A conversation with the journeyman about adapting, reading, and having a sense of humor.
Matt DeSalvo isn't your typical professional athlete. A 28-year-old right-hander currently pitching for the Triple-A Durham Bulls, DeSalvo is just as comfortable discussing philosophy and classic literature as he is delivering fastballs. Originally signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent out of Division III Marietta (Ohio) College in 2003, DeSalvo made it to the big leagues in 2007, appearing in seven games, six of them as a starter, logging a record of 1-3 with an ERA of 6.18 before being released. Subsequently a member of the Braves' and Mets' organizations, the native of New Castle, Pennsylvania was signed by the Rays in late May. DeSalvo talked about his cerebral approach to life, including how novels by Albert Camus and Fyodor Dostoevsky relate to the game of baseball, and why he was reading Lao Tzu in the clubhouse prior to his major league debut.
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The king of Three True Outcomes discusses his former teammates, his experiences in the game, and a memorable Easter Sunday blast.
Russell Branyan and Jack Cust are challenging his legacy, but until their career stat lines are finalized, Rob Deer reigns as the king of Three True Outcomes. With 230 home runs, 575 walks, and 1,409 strikeouts in 4,512 plate appearances, Deer has a TTO rate of 49.7, a percentage unmatched in big-league history. A legendary slugger in multiple statistical categories, Deer hit .220/.324/.442 in a career which saw him strike out once every 2.75 at-bats-also a big-league record among retired players-and register the lowest batting average of any outfielder with over 2,000 at-bats. Despite the negatives, Deer did three things well: propel majestic home runs, draw walks, and play a well-above-average right field. A minor league hitting coordinator in the Padres' organization for seven years after his playing days, Deer currently runs his own business, Vizubat. Deer talked about his time in the game, including notable teammates, his unique standing in historic annals, and a memorable home run on Easter Sunday.
Talking with the Rays' leadoff prospect about baseball, existentialism, handedness, and a whole lot more besides.
Fernando Perez is not your run-of-the-mill professional athlete. A speedy outfielder who made his big-league debut in early September, the 25-year-old New Yorker is not only a big part of the Rays future, he also holds a degree in American Studies and Creative Writing from Columbia University. Perez went into the last weekend of the season hitting .273/.344/.473 with three home runs and five stolen bases in 55 at-bats. He sat down with David in mid-September to talk about his views on both baseball and life.
Marvin Miller wants no part of an invitation to Cooperstown.
The Hall of Fame was in the headlines last week, and not just because the retirement of Mike Piazza kindled the inevitable debate over the catcher's Cooperstown credentials. No, an even more deserving honoree made waves via what was almost certainly a first: a request to the voters not to be elected.
In part one of a two-part conversation, Kevin chats with A's Farm Director Keith Lieppman about his career path, the offseason restocking of the system, and more.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - Over at Phoenix Municipal stadium, the crowds are already starting to gather for what will be a heavily-attended spring training game between the Athletics and the Cubs. About a mile away from that park, down a road that winds through the Desert Botanical Garden, one arrives at another collection of baseball fields. Without a set of light fixtures rising above the trees, the complex would be nearly impossible to spot from the road, and even the turn into the parking lot is hard to find. There's a small sign marked Papago Baseball Facility, joined by an Oakland A's logo about the size of a compact disc. There are no other cars on the road as I turn in, and the first parking lot is completely empty. After turning into a parking lot that is accessible only by driving around a gate, it's pretty clear that at the very least there are some players here--as marked by the abundance of Range Rovers, Denalis, tricked out pick-up trucks and the fancy sports car with the customized license plate "STRIKE1".
The past might be a foreign country, but at the moment, where 756 is concerned, we're still well within its borders. What does the gang think of Barry Bonds' achievement?
Maury Brown: There ought to be one word that comes to mind when taking in Bonds' place as the all-time home run king. Maybe that word is 'confused.' Or cloudy, muddy, murky... take your pick. In the history of sports, I don't think anyone has ever faced the dilemma of asking whether or not a record was legitimately set or not. Barry Bonds has forced us to look at that issue with arguably the most revered and sacred of records in baseball. After all, the record has been achieved, and controversy be damned, he hasn't failed a drug test, nor has he been indicted by the Feds, nor has some mountain of evidence landed in George Mitchell's lap that makes one think that Bonds is going to be the focus of his soon-to-be published report.
Nate's attempt to determine a market size for every major league team continues, with stats on attendance and television spheres for all the clubs.
I hope yesterday's part one didn't lose you guys, because now for the (comparatively) fun part: our team-by-team breakdown. In addition to the attendance and TV estimates from my model, I have provided a comparison to the Mike Jones figures, and also the raw census data from each team's primary MSA. The numbers in parenthesis represents a team's relative market share (with 100 representing league average) and its rank among the 30 clubs in that category.
Running the Pacific Coast League is how this third-generation baseball man continues the family tradition of service to the game.
The name "Rickey" evokes a strong place in baseball history with Branch Rickey Jr.'s signing of Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier, as well as the same man's introduction and development of the farm system.