Baseball Toaster The Juice Blog
Monthly archives: January 2004


2004-01-31 11:30
by Will Carroll

There's always a conflict in my mind any time I find a new site that just kicks ass. Do I want to pimp it and give the writer(s) their due and more eyeballs or do I keep it a secret and use it in my work? Unlike most bloggers, I don't have the sense of altruism or 'open-source' ethics. Want to do what I do? I'll never discourage anyone from doing it, but I'm not giving you what I worked to get.

That all said, here's one to check out and I'll add it to the links section when I get home. It's called Dugout Dollars. It's THE BEST payroll site I've seen. Too bad I didn't know it when we were setting up the Mock Winter Meetings ...

Expect lots of new info both here and at BP in coming weeks. Between all the stuff I have learned here, the THR's, and the upcoming "Stats Class" series ... oh and that book I have to finish out ... I'll be a busy boy.

Forrest Gump
2004-01-30 13:37
by Will Carroll

So I continue stumbling my way along in life and falling into good things. I can't count high enough to count my blessings, but there's been no honor I've recieved that compares with being asked by Tom House and Glenn Fleisig to present some of BP's work here at the Baseball Injuries Conference. I really wish guys like Rany or Keith Woolner or Nate Silver could be here as well since most of what I'm showing is their work - PAP, pitch estimation, V-Loss, and injury prediction. Hopefully, I won't pass out.

By the way, I now know the secret as to why some Tommy John patients are coming back so soon.

Bleary Eyes
2004-01-29 18:57
by Will Carroll

Imagine me getting up at 6am so I could go spend 12 hours sitting in a room watching Power Point presentations ... with no Starbucks.

Many of you just screamed and believe me, so did I. Still, the first day (of three) here at the ASMI Baseball Injuries Conference was just short of amazing. I say just short because about half the presenters committed the cardinal sin of reading their slides. Ugh! I think I learned more in one day than I have over the last six months and I was worried today would be the "too technical" day for what I do. Wrong.

Long talks with Glenn Fleisig, Jim Andrews, Craig Morgan, Stan Conte, Jamie Reed, Ken Crenshaw, and several other minor league trainers surprised me since they all knew my work. Tomorrow, Tom House gets in and some of my data is in his presentation, so I'm very curious to see how that goes over.

Good buzz on STP. The research data in the book is going to be amazing. I've also realized that one of the core missions of UTK has lagged behind the others - I haven't done a good enough job of educating everyone. That's something I'll work much, much harder on this upcoming year. STP will catch me up, but I want to get way ahead of the curve. Being here this weekend is simply amazing and since not all teams sent their medical staff, I'm tempted to adjust the THR formulas to take that into account.

More reports as I can. I need some coffee ...

Wind Chill
2004-01-28 16:34
by Will Carroll

Yes, there's a wind chill advisory in Orlando, so quit cursing me.

I checked in, got registered for the conference ... yes, I'm not only the only writer here, I'm the only writer EVER here ... and recieved the material. It must be twice as thick as my laptop and weigh a good five or six pounds. Gotta love conferences.

Saw Stan Conte of the Giants in the lobby. The Nen story is putting stress on my email so I'll point you here instead of taxing my poor wrist.

There's a UTK up over at BP. I made a boneheaded error on Luis Gonzalez, saying he'd had Tommy John surgery when in fact he elected not to have it and rehabbed over the winter. It should be fixed now, but that's no excuse. At least the time frame and situation really doesn't change - his arm will be a bit weak throwing, but that's about it. For a hitter, it takes a complete tear to really enforce surgery. (Yes, I know I don't talk injury here, but I can talk about being an idiot.)

Audiobooks on the iPod ... good thing. Counting Crows Greatest Hits on the iPod ... better thing. Lunch at Wolfgang Puck's ... best thing.

2004-01-28 04:34
by Will Carroll

Light blogging at least from me for the next couple. I'll be in Orlando for the ASMI Baseball Injuries Conference. If you're in the area, email me. Should be a darned interesting week ... and warmer.

Lots to say, but not the time to say it yet. Be well.

Ouch, babe.
2004-01-26 19:02
by Will Carroll

Best ... slam ... ever.

Okay, in quite a while.

2004-01-26 13:40
by Will Carroll

After a slight delay - due to a flood of new content at BP - Blake Kirkman's analysis of Eric Gagne is now over on BP. It's a Premium article, so I hope Blake gets the wide credit he's due for the amazing work he's done. Perfection percentage is an interesting little toy, so I'll be interested in everyone's reaction.

For clarity's sake, this work is 99.5% Blake's. I cleaned up some things here and there, but the work is all his, so he deserves all the credit.

Mac, Part 2
2004-01-25 18:37
by Will Carroll

Howard Dean's "I Have A Scream" speech is only bothersome out of context. This very provocative video shows the context and having been in a lot of similar rallies, all too often on the losing side, I shouldn't be as surprised that the scream is barely audible. (Link via Atrios.)

What's getting more interesting is the democratization of technology. Dean's yelp was remixed (often hilariously) using the new GarageBand technology and the video above was made using iMovie, both Apple technologies. With camcorders being ubiquitous since Rodney King and blogs popping up seemingly everywhere, mixing the mediums is an interesting to contemplate future.

Made on a Mac
2004-01-25 10:15
by Will Carroll

Happy birthday, Mac.

Scary thing is ... I still have my first Mac, from 1990. A Mac Classic, running at a speedy 8 MHz. Now, I have an 800 MHz iBook, 14 years later and for about the same price. What's really amazing is that the old Mac is still usable for some tasks. If I still had my old shell account active, I could probably figure out how to blog using Lynx ... or maybe not.

2004-01-25 09:55
by Will Carroll

I don't believe this latest poll that says Bush loses to John Kerry. Kerry's got too many problems - from his bland Senatorial record, connections to Teddy Kennedy and Michael Dukakis, and his patrician 'kept man' background. The poll speaks more to the credibility issues that Bush is facing. This article is fatally biased, but interesting. As Cheney continues his policies of disinformation, delusion, and deception , I'm worried that the Democrats will fail to put the brakes on Bush's planned left (or right?) turn out of Iraq. (There's probably a better case for Syria, but there's a clearer roadmap to democracy in Iran.)

Predictions for the week ... David Kay's interviews this week will be huge politically and Karl Rove will start the attacks; the Plame grand jury will become a bigger story; Pudge and Maddux will both sign by Friday (Tigers and Cubs, respectively.)

2004-01-25 07:04
by Will Carroll

There are very few actors who never have an 'off-day.' The advent of gives everyone the opportunity to double-check their own memory, but while I haven't seen his entire body of work, John Turturro is one of those guys who I just can't imagine doing something bad. In a recent appearance on "Monk," a show I don't watch, Turturro was amazing (as was Tony Shaloub.)

Other ones that are always great, at least to me, are John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, and Cate Blanchett. I hope Alex Belth is reading this and comments on Turturro.

Speaking of movies, does anyone else here play HSX?

Butterfly Effect
2004-01-24 08:26
by Will Carroll

This post has nothing to do with Ashton Kutcher.

With that out of the way, I take this short pause from editing the edited version of the STP manuscript - I haven't seen this much red ink since the last Enron balance sheet - to discuss something I discussed on the radio in Minnesota yesterday.

