Steven Goldman was the editor of "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over," BP's look at a dozen great pennant races. He's here today to examine 2008's.
Steven Goldman: Good afternoon, pals 'n' gals. Steve Goldman here to take you through this wonderful pennant race afternoon in mid-September. It's already been a busy day for me. I've got a new column on Robbie Cano up at the NY Sun, a new YCLIU on Ned Yost here at BP, and I've been blogging on politics at my new old personal web site www.wholesomereading.com. A little later I'll have a new Pinstriped Bible entry up at YES as well. I'm the 126th hardest-working man in show business. Also, though I know it's become a bit of a cliche here at BP to talk about the music you've got playing, I really have to share with you how happy I am with this Charlie Christian, "The Genius of the Electric Guitar" box set I picked up last weekend. It's pioneering work by Christina, who played leads for various Benny Goodman groups in the 1930s and early 40s. I love Goodman to begin with, but this stuff is just, er, electric. I'm ready to talk about any team, any race, anyTHING, you just name it. And while we're at it, let's dedicate this chat to Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson, just because. Away we go!
Richie (Washington): No Goldstein/Goldman joke today. Sorry. I've run out of material.
Steven Goldman: Why is it that no one ever asks him to tell some good Ty Cobb stories in his chats? I think that would only be fair.
John Hoffner (Middletown, Pa): One of the best ever Yankee utiltymen,Gil McDougald. Why don't I see him at Old Timers Day, or read or hear anthing about him. He was one of my favorite players during the 50's.
Steven Goldman: You have good taste in ballplayers, John. I'm too young to have seen McDougald play, but I think about him often as kind of an unrecognized great. He was a defensive standout at three infield positions, which allowed Casey Stengel to avoid replacement level players wherever he had the greatest weakness. Outside of his rookie year, his hitting numbers are just very good, not great, but he was very patient and probably would have hit over 20 homers a year in any park but old Yankee Stadium, where you needed cab fare out to left field. His career ended early in part because of injuries, in part, supposedly, because he was disheartened after hitting Herb Score with that (in)famous line drive, and, finally, because he didn't want to go to the Angels as an expansion draftee in 1961. At his best he was crazy valuable, and I often think, "Gee, Team X could really use a player like McDougald." I guess that's not a deep thought -- anyone could.
John, I believe we haven't seen him around the Stadium because he's been in ill health, but I could be misremembering things, so don't quote me.
Richie (Washington): Regarding Yost and your YCLIU article, so if you discount Williams/Expos1981 'cuz of the strike, there's then not a single really good parallel to what the Brewers did here? And some BP writer made a remark about Yost's "Queeg-like" lockerroom persona. Any idea what that references?
Steven Goldman: Before writing the YCLIU article, I looked at every managerial record from 1900 on. There are a several examples of the opposite kind of firing, a manager getting canned just a few games into the season, like Yogi Berra in 1985 or Nick Leyva in 1991, and a couple of managers, like Eddie Stanky and Eddie Sawyer, who decided after one game that this managing thing wasn't for them, but the Dick Williams thing was as close as I think we can get to the Yost situation. As I tried to imply, well, not imply - I came out and said it, maybe this is because other organizations were more vigilant than the Brewers have been. It's a bit late for the Brewers to be all, "We're shocked, SHOCKED, that Ned Yost sucks." That, by the way (shocked, SHOCKED) is a reference to a Humphrey Bogart film, "Casablanca." "Queeg" also references a Bogart movie, "The Caine Mutiny," based on Herman Wouk's novel, in which Bogie played the WW II Captain Queeg, a paranoid, frightened martinet. Just a B/B- film. Same for the novel. Bogie is great, though.
Lincoln (Fort Worth): Could you tell some good Ty Cobb stories? Maybe like the time he climbed into the stands and punched the guy in the wheelchair?
Steven Goldman: The guy wasn't in a wheelchair. He had no hands, so operating a wheelchair might have been a problem. When Cobb started stomping the guy, people around him shouted, "He has no hands!" Cobb said, "I don't care if he has no feet!" and kept stomping. Cobb did not discriminate against the physically challenged, just non-whites.
John (Palo Alto): Classic film fan? I had a chance to rewatch C.H.U.D. the other day and must say that it is some of Daniel Stern's best work save, of course, Little Big League.
Steven Goldman: Not "City Slickers?" I love classic films, and one thing I'm going to start doing at Wholesome Reading is set up a sub-blog to write about old films, some classic, some deservedly obscure.
Joe (Washington, DC): Steven: Who's your pick for AL MVP?
Steven Goldman: I'm leaning Pedroia. I kind of wish it was Milton Bradley, who is probably the hitter of the year in the league, but hasn't played enough. And before anyone asks, in the NL it's Pujols, Pujols, Pujols and also Pujols.
bartleby (chicago): Steven:
I like your new blog, but what happened to the podcast?
Steven Goldman: Hey, thank you, Bartleby. The podcast was kind of cobbled together on the technical side, and after what I thought was a wonderful conversation with Rob Neyer got white-noised to death I kind of threw up my hands in frustration. It will take some money to upgrade my studio to the point that we can operate in a way that I think is sufficiently professional, but so far I haven't been properly... ahem... incentivized. I'd love to get back at it. I feel like I was improving each time out and hadn't really scratched the surface of the format.
Tim (Sonoma, CA): I think John might have mixed up Little Big League for Rookie of the Year, which Stern actually directed. And no Daniel Stern list is complete without that great piece of cinematic glory, "Celtic Pride."
Any thoughts on the Yanks CF situation? Are you in the camp that thinks they need to go outside of the organization to fill that need?
Steven Goldman: It depends on how soon Austin Jackson will be coming along. I have a lot of questions about Austin here, about whether he should be playing right now or not. I believe he has some minor physical problems, so I guess not. Also, as bad as Brett Gardner has been, and he's been mighty bad - -7.8 VORP in 99 plate appearances is special - it's almost as bad as what Jose Molina has been able to do in a whole season...
Steve pauses to address technical problems as his mouse refuses to mouse to where it's supposed to...
Trenton is a tough place to hit, and Jackson batted .311/.388/.496 on the road, so he's a bit further along than he looked. Say the physical problems resolve and he plays some good lookin' winter ball (can't recall if he's slated or not), or even if he just comes to spring training and looks good, he could be ready right quickly. I think the Yankees can kite along with Gardner and a fourth outfielder type to be signed later (heck, maybe that's Melky, who can at least field) until Jackson earns his chance.
