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Chat: Steven Goldman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday August 28, 2008 1:00 PM ET chat session with Steven Goldman.


Steven Goldman contributes "You Could Look It Up" to Baseball Prospectus.

Steven Goldman: Hiya, pilgrims. Steve Goldman here to take you through at least part of what seemed like an important game a week ago - Red Sox @ Yankees. We can, of course, talk about anything else pertaining to the wide, wild world of baseball, and maybe some other stuff as well, as is usual in these parts. Heck, ignore the game if you want to...

Sawx Fan (Rockville, MD): Steve, Good to see you up and chatting. Hope the Yankees' situation isn't taking too much out of you. Does A-rod have to homer in every at bat from here to the end of the season to satisfy his "fans"?

Steven Goldman: I wrote about this extensively in today's New York Sun. A-Rod's problems in the clutch are such a small, small part of this team's ills. I was just thinking about this - OMG, A-Rod is 1-for-10 with the bases loaded. Two more hits and he'd be hitting .300. So that's our indictment - his season is a failure for the lack of just two safeties.

mattymatty (Philly): Steve, I wish you the very best in your perpetual fight with cancer. As for the question, since this is a chat after all, who would you take going forward: Pedroia or Cano?

Steven Goldman: Thank you, mattymatty. Good to see you here again. I appreciate yours and everyone's good wishes. As I've said many times before, it's really helpful to know that so many people care about me. I'm very fortunate, though. There are many people who are diagnosed with cancer and it's game over pretty quickly. I've had two, but neither have been in the automatic category. I feel like I've been very lucky.

dianagramr (NYC): Hi Steven .... thanks for the chat ... What's your take on the Pirates / Alvarez / Boras mess? I think Boras is being a real jerk about this, if its true that its really about how much of the signing bonus the kid gets right now.

Steven Goldman: Hey, Diana. Good to see you, too. Did you know we have a mutual friend, a statiscian from the Scrabble community? Small world. I still am reviewing all the sides of the Alvarez controversy, as all of us are here at BP - we're following this quite avidly and it has been a hot topic of internal discussion. My feeling, and again, I don't feel fully informed just yet, is that if baseball bargained with the union for a certain procedure, they can't unilaterally change it no matter if the team or the player consents. It's the union that has to give its assent along with the commish's office. It seems to me, also, that if the 8/15 deadline can be cast aside so easily, it's essentially meaningless, and I find it hard to believe that the two sides would have negotiated a paper rule. In short, whatever one's feelings about Scott Boras, it doesn't seem like they're especially relevant this time.

Richie (Washington): Hey Steve, what about the single-A leftie Brewer farmhand reliever who struck out 3 guys in 2 2/3 innings last night? Has this zoomed him up 19 places in your prospect rankings? What?? This is that OTHER Steve Gold-guy?!? Aw man, and I wasted 47 seconds on this! My day's ruined now.

Steven Goldman: Now a chat tradition! ...I'm informed my sister will be interviewed from Denver on the Fox News Channel in just a few minutes. Take THAT, Nate Silver!

bartleby (chicago): Steve: I'm a native Chicagoan, but I must confess to reading your Yankees blogs because I enjoy your writing. There is nothing in the windy city to compare. I will add, parenthetically, that I went to NYC to see a game at Yankee Stadium, and was a bit underwhelmed. There was a two hour line in the morning just to get the tour. My question is, do you know anything about Allen Berra's upcoming book on Yogi? I've been reading Berra since he wrote for the Village Voice in the '80s.

Steven Goldman: I'm really looking forward to one great friend Allen's bio, which will be out in the spring. I haven't had the good fortune to read any of it yet, but I've discussed it with him often, and I have good reason to believe that this will be the definitive look at an inner-circle Hall of Famer. I know Allen has cast a wide net in trying to examine all the stuff we take for granted about Yogi's career to get at the man under all the cliches.

Brandon Wood (Salt Lake): Let me see if I have this straight, 15 game lead, Izturis and Aybar hurt, I have cut down my K rate and am raking in AAA....yet I am stuck in Salt Lake?

Steven Goldman: I think the Angels made up their mind about you, Brandon. More than that, I think they made up their mind some time ago.

Joe (Washington, DC): OK Steven, it's over. If you're Brian Cashman, what is your five-point-plan for the off-season?

Steven Goldman: 1. Take the Phillies job after the Steinbrenners keep me dangling as punishment for this season's results.
2. Find a comfortable home in the Philadelphia suburbs, maybe on the Jersey side of the Delaware.
3. Spend a lot of time thinking about whether to re-sign Pat Burrell.
4. Address the team's longstanding third base problems; try not to confuse Joe Crede with nostalgic feelings for Scott Brosius.
5. Take Joe Torre out for cheesesteaks when the Dodgers visit.

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Steve, are you still stuck in the fortress of iodine solitude? Does the Yanks trying to sign CC/Tex/both = time to tank (except when Moose starts)? Having a protected 1st round pick (plus pick "29A") plus another 1st round pick or two as rewards from losing free agents could help the farm system greatly, no?

