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Chat: Steven Goldman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday March 31, 2008 1:00 PM ET chat session with Steven Goldman.


Steven Goldman, author and editor of Baseball Prospectus 2008 and creator of "The Pinstriped Bible", chats on the best day of the year.

Steven Goldman: Good afternoon, campers. Steven Goldman here for what has become a BP tradition, the opening day in-game chat, this one encompassing the Blue Jays-Yankees opener. The only problem is that nature is not yet cooperating - the game is going to be held until approximately 2 PM EST - but we'll kick things off here anyway and proceed along slowly until the hostilities begin, at which time we'll kick in with all our usual intensity and enthusiasm. Happy Opening Day, everyone? Are you feeling open?

Ryan V (San Francisco): How much does it suck to call into work "sick," only to be told "No, you aren't. Get your $%^*& in here." Answer? A lot. I'm still not going in, though.

Steven Goldman: I sympathize. I tended to call in sick on opening day every year until I got a job (this one) in which working and calling in sick were kind of the same thing. We'll endeavor to get you your fix, though. Then again, since you're in SF, we'd have to stay here all year. The home team just ain't gonna do it this year.

dogtothedog (Toronto): Steve who loses more games this year the giants for O's my money is on the Giants.

Steven Goldman: I think the Giants as well. Interesting question: if you merged picked the best players off of both teams, could you come up with a roster that would win 90 games? I don't think so; the Giants would supply some pitching and maybe Aaron Rowand, while the O's could throw in a pitcher or two and most of the their (still insufficient) lineup. Suffice it to say both will be pretty bad.

jlarsen (DRays Bay, FL): Matt Murton or Jonny Gomes, if given the choice...who would you rather have?

Steven Goldman: Sounds like a perfect platoon to me. Actually, I remarked in today's Pinstriped Bible that the Indians could usefully liberate Murton and Sean Marshall from the Cubs, given that their outfield corner production looks a bit weak and the back of their rotation is nothing special.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Thoughts on Scott Patterson not being promoted? Thanks!

Steven Goldman: Hey, Tony. Welcome back. I'm not too exercised on Patterson because I figure he'll get his chances. The Yankees figure to be rotating pitchers in and out of the last spot in the bullpen all season long.

Jameson (Arizona): Steve, what's the deal with Ian Stewart? Is he going to have a major league career?

Steven Goldman: Of course he will, assuming some body part doesn't quit on him...

Speaking of quitting body parts, I pause to remark that something about chatting must affect my posture. I can work all day here without suffering, but as soon as I do this my back starts to go. Anyone got any muscle relaxants handy? Would a chat in which I answer most questions with "Hrghle. Don Mattingly. Blix. Hee hee hee hee" be interesting?

...Anyway, Stewart will play at some point, somewhere. He just happens to be blocked right now, and he probably has suffered a bit in the eyes of the organization because expectations of stardom turned out to be overblown. I would think he'll be a complimentary player in the future, a sub-star at best, a two-corner Hinske type at worst.

jordan (SF): Hey Steven! Have you heard Levon Helm's latest album yet? Is it worth checking out?

Steven Goldman: Rain Delay Theater question! I've heard bits of it, Jordan. I'm a big fan of the Band and of Levon in particular ("The only drummer who can make you cry." - Greil Marcus), and sometimes fantasize about hauling up to Woodstock for one of his Midnight Ramble concerts... I'm going to pick it up at some point. I guess I've held back because (a) CDs are too expensive, and (b) whenever I let sentimentality guide me to someone's third-act album I generally regret it. See also: REM's latest "No, they're really back this time!" effort. I just can't, not this time.

As I wrote elsewhere, though, I enjoyed the heck out of Panic at the Disco's latest, a sort of Sgt. Pepper's/Skylarking mash-up.

mattymatty2000 (Philly): Steve - did you hear last night in the ESPN booth President Bush intimated that if he had been able to buy the Rangers he would have offered the GM job to Joe Morgan? Theres so many jokes to make here my head is spinning.