Yatchisin (David Thomson's encyclopedia): So maybe Gil McDougald was the Claude Rains of the Yankees?
Oh, and the best Stern is "Diner." Indeed, that film is the best work of about everyone in it, and that goes for Levinson, too. Call it face up in Baltimore.
Steven Goldman: Love Thomson's encyclopedia, though I don't agree with everything, natch. Love Claude Rains, who is a perfect analogy. Rains raised most films that he was in. Try "Notorious," where he's the baddie, or the Reagan picture "King's Row," where he's this weird child-abusing pervert. Heck, try "The Invisible Man," where you pretty much never see him (go figure)... Forgot all about "Diner" and hsouldn't have.
Rob (Bloomington, IL): Was their ever a player with more of a stocky build than Hack Wilson? He looks ridiculous!
Steven Goldman: In my book "Forging Genius," I said that Hack looked like Popeye or an inverted bowling pin. I don't think Yogi Berra was too different, maybe even Kirby Puckett. Ever see the pictures of Wilson standing next to Ruth and Gehrig? Looks like they're hanging out with someone from a circus sideshow. They tower over him.
Quentin (Chicago): Let's talk about the Cubs... not books or these dead, old-time players.
Steven Goldman: Best team in baseball, I think, though I worry about Kerry Wood biting them in the butt in some tight postseason situation. I give a lot of credit to Lou Piniella for following through on his threat to deemphasize Fukudome a bit if he continued to struggle. Maybe I'm too used to years of Joe Torre's "It will all work out" approach to slumps, but I get impressed when a manager actually does something even vaguely assertive/proactive.
Matt (Mt. Albert, ON): I'm sure you remember that Bill James writes that the Yankees were able to lead the league in double plays so many times in the 50s, despite a constantly shifting middle infield, because "Gid McDougald could do anything."
Of course, if most teams had a player like gil McDougald, he'd be starting somwhere in the infield, if they were smart.
Then again, some teams and players think that 60 innings of good pitching is worth more than 175...
Steven Goldman: Well, Gil did start. The thing was, he was good enough that if, say, Phil Rizzuto's bat died of old age and they needed a shortstop, he started at shortstop. If it turned out that Rizzuto could hit a little bit and Billy Martin had been drafted and Jerry Coleman was hurt, he could play second. If the Yankees couldn't come up with a better third baseman than Andy Carey, and they never could, then McDougald could pick it at third. It wasn't that he wasn't starting, it's that he was starting everywhere, depending on need. It's a very smart way of doing things if you have that kind of flexibility -- kind of like what Tony LaRussa did with Tony Phillips, except you have to imagine Phillips as a gold glover instead of a butcher.
Tim (DC): Loved "The Caine Mutiny" and analogy...Fred McMurray as a spineless SOB Keefer, and so totally NOT "My Three Sons". So if Yost is Queeg/Bogart, is Doug Melvin the "Steve Maryk" (Van Johnson) character, who finally realizes at the end that he is to share the blame? Ryan Braun as the naive "Willie Keith" (Robert Francis)? I think Gammons gets to be "Barney Greenwald" (Jose Ferrer).
Steven Goldman: Joe Sheehan could play an awesome Barney Greenwald. I mean that sincerely... Fred McMurray could play an awesome lowlife. See "Double Indemnity" and "The Apartment" for more. He steals "The Apartment," I think. ... Isn't "The Apartment" one of those Billy Wilder classics that David Thomson really hates?
Vinny (NYC): Mets, Phils or BrewCrew...who get's left out?
Steven Goldman: I wish I knew. The Phillies seem to have a slightly easier road than the Mets and Brewers. I have this sense that the Mets bullpen situation is going to boomerang on them again, though. There's no reason for Luis Ayala to be a successful closer, and just because it worked for a couple of weeks doesn't mean it's going to keep working.
ripfan008 (Baltimore): Hi Steve, thanks for chatting. Which pitcher do you believe was the fastest ever at delivering a baseball? Steve Dalkowski?
Steven Goldman: I don't think I've ever seen footage of Dalkowski, but I like cuing up films of Walter Johnson's delivery and watching him sling the ball in with that three-quarters delivery and his long, long arms. He probably wasn't as fast as some of today's big arms, just based on superior conditioning and nutrition today but he would probably still be competitive. I realize that doesn't quite answer your question, but it's probably as close as I can come just now.
Mike (Chicago): So which team do you think ends up the NL wildcard team?
It's an interesting race between a group of flawed teams. I think the Mets squeak in that spot.
Steven Goldman: You can't really call this based on the schedule, but the Brewers and Mets have a whole lotta Cubs left and the Phillies don't, so maybe that constitutes an edge, I don't know. Like I said, I think the Mets might Ayala themselves to death in the near future... Let me say this other thing about the Brewers and Yost. When Yost let Sabathia throw 30 extra pitches (or whatever it was) in that 9-1 win (or whatever it was - I'm sacrificing looking up stuff for speed of response and because my mouse is annoying the @#%#$ out of me), he justified it by saying, well, we have three off days coming up and we're gonna basically pitch him once a week for awhile, so he'll have plenty of time to rest up. I argued at the time that this was stupid, that you could squeeze and extra start out of CC if you kept him in his spot and skipped the other starters. I thought the Brewers might need that extra start. Why did I know that when Yost didn't?
Swingingbunts (NY): In the film Cobb, they had a scene where Cobb jumps into the stands and beats up a guy with no arms. The guy with no arms is played by none other than Jimmy Buffett.
I have no question just thought I'd throw that out there.
Steven Goldman: I really dislike that movie, and I speak of a fan, in general, of Ron Shelton. I hate it, in fact, because it represents a missed opportunity. The movie shows us Cobb as an old asshole. There are a lot of old assholes in the world. He wasn't at all unique in that regard. Now, the young, driven, manic Cobb was unique and had a unique backstory. We'll probably never get to see that story filmed, because "Cobb" sacrificed that to do some lame buddy-movie rehash that was mostly fabricated anyway. Al Stump wasn't with Cobb as much as he said he was. What a waste, a terrible, terrible waste.
Rob (Bloomington, IL): Geovany Soto has the best stats for any NL rookie, and he's just called a no hitter and a one hitter in back to back games. Has there been an easier Rookie of the Year choice lately?
Steven Goldman: Albert Pujols, 2001?