Steven Goldman: I'm out (although I'm here now)! I had various geiger counter-type devices waived at me yesterday, and it appears that my radiation emmisions are just above background levels. I can now hug my kids and pet my wif -- I mean, my cats. I think the Yankees are constitutionally incapable of tanking, or even putting up the white flag, a gesture which would be redundant at this point and painfully obvious to any other team. It's not clear that Yankees players have any value to contenders at this point, but I've been saying for weeks now that if they were out of it at this point they really had to try to make some 8/31 deals. For anything, because the farm system really needs depth. And that leads to your other question. Sure, the draft picks would be valuable, but I have little confidence that the Yankees will do anything useful with them. This year's draft was something of a disaster as far as we can tell right now. ...I promise we'll get to some non-Yankees stuff shortly. I know some of you get ansty when I spend too much time on the Bombers... Who are, after all, dead in the water.

bateman19 (Boston): Steven, How surprised at you that Matt Holliday is flirting with a 30/30 season, despite missing almost a month? He could always run a little but did you ever expect this type of steals production from him? Is this a one year thing or will he continue to run like this?

Steven Goldman: I think it's really cool. In a way, it's always more admirable/exciting when a non-burner picks his spots and has a great basestealing season - Holliday has only been caught once. I mean, Jose Reyes can steal a base when he feels like it, but a player like Holliday really has to pick his spots, so you're not just seeing speed at work, but also smarts. I don't really think this will be a regular thing given his age - he'll go back to his previously established levels. I'm reminded of Kevin McReynolds' 1988...

cmd600 (Cleveland): Can someone please debunk Rick Reilly's article that Mitch Jones and Shawn Garrett aren't major leaguers because of steroids?

Steven Goldman: It really doesn't seem worth the effort. Life is too short.

Aaron (YYZ): Any thoughts on the Barbarian being the only returning class to hew your way through Hell in Diablo3?

Steven Goldman: I always kind of liked slugging it out with the barbarian, so I don't feel too chapped by it. There are also three classes yet to be announced, I think, so we'll see what else they give you. I imagine they won't go too far from the usual models, even if they have different names. I don't think the new assortment will be "the Barbarian, the Witch-Doctor, the Surly Home Depot Employee, the the Cajun Chef, and the Dick Cheney." I was much more excited about this before I realized it would be 2011 before they got this one onto shelves. I'm a little more psyched about the sequel to Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which was a really fun game with a HUGE character assortment.

mattymatty (Philly): "Find a comfortable home in the Philadelphia suburbs, maybe on the Jersey side of the Delaware." No no! You want to live in Philly. Its a great city, really it is (Nobody believes me when I say this).

Steven Goldman: I went to graduate school at Temple. No matter how many times you and Atrios write about how cool Philly is, I'm just never getting over that. ...I still do like to visit, though. I also often wonder about seeing Philly at its prewar peak, before it started economically suffering.

Yatchisin (Morgan's Creek): Joe Sheehan has spent some time on this question, but for career value would you pick Jeter or Reyes (of course we've got the career shape for one much more than the other)?

Steven Goldman: You reference one of my favorite movies. We don't talk enough about Preston Sturges around here. I would do more of that, but I remember King Kaufman once ridiculed me for being too obscure in a column in which I mentioned Private Ratzkiwatzki being out of the picture. ...What was Joes rationale, that Reyes has better speed and defense, which will allow him to age more gracefully than Jeter and is still building towards a higher peak than Jeter? If so, he might be right. I don't usually think of Jeter this way, but at Reyes' age, Jeter had what would prove to be by far his peak season. Reyes still seems to be adding to his repetoire.

Wendy (Madrid): You seem to be a thoughtful person... Is it hard to be associated with the Yankees?

Steven Goldman: I always mean to ask this when I see you here, Wendy: Madrid, Spain? Anyway, this is the funniest question so far, though I'm not sure if this is a shot at the Yankees or their fans. Anyway, it's great to be associated with the Yankees for this reason: there's always something new and interesting going on to write about, and there's also that ever-present great history. If I was writing the Royals-striped Bible I would have had to find another line of work by now. Watching 90 to 100 losses a year, every year, without hope of anything getting better, and within those games, having to watch 500 plate appearances by whoever is this year's David Howard equivalent? I'd go mad. The Yankees are a writer's best friend.

Steve (Chicago): Philly may be the worst twn in the US if you are early to mid 20s and single...hell it was voted the ugliest city in America. If you want to see a real city, come to Chicago from March until October (forget the rest). best summer city in the US...and soon to be best fall city when the World Series is in town.

Steven Goldman: Any response, Philadelphia partisans? ...My sister has yet to appear on Fox News, and she owes me one because I keep having to actually put Fox on my TV to check for her. My TV bleeds whenever I do that, as do my eyes. Also, Derek Jeter was just picked off.

Trieu (Cambridge, MA): How much of the conventions do you watch? I liked Jim Leach's speech best, after Hillary's.

Steven Goldman: I caught Hillary's speech, Bill's, and Biden's, and I'll catch Barack tonight. I've liked what I've heard so far, and I say that with my critical/tactical judgment looking at the kind of approach they're taking as far as framing their message, not in terms of proposed policy initiatives that I'm prone to liking in the first place as a progressive pragmastist. I think a key to this election, as in the one before and the one before that, is the Demo's willingness to counterpunch. I thought Hillary hit it lightly, Bill hit it harder, and Biden hit it really hard. They have to keep that up. As much as people say they want to hear more concrete proposals, it's clear that negative propaganda scores more points for the other side and you always have to be fighting that.

mattymatty (Philly): Nobody who has been to Philly and sat in Rittenhouse Square in July would ever accuse Philly of being an ugly city. I'm sure Chicago is beautiful from June through August. Hows it looking the other nine months of the year, Steve(Chicago)?

