*Note – This is a special addition to the PW Presents, linked from our site. We just thought we’d share.
Jayson Stark from ESPN brings his Rumblings and Grumblings to the DL to talk (what else) BASEBALL!
If you’ve ever read Stark’s work, you know that he writes like he talks and his enjoyment for the game really comes out in his columns. He’s never backed down from talking with fans and readers and I think he just really, really loves being a baseball writer.
We ask him to compare what it’s like working for ESPN to covering a beat, and if he ever wishes he were still covering one team throughout the entire season. At its core, baseball is a colloquial game – a front porch transistor radio experience that other sports just aren’t able to capture. So working for a megamart like ESPN takes the neighborhood feel away from the game, and we ask Jayson if he misses that.
We talk about the myriad of responsibilities he has at the WWL. It’s also a wonder to us how he manages to keep such a light-hearted and genuinely excited tone with both his writing, and his ‘alternative’ media endeavors. Seriously, he writes a column, he writes a blog, he does a weekly chat, he does video blogs to go with his columns, he does TV, he does national radio, he does local radio in many markets, including Philadelphia and I think my ring tone is now his voice saying “Manny being Manny.”
We talk about the All-Star game marathon, including the pre-game ceremonies that had many of the living Hall of Famers. We also ask why it was ‘many’ and not ‘all’ of the living Hall of Famers, bringing up the specific examples of Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench and Sandy Koufax. Sure some people are old, but some just don’t feel like showing up for this kind of stuff. We discuss the notion that players owe it to the fans to be at events like this – especially Sandy Koufax.
Listen, there aren’t many great Jewish ballplayers. When I was growing up, I don’t know if there were any prominent members of the Tribe I could look up to. Would it be so much for Koufax to show up to thinks like the All-Star celebration once in a while? I’m not asking for him to be Phil Rizutto for the Money Store but letting us know what one of the heroes of our generations past is still alive isn’t so much to ask.
We spin the Koufax talk to Stark’s book, where he named Koufax the most overrated lefty of all time. Wow. We talk about Koufax and Nolan Ryan (his most overrated righty) and ask Stark if he felt handcuffed by the term ‘overrated’ or if it ended up being a shrewd marketing tool for the book. We also ask how Scott Boras feels now that Andruw Jones has been totally exposed as a player. Boras.
We end with some talk about the Phillies and while we all still think they CAN win the division, we wonder IF that will happen.
We talk Uncle Charlie and wonder how he’s regarded as a manager in league circles. We talk Brett Myers and debate the logic behind teams trading top prospects instead of calling them up and just going with them. If a guy is good enough to ‘eventually’ be a front-of-the-rotation starter, why not bring him up to learn on the job as the 4th or 5th arm?
Last, we ask Stark about the Elias Sports Bureau. How big is that fruit basket he sends each Christmas, anyway?