Sometimes, the media covers a story and alters it irrevocably. The same can be true of anything from public reaction to additional information entering a decision. Without going too deeply into decision or chaos theory, any action will change the information present in a transaction, perhaps altering the outcome. An example is the reported signing of a player. Let's use Vlad Guerrero as an example. At the Winter Meetings, I reported that Vlad would sign with the Orioles on a 5/60 contract similar to Miguel Tejada. The Orioles felt they had the deal locked up, told people who leaked it to me, but the delay in getting the mechanics of the deal worked out allowed teams to reassess. "Vlad at that price?" said many. "I can do better than that!" Some tried, like the Mets, to structure something based on a percieved reluctance by Guerrero to head to Charm City. Others noted the price was lower than expected, assessed their finances, and went for it. Ultimately, the Angels - a team that had not considered bidding until hearing the Orioles offer - ended up with the prize.

Almost any news item in baseball can alter the outcome. Just because a trade doesn't happen or a signing doesn't materialize doesn't make the initial information false. There *are* mistakes - people leak false info, info is translated incorrectly, or facts aren't known that would bear on the situation. As a journalist, you use trust, experience, and judgement to try to understand how the information you have gained will come to pass. New information - like the butterfly causing a tornado - changes everything.

People often ask me how many times I'm wrong. I try not to get defensive, but like anyone, I don't like being reminded of my mistakes. There is, however, a major difference between being wrong and circumstances changing.

2004-01-23 12:16
by Will Carroll

Dan's gonna freak when he sees the latest from ESPN (page down a bit to the second item.)

Here's the thing ... no matter how off-track ESPN gets, what's the alternative? (Yes, Fox, I'm talking to you.) What do you bet there's some sort of cross-promotional thing going on with the Giants QB being the "Bachelor"?

Hey Bill Simmons - you're getting closer to running ESPN6. I give it another two years.

2004-01-23 05:57
by Will Carroll

Dammit - Google is competing with Friendster and it takes an invite to get in. Come on ... I'm sure there's someone here who wants to have a cool pal who knows lots about baseball!

Speaking of Google, if they don't go public soon ...

87; 78
2004-01-23 04:27
by Will Carroll

Maels Rodriguez and Orlando Hernandez both had important, separate workouts on Thursday. Both came away with bigger questions than before. Rodriguez was only able to muster up an 87 on the gun, compared to 99 in the Olympics in 2000. Hernandez admitted he was "85%" and only got as high as 78 mph. As you can guess, the offers didn't come flying. Hernandez at least has a major league record to fall back on. I'm guessing Rodriguez is going to need a second big workout with much better results to get a good offer. More on this in the next UTK.

Moore Strikes Back
2004-01-23 04:23
by Will Carroll

Love him or hate him, Michael Moore is always interesting. If you haven't seen "Roger and Me" or "Bowling for Columbine", they're both amazing pieces of work. I keep trying to find out if he's actually a Tigers fan since he always wears the hat, but I've never been able to get an answer from him or his people.

Moore got pulled into last night's Democratic debate by a loaded Peter Jennings question and Moore's response was posting a series of articles on Bush's military service record. I'd always heard the charges and was inclined to believe them, but the documents linked in the article are pretty damning. Worth a look as we move towards one of the most important elections in a long, long time. (I think 1960's Kennedy-Nixon is about the closest parallel.)

Bud on the Juice
2004-01-22 19:08
by Will Carroll

So Bud felt he had to answer Dubya's recent call-out in the SOTU. Not much new here. Bud can't act without the MLBPA, so he has an easy scapegoat. I still don't believe he or the owners really wants a strong testing program, but even one that looks better (and does a similar amount of nothing) like the NFL might get some of the heat off.

What interests me is his mention of the unilateral minor league testing program. I'm no minor league expert, but I know we have some that read this. Has this program done much? Have there been athletes caught, punished, or more importantly, helped? That Turnbow and Sledge got through the program seems to indicate that it doesn't compare well to the Olympic testing program. If anyone has more details (or better, a link to more details so everyone can read it), I think it's an important issue.

THR's On The Way
2004-01-21 21:48
by Will Carroll

I'm starting work on the Team Health Reports and I'm looking for a little blogreader feedback. (Is there some cutesy word for someone who regularly reads a blog? I'm tempted to call everyone medheads, but I don't do injuries here ...) Last year, we used the red/yellow/green metaphor, but there's also a 0-100 system underlying it. Would you rather see the simple colors or the more technical rating? (Actually 0 and 100 are almost purely theoretical. Highest I saw was 82, lowest was 21.)

Also, I know we have a lot of blogwriters here. If you have a team-specific blog, I'd be happy to do a SHORT Q&A to run the day following the BP posting of your team's THR. Email me at for 'reservations.'

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
2004-01-21 16:49
by Will Carroll

The Mets have finally announced the hiring of their much-rumored stathead. His name is Ben Baumer and, well, that's about all I know. My best Mets moles are working on more info, but I do know he wrote a run expectancy generator. Given the competition for the job, he must be one heck of an interview.

2004-01-21 06:45
by Will Carroll

Yeah, let's see who gets THAT title ... (Alex Belth, you're disqualified!)

Ok, let's take a look at the trade that will not die, the A-Rod to Red Sox deal, through a deal that makes sense for everyone, through the filter of VORP, predicted by PECOTA.

Red Sox deal: Manny (57.1), Nomar (52.1)
Red Sox get: A-Rod (83.2), Magglio (40.8)
Net: Gain 14 (adding A-Rod is a good thing. Duh.)

Rangers deal: A-Rod (83.2)
Rangers get: Manny (57.1)
Net: Lose 26 (but save significant money)

White Sox deal: Magglio (40.8)
White Sox get: Erstad (1.5), Washburn (23)
Net: Lose 17 (who knew Erstad sucked this bad? Anderson would be a significantly better fit at 26).

Angels deal: Erstad (1.5), Washburn (23)
Angels get: Nomar (52.1)
Net: Gain 18 (Again, might use Anderson instead of Erstad due to defense, but this one works better and keeps the dreaded luxury tax away. Why Erstad? He'll be a bad first baseman, the money, and Glaus will need to move to first.)

Looking at this for only one year is pretty short sighted and not dealing with the money is pretty unrealistic as well, but I'll save the bigger analysis for the better analysts. The Rangers and White Sox come out behind, but the Rangers are in this to save money and the White Sox don't think they can keep Magglio. No one gets brutally screwed in any sense. I'm beginning to think this will happen at the deadline rather than pre-season unless Hicks gets more desperate than I think he is.

Bush's Call
2004-01-21 02:21
by Will Carroll

Good that he realizes it's not a government responsibility. I did like Gene Upshaw's nice 'don't know nuffin' reaction. I think that, like the unfunded AIDS initiative or Howard Dean's campaign, it's nice words that mean nothing.

Turning Japanese
2004-01-20 04:50
by Will Carroll

I'm not sure anyone saw the Sasaki-to-Japan thing coming, but I have to wonder if there wasn't some indication. Looking back, Bavasi came after Guardado kind of out of the blue and strong, so it wouldn't surprise me if that wasn't right near ground zero on whatever pushed Sasaki back. There's going to be lots of speculation as to why Sasaki went back and I'm very curious if he'll pitch in Japan this season. Could the Mariners - Japanese owned, remember - essentially post Sasaki and get some cash back? Maybe a trade?

The pirates over at USS Mariner are certainly hoping that Bavasi does something intelligent with the $9m that fell into his lap, but neither Maddux nor Rodriguez really seem to fit well in Seattle. I think we'll see both of those remaining top free agents sign this week.

An excerpt from "Saving The Pitcher" - available now on Amazon - will run at BP this week. It's a research piece on Eric Gagne and was done by Blake Kirkman, who assisted with several things on the book. There's also a UTK done which may run Tuesday.