Steph (California): Do the Yankees decide to sign Pettitte to a 1-year deal during the offseason considering how he has pitched of late, or do they just try to sign Moose to a 1-year? The Yankees have to try to sign one of them to help with stability in the rotation...
As for Austin Jackson, he does have a slight back problem (he's in New York for an MRI) and will be playing in the AFL...
Steven Goldman: Hi there, Steph. I'm kind of ambivalent about Pettitte. My sense is that it's time to move on, but I don't want to overreact to what could just be a kind of slump and some bad defensive play behind him. I also feel like the Yankees should not be overly discouraged by Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, et al and should keep some slots open for the young, because they have to get younger. I know they're going to turn their back on them for every Tom, Dick, and Pavano out there, but that's my feeling... If Jackson is healthy, I think he'll put up very good numbers in the AFL.
cedric (work): So I keep hearing the Astros got screwed by having to play there games at "Wrigley Field North" and in a way I feel bad for them but what use is it to play this series after the season when the Cubs would just field all triple A guys. I guess my question is how can I blame Bud Selig for the hurricane?
Steven Goldman: Is Bud Selig a Republican Party donor?
...The Astros should stop with the alibis and win some games. Aw, they were booed. I feel for them like I feel for Vince Young.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): I get the sense that Moose the less risky signing between him and Pettite. I would have never imagined myself saying that back in April!
Steven Goldman: Exactly. I feel the same way you do, except I'm in love with my wife, not your wife. No offense to your wife. She's hot.
Lincoln (Fort Worth): I knew the guy Cobb beat up was handicapped...I guess I just assumed he was in a wheelchair. Anyway, how do you think the Rangers should resolve their catching surpluss? Who out of Laird, Salty, Teagarden and Max Ramirez do you see having the best careers?
Steven Goldman: I think Laird, just by virtue of being older and not much of a bat, has to be the first man out, although he is a very good glove. Teagarden and Salty might never be much more than adequate behind the plate, though I think both will be good hitters at the position. That leaves Ramirez, who will hit too. In a way, the only wrong decision the Rangers can make is holding on, because these assets don't keep... A few years ago, Congress realized that you could get last-minute fares on Amtrak for just a few bucks, because management had decided they'd rather sell the seats for pennies than haul an empty seat and get nothing. Congress put an end to that as some kind of tax-supported giveaway, when it was really just an example of half-priced sushi, of trying to get something for a transient asset. Not trading the catchers would be kind of like that.
mattymatty (Philly): Does Cashman come back, and does it really matter?
Steven Goldman: I don't know if it does matter, and the reason is the same one that provokes your question in the first place. If Cashman is going to be a Steinbrenner puppet maybe he doesn't come back, and it also doesn't matter, because it's the ventriloquist that matters, not the cut of his dummy. Now, say he comes back and he has some autonomy. What moves has he made that tell you that he knows how to rebuild this team? I kind of like Cashman, but this is a new situation for him as GM.
My big worry here is that the Yankees fall back on old ways and we're living in the 1988-1992 period again, where they acquire Tim Leary and Jack Clark and other combinations of mismatched vets and eventually it all goes blooey.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Do you set the titles to your articles, or do your editors? What's "Girardi slow to respond all season" at NY Sun becomes "Challenges Girardi had to face this season" at the YES Network. They need to free your pen, Grizzly.
Steven Goldman: The Sun and YES write their own headlines. I don't mind, because I'm not particularly good at it. That's why the section headings in the Pinstriped Bible often seem like nonsequiturs. They're either references that actually fit what I'm writing about but you would actually have to have been inside my brain when I thought of it to understand, or just out and out randomness. If they let me write my own headlines, they would say things like, "PENGUIN FLAMBE MY JOLLY RECTUM, MR. RUMPOT!" SAYS GIRARDI ...They know that, and that's why I don't get to write them.
MikeM (Branford, CT): If you were starting a team from scratch with a 2-year window to win the World Series ('09 and '10), and there was a draft of current MLB managers, Joe Girardi would be _____ on your wish list. Joe Torre would be _____.
Steven Goldman: well off of/given a gold watch.
Ed (NJ): Joba for 70 innings in the pen in 2009, or 180 as a starter? What say you?
Steven Goldman: The latter, unless there's something physical going on we don't know about. If he's incapable of starting due to something going on in his body, fine, but let's just admit it and stop screwing around. If he is physically capable, then let's stop acting like Joba is more fragile than any other pitcher in history and let him pitch already. Good lord, either he's a pitcher or a Faberge egg. Do what you can do to use him intelligently so he doesn't break, but accept it that no matter what you do he may break because at some point all pitchers do, but make a call. The indecision speaks poorly of the Yankees organization and the internal lack of confidence, second-guessing, and overall dysfunction. It's like the tip of a malignant iceberg.
Josh ((Sacramento)): Politically, Selig has given to both parties in the past, but his only donations this cycle have been to $1000 to Carl Levin and $10,000 to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, according to opensecrets.org. The only GOPers he's donated to in the past ten years are local Wisconsin ones.
Kind of shocking, actually.
Steven Goldman: It's really shocking. Now check MLB.
Ari B (San Diego): League: 11 teams
# of Keepers: 5
Headed towards season 3 of my fantasy league, my keepers are the following:
Great Fantasy GM...or GREATEST Fantasy GM?
Steven Goldman: Let me tell you about the time I was crowned king of an anthill...
Adam (Milwaukee): "Why did I know that when Yost didn't?" We have been saying that here for years! Mostly regarding the management of the bullpen, is there any reason at all for his ineptness at it?
Steven Goldman: He's just your typical manager, or below average in that department? I've often said that bullpen construction is probably the hardest job for a GM because of the randomness of reliever performance. Managers face some of the same challenges, trying to catch lightning in a bottle with five out of six relievers or even six out of six if they don't have a Mariano Rivera-type closer. The one thing I've thought Girardi did well this year was get away from his original bullpen alignment and figure out alternatives. If that's a trick he can repeat, he can be an asset to an organization as manager or pitching coach or something, because I think most of them aren't all that good at it. I haven't tried to document, but I think Tony LaRussa is one of the ones who is good at it...
Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Steven (and Josh from Sacramento) - I don't know where they got the info, but a USAToday article from 2004 (Google cache here: http://tinyurl.com/6nlp6w) says that Bud split his $5750 in donations between Dems and GOP in 2004. Just FYI.
I was pretty sure Bud played both sides of the game.
