As Opening Day nears, a young man’s fancy turns to baseball previews, and I’ve had no shortage of opportunities lately. On Sunday night, I was a guest on WNYW’s Fox Sports Extra, discussing the Mets and Yankees — Johan Santana, David Wright, Jason Bay, Michael Pineda, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter in particular — with host Duke Castiglione, who gave the latest BP products some prime placement:
On Tuesday, I had the honor of participating in the last full Clubhouse Confidential of the preseason. The first-of-its-kind show offering a sabermetric take will spend the season subsumed by the MLB Network’s more straight-ahead coverage, with Clubhouse segments appearing two or three times a week within their MLB Tonight program, and yours truly hopefully in the rotation for the occasional segment. While we had planned for the show to be a more preseason-oriented take on the game, the news of the massive contract extensions of the Giants’ Matt Cain and the Reds’ Joey Votto prompted host Brian Kenny to shift the show’s first half to a macroeconomic picture of the game. His “High Heat” segment on the state of the game’s TV-driven finances was one of his best, and from there, we — Kenny, SABR president Vince Gennaro, FanGraphs writer Bill Petti and I — undertook a roundtable discussion of the ramifications of the new wave of nine-figure contracts:
In the second segment, we offered some predictions for awards, surprise teams, and breakout performers:
The third segment was one of Kenny’s “Rogue Commissioner” spots, in which he dons a judge’s robe (à la first commissioner, Judge Landis, but without the racism) for a special comment on the game. Kenny wanted to weigh in on the slight punishment handed down to Indians hurler Ubaldo Jimenez, who two days earlier had begun a game by drilling former teammate Troy Tulowitzki — the game’s most valuable player, according to CHC’s recockoning — on the elbow, with chests thumped and benches cleared. The umpires didn’t see fit to eject Jimenez, but the ongoing war of words hinted at the bad blood. In any event, our panel went rogue on the Rogue Commish, largely disagreeing with him:
As always, the show — my 10th appearance of the season — was a ton of fun, and I thank the producers for having me on. Travel limited my opportunities for appearances over its final month; the last time I was on was on March 5, for a spot previewing the NL West with Kenny’s understudy, Paul Severino. Due to live baseball, that spot didn’t run until the wee hours the following morning, so the guess here is that you’ve never seen it:
I was also on the show on March 15, for the long-lost spot “Cooperstown Justice” on under-the-radar Hall of Fame candidates (building from a two-part series, “The Keltner All-Stars,” that I had run at BP); the show was taped on February 16, but was shelved temporarily due to the MLB Network’s coverage of Hall of Famer Gary Carter’s passing. Based upon JAWS, I talked up the cases of four players snubbed by voters, namely Dick Allen, Ted Simmons, Bobby Grich, and Bobby Bonds:
Moving away from the television set and into the realms of podcasts, I also previewed the AL East for the Baseball Prospectus “Up and In” podcast, talked up the Yankees for the Over the Monster AL East preview series, yakked about spring training storylines with Yahoo! Sports Radio and New Zealand’s LiveSport Radio and St. Louis’ venerable KMOX. Nobody ever said I was shy with a microphone in front of my face and baseball on the agenda.