Lots of wild speculation about the numbers that Albert Pujols is going to give and get in arbitration. There's lots of eight digit numbers out there, but while Pujols is a special player, I don't think he's going to break the bank either. The Cards would be smart to settle and get a longer term deal done.

Finally, over at NetShrine - one of my favorite sites - there was a discussion about people re-upping for Premium. While I understand not everyone will re-up, I was a bit stunned to see several people nailing us for bad predictions. Both Joe Sheehan and I picked the Reds to win the NL Central (oops), but I'm really surprised that anyone would take those predictions seriously. I'm notoriously bad at predicting anything, which is why they keep letting me go to Vegas. I'll have to take those predictions more seriously, I guess ... but I'll probably still suck.

2004-01-19 20:07
by Will Carroll

Art Thiel is probably in the top tier of sports writers today. I say probably because as I wrote the sentence, I realize I haven't read all of them and have never really seen a major discussion of who really are the best. It's something I'd like to see.

Anyway, Thiel really lays into Bud with an article showing how this guy isn't much better than the guy he's supposed to judge (but refuses to.) I hope this meme is picked up widely.

(And raise your hand if that title made you think about Howard Dean.)

... to be self-evident ...
2004-01-18 20:20
by Will Carroll
New --->
2004-01-18 19:39
by Will Carroll

I've added two links to the side ...

I have no idea how I managed to forget David Pinto's Baseball Musings. That's been on my must-read list for quite a while and, with Lee Sinins, is usually my breaking news source. So, problem corrected and go read his site if you don't already.

Also adding Dave's site's pretty technical and focused on Win Shares, a stat that still confuses me, but he's a good guy and helping with the graphs in STP, so he deserves the link!

For those that have asked for a link or asked me to check out your site, my link list is my "must read list" rather than any attempt to be exhaustive. I'd rather tell you what I read and let everyone share new ones than just throw up a big list. I'm always willing to check out good ones though, so keep sending. Never know if I'll add something in.

2004-01-18 17:18
by Will Carroll

Manning choked.

So is it officially baseball season now or do I have to wait through the interminable Super Bowl?

2004-01-18 05:16
by Will Carroll

Jeez ... until Joe made a comment, I really hadn't even thought about a book review on STP. I'm sure it will stun many of you to find I don't take criticism well, so I'm not sure whether I was consciously blocking out the idea that I might have a review, Amazon comments, or at the very least, a NetShrine thread discussing it. Thinking about it, it's not the type of book that's going to engender much discussion outside the most specialized of forums. It's an amalgamation of the best pitching research in what I hope is a readable, understandable format.

It's still not really 'real' to me, I'll admit. I once asked Sammy Sosa if he had any advice for young ball players. "Always carry a Sharpie," he said. I don't think I need to start doing that yet.

2004-01-18 05:06
by Will Carroll

Like seemingly everyone else in Indianapolis, I'll watch the Colts and Pats play today. I'm still stunned not to have heard from my friend Peter the Pats Fan. Anyway, in a town that couldn't sell out the smallest stadium in the NFL early this season and really doesn't seem to care that the Colts keep threatening to leave, now everyone has the fever. In baseball, sure, people get jacked up for the playoffs - seeing 100,000 people standing around Wrigley was an amazing sight. Football's a whole different thing and it borders on the annoying.

Bill Simmons is one of the most consistent comedy writers there is and his recent Page 2 column on the playoffs is no exception. While he can be formulaic, he'll always - ALWAYS - say something so funny you're thinking about it later that day, hoping to spring the line on a buddy and hoping he won't realize it's not your own. Still, this column is also why I have such a problem with football. When's the last baseball column - or even hoops - where gambling and painkillers were big parts of the story and there wasn't even a hint of outrage? Every time someone brings up the 'steroids are ruining baseball' argument, I want to remind them that the NFL is still pretty popular, even thought there's more steroids there than the average meat packing firm and the league has an institutional policy of mediocrity.

The conference championship games should be great, especially the Colts-Pats, but I'm still counting down the days to pitchers and catchers reporting. Opening Day? That should be a national holiday.

By the way, Simmons is one of my dream BPR guests, so if he happens to read this or someone knows how to get in touch with him, my email is

My Limb
2004-01-17 03:52
by Will Carroll

I've made something of a career of going out on a limb. Sure, my career is short and I often wonder if it will be like Edna's candle. Is it better to burn bright or burn long? Obviously, there's no right answer to that. I think it's in my personality to burn bright, burn hard, and occasionally, burn myself. In some cases, I learn very quickly and others, seemingly never. I'll do anything for a friend and an enemy has no worse fear. Luckily, I think I have about equal measures of both and my friends are the ones I'd rather have on my side.

I like having this limb that I can go out on. I like the rush of the wind in my face as I realize just how far out here I've climbed and sometimes, I can feel the branch shaking. Maybe it's about to crack, but usually, when I glance back, it's just my friends following me out there. Eventually, I'm sure I'll be the one that falls, but it's going to be one hell of a show.

Then again, someone might just catch me.

It Is Finished
2004-01-16 17:04
by Will Carroll


I turned in, on deadline, the bulk of Saving The Pitcher this morning. Still have charts, graphs, and pictures, plus a section that will come from the ASMI Pitcher Injury Conference at the end of the month.

Thanks to everyone that emailed with words of support and encouragement. It's still kinda surreal.

Ding Dong The Witch Is ...
2004-01-16 16:37
by Will Carroll

The Brewers are for sale! The Brewers are for sale!

Details to come. Don't have a good link yet. Better, when you see one, post it in comments.

Herb Kohl had a hard time trying to sell the Bucks, so not sure what the market is for the Brewers. I'd laugh my ass off if someone like Fred Malek or the Monterrey group got involved.

2004-01-16 15:16
by Will Carroll

Nate Silver has a great (free) article - one that will be expanded on in BP04 - on his PECOTA system. Not surprisingly, the best system wins.

I also realize that I just assume that anyone here is a BP Premium subscriber. Am I wrong?

2004-01-16 02:01
by Will Carroll

Hey, its a league I play in, so it has to be good, right?

An owner is needed ASAP. Quick details:

-- Uses front office scoring (can send details)
-- head to head games
-- AL/NL
-- 14 teams, 25 man actives
-- limited keepers
-- staggered draft begins soon
-- live AIM draft on Saturday March 20, evening
-- $25 for prizes and stat page, collected later

Email if interested as you read this. Thanks.

P. Tierney
AIM: silviomossa

More Brilliance
2004-01-15 22:09
by Will Carroll

The alternative press is still way ahead of where bloggers think they are. The Chicago Reader is at the top of its game as it faces the corporate challenge. It really shows off with it's look at sportswriters. Support your alternative press ... and bloggers amongst us, if you're good enough, this is the other place you should be writing.

Them Darn Texans ...
2004-01-15 21:14
by Will Carroll

Scary. If they'd been Muslims, would Homeland Security have done something? There's a problem of terrorism, racism, and Ostrichism here.

Heck, Dubya, there's oil in Noonday, does that help you decide?

Dodger? He's an Astro
2004-01-15 17:26
by Will Carroll

Very cool article on will Clemens get earholed? Whole blog seems like one I'll be reading to see if it's always this good. Heck I even learned something - 96 wins equals 288 Win Shares? Jeez, here I was thinking a Win Share equaled a win. Too complex for me, I'll stick to things that directly translates to runs and outs. I'm just a simple injury analyst. I am confused by your modern ways.