Steven Goldman: I remember that article very well. That's why I was surprised. As the head of a corporation that needs favors from Congress on a semi-regular basis (Please don't subpoena my players' buttocks, Senator!) you'd think that he would split his donations more or less evenly, with a slight edge to the GOP, just because the GOP is the party of big business. I've never understood that, by the way. I'm no MBA (and proud), but if they cut your corporate taxes but let the overall economy die, what have you really benefited. If the average cat can't afford to buy DVDs, you're not going to have profits to tax anyway...
newsense (ARMY LAND): PENGUIN FLAMBE MY JOLLY RECTUM, MR. RUMPOT! is ana anagram for
PROMPT A RUMMY CEREBELLUM, JOT A PORN FILM, GUNNY
Steven Goldman: You've discovered my secret - what seems nonsensical on the surface is actually a secret comment on the war in Iraq.
Dennis (Chicago): "I feel for them like I feel for Vince Young."
This is a pretty silly comment, at best. At worst, it's...I dunno. Suppose Vince Young is suffering from depression or mental illness? Maybe? Or is depression just for pussies?
Steven Goldman: Actually, I was being kind of intentionally provocative. However, I will also disclose, this is not generally known, I guess, that I suffer from depression and anxiety. It's something I deal with at least a little bit every day. It's been about ten years since it became a real problem, though I think it was kind of a subtle problem my whole life. And I've come to the conclusion that either it rules you or you rule it... Maybe Young isn't there yet, I don't know. If that's what he's really going through, then I'm sympathetic. If he's just not up for the adversity, I'm not.
willjosh09 (Brooklyn): Can Kevin Russo turn into a useful Major League second baseman? He hit alright (.281 EQA) as a 23 year old 2nd baseman playing in Trenton. Can he field well enough to stick at the position?
Steven Goldman: I don't think so. Between the lack of power and the absence of plate judgment he'll have to hit well over .300 and field like a mother to be at all useful. Maybe Kevin would say something different, but I see nothing to get excited about.
mattidell (SF, CA): Is that the box set that looks like an old Gibson amplifier?
Steven Goldman: Yeah! I really like the packaging. More importantly, the tracks have been cleaned up really nicely. Just great sound.
Eric (Manorville, NY): Hi Steve; You've often said something to this effect "good releif pitchers are made not found" Can you please elaborate on what that means?
Steven Goldman: I think it was "made not bought" or something like that, though that sounds less elegant than my usual (ahem) clever turn of phrase. What I mean is that (and this goes back in part to an essay I wrote for the 2005 BP annual) most relievers are really variable. You have some elite guys who are just good year after year, and then a much, much longer group who can toss into a hat because you don't know what you're going to get. Part of that may be due to the inherently small sample sizes that are part of being a reliever - luck just plays a big part in what they do. As such, when it comes to filling out your bullpen, particularly the back end, where you stick the generic middle relievers, a team would be much just as well off trying guys out of Triple-A for the minimum than they would spending a few million on some 32-year-old free agent, as they're not getting any more certainty with the latter than they are with the former. ...I was also thinking a lot of Steve Phillips' tenure with the Mets, or Ed Wade's with the Phillies, when I wrote that. They both spent a lot of dough chasing reliever performance without ever quite finding it.
lemppi (Ankeny, IA): Broad brush silliness...."The GOP is the party of big business." Aren't two of B.O.'s biggest ecomonic advisors former heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? The DNC has just as many fingers in big business' cookie jar as the GOP.
Steven Goldman: Dude, that's not something I made up, it's the way they've advertised themselves going well back into the last century, and also the way the donation patterns have typically expressed themselves. The Dems ain't no innocent blushing virgins when it comes to business, I know that. We're talking the old impressions, not reality.
Hill Phews (Not Hillip Phews): Expectations for Phil Hughes's outing tomorrow?
Steven Goldman: Hill Phews Skrull Kill Krew? Sorry - semi-obscure comic book reference. I'm psyched, but I've been burned before. His strikeout rate just vanished in the majors and that was really disturbing. He obviously got some swings and misses late in the minor league season, and I'm hopeful that it translates.
Matt (Mt. Albert, ON): Thank God someone actually mentioned some good music... Surprised it was you, but glad, too. Charlie Christian is an important dude, a great player in his own right, but perhaps even more important as in influence on horn players who came later.
you know, all those jazz guys who got forgotten to do the popularity of hacks like the Beatles, Dylan, etc. who weren't worthy to clean their shoes.
Steven Goldman: Surprised it was me!!! Brother, I'm the one who put all the Jack Teagarden references into Taylor's profiles in the annual! You gotta me flexible... the Beatles and Dylan were great at what they tried to do, and Christian was great at what he did... It's just different flavors of wonderfulness. It's a beautiful, diverse world if you just open up and taste a bit of everything.
Or (Dallas): Hey, Steven!
Have you played Mass Effect? I picked it up a few weeks ago and It's a ton of fun.
Steven Goldman: I haven't, but I'll check it out. I just haven't had time for games of late. I'm in kind of an intense reading and writing phase right now, and I'm very happy that way.
Dennis (Chicago): As someone who also battles depression and anxiety, I sympathize with you. And not to get into a long debate, I couldn't disagree with you more on this: "And I've come to the conclusion that either it rules you or you rule it... "
Clinical depression is pretty clearly a physical condition on some level. It doesn't make any more sense to say "Either it rules you or you it" anymore than it would in the context of, say, cancer.
Steven Goldman: Oddly enough, I've had cancer too. Twice. I look at it in roughly the same way. Maybe we all motivate ourselves in different ways, Dennis, but the attitude I try to take is that I can sit here and give in to what's bringing me down, or I can kick a little bit, take the medicines I have to take (for both things) so I have a better quality of life, and just do what I can to immerse myself in the struggle of living my life, of accomplishment, of family, of fun, of whatever it is that isn't feeling bad about things. Your way could be very different and completely valid for you. I don't know. In the context of my worldview, saying, "Kick it's ass" makes all kinds of sense.
Or as Nate likes to say, YMMV.
Aaron (YYZ): Why is Joe Mauer so unloved in AL MVP discussions?
Steven Goldman: Unfairly overshadowed by Mourneau on his own team/traditional prejudice against guys who don't have big HR, RBI titles. Maybe if he wins the batting title it will be a little different, as there's not really a slam dunk candidate this year.
deadmonkeyhead (CA): If you're a GM this offseason and looking for a starter but want to stay out of the CC sweepstakes, whom among these three would you go after: Sheets (great but fragile), Dempster (one year wonder?), or Burnett (headcase but put up great numbers pitching in AL East)? Am I missing someone?