Steven Goldman: The battle is joined!

lemppi (ankeny, ia): Fox News is no more biased than MSNBC or even CNN. I hope you're not kidding yourself otherwise. If its just that you prefer Liberal bias then that's completely fine. BTW.....do you believe there is any heat on Jim Leyland in DET or is he certain to be back if he chooses?

Steven Goldman: Aw, come on. Can't we, at long last, be straight with each other about this one thing? This one, tiny thing? You know, Nate recently wrote (I can't recall if it was here or at www.fivethirtyeight.com) that statistics are just facts stated numerically. There are STATS, not impressions, about who has which guests on, what positions they take, and so forth. You're right that they're no more biased than the other channels, but there's a rightward bias at most of them, including, until very, very recently, MSNBC. Don't forget, MSNBC was the channel that fired Donahue over his antiwar position. With Olbermann and the hiring of Maddow, they're just beginning to balance things out. Two leftward-leaning islands in a right-handed sea does not a bias make. ...As for Leyland, what is the argument for dismissing him besides the team's disappointing record. Is he culpable for the pitching or the injuries? For Renteria being Renteria? I know he's been a bit indecisive with the defensive alignment and made a lot of lineup changes, but it seems more like the team hit a bad spot in its life cycle. I think I could make a better case against Joe Girardi and he's not particularly culpable either.

Gray (Chicago): Anyone comparing Philadelphia to Chicago is dilussional. Weather-wise, when did Philadelphia move to Florida? A little light reading for you: http://www.planetizen.com/node/27872 Philadelphians are also the least worldly, I guess that is what happens when your only vacations are to the Jersey Shore.

Steven Goldman: I wish I had a horse in this debate. All I have to say is that I'm from New Jersey and I like it here. I've only been to Chicago a couple of times, so I can't really comment in an informed way. Philly I've visited often and had some good times. And matty is right - Rittenhouse Square is great for girl-watching. Or dog-watching, if that's more your thing. I used to like to walk along South Street, which had a Greenwich Village kind of feel to it, though maybe an inch deep.

Alex (Chicago): Hey mattymatty (Philly), Our girls are skinny & trim and don't have mustaches.

Steven Goldman: Ouch. See my previous. I had no trouble telling the girls from the canines.

x (y): Your article in this year's BP on the Rangers was rather snotty. Not everyone can be the Yankees.

Steven Goldman: How did you know I wrote that? We don't by-line those things, so I can neither confirm nor deny my authorsthip...

...Yeah, I wrote it. And I've gotten a lot of mail from Rangers fans about it too. I'm sorry it was frustrating to you, but it has the virtue of being true. I'm big on accountability, and the Rangers have a miserable history in which a long string of owners treated it more like the gangsters treated that restaurant in "Goodfellas," the one they use to run stolen goods out the back and then burn for the insurance money. George W. Bush's involvement with the team was also very shady, which gives - Ah, my sister is on now!

Trieu (Cambridge, MA): I've never been to Philly, but Chi-town is truly awesome, particularly in the summer. Boston in the autumn (for the leaf peeping), LA in the winter, NYC in the spring, and Chicago in the summer. Also: The Fugitive > Sixth Sense.

Steven Goldman: Does either reward repeat veiwings? I mean Boston and L.A, not the Fugitive and the Sixth Sense. ...It's odd to see your little sister on TV commenting on the presidential election. I've seen her a number of times now, but I'll never get used to it.

Alex (SF, CA): If they've made up their mind about Wood, why won't the Angels just trade the guy?!?! I'm an A's fan and even I'm starting to feel bad for the dude.

Steven Goldman: The Angels have been very, very conservative in making deals in recent years, and in this case the mindset is working against them. These items are pershable.

Clonod (St. Louis): If Hosmer has his contract nullified as a result of the Alvarez debacle, would he have legal recourse against Boras?

Steven Goldman: Nope. This isn't Boras's protest, remember, this is the MLBPA's play, even if he's sympathetic with it. Besides, if Hosmer's contract is nullified, one potential outcome is that he'll be made a free agent, in which case he'll make a lot, lot more money. What's to sue?

Aaron (YYZ): What makes you say 2011 for D3? I'd see it as more of a Q4 2010 release since A1 is done and 4 of the 5 classes are in a functional state...

Steven Goldman: I read it in an article about the game, YYZ (Rush fan?). Perhaps that information is out of date. ...In a way, I'm not looking forward to the game coming out, given the amount of time one can waste on the really good, addictive games. I'm not a kid anymore, and there are things I want to accomplish in my life. Yeah, I really make decisions on a mortality basis. I'm depressed and depressing, I know it. Still, what's a writer who isn't writing? I bet every one of you knows one of those... Earlier this week, or maybe it was during the Yankees-Orioles series, that Joe Girardi had to be itching to give Cody Ransom a start. Today was the day. The only surprise is how long he waited.

collins (greenville nc): All five Twins starters have ERAs between 3.74 and 3.96. If they make the playoffs, who should start? I'd go with Liriano, Baker, Slowey, and either Blackburn or Perkins if they need a 4th.