One of these things is ...
2004-01-15 16:45
by Will Carroll

So I go to the mailbox today and I've been sent the Ivan R. Dee Spring 2004 catalog. Unlike most catalogs to my house, there's no gadgets in this one. Instead, there on page seven is Saving The Pitcher where I got my first glimpse at the cover. Wow. You're going to like this one.

Also coming out this spring from Ivan are a book on Robert Oppenheimer , the ethics of biotechnology , the failings of the American education system , criticism from a former Poet Laureate , and whew, another baseball book.

No, I'm not intimidated by the titles in here as I finish this thing up. I'm VERY intimidated. People have put a lot of faith in my ability to pull this thing off and I'm working my butt off to make sure I don't let them down. Some people have gotten sneak peeks and of the best compliments, a writer you'd know said "I'd buy it." So, back to finish it off. Deep breaths, Will, deep breaths.

2004-01-15 16:32
by Will Carroll

David Pinto pointed me to an article on the Reds instituting pitch counts. Reading the article, we learn the important thing is not pitch counts, but that the Reds are adopting the Tandem Starter system designed by Bob Cluck. Cluck, now the pitching coach, started it with the Rangers, who have used it for three seasons at Low-A. The Tigers have considered it and I know at least two other teams have considered using it. I think it's great, especially at the lower levels. It also helps proved the viability of the four-man rotation, something I'm a big advocate for.

2004-01-15 07:44
by Will Carroll

I recently did a chat session at the Newberg Report site. It's focused on the Rangers, but reasonably interesting stuff and incredible fans. Jamey does a phenomenal job over there and I'm not sure the Rangers or even Rangers fans know what a resource they have.

Taking a Hack
2004-01-14 16:46
by Will Carroll

First, an update ... nice email from Sheldon Ocker declining the winnings of our friendly bet. I think I'll contribute it to the Jimmy Fund. Great article up at Prospectus on the Hot Stove, Cool Music concert. Man, I can't wait for that album to hit iTunes. So BP really raised $15k plus for cancer research? Cool.

Ok, new Phil Rogers article ...

1. Discussing teams in terms of James' pythagorean formula: Good
2. Calling Clayton a vacuum when his DT says negative?: Bad
3. Castilla an improvement? Hmmm, maybe. Push
4. Expecting Larry Walker to be healthy? Bad
5. Staking yourself to the Rockies? Remains to be seen.

Pretty neutral, though we learned next to nothing from this article. Take your own hacks, at Rogers or at me ...

2004-01-14 08:28
by Will Carroll

If you're 18 to 26, enjoy.

(EDIT: Query doesn't hold, so type "HR 163" in the 'bill number'.)

Recovering The Satellites
2004-01-14 08:06
by Will Carroll

An old Navy buddy of mine works at what we'll call an Intelligence Facility. He's got amazing access to information and always manages to scare the hell out of me from time to time. He's been reading the blog recently and emailed to let me know he'd figured out who my main source on the Rose story is - no, I won't tell you if he's right, but I will tell you he's seldom wrong - and to pass along a cool link that probably is a bit more disturbing than it should be to me.

Thinking Medhead
2004-01-14 07:09
by Will Carroll

Tom Verducci's latest article is up at SI and focuses on J.D. Drew. He's right - Drew is key to the Braves ability to compete with the Phillies and Marlins.

However, Verducci isn't (yet) a medhead. Discussing Drew's health without giving any details doesn't tell us much, but then again, SI is written for a certain audience, the casual fan. That's ok and I don't mind having a writer as talented as Tom staying off 'my turf.' It's something like a catch-22: the only way to spread the Medhead Manifesto is to get people like Verducci and Gammons discussing and thinking our way, but it also makes my job harder if more people are doing the same thing.

To me, it's all about helping the game, so what helps me isn't necessarily what helps the game. We need more medheads.

STP update: Coming along VERY well. As the main phase of writing comes close to a close (two sections to go ...), I'm waiting on one giant research piece from an outside writer and then I can shift over to dealing with the drawings and graphs. The man behind Baseball Graphs will be providing some assistance and the pictures from Christian Ruzich and Mark Prior will be throughout the book. It's exciting to feel this really coming together, though I still can't really imagine what it will be like seeing it on the shelf somewhere.

Anyone in Orlando or close? Email me.

Pete Watch
2004-01-14 06:32
by Will Carroll

So as I closely watch the Pete Rose situation, I'm seeing certain things, but nothing is moving off the expected position. Certainly, Pete's popularity - which to Selig is the most important or perhaps only meaningful stat - is at or near rock bottom, but let's look at rock bottom. Pete's numbers are hovering around 50% in most of the country and 60% or more in Cincinatti, depending on how the question is asked. In recent appearances, Pete has been able to turn up the dial on contrition which is a plus for him. Instead of excerpts and month-old interviews, the "full story" is getting seen and Pete is able to adjust his public face on the fly.

The wild card in all this is the Vincent/Dowd angle, especially as it relates to Rose's betting as a player. There's some evidence in the Dowd Report that indicates he bet as a player and there's certainly a great deal of anecdotal evidence as well, if not just common sense. Dowd has indicated, publicly and privately, that he has an 'ace in the hole.' (Good to know he didn't sell out with his October donation to the Hall.)

If Rose's popularity trends upward, even slightly, in the coming weeks, the door will remain slightly open. The best sign will be a "I've read the book and seen the interviews and I've changed my mind" piece from a major writer or Hall of Fame. The wild card on the other side is Rose or someone close to him going rogue on Selig.

It's the story that never ends ... and we have about a year to go, from all current indications. I think Selig might actually like the status quo.

Go Vote!
2004-01-13 14:25
by Will Carroll

C'mon, politics is anything but boring.

I Can't Escape
2004-01-13 02:50
by Will Carroll

Even Strong Bad is referencing Pete Rose this week. I blame Ryan Wilkins for my addiction, but to me, Strong Bad may be the funniest thing since the early days of Beavis and Butt-head.

2004-01-12 20:10
by Will Carroll

I'm not a Dean supporter and I'm not even sure I've mentioned on here which candidate I do support (Clark), but the recent attack ads on Dean have me pretty ticked off.

I live in Indiana and trust me, it's about as vanilla a town as humanly possible. I also drink lattes by the gallon (and macchiatos as well!) and drive a Volvo (with Twin Turbos ... no one expects that!) Sushi ... not so much ... and no piercings, but damn, can't the incumbents do better?

Good job, AP
2004-01-12 19:27
by Will Carroll

I don't want to pick a fight with the AP here ... *sigh* ... but why not just call this bleepin' article a how-to manual?

It's precisely this type of thing that made me write my piece on why banning ephedra was near pointless.

From comments ..
2004-01-12 15:39
by Will Carroll

I think this comment is worth bringing up to the top ...

One of the first big features at the BP site was a column - I think by Gary Huckabay - that followed each of Peter's "Diamond Notes" and parsed it down, checking each of his conclusions and holding him 'accountable.' Now, Peter gets big points for being big enough to forgive the attention and even bigger points for learning that some of the old-school BS was just that, BS. No one is going to call Peter a sabermetrician, but I think Peter knows smart when he sees it, whether it's Gary or Billy or J.P.

In that respect, maybe we'll make the "Phil Rogers Watch" a little feature here ... or maybe not. I don't have the time or the heart. Anyone want the job?

Even better, I'd like someone to check MY work. I know most of you are BP Premium subscribers and read UTK. I'll give a completely uncensored weekly slot to someone who'll do a credible job of checking my work; a "Will Watch" to hold me as accountable as I would like everyone else held.