Steven Goldman: Among possible free agents? Oliver Perez should have some really big upside to the manager or pitching coach who believes he can get 10% more consistency out of him. Don't know if there really is such an animal, but I bet someone will want to try.
DanLong (wfc): just because you mentioned mantle, i have to ask the question: if you could take one guy from any time period to build your franchise around, who do you pick? A-Rod? Ruth? Mantle? (notice they're all yankees...)
Steven Goldman: Here's someone else I mentioned, and probably not the most intuitive suggestion out there, but how about Jackie Robinson? He's a great, versatile hitter, can bat anywhere from 1 to 3, can play maybe four positions well depending on your needs, and you know he's got determination and grit. Oh, and I get him from 20-27, not just the 28 and up the majors saw, so I'm assuming I get some seasons that are a bit better than the approx 150 OPS+ peak he had in the show.
Rich (New Jersey): I haven't seen a copy of the NY Post's front page yet today; I'm assuming they're blaming yesterday's 500 point stock market free fall on A-Rod. Hurricane Ike was probably his fault, too.
Steven Goldman: And then John McCain will say that the fundamentals of A-Rod are sound.
Owen (PA): Big Papi--the beginning of the end? Or all related to his wrist problems? I'm getting a bad Mo Vaughn mojo about the future...
Steven Goldman: I've had the same thought. It's probably a better question for Will Carroll, at least the part about his wrist. Speaking more generally, his body really didn't promise a long career, wrist or not. That said, he's hit .281/.398/.497 since coming back, so a crippled Ortiz ain't too bad a player. If the wrist can be fixed, it doesn't seem like he's really lost much THIS year. Again, though, more injuries are coming.
Jon (DC): And Barack Obama and his team will continue to hope that the economy gets worse and more Americans are fired so he can win an election.
Steven Goldman: Thing is, Jon, they don't have to hope, as it's tanking on its own, giving them a legitimate claim to make for themselves. If the economy was stronger, if the war hadn't been mismanaged, they wouldn't be in a position to win. Incumbent parties only get thrown out when they @#$#$ up. Now, compare this to Geo. Bush's campaign in 2000, when he spent the entire run trashing the economy, which was actually doing really well at the time, bubble-powered or not. He just kept talking it down, hoping that its performance would somehow match his rhetoric. He got elected, for many reasons, not just that one, and the bubble burst - in part because it was due to, but also because he undermined confidence in it. To me that's much more pernicious than pointing out an actual, ongoing problem and saying you're the guy to fix it.
mattymatty (Philly): "If you could take one guy from any time period to build your franchise around, who do you pick?"
I think I'd go with Willie Mays.
Steven Goldman: You can't go wrong.
Adam (DC): What about Bonds? He was pretty good, too.
Steven Goldman: Juiced or virgin? There's no wrong answer, but I don't think you can ever go wrong building with strength up the middle. Hence Jackie, hence Willie Mays, but maybe not the Babe or Teddy Ballgame.
Aaron (YYZ): I'm catching up here after a meeting... On the Rangers catchers, isn't Teagarden supposed to be a gold-glove caliber backstop? I was under the impression that offensively he had good patience and power but week contact skills (with mad K's) and really isn't near as good as he looks right now but his defensive edge would likely force Salty out from behind the plate.
Steven Goldman: Yeah, you're right. I stand corrected on Teagarden (who really is related to trombone great Jack Teagarden). I was thinking of, er, Jesus Montero. (Thinks to self, "Yeah, they'll buy that explanation.") My overriding point, that the Rangers need to exploit this surplus, remains.
deadmonkeyhead (CA): "It's just different flavors of wonderfulness. It's a beautiful, diverse world if you just open up and taste a bit of everything." Tell that to your buddy Goldstien the music-nazi.
Steven Goldman: You just did, though I don't endorse nazi characterizations of my good pal KG. What's more interesting is that people who are anti-diversity are just another flavor. And this is why I'm annoying and unconquerable.
Wendy (Madrid): Can an inexperienced Democrat fix the economy? I'm not saying Obama shouldn't be President... I'm just thinking he's probably not the best guy for that. What I think Obama will be best at is foreign relations and helping to change the rest of the world's perception of the U.S.
Steven Goldman: I don't know. I think that it's not just his level of experience, it's if he's open-minded, willing to try new things, and also the quality and philosophy of the people he brings into office with him. Look, we have a very simplistic way of looking at the presidency as a single actor literally steering the ship of state. It's not like that. He's one guy presiding over a vast bureaucracy, and a lot of stuff happens out of his hearing and out of his sight line, so what he has to do is set priorities and guiding philosophies, and hopefully have honest, responsible, qualified people below him to execute that philosophy. Not to make a comparison between Obama and FDR, a Hall of Famer, but was it Walter Lippman who wrote that Roosevelt was a very nice man with no qualifications who very badly wants to be president? He wasn't totally off in saying that. But what Roosevelt had going for him was mental flexibility and no axe to grind in terms of ideology. He said (I closely paraphrase) "Unless I mistake the mood, what the country wants and demands is bold, persistent experimentation." If Obama is willing to take that position we're up one. If he has the ability to make critical distinctions between experiments (which I'm not sure FDR always did) then we're up two.
dills (chicago): Where would you put Rickey Henderson when considering the "one guy from any time period to build your franchise around" premise? He'd have to be there somewhere, right?
Steven Goldman: I thought of him too, especially if you can use him and his hamstrings as a CF (building up the middle again). I balanced him against Jackie and made the call on positional flexibility and leadership.
S.K. (Toronto): On the topic of Jackie, I read somewhere that in a way the "me against the world" attitude necessary for doing what he did might have been a detriment in a more "normal" situation. Point being that the fire inside him needed to come out, either in a constructive or destructive way - in this case channeled into a single-minded desire to win every second of every ballgame he was in. I don't know enough about his personality to say whether that was a reasonable idea or not, but I thought it was interesting (and relevant to the notion of using him to build a franchise around).
Steven Goldman: I buy that argument. I'm not well versed enough in psychology to really evaluate it, but it seems like a logical point to me.
Joe (DC): Combining a theme from another chat...who's the least athletic player you'd like to start a franchise with?
THAT has to go to the Babe, right?