Steven Goldman: I'm with you there. The Twins' problem if they make it is that their low-K staff doesn't work in their favor - when playoff teams but the bal in play, things happen. I'd emphasize the guys who have a better chance of keeping the ball in the catcher's mitt, and those are three you named.

aaron (NY): steve, why not put most of these yankees on waivers and see if we can something for them? i wouldnt bring pettite back, so get something for him. same with damon, abreu, matsui, giambi. i think its imperative we get good hitters on this team, not limited ones like giambi and cano, nor bad ones like melky. what can we do reasonably next year?

Steven Goldman: There is absolutely zero harm in trying this, and perhaps the Yankees already have. What can the Yankees do reasonably to get back into conention for next year? A lot will have to right, even if they sign Sabathia and Teixeira, which everyone around here takes for granted but they probably shouldn't.

lemppi (Ankeny, IA): "Rightward bias at most of them".....we need a pause for hardy guffaws........okay, Chris Matthews is hard in the tank for the Left. Who are you kidding? Who did he work for once upon a time? Also Katie Couric greets viewers at this week's convention with a nice smile. Please watch next week as she greets viewers with a serious near scowl on her mug. Her feelings are on her sleeve. I think its preposterous that many DET fans are blaming Leyland. He didn't make the ill-fated Renteria trade....thanks.

Steven Goldman: All I ask is that you check the stats and the way topics of discussion are framed lemppi, just as if we were comparing players... The Tigers have an interesting mix of players - some potentially useful, though probably limited young guys like Larish and Joyce, and also some aging guys they probably need to deemphasize. It seems as if Leyland is a pragmatic enough manager that he will make those decisions for the benefit of the team, rather than a Torre-like "loyalty to my guys" basis.

Trieu (Cambridge, MA): I think everyone should always make decisions on a mortality basis. If only we had the strength to do so.

Steven Goldman: Nah... It's a sad way to live. What makes life tolerable is our ability to forget where it's all heading and just lose ourselves in the moment(s). Horrible bad call in the Yankees game just now, Pedroia running way out of the baseline to avoid a tag. The umpires somehow didn't see it. Joe is right -- more replay faster. The umpires are properly on the road to extinction.

Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Every September, I participate in the Terry Fox Run for cancer research (If you don't know about it, please do look up Terry Fox's story). This year, I want you to know that I will be thinking of you when I do the Run.

Steven Goldman: Can we donate?

Jay (Philadelphia): All in all as his Yanks career ends with a whimper, what did you think of the Bobby Abreu era? Is he a non-clutch wuss as some/many/all? Philly fans think?

Steven Goldman: No, but he is the worst outfielder going back on the ball that I've ever seen.

Franklin Stubbs (Los Angeles): As long as we're talking politics, I wanted to say that as a Republican, I enjoy watching the DNC. As much as Bush has screwed up my party's image, I still think that McCain's going to win, not because he's better, but because the Dems can't get things together long enough to do anything. Democrats should be blowing the Republicans away right now, yet come October, they're going to wonder why they lost again.

Steven Goldman: We agree on that. I worry about that too. Like I said before, they've traditionally don't counterpunch. I got to exchange a few words with Hillary Clinton about that earlier this year, but to my disappointment she didn't answer my question as to WHY they don't, just said that SHE would. And maybe she would have, but it didn't work out that she'll be in the position to do that.

...BTW, I'll be on the XM 175 pregame show with Mike Ferrin late this afternoon.

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): If the Yanks are smart, and I think Cashman is, and I think (hope) he stays - isn't the wiser move to forget 2009 and prepare for 2010, or even 2011? You don't have to say it - they never would - and its not like attendance will fall, what with the Stadium v2.0 opening . . . Doing this doesn't preclude signing CC or Tex (or both), just being realistic, even if only internally

Steven Goldman: Maybe you're right, but I don't know if it will get better by then, because the position guys under contract will be going soft and moldy by then, and who are the position players in the system coming up behind Austin Jackson to replace them? Not that Austin Jackson looks like Mickey Mantle either. Jesus Montero might not be ready by then. There is very little to look forward to in that regard. The Yankees have obviously had some success drafting pitching, but the Yankees couldn't find a position player prospect even if the player had I HAVE BEEN POSSESSED BY LOU GEHRIG'S RESTLESS SOUL floating in fiery letters above his head. I could see Hughes or Kennedy or both suddenly clicking in next year and making things look a lot better, but on the whole I'm not real optimistic about the Decaying Derek Jeter Era.

Perry (ALSO YYZ): Steven, Judging by all the Toronto (and surrounding area) mail you guys get, any chance you guys come up to TO for a book signing!? I know there's many readers that would welcome the opportunity to meet the BP staff.

Steven Goldman: I really like Toronto and would love, love, love to go. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding where we go on tour, including schedule, expense, and the interest of the chains in having us. I've said this before, but it bears repeating -- if you would like us to come, go to your local store, ask for the community relations rep, and make a request. If they communicate it up the ladder, and they often do, there's a chance we'll get an invite. We're like vampires - we can't just show up - someone has to say, "Enter freely and unafraid" before we can bring the carnival.

Matt (Athens OH): Abreu's worse going back on a ball than Burrell? Really?

Steven Goldman: Wouldn't you love to see that skills contest as the All-Star game instead of the (yawn) home run derby? Two on, none out for the Yankees, Red Sox up 2-0 bottom six. And here's Abreu...

Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): You most certainly can: http://www.terryfoxrun.org/local/asp/r/e/52580 God bless you. I know it sounds corny, but it's sincere.

Steven Goldman: Thank you. That really means a lot to me. Give a few bucks, kids. It's for a good cause... One of the toughest things for me to watch, when I go to an oncologist's office, is the number of kids in the waiting room with me - not because their mom and dad is sick, but because they are. No child deserves that. Imagine how hard it is to deal with this stuff emotionally as an adult. Now subtract your adult understanding. Good god, it makes me want to cry sometimes.

mike (chicago): Do you have a horse in the playoff hunt that you hope rides to glory in late october? Is it odd to be on the cusp of a yankee-free october? It is for me. Been a LONG time.

Steven Goldman: At the beginning of the season, my World Series pick was Cubs-Red Sox, not only because I thought it was likely, but because I thought it would have a really historic flavor. Rays-Cubs would too. I have a lot of admiration for the way the Angels go about their business. The Phillies and the Mets are flawed, but can be a lot of fun... There are many scenarios that would make me happy, but win or lose, I think it would be very exciting to see the Cubs go all the way to the Series. That's been my one consistent wish all year.

Alex (SF, CA): Can Cashman's job survive more than one sub-par (by Yankees' standards mind you) season? Hank II doesn't seem like he has a lot of patience.

Steven Goldman: SHOULD his job survive it? Again, I put a lot of the blame on the draft/development side of things, and I don't think he has been allowed too much influence over that side of things. He tends to neglect the bench and organizational depth, but you also have to cut him some slack because of the team he works for. As he once told me, the Yankees have a very difficult time signing the top minor league free agents/fringe players because they and their agents don't believe they will get a real chance to make the team. I think that's a fair point, though maybe that perception can change. Hey, agents! CODY RANSOM IS STARTING TODAY!!!

Quentin (Chicago): Chicago women are hotter than Boston women, probably NYC's, too.

Steven Goldman: We're a emperical organization here at BP. How do we prove this factually?

williams51 (New York): Is Girardi's love for no-hit, good glove catchers keeping Pudge on the bench? What was the point of trading him if they weren't going to play him? Is there any chance Girardi is going to bench Posada next year and play Molina instead - I shudder to think.

Steven Goldman: I-Rod would have more of a kick coming if he had done any hitting at all since coming to the Yankees. Since the break, Molina is hitting .239/.309/.366, which isn't good, for goshsakes, but it's a lot better than Pudge's 10-for-52.

lannychiu (San Diego): "As he once told me, the Yankees have a very difficult time signing the top minor league free agents/fringe players because they and their agents don't believe they will get a real chance to make the team." Why would this be more true of the Yankees than the Red Sox (who seem to have quite a bit of organizational depth)?

Steven Goldman: Thirty years of Steinbrenner ownership where it was true? The Sox depth coming from being a much, much, much better drafting organizatgion?

Rob (Houston): If the Cubs and Sox meet in the post-season, I predict a comet will crash into the stadium just before the deciding game starts. You heard it here first....

Steven Goldman: Sadly, there is precedent... It happened when the A's played the Giants.

Frank (Vegas): your take now on the Nady/Marte trade: was it a deal or no deal from a NY fan basepoint?

Steven Goldman: I think it was a good deal for the Yankees. They gave up more in volume than star potential, Nady has been very good, and he's under contract. They also picked up two losses because Joe Girardi used Damaso Marte incorrectly, and in fact injured him by over-pitching him (which he then lied about, as Pete Abraham reported), but that has nothing to do with the trade.

Goose (Wrigleyville): Is there any chance in your mind Dempster and Wood sign elsewhere in the offseason after what the Cubs did for thems after their respective injuries?

Steven Goldman: Remember Al Leiter fleeing to the Marlins after the Jays nursed him through years of injuries?

Dennis ((Chicago)): I think Chicago women rank an easy 4th, behind Miami, New York and LA (you pick the order, because I can't). To suggest otherwise is just silly.

Steven Goldman: Can you tell we have a primarily male readership? Like I said, until someone demonstrates an objective way of testing these arguments, this debate is moot. Isn't it funny, though how this argument about cities got right to the main point? No one is saying Chicago has better restaurants or Philly has better museums. It's cherchez la femme, all the way. We could, you know, try to dig a little deeper.

Juan Eduardo (San Francisco): I think there's a big problem in the politics discussion, comparable to 'greatest player ever'. This being that 'best' and 'greatest' mean different things. I'm so phenomenally tired of people comparing bonds and ruth here. The only person who could possibly be discussed alongside ruth as 'greatest' is jackie robinson, and probably only Aaron and Mays can be compared to bonds as 'best' (as Ruth played before integration, latin players, 5-man rotations, the slider and LIFTING WEIGHTS!). All of the cable news stations have NEWS and COMMENTARY. Fox plainly overflows with right COMMENTARY, and I'd say the COMMENTARY on the other networks is about 50/50. However, I'd say the NEWS (what there is of it) at Fox is down the middle and the NEWS everywhere else is left of center. Speaking of *facts*, 85-90% of the news media are democrats, and only half of the rest are republicans. Probably ludicrous to assume that everything combined leans right.