Steven Goldman: I'm trying to imagine Joe wearing a Century 21 jacket. When Bush "owned" the Rangers (in quotes, 'cause he was just the front man), they were more about the real estate than the baseball - see our Rangers essay in this year's annual for more.

ericturner29 (chicago): Where is this "today's Pinstriped Bible " you speak of? I can't find it. (only something from 3/25)

Steven Goldman: http://web.yesnetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080331&content_id=1440032&oid=36019&vkey=6

You can find my capsule take on every team's outlook - check it out and feel free to come back here and quibble.

Mike (Chicago): I see Dusty Baker is allready hurting the Reds by hitting Patterson leadoff, Dunn 5th and Votto on the bench.

Steven Goldman: I gotta tell ya, as I rode around to every Middlesex village and farm over the last month talking about BP 2008, the number one question on every lonely housewife's mind was what Dusty was going to do to the Reds. The confluence of rock-head manager and top prospects really held the attention of the hardcore baseball fan, who, I think, felt as if s/he were watching a car accident in slow motion. Well, here we are on opening day and bodies are strewn all over the highway. I don't really know what else to say, except that the guy is leading off with a career .298 OBP hitter. It's like he's trying to make a point. To who? Why? I don't know. It sure is annoying, though, and it makes you wonder where Krivsky is and why he isn't on top of this. Even if you intend to defer to your celeb manager, this is too much.

Adkins42 (Earth by way of Universe): World Series pick, Steven?

Steven Goldman: Red Sox-Cubs, immediately followed by the (http://tinyurl.com/3agaz6) end of the world.

Brian (Ontario CA): MLB's Gameday has gone from cool and streamlined (last year) to bulky and unwieldy (now). Why not put all of the information on one screen instead of making us scroll? Sorry, this is more of a rant than a question.

Steven Goldman: Isn't there a phenomenon that software developers call "feature creep," where the tendency to add extras to useful programs chokes them over time? Could be that, though I really haven't used the new version enough to comment yet.

rtkimmerle (NJ): Steven, big fan of your YES work, despite being a Mets fan. Jeff Keppinger is starting at short and batting second for the Reds today, while the Mets just released Ruben Gotay. This makes me sad. Has Willie Randolph inherited Torre's taste in lumpy bench-help, and isn't this a supernally bad idea in the NL? Also: Hrghle. Edwar Ramirez? Blix? Hee hee hee hee. Thanks!

Steven Goldman: Thank you for coming aboard despite your Mets-ness. I actually enjoy following the Mets too. No doubt sports talk radio hosts would call me a fraud for not hating the Mets as much as I like the Yankees, but I'm a baseball fan who enjoys the sport whatever the color of the uniforms, not an unthinking bigot. Anyway, I thought the Mets acted precipitously on Gotay, but I also accept that Gotay was over his head last year and that with pitcher-constricted rosters ("pitcher-creep?") you need your U-INF to be able to sub at short. What was odd about it was that Luis Castillo is in such poor shape.

...As I said of Scott Patterson, Edwar will get his chance down the line. I'm still trying to get a handle on how Girardi will handle his bullpen. That will give us a clue as to when... Blix!

andy46 (NJ): Did you catch American Idol's covering the Beatles? I wasn't too impressed, what you think?

Steven Goldman: I was in Boston with Joe Sheehan and Marc Normandin, so I only saw about 15 minutes of it as we were busy doing promotional stuff and hanging out with co-eds. Does anyone say "co-eds" anymore? Makes me feel like Hugh Hefner circa 1963. Anyway, the only thing that grabbed me in the few minutes that I saw was some guy named Chickezie doing a cover of the "She's a Woman" B-side, in which he avoided the uncomfortable "My love, she brings me presents/I know that she's no... peasant!" line by signing, "My love, she BLARGLEARGLEARGLEARGLEOO!" I thought that a creative solution and was satisfied to flick off the tube and join Marc and his lovely consort Annabelle at Legal Seafoods.

Bill W (Brooklyn NY): Likely to make an in-season roster?: Julio Franco, Jeff Weaver, Bonds, Clemens.

Steven Goldman: Still holding out hope for Bonds. Y'know, if the Mariners just got over themselves and plugged in Bonds for Vidro, they might actually be able to take advantage of the Angels' injuries.