Steven Goldman: No, I think the Babe was actually a pretty athletic player until he put on a lot of weight towards the end of his career. Remember, this was a guy who pitched, who could play left and right field, was considered a good fielder until he ballooned up, and was by reputation and good baserunner. ...I'd have to think about that one for awhile.
Jon (SF): If you read Amity Shales new book, and many others, you will see that FDR is vastly overrated.
Steven Goldman: I've read, wow, can't tell you how many books I've read on FDR and the New Deal, hope to do my own on the topic one day. I thought Amity Shales book was a POS with an axe to grind. Emphatically NOT recommended.
Trieu (Cambridge, MA): Presidents can't "fix" the economy, or governments even. It's huge and complex. The best they can do usually is to not screw things up. Kind of like managers and baseball games.
Steven Goldman: I think you're letting them off too easily, setting the bar too low. That said, what you're saying is broadly consistent with what I said, which is it's not always the choices they make directly, it's the people they put in position to make choices.
deadmonkeyhead (CA): Yeah, I didn't want to be lazy and use that term, but I couldn't get "soup-nazi" out of my head so I just stuck with it.
Steven Goldman: I'm sure Kevin accepts your apology and is also a big fan of soup.
Stanky (DC): Honus Wagner.
Steven Goldman: You can't go wrong.
Matt (Mt. Albert, ON): Did you see this recent news: Joe Torre, Ron Santo and Gil Hodges, among others have been added to the Veteran's ballot.
Any thoughts? It would be ironly appropriate if Santo got voted in by the Vets.
Steven Goldman: You know, I didn't see it. Torre should go in, certainly for his WS rings, arguably for his playing career, definitely for both when you combine them under the "general wonderfulness" clause that also got people like Red Schoendienst in. Santo is a no-brainer. The arguments for Gil Hodges as a player are kind of weak, unless you want to say that his one title as manager puts him over the "general wonderfulness" line. I don't know that I do.
Robert (Houston): Steven, to add to the Obama comment, he also went to Iraq and tried to get troop withdrawal delayed so it could take place on his watch. There is nothing wrong with being against the war, but hoping it goes bad and people die so you can say I told you so, is wrong.
Steven Goldman: I'm always skeptical about presuming to know what the other guy is thinking or hoping. I also don't know that he tried to get troop withdrawal delayed. In fact, the Bush administration talking up withdrawals lately actually plays to his argument, because it puts McCain further from the center on the argument than even the Bush administration. Even if all this is true, no one is a saint. Nixon supposedly interfered with Johnson's negotiations with the North Vietnamese in 1968, and Reagan's people might have had back-channel talks with the Iranians in 1980, telling them to hold up on resolving the hostage situation. Again, I don't know if I believe Obama is that venal, but I do know he doesn't have to hope anything when things are so screwed up without any input from him whatsoever.
JKGaucho (Washington, DC): Maury Wills is on the list too. Please. Yes or no on Dick Allen?
Steven Goldman: Yes on Allen. The character stuff is overblown and the production was amazing, if slightly disgused because of the era. My pal Allen Barra made a good argument about this in "It Ain't Over."
Trieu (Cambridge, MA): Obama is NOT hoping that bad things happen. That's completely ridiculous. That malice is happening in other people's heads, not his.
Steven Goldman: I'm reminded of an old Woody Allen line from his standup days, something like, "I was kicked out of college... I was a philosophy major and I was expelled for looking within the soul of the boy next to me." Unless you have the guy on tape cackling about this stuff, you're making a supposition.
lpiklor (Chicago): Santo is featured front and center on the HOF Website and he is the only photo on the actual article... think they're maybe pulling for him? Sure could be an interesting couple of months here if he finally gets in!
Steven Goldman: Sadly, the election isn't until January, so you'll have to celebrate it well after the Cubs victory parade if it comes to pass.
Jason (NY): Don't know if you missed the memo, Steven, but the reason Bush has moved (slowly) to begin pursuing a withdrawal is because the surge policy of the last two or so years has worked so effectively. Meaning, Obama, who opposed the surge, was wrong--and McCain was right. That's not even bringing up Joe Biden's insanely misguided proposal to partition Iraq by ethnicity.
Steven Goldman: Here's the thing. The surge worked in part because a lot of the parties there decided to cool their jets for awhile. I think we're in the (to borrow from Mohammad Ali) rope-a-dope phase of the war. We dial things down again, everyone jumps right back on the dogpile. Which means that the surge didn't work, it just kicked the can down the road. And btw, that doesn't mean that withdrawing is wrong, because we can't afford to stay there indefinitely anyway. It just means that the guy who does the withdrawing reaps the sh-tstorm rather than the guy who started the thing.
lpiklor (Chicago): Says it'll be announced December 8th... still might be hungover from the end of October!
Steven Goldman: Sorry, my bad - the VC vote is during the winter meetings.
Adam (DC): In 2002, The DBacks won 29 of the 35 games Randy Johnson started. Considering that the vast majority of teams win between 37% and 62% of their games, and 62% of 35 is only 22 wins...couldn't you make an argument that you should start your new franchise with a dominant pitcher? I'd like to put those 29 Ws in the bank. (The DBacks scored 819 runs as a team, but won 98 games.)
Steven Goldman: Let me combine this with Charlie of Bethesda's question about Walter Johnson. I think so much of pitching is contextual that I'd rather get run support and defense lined up instead. But this is all hypothetical, and we're talking about guys so far above replacement level that I'm not sure you could really make a bad call.
BobDD (Boise): from my era, I think the most unathletic players were Dick Stuart, Frank Howard, and Johnny Blanchard
Steven Goldman: How about Harmon Killebrew? I always think of him as being a slugger whose glove had to be hidden, but I didn't see him so I could be misinformed.
Dennis (Chicago): Feel free not to post this. Don't mean to monopolize. Of course, those are one's choices: basically, give up or fight. But two things:
1. That's entirely different than: Vince Young should just man up.
It's a battle right? Perhaps he's just going through a particularly rough stretch in the battle. In public. Or maybe he's just a pussy. Let's decide from hundreds of miles away, through a satellite signal. Seems fair.
2. "Kick it's ass," on it's own, isn't going to do you any good in either context (cancer or depression) (as you've implicitly acknowledged in mentioning your meds). So, your answer is a bit nonresponsive.