I'm not sure if I belong in the same sentence as John Manuel or Peter Gammons or even Phil Rogers. I have the fortune and misfortune of running before I crawled, so that my mistakes weren't made writing for the Coxsackie Gazzette, but in full view of a national audience. Thanks for helping me learn.

2004-01-12 15:05
by Will Carroll

Not that I'm one to toot my own horn but ...

... oh hell, yes I am. The Clemens signing came in just as I said. I guess Whitey Ford doesn't read my blog. Now, the question is, how do the Cubs answer? Maddux? Pudge? Heck, do they need to answer? And the Cardinals might need to decide whether they think they're contending now.

2004-01-12 04:17
by Will Carroll

We talk about a bit of everything, but I want to thank everyone this weekend for what turned out to be a very educational, substantive discussion. As your virtual host here, I thank you for making this a cool place to occasional hang out. Please, check the comments where there's lots of good stuff going on.

So as I seek to find a replacement for Buffy The Vampire Slayer as 'coolest show on TV' - and no, Angel doesn't quite cut it - I find myself enjoying 24 a bit less this season. Not sure why - it's still fresh, still interesting, and the nice plot twist in the first third wasn't telegraphed. I was late to the party with Line Of Fire, but it's interesting. I look forward to catching up, but it's not quite there yet ... I think I'd like more of the boss, but I may have missed that. Both CSI's are solid - I like the stories on CSI more and the people on Miami more - but cool? Not at a Buffy level. I guess I'll wait for Survivor All-Stars or something. Suggestions?

Now, how the bleep did "Ice Castles" get on my To Do List?

no title
2004-01-11 18:42
by Will Carroll

Great pieces over at Jon Weisman's place. Please, please ... click through and register if need be to see the full article on Deford. With Gammons and Angell, they make up the holy trinity of the formation of my sports writing ... and I have probably just damned them with that. Others have guided me by their writing, either by mere imitation or higher inspiration, and my writing style is externally influenced by Fitzgerald, Isherwood, and Ellroy, but I am only the palest of lights burning next to them.

And the stuff is timely, too.

2004-01-11 17:43
by Will Carroll

Last year, in a weird online letter exchange that was meant to be private but ended up in the Akron Beacon Journal, Sheldon Ocker and I had a disagreement about the likelihood of C.C. Sabathia ending up hurt. While I still believe I was right on my suspicions, Ocker was right on his end of the bet.

I'm not yet ready to say that Sabathia is a "freak" of the Livan-Schilling school, but I'm less sure that he's not. Mr. Ocker, tell me where to send the check.

2004-01-11 13:17
by Will Carroll

I thought it would be educational for everyone to have the full context of what I wrote for Jamey Newberg's book. We've been debating it here (very intelligently, I think) so perhaps it's my fault that I haven't added the full context previously. I highly recommend Jamey's book and site if you haven't already checked them out. He graciously allows me to reprint the foreword here.

Foreword to the 2004 Newberg Report Bound Edition

Newberg Foreword

Baseball writers have a job: to bring the fans information about the greatest game ever invented. Some do this with facts, some with analysis, with trivia or with pure writing ability. It’s reasonably easy to write about baseball and at times, the stories write themselves. In a game where it makes us feel and think, finding angles and interesting people is seldom a concern. Hacks can even fall back to rote description and most will read it – heck, Phil Rogers still has a job, doesn’t he?

On the face of it, the NMLR should be one of the more boring journals in the world. Think about it: Jamey and Mike Hindman cover a team that hasn’t done well recently, but they’ve never lost their passion. They watch minor league teams in far-flung towns like Clinton, Iowa and Surprise, Arizona for the next superstar amongst a list of names few but their mothers could identify. In the Rangers organization, however, it’s their mothers and Jamey Newberg.

Good baseball writers have a second job: to inspire. Just as a game can grab you – don’t all of us have a story about falling for baseball, much as we do about the first date with our significant other? – a good writer can leave you wide-eyed and on the edge of your seat. That sounds dramatic, but you’ve read those stories. If you’re reading this forward, I know you have, because you’ve read the work of one of the best, Jamey Newberg.

In baseball, there is simply nothing like the Newberg Report, but Jamey’s passion and knowledge has inspired others. There are smart guys out there covering Atlanta, Cleveland, and a few more, all hoping that they can one day be the next Jamey Newberg. Texas, however, has the original.

I often wonder why the Rangers have never looked down from their perch and thought that Jamey would be better off inside their offices than out. Imagine the savings they could have on scouting! They’d have known, like we did, that Laynce Nix and Ramon Nivar were coming in 2003 and they’d know that there’s finally some pitching developing.

But, wait, they do know. I know that the Rangers read this report religiously. Better, for the baseball fan, reading the Newberg Report is like having a spy inside a scouting department. Jamey seems to know everything about everyone at every level and if you read him, even for those of us who aren’t nearly as passionate about the Rangers as he is, you end up knowing more than everyone else. You’ll enjoy gloating and looking like a genius when you can tell the whole story about Juan Dominguez’s name and age. You’ll draft someone named Abigail Sandoval and get ‘that look’ from everyone in your fantasy league. You’ll buy a Rangers jersey with “Cleveland” on the back to go with the “Teixeira” one that Jamey convinced you to buy.

In the end, what Jamey writes about isn’t baseball. Sure, we all really read him for the music picks and to find out what Erica did yesterday and the minor league stuff we skim through, but in all seriousness, it’s not about baseball.

Jamey Newberg sells hope.

As the Rangers build the next winning franchise, Jamey lets us know when it’s coming. And we’ll read it, every day, joy springing not only when our favorite pitcher tossed a nice game in Spokane or that journeyman hit two long ones in Oklahoma City, but just when we see “NMLR” in our inbox.

The Rangers – and Rangers fans – are lucky to have Jamey Newberg. I just hope we can convince him to quit wasting his time on this darned legal career …

One of the best parts about my job, writing about baseball, is to get to know some of the great baseball minds of this generation. Jamey stands with any of them and I’m lucky to have gotten to know him. He never gets lifted in the fourth, never has a half-hearted column, and his enthusiasm never seems to wane. He’s got one of the highest home run percentages in baseball writing, no small feat and if you don’t think so, read what else is out there or try it yourself.

Jamey has always been one of my inspirations. Enjoy this book and be amazed at just how good Jamey is, day in and day out.

Will Carroll

Reader Email
2004-01-10 22:28
by Will Carroll

Sometimes the email I get is so good, I feel shamed to have the "reader-writer" equation work the way it does. Luckily, Derek Smart - a regular poster who lives up to his name - allowed me to share this one with you. I've neither edited nor changed anything here:



I hope I'm using the appropriate email, and my apologies if this is long-winded and a tad rightious, but this incident with the "national writer," combined with my reading of the journalism article that Dan linked to last night, have put me in high dudgeon.  I had originally intended for this to be posted in the comments section of the post on your blog, but it got far too long, and by the time I finished it, did not fit with the tenor of the discussion in the comments anyway.  I sincerely hope it's not too preachy or off-topic (particularly in the third section), and that you find it worthy of your time.


There are several things which I find troubling in this national writer's criticism, both in the delivery and the mere fact of it.


1)  If someone does their job poorly, but is a part of "the group," they are above reproach.


While this may not be the situation in extreme cases - for example, I can't imagine if one of the brethren wrote a blatantly racist piece that it would be allowed to slide - the day to day failure to bring your readers the product they deserve is not only deemed unworthy of comment, but is a taboo subject.  It is nearly like speaking ill of the dead ("Have you no decency!").  Yet what healthy institution builds such a wall around itself?   This is the attitude of people who have a grasp on power and are unwilling to yield, even if others prove more able in the field.  It is an attitude fed by a sense of entitlement, and while I would agree that those who have "been through the wars" deserve some benefit of the doubt, how far should we be willing to extend that benefit when their failings become debilitating?