Steven Goldman: I was with you right until the end, Juan. You're right about the news/commentary breakdown. What I'm not sure about is the distortion that you're implying is taking place or if your discussion of it is even accurate. Also, I get a bit tired of hearing about how journalists self-identify politically. At this point I dont know if it's even true, but even if it is, it doesn't matter, because they don't determine editorial direction, management/ownership does. We know who that is at FOX, Roger Ailes and Ruppert Murdoch, who aren't exactly subtle about how they like to see things portrayed. Nor do the big corporations that own the other networks have much to gain by biting the hands that feed them. You have to realize this - with few exceptions, the talking heads take the line their bosses tell them to. If the exective board at BP got together tomorrow and said, "We will now be CLOWN Prospectus. No more baseball talk! Just clowns!" all of us would have a choice of changing what we do - I'd be writing YOU COULD CLOWN IT UP - or get out. And there WOULD be someone eager to sign on, take my spot, and make some clown bucks. Sure, you would say, but what of your integrity? Well, there are only so many broadcasting jobs, and they pay a lot of money... Would you rather be at FOX taking the corporate angle, or manning the weather desk in Tulsa?

lannychiu (San Diego): "I think Chicago women rank an easy 4th, behind Miami, New York and LA (you pick the order, because I can't). To suggest otherwise is just silly." I am married so don't really have a horse in this race, but would think that you could get a lot of good data off of Match.com and other sites. You could look at cities, and find average age of singles, rating, etc.. You could also calculate the number of single women per capita, to get a sense of how easy it is to get dates. You could cross-reference it with JDate and some of those Christian sites...the possibilities are endless.

Steven Goldman: I am imagining the following:
1. I dare one of you to actually pursue the proposed course of study in a rigorous way.
2. My trying to convince Christina Kahrl, Nate Silver, and the rest of the decision-makers here to run said study.

Somehow I don't see that ending well for me. Not sure why, but I don't.

Yatchisin (The Screwball '30s): Not to lure you back into obscurity, but we need to teach the kids of today about real films. Not sure how available these 2-packs are, but a month back our Costco had this great double bill for 10 bucks: "Easy Living" and "Midnight." Forget Jeter v. Reyes, do you take Jean Arthur or Claudette Colbert?

Steven Goldman: I picked up "Easy Living" and "Midnight" when they came out, though not as a Costco twofer. If those are still out there, though, go get 'em - you won't be sorry. The first is an early comedy authored by Preston Sturges, the latter an early screwballer authored by Billy Wilder - the aforementioned Colbert and Don Ameche, but stolen by John Barrymore...

TIE GAME! Lester pitched a great game, but it's gone now. Giambi's PH two-run HR ties it up. And Girardi - Joe - it came off a lefty.

I take Jean Arthur. That crinkle in her voice gave her an extra level of cute, and she was a more natural actress. Colbert was obviously very good, and good looking, but I always found her to be a little stiff and not a great romantic lead. I think people at the time must have agreed with me, because she started playing mothers very, very early in her career, to actresses that were not much younger than her.

Joe (Philly): Having moved from Chicago to Philly recently, I have to say that Philly's ugliness was one of the first things that immediately struck me - not in terms of people, but in terms of urban aesthetics. Architecture, natural setting, urban planning, green space, (lack of) litter, you name it - Chicago wins hands down on this question.

Steven Goldman: My impression of Philadelphia, from an urban planning/upkeep perspective, is that it hasn't been well run in a very long time. Part of that is economic fall out from its long decline. Unlike NYC or some other cities around the country, it hasn't really found a good way to reinvent itself for a postindustrial era.

dianagramr (NYC): re: hotness of women based on city ... Well, THIS gal believes that NY men have the highest batting average with woman in scoring position :-)

Steven Goldman: Not A-Rod!!!

that they die like sheeple (teh Doomokratic Republik): Ah, but the better question is, is it in the Yankees best interest to play Pudge as often as possible between now and the end of the year? According to Eddie B. over at Tiger Thoughts (who reverse engineered the Elias Rankings) Pudge is the top Type B catcher free agent and just a hair behind Ramon Hernandez for the last Type A spot. Since the Elias Rankings are based primarily on playing time and counting stats, it certainly gives the Yankees an incentive to try and sneak Pudge into that upgrade by giving him as much playing time as possible.

Steven Goldman: Interesting point. I'm willing to bet the Yankees aren't thinking that far ahead, or they have and concluded that Pudge is so far gone it's just not likely to happen. Again, let's see if things change after this series, if the Yankees acknowledge that their playoff chances are so remote as to not be worth chasing... Nice work by Robinson Cano robbing David Ortiz on the shift. I bet that's exactly how it looked when an infielder made a play on Ernie Lombardi back in the 30s.

Jonesy (USS Dallas): Do you think the Mariners should start playing for next year?

Steven Goldman: LOL!

ErrantNight (Silverlake): Still on Red Sox / Yankees game... Does Girardi know something the rest of us don't? Are they Yankees secretly leading this game? Did they get to expand their roster early? Why is he emptying the bullpen?

Steven Goldman: I'm a bit confused by this myself. Well, it's nice to see Rivera anyway. At his age, I treat every appearance like an unexpected reunion tour.

Silver Sox (Golden Baseball League): My favorite books are You Know Me Al and The Celebrant, so I am all about old-timey baseball. That being said, I am a big supporter of pitch counts. To paraphrase Buscemi in Reservoir Dogs: Look I didn't create the situation, I'm just dealing with it. Also, I like the Beach Boys better than the Beatles.