TGisriel (Baltimore): Having sat through both, I think you should know that sitting through a Cabrera start when he's wild is worse than sitting through a Trachsel start. In any case, maybe MacPhail can turn Trachsel into 2 prospects again in July.

Steven Goldman: Being a compensated follower of the Yankees, I have to watch 19 games a year of Orioles baseball, which is like being stuck in the dentists' waiting room of baseball. I imagine feeling obligated to follow the other 143 games is worse... I have a hard time believing anyone is going to get suckered in on Trachsel as badly as the Cubs were last year, especially given that Trachsel put up a cool 8.31 ERA for them. I mean, you be the GM: Even if Trachsel somehow puts up a 2.50 ERA into June, do you really bite on that? I wouldn't, figuring the bubble was going to burst as soon as one got hold of it. Instead, I would merely tip my cap and say, "Another stunning scouting coup, Orioles! You enjoy it!"

dblatnik (Sunnyvale, CA): Are you surprised that the Dodgers were able to make the right move and start Andre Ethier over Juan Pierre?

Steven Goldman: A little bit, because Joe Torre is a sucker for the "traditional" leadoff man that Pierre represents. That said, he can be a faithless master, and Ethier will be on a short leash.

g-mo (bumpus, MA): Steven Goldman! Awesome to have you with us. Bummer about the rain delay, although I must say I'm glad the talk I had to go to didn't make me miss the start of the season. Anyway, how was Rockaway? Did anybody show up? Any interesting questions from the bumpkins that plagued my childhood?

Steven Goldman: It was a very small crowd - Rockaway didn't represent. We still haven't found the right venue outside of the Yogi Berra Museum for us to do NJ events. I did a Princeton thing once at a friend's store, and that was decently attended, and maybe we should try there again, but we haven't been invited. Part of it, I'm told, is that if you do a New York City appearance, the chains feel that that is in the same market as Princeton, which is daft. I'd love to do some more stuff in my backyard, though.

If you're out there and you're interested, shoot me an email here at BP and if there are sufficient numbers we'll see about doing an old-style pizza feed.

...The Yankees are now talking about raining this sucker out. If they do, I'll keep going for awhile anyway, though I'll be disappointed we won't have a game to dissect.

Sam (Santa Ana): For 100 years, Juan Pierre would have been a perennial all-star and possible hall of famer. Now, he gets beat out for a job by Ethier -- who ain't exactly Jay Bruce -- despite a $10 million salary. The final nail in the anti-statheads' coffin. Congratulations.

Steven Goldman: Thanks. We're currently soliciting donations for a wreath... That said, I don't think we should start making plans to dance on Pierre's grave just yet. He'll be back as soon as an injury or slump gives Torre an excuse. I figure he'll still get 400 fairly useless at bats when all is said and done.

g-mo (bumpus, MA): So, I'm checking out your preview blurbs... re the Cubs you say "the bats will be the best decongestants a baseball ever had." What does that mean, exactly? Are you being obtuse, or am I overthinking it?

Steven Goldman: I'm not being obtuse, I hope. Maybe obscure... I meant to imply that the Cubs will hit the snot out of the ball.

The Yankees are currently "evaluating their options."

Matt (Chicago): Knowing what you know about managers and optimal use of personnel, I'd be interested to hear your rationale behind picking the Reds to finish above the Brewers in the NL Central.

Steven Goldman: Because I kind of figure that as dumb as Dusty is being just now, the prospects will play their way to the fore by the All-Star break anyway.

Tommy (OPS, FL): Gomes and Murton both hit lefties better, but Gomes can't hit righties and Murton can so its not ideal but it could work. The Cubs are asking for a top pitching prospect in return. Isn't that kind of high for a guy they have admitted has no place with the club?

Steven Goldman: Can you get hurricane insurance in OPS?

Yeah, I think it's high given that both these guys are borderline regulars/complimentary types, and a top pitching prospect is worth more even if the Cubs are giving up two for the price of one.

