brand name mircette online how to get cozaar in australia levitra super active pill shortage genuine micardis best price side effects of glyset synthroid buy online canada eurax to buy in australia anacin no prescription compare prices order sarafem without rx there generic name nexium what is brahmi tea sildenafil jelly uk safe buy prilosec online indian generics online ralista buy cialis online in europe american malegra dxt can you buy zyloprim clozaril buy without sl nitroglycerin dose keflex prices usa serevent medication what drug category is diarex 2 100 mah lithium polymer battery life where is toradol injection what is fenofibrate 160 mg used for how to get promethazine codeine syrup online 1 man 1 jar actual video link where to buy actos online generic where to buy valtrex with echeck do you gain weight after stopping acai berry what is vasotec made of can you buy viagra in europe tetracycline shop alli coupons printable 2009 us online pharmacy no prescription xeloda fucidin costo what does zofran taste like viagra mail order prescriptions levitra professional online bestellen what is clomid steroids buy amitriptyline online from canada comprar prograf portugal viagra for women free samples acquisto wellbutrin sr sicuro online how long does it take for ceftin to work on a sinus infection aricept cost help fluoxetine cost in canada ditropan xl rxlist xenical roche precio chile proscar roche precio argentina can you get high off risperdal buy cheap aceon pills alesse birth control no prescription carafate for sale australia what does femcare generic capoten no prescription keflex cost without insurance can paroxetine cause weight gain is mail order doxazosin safe viagra plus alcohol how to tell if viagra is real signs ovulation using clomid get discount abilify escrow pharmacy reviews liquid viagra soft review suprax gonorrhea chlamydia atorlip-10 shelf life cheap clomid in the uk is generic neurontin effective alphagan price comparison cipro delivery 3 days where can i order astelin generic cialis black 800mg plavix capsules eu pharmacy online purchase ophthacare buy generic lotensin zetia woldwide shipping how many ortho tri cyclen birth control pills equal plan b unisom tablets us online cordarone 200 mg tablet liposafe canadian pharmacy brand brand advair diskus buy buy elocon lotion online viagra and alcohol headache naprosyn roche precio argentina buy femcare online from usa lanoxin heart medication canada cialis soft tablets online brand viagra.com ran-amlodipine 5mg side effects valacyclovir hcl 1 gram buy cream online uk cheapest nizoral cialis india generic buy xenical orlistat china cabaser scored tablets 1mg lexapro drugs similar to where purchase retin-a ge buy levitra plus astrailia lamictal without prescription canada side effects of zoloft generic non prescription famvir pharmacy astelin usa cvs prices allegra-d 12 hour allergy & congestion tablets can you order benicar what does estrace do for infertility starlix from usa pharmacy carafate suspension available generic viagera where can i purchas in canada rash from singulair how to buy entocort atorvastatin 40 mg recall aciclovir next day zanaflex online pharmacy store order accutane 5mg prescription tadapox for dogs buy safe buy alesse online famciclovir for sale to buy triamterene diclofenac overnight cheapest american baclofen ovulation clomid calculator uses of nitrofurantoin tablets allopurinol drugstore acidity treat buy dostinex topical testosterone cream men buy sominex online at canada pharmacy abana drugs quality can you only get estrace on prescription lotensin hct tablets kamagra best online non prescription pharmacy nimotop online legally where cane i buy trimethoprim pharmacy nizoral tablets 150 mg side effects of acai berry detox pills does levitra work better than viagra biaxin india sale aciclovir cost in canada can you buy zebeta adalat overnight prozac and alcohol pictures of ranitidine pills amitriptyline 20 mg side effects stromectol rxlist fucidin cream children what is thalidomide for blopress buy without where can i buy cheap viagra yahoo lowest price provera metformin er coupons depo provera and other medications maxifort seeds in the uk accutane from europe generic arava safe to buy suhagra xalatan pfizer products glass in generic lipitor floxin wanted online review buy cabgolin in india online ivermectin wormer for rabbits buying viagra online in canada diclofenac sodium 75 mg cost cheap proventil hfa metoclopramide generic for generic zovirax buy canada long term side effects of keftab search mp3 google bupropion medication assistance prednisone dose for dogs with lymphoma side effects effexor weight gain retin-a 0,05 over the counter buy topamax in australia price increase on doxycycline celebrex canada pharmacy generic zocor prices methylprednisolone dosage directions propecia reviews forum prescription amantadine prescriptions is wellbutrin xl better than bupropion diclofenac potassium over the counter orlistat dose usual legal buy januvia online canada all types trimox pills tamoxifen over the couter clonidine transdermal patch prices synthroid over the counter cephalexin 1000 mg bid how to get abilify on line what is the correct dosage of yasmin purchase generic diflucan is vesicare better than detrol side effects of ciprofloxacin in pregnancy florinef maximum dose orthostatic hypotension cymbalta australia plavix prescription help candida pharmacy how to purchase zyvox online brand amoxil pharmacy mail order western lithium usa corporation zofran coupons cheapest place to buy venlor levaquin prix en pharmacie en france generic benicar usa pharmacy delivery prescription albendazole overnight canadian pharmacy cordarone research grade kamagra gold can i get pregnant while taking prometrium revia results forum what is the best high coverage drugstore foundation sale elimite mexican pharmacy no prescription oxytrol order how long does levitra last viagra buy canada no prescription for rosuvastatin does voltaren cause weight gain zithromax chlamydia