Steven Goldman: No, I want to post it. Like I said, I was being a bit ornery and provocative with that response about Young, and just as I'm not about to let someone get away with saying they know what's happening in Obama's head (or McCain's for that matter - how do you know he's not rooting for another terrorist incident so he can play up his supposed security cred?), I'm not going to come to a judgment about the guy, as you say, over the TV. As for the second part, no, kick it's ass ON ITS OWN isn't going to do you any good, but I think it's a component of getting better. The medicines themselves are debilitating. The awareness that I have to take them is debilitating. The knowledge that I may be carrying a cellular time bomb that will off me sooner than I'd like is debilitating. My method for coping with that is to, well, man up. Like I said, for me it's helpful. Maybe for you, or Vince it's simplistic. I don't know if it matters. If clutching a teddy bear helped me get through it, I'd do that, but this is what works for me.
Jose (SOTB): The story about Obama delaying the troop withdrawal is being promulgated by an Iraqi journalist who is best known for making up a story about Iran forcing Jews to wear a yellow stripe.
Furthermore - it doesn't make any sense. There'll be plenty of troops still in Iraq to withdaw come January.
Steven Goldman: Thanks for the clarification, and good point. They're not running out any time soon. Even the proposed Bush withdrawals stretch into 2010, or well into the time they'll be gone.
I just remembered I'm not supposed to do politics here.
Rob (Bloomington, IL): Killebrew is the man in the MLB logo. Buying or selling that myth?
Steven Goldman: I swear Rob Neyer wrote about that in his most recent book and the answer was no, but I'm not certain. As you can tell, my powers of recall are a bit fuzzy today (which is actually a side effect of one of my pills - wheee).
BR (NYC): Tris Speaker, paging Tris Speaker.
Steven Goldman: Can I say again - you can't go wrong. Although... Speaker was a divisive clubhouse guy, being, reputedly, a Klan member and part of a fractured Red Sox clubhouse that divided among Catholic/Protestant lines. Speaker, as you might guess from the Klan thing, was in the anti-Catholic crowd. I think it's entirely fitting that the Red Sox would be the team to have a internecine holy war.
mbrignall (t-town): I'll bite - what's Wholesome Reading?
Steven Goldman: It's an inviting glass of milk that came from a bottle on which the expiration date is unknown.
Rich (NJ): Speaking of building blocks from my era (I'm 51 but I feel like I'm 49 1/2); it was only for a few years ('84 - '87) but Don Mattingly was the greatest player I ever saw. The guy was ridiculous!
Steven Goldman: I've written this before, but at that time I really thought he could do anything. At his peak there was nobody like him, and his quick fade was one of the disappointments of my youth. Damn, um, spine.
Matt (Mt. Albert, ON): Of course, Bill James has a more subtle take on Speaker and the Klan... Seemed to put whatever it is aside for Larry Doby, too.
Steven Goldman: Yeah, he did, but so what? I mean, if he evolved, fine. That adds a shade of gray to that part of the portrait. It doesn't erase the earlier stuff, it just deepens the man. As you can tell from this chat, I'm not big on passing judgment on others, but there are also some things that are so heinous you don't get a pass for doing them, no matter what else comes later.
mattseward (Cardiff, UK): Hi Steven, is it possible that given the insatiable media market and the demands of their fans that we'll ever see joined up thinking from the Yankees? I mean they miss the playoffs one year and people seem to be in panic mode as though the world is going to end. Are the Red Sox in 2006 really that far behind us?
Steven Goldman: I think the big difference is, as I've expressed in various things I've written, the rapidly aging nature of the Yankees' roster and the fact that there ain't no Pedroias and Youkilisis and cats like that coming along to keep things up.
bctowns (Chicago, IL): Remebered, or was reminded by CK?
Steven Goldman: No, it's been quiet, but it could be that they're taking a secret vote to have me booted as we're doing this, or they're just not reading along right now and I'll start getting the angry phone calls later. Or maybe they're cool with it for now. We've become a bit more freewheeling at BP in the five years that I've been around.
Miles (Music City): re: the Rangers catching logjam... seems like the Reds, no matter what the regime, could never learn that, never resolving situations like Larkin/Stillwell/Treadway until a couple of guys had lost their prospectly luster. Also, everyone should come to Nashville Thursday night to see the greatest live rock act of all time, Jason & the Scorchers, get inducted into the American Association Hall of Fame and play one more time with the original lineup, including drummer/integral member Perry Baggs, whose diabetes has him on death's door. Those are some long sentences!
Steven Goldman: Um, okay. Good luck, Perry.
Dennis (Monterey Park): Hi Steven, thanks for your great work. Just wanted to get your thoughts on the Angels and how far you think they will go in the post-season. And do you think they would be better off pursuing Teixeira or Sabathia in the off-season? Thanks!
Steven Goldman: You can't go wrong... Heh. Offense should be the priority.
gmehrhoff (CT): Pedrioa MVP? How come he doesnt get excluded due to the "too many good players on his team" concept? If Pedroia wins I will conceed to ESPN being the end all be all of global merchandising.
Steven Goldman: The thing is, A-Rod is the statistical leader, but his team has disappointed and he really HAS been weak in the clutch for a change. Sizemore has been great, but his team isn't in it and I just don't smell the writers going that way... So I think Pedroia kind of sails up to the top, and not without merit.
Matt (Mt. Albert, ON): Yes, I'm an idiot re: McDougald. The shot at Tony LaRussa sure cheered me up, though.
Is there an Iron Law of Derek Jeter that says that any time his bad defense gets some publicity, he will follow it up with a season in which is shows a bit of improvement with the glove (returning to his usual abysmal level the following season)? The good defensive season will also be accompanied by a drop-off in his offense.
There's also the Writer's Corollary of Jeterian Electoral Irony: Being a media darling, Derek Jeter may only win awards he doesn't deserve, such as Gold Gloves, but, despite being a darling, can never win the more "valuable" ones that he does deserve, such as the AL MVP in 1990 2006.
Steven Goldman: You mean 1999, but yes, you're right. I've enjoyed this hot streak he's been on lately. I've been down on Jeter all year, but I'd love to see him rescue his numbers if nothing else.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Pedroia and Youkilis will be out of their peak years and FA eligible soon enough. Isn't the Yankees' biggest problem that they've only taken the first tentative steps towards building a process that may work, and that the owner is a dim bulb who seemingly wants to undo those? They're going to lap the rest of the league in resources for years to come with their new stadium.
Steven Goldman: In theory, but did you see their draft this year, Tony? It didn't bleeping happen! They didn't sign two of the top three guys! The process will only work if they execute competently, and they really haven't. Montero and Jackson do not a healthy farm system make.
