There are certain occupations where mentioning the elephant in the room that everyone knows about but no one acknowledges can be hazardous to your continued livelihood. You can’t find a single politician, for example, who thinks that Social Security is viable long term without significant benefit cuts or tax increases. And yet, because Joe Sheehan’s assessment of Americans is, by and large, too charitable–and because we’ve all embraced the tragedy of the commons with such zeal–no elected official in their right mind will come out in favor of cutting Social Security benefits or dramatically raising taxes.
So, instead of trying to solve the problem in advance, we’ll wait until there’s a crisis and do a half-assed job of fixing it down the road, when the problem’s particularly acute, and the group that will take it in the shorts when that happens will be the group that’s either demographically or electorally challenged. It’s the way we do things. We don’t often mention the elephant in the room, even though its presence is patently obvious.
Last Saturday, Oakland A’s owner Steve Schott flashed a spotlight on the elephant in the room.
Under current MLB rules, teams are not allowed to trade draft choices. It’s not a new idea, but it is under consideration, and we spoke with an AL Central executive about the potential impact of a change in the rules that would allow clubs to trade draft choices.
Gary Huckabay goes head-to-head with a reader on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs, sets home improvement back a century, and looks forward to hazing BP’s three new interns.
Answering questions, overview of the league before spring training.
Yes, we’ve missed a lot of stuff over the past eight years, and we’ll miss a lot of stuff in the future. That’s a large part of what makes the game so addictive and entertaining. You can make well-educated and reasoned assessments of a circumstance, and things can still end up completely surprising. It’s more fun to be wrong about forecasting a player’s collapse than it is to be right about it. Doesn’t change the fact that we may have missed that one, but it is more fun.
Most people have never been involved in any sort of arbitration procedure. Arbitration is a process that falls under the umbrella of ADR, or Alternative Dispute Resolution. When people have a dispute over a contract, payment, or other agreement that they can’t or won’t come to a settlement on, arbitration is one of the avenues, short of a civil court, that people use to resolve the dispute.
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.
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.
If you truly believe that Pete Rose does not belong in The Hall of Fame, then why don’t you disassociate yourself from the game completely. Baseball’s ultimate honor belongs to Rose whether you believe he gambled on baseball or not. To say otherwise is to live in a world of fantasy!
This guy went back to a column I wrote in June, 2001 in which I discussed the Pete Rose situation, so clearly, what he lacks in logic and a moral compass, he makes up for in tenacity.
So the team I hate the most in MLB is in the World Series. The Giants, who give me a few moments of joy with every error, and a sustained grin for upwards of 30 seconds with each loss, have earned the right to battle Disney’s Hustlin’ White Guysï¿½ in the World Series. I should be beside myself with either disdain or apathy.
The Winner’s Curse is a term borrowed from the oil industry. It stems from the system of auctions of oil rights to parcels of land. (It may have earlier origins than that, but if so, I’m not aware of them.)
There are some obvious storylines specific to the Arizona/St. Louis matchup, as derived from the generic list above. Let’s lay those out, and address them one by one:
The Diamondbacks would really prefer to have a healthy Luis Gonzalez.
The Diamondbacks are backing into the playoffs.
The Cardinals are peaking at exactly the right time.
Baseball as a whole grossly underestimates the kind of serious threat that unhinged nutbags like this represent. Something needs to be done to prevent this sort of horrible incident from happening in the future. It isn’t possible to stop any and all potential acts of the truly determined and unbalanced. The occasional deranged crank is always going to be able to slip through any mechanism or process designed to keep them out. Still, all possible and feasible efforts should be made to ensure the safety of the innocent and unsuspecting.
I speak, of course, of the extension of Jeff Torborg’s managerial contract.
A year ago, a horrible atrocity occurred which will never be forgotten. We at Prospectus Entertainment wish to extend our condolences to the families and friends of those who were lost on September 11, 2001. Our thoughts and encouragement go out to those people still gamely working their butts off to get better, and our gratitude goes to all who have given so generously of themselves to help others during this very difficult year.
With due respect, let’s get down to baseball…
This is a strange time for me personally. I find myself rooting for the Giants. This is a similar feeling, I suspect, to finding yourself cheering for influenza, spoiled shellfish, or for a victor in the California Gubernatorial Race.