...Through three innings, the Tigers are still stuck on one run. They're stalled with 999 runs to go. Panic in Motor City!

Motor City, I read, is going back to nature, so maybe there is no panic, only the gentle sussuration of the wind brushing over the grass.

Arnold Layne (Cambridge): Tuffy Rhodes. Discuss.

Steven Goldman: First thought: was out of the majors before we could give him an entry in a BP annual. Did he recently win a Nobel or something? If so, I missed it.

dianagramr (NYC): Steven, Back in the 70s, if the Yanks were in a Rain Delay, Channel 11 would show episodes of The Odd Couple or some such. I miss those days ... don't you?

Steven Goldman: I'm not a big sitcom guy, but The Odd Couple could be very good at times. Channel 11 also introduced me to Star Trek and the Twilight Zone, and, at a much earlier age, the Lone Ranger, Batman, and Superman TV shows. Those last three were shown in a block when I came home from school...

...The Yankees have officially punted on today's game. It will be made up tomorrow night, weather permitting. We'll keep the party going here, because it's still opening day and the Tigers have scored a second run on Gary Sheffield's 1577th career RBI. Only 998 to go!

g-mo (Large Hadron Collider): while we're waiting for the official word from the Bronx, how about your answering a question nobody's taken in any of these chats: will we ever get an archive of blurbs from the annuals, organized by player, so we can still read them even after players retire? and if not, why not?

Steven Goldman: The PECOTA cards give you the archived comments for the active guys. I'm not sure about the retired fellers, but I can sure ask.

carlosrubi (Mexico): How angry are Yankees fans right now? *You can't delay Opening Day*

Steven Goldman: It was just reported that the announcement was greeted with cheers at the Stadium -- the fans could see the conditions and knew what was up, plus, with the announcement that the game will be made up tomorrow night, they can still come back to the ballpark without missing a second day of work.

But why can't you delays it, Carlos? If the conditions aren't satisfactory, they just aren't. Ever been to Boston this time of year? It's like living in an aquarium. In the 30s, the Red Sox and Braves would typically miss most of the first week because the city was underwater. In other words, these things happen all the time. I'm disappointed too, but I don't want to see anyone get hurt either.

Evan (Vancouver, BC): Halladay-Wang today. I foresee 10 inning complete games from both starters with only 3 Ks between them. That is such a cool matchup.

Steven Goldman: Now that the game has been called, the quantum states of all possible outcomes have collapsed. However, Schroedinger's cat says, "Ask again tomorrow."

Yes, that question just came in now.

Miguel Cabrera (Detriot): I just went deep, 997 to go.

Steven Goldman: And let's not leave out that Verlander has a one-hitter through five. The grass whispers its approval.

How long does Jacque Jones hold his job?

carlosrubi (Mexico): Panic at the Disco, Steven? I'm disappointed. And yes, I've down-- er, heard their new album.

Steven Goldman: Hey, it's not emo - I don't even know what emo is - it's 60s/70s pop pastiche, and fairly well done, though as I wrote at YES the other day, their limitation is that they get one good lyrical idea per song and ride it into the ground rather than developing it. Still, the thing was fun and catchy and has stayed in my head. Most CDs these days, I'm so busy that they never get into my regular rotation. Even artists I love, like Robyn Hitchcock, whose records I will always buy, I listen once or twice and say, "That was pretty good," and then I toss it aside.

...I pay for this stuff, too. There was a good article this month in either GQ or Esquire, can't remember which, which made a good case that the music industry took its biggest hit not from downloading or changing tastes, but the fact that in recent years people just haven't had the money to spend on this stuff.

Rich (Hoboken): So, are you happy with the bench and bullpen Girardi cobbled together? No Cairo, no Mientkiewicz, no Villone, no Small... ah, sweet sanity. Any choices you would have made differently?

Steven Goldman: Maybe gambled on one fewer reliever and added Brett Gardner as a pinch-runner/defensive replacement. With Jason Giambi on the roster, you could find a use for Gardner pretty much every night. And despite his nice spring, I don't think he's ever going to be a regular, so I don't think turning him into Homer Bush '98 will cost him/the Yankees anything.