While I know the context for this discussion is sports journalism, the questions raised move beyond that specific realm into journalism in general, and simply allowing opinion-makers to continue their work when they have obviously become inept, refusing to speak up for fear of breaking an unwritten rule of conduct, is not only cowardice, but a breech of the public trust.


2)  Anything published exclusively on the internet is little more than the electronic equivalent of bar talk.


The national writer in question stated that what Will wrote would be "okay saying to friends or on your blog, (but) it has no place in print."  In this mode of thought, talking to your friends, say in a bar, is the same as writing out your thoughts in an expressive, interesting and coherent way and putting it on the internet.  I will grant you that not all bloggers take the time or have the talent necessary to be expressive, interesting and coherent, but the good ones do.  The implication that everything written for distribution on the web is dismissable is not only insulting, it's preposterous.  There are a great number of internet-based sources, for sports or politics or any variety of subjects, that many find to be more reliable than their establishment media counterparts, and while the institutional media might object to the lack of any editorial influence, it is precisely the unfettered nature of the endeavor that attracts so many to the electronic medium.  After all, who is more likely to have undue corporate or governmental influence exerted upon them, the syndicated newspaper columnist, or the gentleman blogging out of his living room in Poughkipsie?


What this does, more than anything, is point up the need for bloggers of quality to organize in a way that enhances their credibility, while still maintaining the essential spirit of free expression that is inherent in the practice.  Without that, I fear that too many truly original and important voices will continue to be discarded and ridiculed by an all too threatened mainstream press.


3)  The public's opinion of the work of journalists is irrelevant.


According to the writer's criticism of Will, there is nothing wrong with thinking a sports journalist is a hack, or even expressing that opinion to a number of friends, but the moment that same opinion gets in print, a line has been crossed.  This is a natural recognition of the power of the written word - there are still many for whom reading is believing, and if such an opinion is libelous or expressed in a tasteless or mean-spirited fashion, there is ample cause for objection - but it also regards the public as dullard outsider, unable to truly understand the depth of genius bestowed on a daily basis by the Professionals, and therefore better left unlistened to.


Yet, isn't the basic mission of all journalists, even sports journalists, to serve the public trust?  By holding the public's opinion in such disdain, are not these Professionals spitting on the ideals they profess to hold so dear?  Their arrogance is astounding, and the implied belief that they are here not to serve, but to dictate, is dangerous in the extreme.  The press exists to inform so that we may decide, yet they seem to continue to work to shape public opinion rather than facilitate its formation.  It is the idea that they may view this as necessary that I object to most strongly.


In the end, it is the arrogance, the sense of entitlement, the hoarding of information and its distribution implied in this exchange that is so troubling.  If we as journalists, as bloggers, as citizens want our best interests to be served, we must break them of their arrogance, strip them of their entitlement, and take back the information that is rightly ours.  The press must not be a monolith, cold and unassailable, but rather, a many-eyed extension of us all, looking where we otherwise could not see and giving us the variety of knowledge necessary to acheive enlightenment on our own terms.


Again, Will, thanks for reading, and my apologies if I've rambled.


-Derek Smart

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Dirty Words
2004-01-10 21:42
by Will Carroll

Hey Congressman ... f--k you.

Vlad to Angels?
2004-01-10 21:17
by Will Carroll

ESPN Radio is reporting that Vladimir Guerrero is going to sign with the Anaheim Angels. If this one pans out, it's a big shock. Arte Moreno is fast becoming this year's Tom Hicks.

2004-01-10 16:47
by Will Carroll

A well-respected national writer who will remain nameless emailed me to complain about something that I wrote. In this piece, which I will not point to, In the Newberg Report's annual book, I ripped another national writer. While I initially didn't wish to point to NMLR and cause Jamey any further problems, I've changed my mind. Here's the sentence in question: "Hacks can even fall back to rote description and most will read it - heck, Phil Rogers still has a job, doesn't he?" The emailer said that while this would be something that would be "okay saying to friends or on your blog, it has no place in print." ( paraphrased )

First, it implies that this blog doesn't have standards, which is something I've struggled a bit with and something that I feel needs to be addressed by the blog community as a whole. Second, it criticizes without all the facts. Indeed, there are only two writers I know who I believe worthy of the criticism I gave. They make themselves worthy not only because of a lack of skill and insight, but their personal commitment to keeping what they believe is a rightful monopoly on information. Those that are both ignorant and obstructionist, to me, give up their privilege of professional courtesy.

This issue, along with other similar issues, is important. In the long run, it does me no good to pick fights with the establishment. On the other hand, there's probably a time where there are certain walls where we need to cease beating our heads against them and begin kicking them down.

Commence commenting ... this one's very important.

Sheehan on the Beat
2004-01-10 10:10
by Will Carroll

Rich Lederer hits us with another in his series of interviews , this time with BP's Joe Sheehan. I make no secret that Sheehan is one of my two writing heroes and that I've gotten to know him over the past couple years is one of the bigger joys of this job. Good solid interview over there.

Rich should also get credit for seeing a niche in weekend writing. I'm still not sure why blogs seem to run on a five day cycle. Don't you people have jobs, meaning you'd have more time to write on weekends? Me? This IS my job - well, the writing in general - so a warning not to expect much this weekend as I make the final sprint towards Deadline #1 on STP.

Clemens to Sign
2004-01-10 06:33
by Will Carroll

I have learned early this morning that Roger Clemens will sign a one year deal with the Houston Astros. Details on the contract, including a detailed understanding of where and when Clemens will pitch, remain to be worked out, but the major obstacles have been cleared. It is expected that Clemens will not be required to travel with the team if he is not pitching in a specific series and that the Astros will attempt to give him extra rest and to allow him to pitch at home more than on the road. With the expected money in the $5-7 million range, depending on where bonuses fall, the Astros get better at a reasonable price, assuming Clemens is healthy and effective.

More Wood vs. Clemens? Now that excites me.

EDIT: I was not aware of this Houston Chronicle article at the time I wrote the above piece. Very similar information, so I just wanted to be clear and give them proper due.

Where's Pete
2004-01-09 15:19
by Will Carroll

Pete heads to Fox News tonight to not spin his confession. Sure.

Let's make this the catch-all thread for Pete's infinite media appearances.

Over/under on him firing back at Selig? About noon today.

What's My Line?
2004-01-08 22:05
by Will Carroll

If Pete Rose will simply repeat the tone and tenor of his "last statement" - the last minute or so of his ABC interview - he'll have the smallest of shots. If he could cry or just use the word "sorry" about three times per sentence, regardless of grammatical structure, that would help as well.

Jayson Stark's article today is, as usual, dead on. Calls to trusted sources, including "Source #2" on my original story, confirmed Stark's facts and the status of Rose's bid for reinstatement.

Very interesting comments from Mike Schmidt in tonight's interview. If Rose has to "speak to his fans, speak to the Hall of Famers", I'm curious as to when he's expected to do that and if it's on the schedule.

Holy Crud
2004-01-08 16:20
by Will Carroll

David Hackworth, via Brad DeLong , hits us with a dose.