Steven Goldman: Both great books. I think about the Celebrant all the time. Perhaps I reflect on some of Lardner's short stories (Alibi Ike, Haircut, etc) more often than I do on You Know Me... I once tried to make a peak/career argument about the Beatles and the Beach Boys over at YES. Got me months of heated email. I think what torqued people off was that I said that "Pet Sounds" is a better album than "Peppers."

kevin (maryland): Great song about Jean Arthur by Robbie Fulks. And Robbie is from Chicago, so maybe we can debate which town has better musicians.

Steven Goldman: Like Colbert, she had no middle period. That was her choice -- she decided to dial down her career as she approached middle age. It's like romantic comedy lead, romantic comedy lead... the mom in "Shane." And then very little else. Apparently she didn't much like talking about her career, either, which is too bad... I don't know that song. I'll check it out. Is there a song about Veronica Lake anywhere?

...Gabe Gross has played well lately, but you could see Bobby Abreu being a good add for the Rays. Wouldn't that be ironic given that they traded him for Kevin Stocker in one of the more infamous moves in history?

BB (Pitt): pt 2. The Nady/Marte trade now as a Buc fan?

Steven Goldman: Depth is a good thing if you're the Pirates. Maybe they got a collection of potential fourth-fifth starters, but that's not without value to a rebuilding team.

Dills (Chicago): It's GOT to be Jean Arthur! She and Katherine Hepburn in "Bringing Up Baby" make me wish for a time machine...

Steven Goldman: I read that wrong at first. I was about to type, "Jean Arthur wasn't in 'Bringing Up Baby' with Katherine Hepburn!" That would have been a very different film, and Cary Grant's famous line, "I just went GAY all of a sudden!" would have had a very different meaning. Or maybe the exact same meaning, I'm not sure.

greg (toronto): Will the JP Ricciardi era of embarrassments and blunders finally come to an end after this season?

Steven Goldman: It should, even though it's not a black and white thing. His record has some good spots. Still, it has been quite awhile now. I was talking to a friend about a company that had its IPO in 2000 and just went out of business this year, having never identified a steady revenue stream. If you've been in business for eight years and still haven't figured out how to make even one dollar more than you spend, you probably deserve what's coming to you. The Ricciardi era is a bit like that.

phil (philly): I heard Brian Cashman is going to Seattle. Having living in all three cities, I would say this dispute is over-- Seattle wins easily.

Steven Goldman: I've enjoyed Seattle in my visits there... Nice job by Masterson getting A-Rod in the eighth. I still think he should be starting. The Red Sox were in denial about Buccholtz at the time they made that decision and need to unmake it.

pmoc81 (orlando): I am having deja vu

Steven Goldman: Thanks for sharing. I meant to say on that last re Cashman to Seattle that we just don't know if he's a rebuilding-type GM. It's a tough job and he's never had to do it.

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Is this year a blip on Jeter's record, or has he started his (inevitable) decline? I'm pretty sure he gets to 3000 hits, but I think his chances of getting 4000 have plummeted (albeit they were small to start with). (And Pet Sounds IS a better record than Sgt Pepper!)

Steven Goldman: He started his decline last year, has continued it this year. I was about to say something nice about this defense, but since he just made a bad throw I don't think I will. No, I don't think there's any turning back the clock for Jeter. The main thing going for him is that there's no one pushing him at short and probably won't be for some time. Pitchers drop in the draft, but Troy Tulos don't. Although maybe the Yankees will have better drafting positions after this year... I really thought Kotsay had hit that ball out.

Michael Kay (8th circle of hell): Is this really a-rod's chance at redemption? I guess with the season down the drain I need to come up with some drama.

Steven Goldman: Yes it is. You can redeem him for five cents deposit in Connecticut.

collins (greenville nc): According to allmusic.com, both the New Bomb Turks and the Hellacopters have songs called "Veronica Lake".

Steven Goldman: Probably be about a body of water. Did you know Veronica Lake was like six inches tall? The reason she made so many movies with Alan Ladd was that Ladd was only seven inches tall...

Dan (Katonah, NY): How would looking at Match.com be helpful? It would be a representative sample of the women in those respective cities that have difficulty finding a date. Sort of like measuring the best AA ballplayer by looking at those who have over 100 AB's at that level. If they were really worth "looking" at, they wouldn't be in the pool of candidates.

Steven Goldman: I suspect that's a bit harsh, but you're probably right about a selection bias. Anyway, the first step is not identifing a population, but getting together a defintion of beauty, which is next to impossible. It's like one of our earlier exchanges. Claudette Colbert was physically better looking than Jean Arthur. The former could have been a model, the latter probably never, yet she was the more attractive of the two.

strupp (Madison): Journey is one of the 5 greatest American Rock Bands of all time. Discuss. Agreed Pet Sounds is the best album of the Beatles/Beach Boys catalogue, but it clearly drove Brian Wilson crazy to have to compete with Lennon/McCartney... is there a baseball comp to that? Junior vs. Bonds? Bonds vs Sosa/McGwire?

Steven Goldman: I like your last choice - Bonds vs. Sosa/McGwire, but Wilson was clearly headed that way without the Beatles' help. I suspect you threw in Journey as a red herring. My fingers are too sore for me to bite.

Trieu (Cambridge, MA): This is a good game.