I do like the idea of taking both Ensberg and Duncan for platooning at both first and right, assuming that's what Girardi is going to do.

bam022 (Chicago): How good is Manny Acta? Do you see a big market team trying to steal him from the Nats?

Steven Goldman: I am a huge Manny Acta fan, but I'm biased because he keeps going out of his way to say nice things about Mind Game, and how that book influences his managerial thinking. This is pathetic, but I don't think I can objectively talk about him anymore. I mean, how can I criticize him when he's taking cues from something I helped bring to life?

Rancel (Tampa, FL): How would you rank the lineups in the AL East?

Steven Goldman: Yankees, Red Sox, Rays*, Jays, O's.

*Pending Longoria.

BL (Bozeman): Woo-hoo... Yankees rainout, Royals-Tigers on all afternoon! What's your best comp for a player of Miguel Cabrera's level of ability and accomplishment playing for a new major league team at/before age 25?

Steven Goldman: I'm sure we could do a systematic check on this, and no doubt y'all will hit me with dozens o' obvious choices after I answer, but the obvious choice would be A-Rod, going from the M's to the Rangers.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Sheehan thinks that Toronto is more than a mockery of a contender. I don't, but I can see how Ricciardi could have been lulled into putting this team together, having Halladay, Rios, Wells come up together. What do you think?

Steven Goldman: Well, the problem is that Riccardi has made some poor drafting decisions that have set them back, and what they have drafted hasn't developed, at least on the hitting side. There is nothing wrong with the Jays that about 1.75 good hitters wouldn't cure, but over the last several years they just haven't been able to come up with that guy. And as good as Vernon Wells was at 24, I don't think there was a reasonable expectation of his having too many more seasons like that based on his plate judgment. Even if they had guessed right on him, by himself he wasn't enough. Since Delgado left they've really needed a big, pure, home run bat.

Daniel (Michigan): The locals are on pins and needles, seeing their bullpen entrusted with a one-run lead.

Steven Goldman: Too late! The Royals have tied it up on a John Buck RBI single. Out goes Jason Grilli, in comes Bobby Seay.

Get used to this folks. The Tigers' pen is a dark, scary place.

BL (Bozeman): Nice call on A-Rod vis a vi Miggy... your favorite Opening Day story? How about a Yankees/Highlanders category, and a non-NY category?

Steven Goldman: I don't have too many great ones. Whenever someone asks me about opening day, the thing that seems to inevitably come to mind is George Bell hitting three HRs against the Royals on opening day '88.

Highlanders: Um... On the way to one of the Highlanders opening days, I'm pretty sure that someone somewhere in New York got run over by a horse.

...Adam Jones is batting eighth for the Orioles today. Meanwhile, Mark Grudz tries to give the Royals a lead with two outs in the top of the seventh.

Daniel (Michigan): I like the Ensberg-Duncan dual platoon as well, except for the fact that the Yankees won't be facing any tough lefties for their first three weeks (before they run into Buehrle, Sabathia, Willis and Bedard). So why not option Duncan (assuming Ensberg is out of options) and bring up Gardner for the meantime? By leaving Gardner, Rasner and Patterson in Scranton, the Yanks are indicating a reluctance to make another 40-man roster move at this time. Kind of strange, since they can just move Cervelli to the 60-day DL.

Steven Goldman: I don't mean this facetiously at all: I suspect that Duncan's rah-rah personality protects him from certain kinds of roster moves.

BrettG (Worthington, OH): How about our Opening D(el)ay today?

Steven Goldman: White Sox 2, Indians 0 in the bottom of the first. Sabathia gave up a HR to Jim Thome (#508). Let's automatically jump to the conclusion that Sabathia is still tired from last year and/or pitching tight because of his contract situation. Someone will.

Chip (Richmond): Is it just me, or is "Team X will score 1,000 runs this year" the most overused, useless prediction by TV analysts? I've heard it every year for several years now and it still hasn't happened.