Off The Record
2004-01-08 08:33
by Will Carroll

I like Eric Christenson and Sons of Sam Horn a lot. I like Curt Schilling, both as a player and as a person, from the little I actually know from brief meetings and conversations. Where my problem lies is in the ethical dilemma of Curt's post over on SoSH where he requests that they be 'off the record.' Now, I have no problem with off the record conversations and I have no plans to post any of Schilling's information anywhere else. Where my problem lies is that this brings up the dilemma of what is what on the net. Is posting something in a public forum ever off the record and what journalistic ethics cover this? If Curt said, hypothetically, that the duct tape fell off Pedro's arm and he'd be out for 2004, does anyone honestly think that would stay off the record, in Boston or in UTK? It's something that needs to be addressed before it becomes a problem. We all want players to open themselves like Schilling has and places like SoSH are a great place to break the Chinese wall between our heroes and ourselves, but there needs to be a framework.

Which brings me to another ongoing situation ... as long as the BBWAA is not admitting net-based writers, we need our own organization to not only address issues such as this that are important to net-based writers, but to advance the craft as a serious vocation. So, who's in?

Best Line Yet
2004-01-07 15:16
by Will Carroll

From Phil Arvia of the (Chicago) Daily Southtown :

"You're lucky Bud Selig is a commissioner who governs less on conviction than on fan approval. Because so many fans cheered you back at that World Series in '99, he might find it in baseball's best interests to reinstate you — or, failing the courage to make an actual decision, maybe he'll say you can come back if the National League wins next year's All-Star Game."

For those of you with no lives and checking this far too often, I'll be doing a chat over at Newberg Report (link ---->) at 3.30p Central.

Enough Serious Crap
2004-01-07 11:57
by Will Carroll

We need some frivolity and fun. (Or, yes, I'm on break again.)

Leave the Jessica Albas and Britney Spears to those who are so desirous of them. Just leave me:
Jennifer Connelly

Roselyn Sanchez

Jean Butler

Allyson Hannigan

and of course ...
Jodie Foster

Feel free to add some beauty in comments.
This may not be a no-spin zone (bah!), but it is a no silicone zone.

2004-01-07 07:31
by Will Carroll

Alyssa Minkoff has the book and speaks about it here. The sidebar is great.

Like Minkoff, I've had the book since Tuesday. Amazing what a couple calls and a picture of Andrew Jackson can get you. I skimmed it, knowing most of the contents, and I'll go back later to dig in. I'm not as fascinated by his exploits as Minkoff was, but I never really cared much about Pete as a player and I never once bought the Charlie Hustle act. In my months with Pete as a seemingly constant companion, just over my shoulder with a panic-attack chaser, I realized that not only did I not know much about him - a fact that has suprised nearly everyone I've spoken to on the topic - but that I don't seem to be missing much.

My one take on the book is that he doesn't appear to be "sorry" like we want him to be. He's not sobbing or begging. I expected him to be a victim, to say he was molested or beaten or something, but instead, he just calls himself an arrogant son of a bitch that did some stupid things. He doesn't even blame the addiction - or even speak the word 'gambling' very much - but just says "I was stupid and wrong."

If what we wanted from Pete was honesty, I think we have it (semantics of his betting from the clubhouse aside). If we wanted contrition, I think we have as close as Pete's wired to come. If we wanted sorrow, it's not in these nearly 300 pages.

Is it "enough?" Tough call, but yes, I think so. I'll admit to wanting more - I want him to say he's sorry - but I think I'd rather have the truer account, the one in line with who Pete Rose really is.

2004-01-07 06:29
by Will Carroll

Guinness in a bottle? Brilliant! (Not really ... much better in a pub, watching the cascade of foam building like the suspense and our basest Pavlovian instincts in full view.)

This column ? Brilliant! I am as guilty of this as anyone. My overuse of hyphens and ellipses is still something I'm coming to terms with. Oddly, I'm the only writer I know that doesn't write like he speaks. I don't know what to make of that, but I do know that it makes talking to Gary Huckabay, Chris Kahrl, Joe Sheehan, or Alex Belth infinitely entertaining. (Thanks to pal Keith Scherer for the link.)

Brad, the term is "ILBIW." Oddly, I'm sitting here taking a break from typing (by typing - how smart is that?) and sipping Peet's Blend 101 that was kindly sent to me by Zach Manprin. (You can check out his work at Elephants In Oakland, linked over yonder.)

Back to work on sentences like "The theoretical line of the shoulders does not need to cross another theoretical line from home plate to second base." Lord help my editors.

I Get Email
2004-01-07 06:00
by Will Carroll

And lots of it.

One that's been continually hitting my in-box lately is the one accusing me of saying that Pete Rose had signed an agreement with Bud Selig. Allow me to quote from Derek's original article:

"Pete Rose and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement that would allow him to return to baseball in 2004 ..."

I remember the first time I heard the words "plausible deniability." It was the Iran-Contra hearings, where North, Poindexter and the rest of that cabal protected President Reagan by isolating him from the dirty deeds being done. While it is pure speculation on my part, I believe that after the meetings between Rose and Selig, Bud was taken very close to completely out of the loop. Instead, representatives negotiated the details after Bud and Pete handled the important details of admission, contrition, and expectations.

In the document that led to our report in August, I can tell you that the initials were not those of Allan H. Selig. He can, in all honesty, stand and tell you that he has not signed an agreement. To put it in car dealer terms, they've sold the car, but they're waiting on the title. To put it in political terms, the law has been passed, but the bill hasn't been signed at the photo opp. There will come a time - and I don't know when - but Bud and Pete will stand at a podium and either there or shortly before in a back room, the deal will be signed off on by Bud. He won't have been the one to negotiate it, but it will certainly have been guided by him. The conditions are no secret, written or not.

It's still about plausible deniability right now, but that is starting to fade. I fully expect there to be conditions in the final document that were not there when we reported our story, but I'm not sure that the heart of the final document is not in the deal we saw. Peter Gammons is reporting that there will be a two year probation and that Rose will never face the baseball writers who have turned on him suddenly. Cool. We never said or meant to imply that this might not happen. Look closely at the words and you'll see that Bud and Pete both have a lot of room to work within the initial framework.

Here's an opinion I have: Pete's listening. He's seeing the reaction and I think he's probably surprised. I also think he's smart enough to know that he's going to need to go one more step, to actually apologize. The ABC interview won't have that, but I'm betting we'll see it in one of the interviews shortly thereafter, likely with an MLB broadcast partner.

Inside Out
2004-01-06 14:59
by Will Carroll

It's quite "meta" of me to reference an article by my pal Alex that quotes my pal Tim.

But it's a damn good article that addresses the issues of ... well, me ... quite well. Insider? Outsider? What the hell am I and what do I want to be when I grow up? When I started UTK a few years back, it was a whim. Like many writers, I thought I had something to say and I never had any idea that I would say something people would read, respect, or tell their friends about. If I'd set out with a goal, I probably wouldn't have made it. My goal for this season was to get on the Tony Kornheiser show. Didn't make it.

I never had a plan, never looked for a job, fell into my current niche, gig, and the whole story of how I got into radio is so much luck that it's laughable. I don't have any sort of idea where to go or what to do. I have no journalistic training, much less medical training than most assume I do, and my writing background is all fiction and nearly a decade old. Instead of becoming Isherwood or Fitzgerald, I was called today part of "the Woodward and Bernstein of baseball." Pure hyperbole.

I'm with Alex and Tim. I'm neither insider nor outsider; neither fish nor fowl. What I am is as flexible as it needs to be and malleable to the needs of the market, my employer, and the task at hand. I'm mostly a medhead, but anyone that thinks I won't go off topic hasn't read my blog. Anyone who thinks Derek or I (or BP) will be scared off breaking another story is wrong, but we're not looking for scoop either.