Rob (Brighton): With the Pedroia for MVP debate, positional scarcity never seems to matter. Is this a fault of most MVP races?
Steven Goldman: Darn straight, Rob.
Devin (Green Brook, NJ): I waited long enough to post again...Josh Gibson.
Steven Goldman: You can't go wrong... assuming the legends are all true. As you know, statistical documentation of Gibson's career is kind of sketchy. Also, character question: drugs, alcohol?
Chris (Wilson, NC): Can you tell me about the time when Ty Cobb bet his teammate he could hit the ball through a hole in the outfield fence?
Steven Goldman: I can tell you about the time that he said he would hit home runs, just to show that he could play the power game if he felt like it, then popped three in a game...
Trieu (Cambridge, MA): I can't remember, why are these new baseball stadiums built with fewer seats?
Steven Goldman: You pick: (A) The American obesity epidemic has forced seats to become so wide that there just isn't room for anymore, (B) Owners want to create artificial scarcity so they can drive up prices, or (C) Both.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Agreed on merits of Pedroia MVP. 4th in league with 115 runs created, 7.00 RC/27 right there with Morneau, playing 2B. He's almost obvious at this point, just w/o a lot of separation.
Steven Goldman: You know, earlier this year, maybe in about June, I did a chat here where I got a few questions (I probably only used one of them) that were basically, "Hey, Goldman, why don't you concede that Pedroia is vastly overrated?" Pretty much at exactly that moment he got hot, and every 3-for-4 with a HR I've thought to myself, "Still think he's overrated?" It's funny that we're still seeing some of that here, because he's had a terrific year.
Aaron (YYZ): Furthering Miles' comment, I wholeheartedly agree that a number teams seem to have real difficulty extracting value from their prospects unless forced to turn to them. They fail to either trade them at/near peak or give them a job and playing time to make adjustments. Instead they dick them around by jumping on failure in small sample sizes or wait to long trade them after their lustre has worn off. Recent counter examples would be the recent Red Sox and 90's Braves.
Steven Goldman: Everyone prefers a sure thing. What they don't realize is that most of the time, esp. with position players, it does work out. Here's a study we should really do at BP: see how often it does work out, how predictable prospect translation really is. Back in the day we had to take Bill James' word for it that minor league stats really did translate into major league performances. Now we could kind of prove it, not just in terms of prediction machines like PECOTA doing such a good job, but in looking at actually success rates in turning prospects into players, and also analyze it on a per team basis. It could be a database project, a real quantification, instead of just an observation by a perceptive guy with a beard.
bartleby (chicago): Given your comments about anxiety and depression, I really admire both the quality and quantity of your writing.
Steven Goldman: Thank you, Bartleby, though I'm just like anyone else. I wouldn't want you to think of me as the special needs sportswriter or anything. I live to do this.
Trevor (NE): Is there a way to run the government without politics? I don't have much faith in either party.
Steven Goldman: This would be an awesome discussion to have, replete with references to the founders, factions, legislate minorities vs. majorities, and more, with lots of revealing Jemmy Madison quotes, but I'd need to do some reading first and also rest my fingers. This is question #89.
g-mo (bumpus): Hey Mr. Goldman. Thanks for sharing about the depression. Since you brought it up, may I request a moment of silence for David Foster Wallace?
Steven Goldman: Oddly, we talked both about depression and the Depression. Definitely, let's light a candle for DFW. "Infinite Jest" may be the best punning title ever.
jklein (TP): Where do the Cubs improve next year? Sign a pitcher and somehow fix Fukudome while platooning Johnson/Pie in CF? Furcal at SS?
Steven Goldman: Can we let them win this year's championship first? I'm not ready to look that far down the road for them yet. Ever listen to Mets Extra on the radio back in the 80s when Howie Rose used to do it? He'd be screaming at the callers after wins.
CALLER: Howie, I'm a bit worried about Darryl Strawberry. He struck out three times today and seems kind of off.
ROSE: He's got 28 home runs! He hit one of them in the game!
CALLER: Yeah, but it seems like the Mets might really get hurt by the holes in his swing.
ROSE (screaming, shrill): THEY'RE LEADING THE DIVISION BY 18 GAMES!!!! AAAAAAAAAAGH!
I feel a little like that with this question about the Cubs.
dills (chicago): Hey... I have to tell you, I'm really enjoying the reach of your chats. The last one was great, too... I haven't seen all o fthe comments you've gotten, but what I've seen I think speaks to the type of readers you get at BP that a chat like this can happen without devolving into the namecalling that you see so often on the web. I've noticed that in the comments to your articles, too... I can't read comments ANYWHERE else on the web because they just veer off almost immediately into insults and name calling. Good job BP and BP readers!
Steven Goldman: Thanks, Dills. You have pointed out something that I've always appreciated about both my readership at the Pinstriped Bible and the readership here at BP, which is that (and I'm not just kissing up here) on the whole we really attract a very classy kind of individual, someone who wants to think and be challenged, and even if they disagree with us, can disagree in a friendly way. Invective, insults, name-calling are boring and uncreative and classless, and I'm endlessly grateful that I have, except for rare instances, had to deal with that kind of crowd.
ndubby (sfo): The surge was the equivalent of the Royals signing Gil Meche - it might net a few extra wins in the short-term but it's not going to fetch a WS. Go big or go home.
Steven Goldman: I love this. Baseball is great for making all kinds of real-world analogies. I recall that the continuation of that FDR comment I quoted earlier, the one about experimentation, was, "I don't expect to make a hit every time at bat, but you have to try..."
Oh, Matt of Ontario, if you want me to follow up on your point, feel free to email me and I'll get back to you.
jlebeck66 (WI): Maybe I'm mistaken on contract situation, but would the Yankees bite on Mike Cameron for next year?
Steven Goldman: The Brewskies have an option on Cameron. I wouldn't put any free agent beyond the Yankees as they go through the inevitable counter-reaction to this year's "youth movement."
Aaron (YYZ): Please, please, please get someone on such a study!
Steven Goldman: I'll mention it to Kevin Goldstein, maybe as something for the 2009 BP annual. And on that note...
Steven Goldman: My friends, after more than four hours and 95 questions, I am forced to call it a day. There is still more writing I must do before I can rest. I meant what I said before - I value your patience, your tolerance, and your forcing me to think and question and learn. As always, thank you for spending part of your day with me and Baseball Prospectus. I look forward to the next time. Enjoy the races!