Steven Goldman: It is overused, and far too easy to say, like "Rey Ordonez saves the Mets 100 runs a year with his glove," which I miss hearing, in a masochistic way, far more than I miss Ordonez himself. One of the things that would be more descriptive would be to qualify that relative to the league, or to simply say that the team is going to lead the majors in scoring. But they say 1000 because it's more hyperbolic and to some of us it will signify an all-time great offense... The Tigers, I think, won't come real close. They didn't come within a hundred runs last year.

...The Yankees, though, did.

Alberto (Boston): Better offensive numbers this year, Stephen Drew or Yunel Escobar?

Steven Goldman: Aargh. PECOTA says Drew. I'm not a big believer in either, but I think that Drew is more likely to go up and Escobar more likely to go down, so let's go with Drew.

Dusty (Not Chicago): Rob Neyer is going to shoot for a 12 hour chat...

Steven Goldman: More power to my friend Rob. With the Yankees game called off, I'm going to save my powder for whenever Mr. Sheehan wants to bring me back for an encore.

...That's a completely legal, doctor-prescribed powder, by the way.

jlebeck66 (WI): Nick Johnson just hit his second double of the year. What do you expect from him this year? Back to roughly '05/'06 or less?

Steven Goldman: I'd like to think so, but we really won't know until we see him play for awhile. I know I cringed last night watching him run the bases and slide into second. He's basically the new millennium Ron Blomberg without the Hebrew National endorsement.

I meant to mention this before when the Joe Morgan reference came up. When Ray King came in the game last night, he was customarily wild, and Morgan, right after they flashed a graphic showing that last year King had walked 21 in 39.2 innings, said (I paraphrase), "That's weird. His value is in his aggressiveness, that he throws strikes and goes after the hitters."

I try not to yell at the TV, but I did then.

mchertoff (OHS): Watching Aqualino Lopez come out of the bullpen in a tie game begs all sorts of existential questions, but none more than this: Throughout baseball history, who are the age-gate cheaters that never got caught? Fernando is too easy. Ernie Banks? Buddy Biancalana?

Steven Goldman: Tommy Henrich. Played two years younger than he actually was. Tommy is still out there, btw. God bless, Old Reliable!

JoshEngleman (Lyon Station, PA): Just trying to get one question answered in this chat. I live in a house of Phillies fans. I am a Braves fan. What separates these teams this year?

Steven Goldman: Next to nothing at this writing. Both have very solid offenses and some shortcomings on the pitching staff, particularly at the back end of the rotation. If anything favors the Braves at this moment, it's that their bullpen is probably a bit deeper than that of the Phils. They'll be competitive with each other, and with the Mets, all season long.

Mike (DC): My brother took the day off from work in Washington just to drive up to Yankee Stadium only to have the game cancelled. That's right; it's not delayed for him. It's cancelled. He is probably on his way back right now, incensed. I don't have a question, I just wanted that noted for posterity. I feel for him.

Steven Goldman: I think it was my hero Robert Benchley who said that so many people complain about the weather but no one ever does anything about it.

jlebeck66 (WI): I'm moderately pro-Bush (sorry), but I was still thinking that he'd sound like a genius while in the same booth as Morgan. Then he was yapping about the Morgan as a GM... ugh!

Steven Goldman: Posted in the interest of giving everyone equal time. And never apologize! Defend with all the power that reason and logic allow, which is to say not with vitriol but with facts!

...Not that I'll be posting that argument here, because the Holy Quintessence of Baseball Prospectus will have my head. That was more a general statement of philosophy. The true patriot is not about rhetoric or ideology but about the best solutions. If you (generic you) can make a case for your man (whoever he is) then we (generic we) have an obligation to hear you out.

And having said that, you will note that there is no difference between that kind of open-mindedness and that which we advocate here at BP when evaluating teams, players, managers, GMs.

...A six-spot in the bottom of the second for the Indians, including two home runs. Mark Buehrle appears to not be one of those best solutions I just alluded to, at least not today.

Phil (NJ): Steve, Joe Morgan said more dumb things than that last night. For one, he called Dmitri Young "Delmon" a couple times during his talk with Manny Acta. Feel free to pile on Mr. Morgan - he's a nice guy and was a great player but is currently an ABYSMAL broadcaster.

