a little out of breath carrying my luggage, and told a trainer I might have strained a rib cage muscle. He made a note of it.
My mom called last night. She saw me in New York, and she was so happy. I don't know if she was off buying a soda or something when Nick Johnson hit that bomb off me, but she didn't say anything about it. Dad's doing fine. Mom wanted to know why so many of the guys on the team looked so dirty.