The 411 on Me and Ties

The good folks at MLB keep calling my number, and I keep calling up Tie-a-Tie to pull together a competent Half-Windsor knot. Last Tuesday, Clubhouse Confidential invited me back for not one but two segments. The first one marked uncharted territory for me, participating in their “Mr. Inside/Mr. Outside” segment, in which a member of the analytic community debates a former player on a handful of questions pitched by host Brian Kenny. As fate would have it, I was matched up against Larry Bowa, whom I watched as a player in the late ’70s, railed at as a manager in the early ’00s (I was not a fan), and grew to appreciate as the third-base coach of the Yankees and the Dodgers later in the decade. As it turned out, despite coming at the questions from very different angles, the two of us saw eye-to-eye on several of them, much to the amused bewilderment of Kenny. I wrote all about that surreal experience and embedded the video here.

My second segment of the epsisode was a look at a few of the players on the 2011 Replacement-Level Killers, my annual turkey shoot of underperformers who did their worst to harm their teams’ playoff hopes (published in two parts that week). It wasn’t quite as entertaining as the first, but it had its moments:

Elsewhere within the MLB empire, I was invited to try out for Fantasy 411, a first-of-its-kind TV show/podcast devoted to the fantasy baseball angle, one with a devoted cult following and its own vocabulary. I don’t write about fantasy much in the course of the season, particularly at Baseball Prospectus, but I do of course grind out 300+ pitcher capsules for Fantasy Baseball Index and track both pitchers and hitters for their spring update, so it’s not as though this is coming entirely from left field. I spent around 18 minutes on the hot seat with hosts Jeremy Brisiel and Cory Schwartz as we discussed Edwin Jackson, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Braun, Carl Crawford, Jimmy Rollins, Brett Gardner, Logan Morrison and some lesser lights. In what turned out to be a “producer’s challenge,” I had to come up with coherent points about Jeff Keppinger, Juan Pierre, and Casey Kotchman in a fantasy context, and the general consensus was that I did, thanks to some serious homework.

You can download the whole 17:36 segment here (that’s a 204 MB file, so beware), subscribe to the podcast feed here, and check out a three-minute excerpt on Jackson below:

I had a lot of fun doing the show, particularly in bantering on-camera with Cory, with whom I’ve knocked back a few beers over the years, and it looks as though I’ll have the chance to further my involvement in the show once the season approaches. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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