Steven Goldman: Even though it's basically an exhibition, yes.

bctowns (Chicago, IL): As evidenced by Chicago's headlock in the top three of the national "fattest city" rankings, I'd say you could make an argument that we have the best restaurants in the country. Charlie Trotter's, Alinea, Schwa.

Steven Goldman: Now I will speak up for NYC restaurants, for their variety and plentitude and willingness to send you a Chinese-Mexican hybrid taco at 2 AM. ...I am digging the rare Brett Gardner sighting.

TB2 (Stamford, CT): Is it true that Pavano has been placed on waivers? Is this the first sign of the official surrender?

Steven Goldman: More like a decent into a state of infantile fantasy. Hope it happens, though... By the way, this game is very good, but the best I've seen in awhile was the 13-inning Mets-Phillies tilt on Tuesday.

Dennis (Chicago): "The former could have been a model, the latter probably never, yet she was the more attractive of the two." Empirically, Steven?

Steven Goldman: No, of course not. That was my whole point. And yet, like I said, Arthur played girlfriends longer than Colbert did, so there was at least some consensus around that.

that they die like sheeple (the Doomokratic Republik): at the plate he might be Slappy McGirlyswing, but it sure is nice to be able to deploy Gardner as the Designated Runner once in a while ...

Steven Goldman: I feel like I've said this a million times, but Gardner isn't going to be any kind of impact player, but he could be useful in sort of a lesser Brett Butler kind of way. That's not great,. but it's not replacement level. And it's unusual seeing a Yankees player with plus-plus speed... Looks like the Yankees just might pull out one game of this series...

dianagramr (NYC): The new Chinese-Mexican Hybrid Taco .... gets 37 mpg, expels only methane.

Steven Goldman: Beautiful. Also beautiful: Papelbon vs. Giambi with the bases loaded. Game-winning walk for Giambi?

mhixpgh (Pittsburgh): Is the title "Forging Genius" suposed to be a double entendre? Your book is wonderful. I laughed out loud a few times and totally enjoyed the historical life and times of both baseball and the wonderful Casey Stengel. A great read!

Steven Goldman: Mom? Mom, is that you? In all seriousness, thank you. The title was Christina's inspiration - for those that don't know, she was the editor of the book. We were trying to come up with a title that conveyed that the book was about the making of Casey Stengel. My working title was "Casey in the Wilderness," but no one ever felt really confident about that one. No double-meaning intended, we just wanted to say what it was about. So glad you enjoyed it.

lannychiu (San Diego): "How would looking at Match.com be helpful? It would be a representative sample of the women in those respective cities that have difficulty finding a date. Sort of like measuring the best AA ballplayer by looking at those who have over 100 AB's at that level. If they were really worth "looking" at, they wouldn't be in the pool of candidates." I think it is always fair to think about the effect of selection bias. However, there are a few points that I think would negate the impact nowadays. First, although I have never used them, I am told by my single friends that online dating is widely accepted now and the average person does use it. Second, even though it could be a biased selection, it is biased in the right way. I.E. we are talking about men and women who are actively looking for dates and that normal people have a chance with. It is rather irrelevant to most single men that a large number of fashion models live in NYC. Who cares, you will never date them.

Steven Goldman: I think we need to ask Will Carroll about that... Good point though, lanny. And here is the 0-2 to Giambi... Game over! Yankees win! Nothing changes! Nothing whatsoever!

tbwhite (Philly): How can Chicago be taken seriously as a city when they are to blame for Styx and REO Speedwagon ? That's just unacceptable. No class.

Steven Goldman: On the other hand, didn't Louis Armstrong record his Red Hot Fives sessions there? That makes up for a whole lot.

dogtothedog (Toronto): Hi Steve, I was reading your chat then went and played nine holes and had a beer afterwords came back home and your still chatting, aren't your eyes sore?

Steven Goldman: Eye. It's fine. My knuckles are done for the day, though, and I'm still going to write a few words on the game for YES.

Joel (Georgia): Pessimistic Yankees fans are crazy. Please don't make me think you're carzy Steven.

Steven Goldman: I may or may not be crazy, Joel, but a 1 percent chance in the playoff odds report speaks for itself. They have only 29 games, including the Rays, Angels, White Sox, and Red Sox, and have a lot of games to make up. It would take a miracle at this point.

musicbones (Toronto): Pet Sounds has only a fraction of dynamism of any Beatles album. It also contains 30% water and 20% sap, while the typical Beatles LP is 15% water and 5% sap. Of course, many people mistake McCartney's winsomeness for sap, but those same people generally resent McCartney's happiness and refuse to buy the sincerity of his sadder songs. Still an underrated LP: Beatles for Sale (1964 UK).

Steven Goldman: I wish I had the time or the strength in my fingers to take this one up again, but I don't ask me again sometime. I will agree that Beatles for Sale is relatively undervalued.

Dills (Chicago): let's see... Jean Arthur, Pet Sounds vs. Pepper, Match.com, Fox News... in all seriousness: best. BP Chat. ever. Just part of why I loves ya guys...

Steven Goldman: Thank you, Dills. To paraphrase Casey Stengel, I couldn't have done it without my readers. And on that note...

Steven Goldman: Time for me to be getting ready for my turn on XM. I've greatly enjoyed spending the last 3.5 hours with you and I hope you had a good time too. As always, thank you for choosing to spend part of your day with me and Baseball Prospectus. Until next time, I remain Your Pal. -- Steve

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