I am, simply, a writer in search of words, in search of meaning, and in search of knowledge. I am the most free of the free press, bound by only truth and my moral compass. In fact, I have become Isherwood's ideal - "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed."

Which leads me to the end of Alex's article where he (rightly) praises the quality of Gordon Edes' work. However, to go back to a Nixon reference, "what did he know and when did he know it?" In the rush of quotes and speculation that was the Rodriguez to Boston blur, did Edes watch then report and if so, did he have any responsibility to "break" the story? What gives something so much weight that you cannot wait? In the Rose story, it was a wave of information so indelible that it could not be resisted. I think Gordon was right to wait, to watch, and to fix his piece correctly and completely, but I'm not so sure that other journalists are sailing their ship quite so well.

Any writer, at best, is owned jointly by his muse and his audience. When either is sacrificed on any altar, the spirit of the writer, his very soul, is at question. Without that soul, he/she becomes simply a wordsmith.

First One
2004-01-06 11:06
by Will Carroll

Well, here's the first positive.

Interesting timing, though the rumor of two failures at Team USA had been circulating.

Stunner (The Reaction)
2004-01-06 07:54
by Will Carroll

The media outcry is interesting. What I thought would happen - the Pete Rose apologists feeling betrayed - didn't happen. In fact, some instapolls are showing that the numbers didn't change at all. ESPN had one where something like 80% wanted Pete cleared immediately and the most popular job for Pete was manager. If Bud's watching, I think he's seeing that this is still going to be a popular move. I also think most of the negative backlash is happening now, as opposed to whenever the actual announcement happens.

I'm also a bit curious by the reaction to BP. I know TFD - a good friend if ever there was one - is defending me against "morons" but on this one, I defer to DMZ . I won't feel vindicated until ... well, probably ever. The experience of being brutalized by certain segments of the population back in August is not something I will ever forget, but there was also a big segment that stood by us. I guess it's good to know who your true friends are. Anyway, I won't feel vindicated until our report is proven completely true. While I won't make predictions on when and face the fate of Mike Schmidt, I think it will happen "imminently."

But all this has left me slightly behind schedule on STP ... so off I go. Forgive me if blogging is a bit light over the next couple weeks. After I finish the next 50,000 words of STP, I'll head right into the Team Health Reports, a project that went 80,000 words last year. If there's a hand surgeon reading this ...

2004-01-05 20:21
by Will Carroll

Tug McGraw has passed away at age 59 as the result of brain cancer.

I'm not sure what charities Tug supported, but I'll suggest the Jimmy Fund.

Onward and upward, indeed, Tugger.

Huge News of the Day
2004-01-05 15:24
by Will Carroll

Forget Pete Rose. (Please).

The biggest story of the day and one that must be addressed in the most urgent of terms, those reserved for the capture of Saddam or perhaps the defeat of Bush, is the death of Jayson Stark's mustache.

I barely recognized him as he came on ESPN.

Have no fear, Derek Zumsteg and I plan a full investigation.

Stunner, Part III
2004-01-05 06:56
by Will Carroll

The leaks are coming fast and furious now.

This time, it's the contents of the Primetime interview that will air Thursday leaking out.

It's important to pay very close attention to how things are worded. It's very well done, so I don't think Rich Levin had anything to do with it, so save the denials, MLB.

Stunner, Part II
2004-01-05 06:45
by Will Carroll


On Monday, wire reports are releasing something I'd heard on Friday. Sports Illustrated has excerpts of Rose's book and quotes are dripping out. Looks like Fay Vincent had it right - John Dowd is the hero of this, coming out ... well, roses.

Now, here's the thing ... Rose is essentially pointing to the Dowd Report and saying "yup, uh huh, it's right." He's playing the victim card. He's doing everything he was told to do in order to be reinstated just in time for a weak HoF class in 2005.

But is it the truth?

At what point do we take Pete's word for it? When do we stop questioning his sincerity despite clear motive? I think his next step - if it hasn't already happened - needs to be an apology to John Dowd. I don't know what step it is where you go back and ask forgiveness of all the people you've wronged, but I'm pretty sure Gamblers Anonymous has one of those steps.

There's a long line, Pete. Look 'em in the eye.

Oh wait, getting help - something Pete is saying he should have been given - isn't something he's done on his own! I've seen the deal he's made and I don't see therapy anywhere in there. If not, Bud's going to have some apologizing to do of his own.

EDIT: It's Step 9.

2004-01-02 23:15
by Will Carroll

No real shock, but looks like Jim Salisbury gets the scoop. Pete's gonna say he bet on baseball. It's STILL impressive that Rodale's kept the leaks this tight. We're inside of a week to release, the ABC interview was done weeks ago, and it's not like this is really a surprise. Someone could have blue-skied this one and had a pretty good chance of hitting it.

What's a bit more surprising to me are the pundits, coming down on both sides of the put him in/keep him out debate. A quick look through Google News breaks it down about 50-50 and if that's any indication what the writers might do, Pete has to be a bit worried ... unless he really doesn't care about the Hall, as some have said. Jim Sheridan is particularly harsh on the negatives.

Like Bud, I'm just watching the circus right now.

Putting It To Bed
2004-01-02 17:46
by Will Carroll

A couple posts back, I mentioned a rumor that would "send Theo's head spinning." It's been interesting watching a debate around that pop up at There's nothing I like better than seeing passionate fans debating their team in the midst of winter. It's also very interesting - and disconcerting - at times to see people debate my thought processes (in the midst of calling me a bozo!) ;)

So, let me break it down. In discussions about something else entirely, a valid source - let's say this person rates about a 4 of 10 on the validity scale - told me that the Yankees were about to make a free agent offer. The target - Vladimir Guerrero. Since then, I've been able to confirm that no offer has been made, but that an offer might not be out of the realm of possibility. The Yanks, like some other teams, sense that Vlad is not excited about the possibility of playing in Baltimore or bowled over by their money. Could the Yanks take Vlad on "the cheap" in a weak market? Possible, but like I said, unlikely.

The signing of Tony Clark kind of steps on this - to sign Vlad, the Yanks would need to move Bernie to 1B/DH, Matsui to CF, and Lofton to the bench. None of that is out of the question, but having Clark seems to point to Bernie sharing time in CF and DHing more, with something of a rotation between Giambi, Clark, Williams, and Lofton at CF/1B/DH.

So, the rumor was a Vlad signing, that's the condensed process, and I hope it makes more sense now to everyone.

2004-01-02 14:09
by Will Carroll

I still don't know what "frog-marched" means, but I will enjoy seeing Karl Rove demonstrate it for me. This story is one that is going to get bigger and bigger, perhaps rivaling Iraq as an issue in the 2004 election. If we get away from every issue, boiling things down to an issue of trust, the Bush administration is beginning to look like a manager that has "lost the locker room." We all know what the answer is there.

I go back and forth, but it's issues like this, being covered in far more details by the bloggers than the traditional media, that make me start thinking "disruptive technology." Can newspapers survive two inflection points inside of a decade and come out unscathed? Worse, did the failure of newspaper competition lead to this, in fact becoming the original inflection point? Not sure, since TV news still technically competes, but seldom does over issues bigger than sweeps.

Kelly Clarkson was robbed.

New article up on BP today. Hope everyone from understands what I meant about Giambi now. (Yes, you'll have to pay to read it.) You might also note our announcement on the front page - we're contributing HALF of new subscription income to the Jimmy Fund as part of Peter Gammons' "Hot Stove, Cool Music" project. If you're not a BP Premium subscriber, this is a great time to do it and help a great cause.

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