Let’s say you’re a pitcher of some repute, and you’re making mad cash at the front end of a long-term contract. You signed with a mediocre team that plays in a hostile environment as part of Revision 12 of that team’s ongoing quest to solve the riddle of their home field.
Since the reader response was copious and positive last time I published a rambling conversation with “Dave”, I thought you all might enjoy this. Sorry about the infrequent updates, but it is the offseason, and more importantly, the BP staff is up to their collective neck in writing Baseball Prospectus 2003. Thanks for your patience.
Below is an encapsulated conversation between myself and a close friend who’s an insightful guy and dedicated baseball fan. Since I’ve mentioned him before in this space, and he’s fond of his privacy, we’ll call him “Dave” for purposes of this column. Dave is not affiliated with BP.
Obviously, this is paraphrased, but has been run by Dave to make sure everything’s on the up and up as far as he’s concerned. I hope you enjoy this edited transcript as much I as enjoyed the conversation. It’s long, and it’s rambling, so perhaps you should check it out in small bites.
Like me, you may find yourself adrift after the World Series. In my case, I fell asleep on my kayak in McCovey Cove at some point during game 5 and are now stranded on a small island in the Pacific, filing stories on the last of your laptop power and sending them into the home office via coconut satellite. For most fans, though, the feeling comes from this boring period before spring training, when we’re supposed to speculate endlessly on whether or not Tony Clark will get a minor-league invite or not, and twiddle our thumbs waiting for Baseball Prospectus 2003 to come out.
“John Henry and the Red Sox were great to me. They were willing to pay me more money than I could believe. But it’s more than money, I’ve never been about money. I made one decision based on money in my life–when I signed with the Mets rather than go to Stanford–and I promised I’d never do it again.” –Billy Beane, Athletics general manager, on turning down an offer to join the Red Sox
Despite what you may have heard or read over the past several years, the information age has yet to actually arrive in business. Not a single company in the Wilshire 2000 has done anything near optimize how their organizations acquire, process, generate, and use information. Hundreds of billions of dollars have gone into investments in information technology in enterprises of every shape and size throughout the world, but overall productivity gains have been marginal.
As mentioned in yesterday’s Daily Prospectus, one of the best perks of an Arizona Fall League trip is seeing the players up close. Watching a Josh Karp curve fall off the table or seeing Chip Ambres staying back long enough to drive the ball enhances a fan’s enjoyment of the game immensely.
With that in mind, here are a few player observations from my recent trip to Arizona.
Mark Teixeira’s for real. OK, you probably didn’t me to tell you that. The Rangers’ superstar third base prospect has terrorized pitchers every step of his amateur and pro careers.
But did you know Adam Morrissey has one of the quickest swings you’ll ever see? That Kevin Cash’s defense may be even better than you’ve heard? That Luke Hudson could help push the Reds to the top of the NL Central in 2003? You would if you headed out to Phoenix for the Arizona Fall League season.
“I think this is the biggest single move to win–to win–that this organization has made. No one (involved with the Rays) has lost the passion to win. We lost the momentum, and Lou starts that momentum, and we need that momentum.” –Chuck LaMar, Devil Rays general manager, on the hiring of manager Lou Piniella
When I’ve written about Peter Rose in the past, I get tons of email from readers, and many of them point to Bill James as a prominent, intelligent Rose defender who presents “a compelling argument.” In the past, I’ve referred readers to the Dowd Report, which is available online at www.dowdreport.com. This has proved to be an inadequate response.
I’ve written a piece for this site on Pete Rose, Bill James, and the Dowd Report. It took me far too long to write it: I was reluctant to pursue the project, because the volume and tone of the hate mail anyone who writes about Rose gets is numbing. I dedicated myself to getting it done after Major League Baseball trotted Rose out as part of the MasterCard Major League Baseball Memorable Moments event. Rose got cheered, I made a snippy comment in an ESPN chat, and everyone moved on. But the scene continues to bother me. Baseball’s treatment of Pete Rose under the leadership of Bud Selig has been shameful.
When I was little, I thought sportswriters had the coolest job in the world. I couldn’t wait to grow up to become a baseball beat writer, or the next great writer for Sports Illustrated, or an author who could talk about cool stuff like the 1927 Yankees. I wanted to be them.
I hate myself now for thinking that way.
“I could imagine it in my dreams, but I never thought I’d do it until now. It helped take the tension down a little bit for us, but games aren’t won in the first or second inning. They’re won in the ninth inning.” –Barry Bonds, Giants outfielder, on homering in his first World Series at-bat