Steven Goldman: Yeah, but I don't really need to do that, do I? I mean, we all know. Even ESPN must know. I just don't care that much. I certainly wouldn't write a book to bring it to their attention.

Kent (Portland, Oregon): Is is your favorite player? Who was your favorite player growing up?

Steven Goldman: Answered many times: Graig Nettles when I was just a tyke, Don Mattingly when I was little more mature.

I liked girls a lot too, at both ages. If I could have found a girl who liked Don Mattingly as much as she liked me, I would have been a very happy guy. Unfortunately, at 13 it is often difficult to find a girl who likes YOU, let alone Don Mattingly.

Yes, I was an awkward teen.

I imagine that the complexion of fandom has changed some over the years, and now a young fellow in my predicament could break a lot of ice with his Derek Jeter #2 t-shirt.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): I try not to yell at the TV either, but if I have to listen to Morgan for longer than 2-3 innings, I'm usually incensed. Is there another person in the entirety of baseball media (writers, announcers, etc.) that doesn't get it as much as he doesn't get it?

Steven Goldman: There are a few dozen at least on a par. Someone brought this up at one of our Boston events, asked how I deal with this kind of announcer, and I quoted George Harrison in "Hard Day's Night," being asked how he liked watching some Spears-wannabe on TV. "We turn down the sound and say rude things about her." That's what I do. I don't let it bother me most of the time. At this point, these things don't really need pointing out.

relaunche (chicago, il): with the cubs in the midst of a rain del;ay, would you bring back Zambrano or Sheets if the delay is 30 mins long?

Steven Goldman: Heck no. Haven't we learned anything from Joe Girardi?

zach (Buffalo): Hi Steve. Any thoughts on Detroit starting Inge in the OF over Thames? Is Inge's defense that much better than Thames bat?

Steven Goldman: I think CF is one of those places where, all things being equal over the short term, you err on the side of defense. If you have a non-CF in CF it can become really obvious really fast as guys are running miles chasing balls to the base of the wall. Believe it or not, Inge is the more experienced major league CF, Thames never having played a game there. I like Thames' bat a lot, but can't fault this particular move.

Brian (Nashville): How about this KC-Detroit game? Tied up at 4 in the bottom of the 9th. This KC team is going to frustrate teams this year.

Steven Goldman: I should have noted before now that the Royals had to take David DeJesus out in the second. As I've written a few places lately, it's really getting to be time that they flip him for a player or two. This wasn't the winter to do it with so many CFs on the market, but midseason will present some opportunities -- if he's healthy, of course.

I really don't know if this game is a case of KC being pesky more than it is the Tigers' bullpen being really bad... Or maybe it's just one of those things. Get back to me after a month.

Daniel (Michigan): As a Jewish kid growing up in New York in the 70s, I was a Blomberg fan. But the Boomer's shortcomings went beyond staying healthy. He was also defensively challenged and couldn't hit lefties. So despite the hype, he was a half-season, platoon DH.

Steven Goldman: Another thing about Morgan last night that bugged me (yes, I am contradicting myself about not caring - I was paying extra attention because it was the first game of the year) was that he went out of his way to say that Johnson is an excellent defensive first baseman, which maybe he is and maybe he was. After a year off, playing on a leg made of uncooked pasta, I'd prefer if a few caveats were applied.

Steven Goldman: And on that mildly petulant note, it is time for me to ride off into the soggy sunset of suburban New Jersey (population 50,000, mostly overweight). Despite the Yankees-Jays rainout, I hope you enjoyed our three-hour journey in esoteric chatting. As I depart, I note that the Rays have a 4-2 lead on the O's, something we should be able to say at least 15 more times this year; that the Tigers have survived their bullpen to last into extra innings; that the White Sox are threatening to come back (Sabathia, three innings, four runs, five Ks); and the Mets are about to be underway. Check in there to see if Sabathia suffers a broken kneecap on a comebacker in the first inning. I emphatically hope not, but it would be true to the Mets' luck if he did. As always, I thank you for spending part of your day with me and Baseball Prospectus, and I look forward to doing this again soon.

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