injecting toradol pills abilify without a script online overnight delivery atrovent side effects tamoxifen purchase cheap nolvadex online apcalis sx online overnight is there a generic form of micardis side effects of bupron sr 150 exelon employment chicago ceftin no prescription compare prices tadalafil citrate dosage herbal sex drugs for women where clomid around generic puedo comprar bactrim sin receta herbal viagra black ant decadron order on web tretinoin 0.025 cream side effects what is the medication biaxin for can you get differin lamisil discontinued isoptin sale aceon mg buy aarp medicare complete prior authorization forms nimotop mail order cyproheptadine periactin 4 mg quiero comprar cephalexin suppliers of vermox in us buy vasotec australia flovent medication class what are the side effects of augmentin 500mg where is the parietal bone located betapace side effects uk where to get wellbutrin cost of lamisil at walmart florida lisinopril cheap pravachol free delivery where to buy cialis in malaysia generic prednisone aspirin dosage for dogs buy benadryl what is nitrofurantoin macro 100mg capsules for strattera 40 mg price astelin canadian pharmacy venlor overnight delivery long time side effects imitrex xenical online pay paypal buy flagyl er uk augmentin uk companies only cebu prescription donde puedo comprar evecare myambutol mg tablet low cost phenamax online pharmacy no prescription needed zovirax lotrisone discount voucher norvasc drugs for sale buy mifepristone and misoprostol online uk malegra fxt online pay paypal cheap viagra generic paypal alesse without prescription max effexor xr dose does watermelon have same effect viagra cytotec costo df mexican pharmacy no prescription cardura buy flonase online no prescription united states antabuse price australia trileptal side effects long term use order proscar 1 mg can you buy purim in ireland original avandamet online antifludes gotas plm onde comprar pariet mais barato cheap atorlip-5 pills list of tesco stores selling digoxin order kamagra on line canada ventolin low dose birth control cost of lariam tablets reglan canadian pharmacy seroquel discount coupons is there an over the counter equivalent to nexium american heart association guidelines aspirin primary prevention order liposafe from what does krishna tell arjuna nexium with no rx how to get lipothin on line sleep medicine trazodone side effects where to buy tablets levothyroxine sodium plavix perth australia legal buy lamisil online canada clomiphene early menopause arimidex reviews salep elocon untuk ibu hamil generic from phexin nizagara generico online diamox prescription how to use anacin legitimate canadian online pharmacies diclofenac billig kaufen generic augmentin es-600 us online pharmacy no prescription micardis pharmacy housekeeping sop top 10 online finast sites antivert maximum dose getting celexa in australia atorlip-5 tablets side effects forzest discontinued generic rhinocort no prescription best substitute for viagra safe plavix buy how to buy baclofen in london are alligators dangerous for people why is there a shortage of finpecia cheap prescriptions glasses how to use dulcolax tablets medication doxazosin mesylate glucotrol contraindications buy prevacid online in usa nike air max 95 em cool grey/black/white/volt cheapest metformin to buy orlistat without perscription uk cytotec tablets us online online generic levaquin ampicillin 50mg tablets estrace spain flovent inhaler uses american cialis jelly is mail order cytoxan safe pamelor next day what does coreg pill look like how do i get viagra in australia i pill prograf website vente de advair diskus au quebec best generic tegretol review flonase cost with insurance order mircette pill horse wormers containing praziquantel zyrtec canada over the counter proventil medication side effects viagra tablets for men in chennai levitra professional no prescription buy generic active plus high blood pressure medication prices buy online speman generic effects of propecia on women amitriptyline generic manufacturer periactin cost canadian coreg dose for congestive heart failure cheap genuine innopran xl online what is the generic name for bentyl can you crush bactrim pills where to buy viagra from online neurontin dose in renal failure coversyl australia cheap prilosec buy online buy cheap dutasteride buy yasmin canada cardizem mg tablet the online drugstore plendil singulair generic picture do i need a prescription for baclofen orlistat comprar en argentina is it illegal to buy prescription drugs from india bactroban for men in usa acomplia rimonabant wikipedia western drug entocort medicine like prevacid best place buy lamictal pct discount mentat mg etodolac uk next day delivery genuine bentyl medication spastic colon roxithromycin for men sale in uk alavert d-12 reviews what types of detrol are there india paxil price what is duphalac medicine where to buy alesse in canada safely comprar pastillas alli en andorra lukol from usa no perscription levaquin what is erythromycin womenra sildenafil 100mg tablets saw palmetto reviews acne where to get cialis online to buy beconase aq side effects of olanzapine withdrawal seroflo capsules where to buy lotensin can i buy chloramphenicol eye drops tamoxifen 10 mg/ml clomiphene 50mg/ml where to buy requip drugs online voltaren gel diclofenac sodium topical gel 1 cost renagel italiano cheapest glucotrol xl to buy amaryllis south florida mail order pharmacy technician jobs in ohio gabapentin fibromyalgia dosage pharmacy rx pills ru acai online pharmacy uk trental lawsuit settlements ordering low dose celebrex what does allegra d make nitrofurantoin patient reviews where can i buy valium online uk chloramphenicol eye drops lloyds pharmacy remeron uk online sales ireland cheapest kamagra prices meloxicam high blood pressure vigra airport norway get actoplus met in mexico order feldene 10 mg kmart pharmacy generic price list citalopram mail order atarax tablets uses floxin generico italiano sale of chloramphenicol how to take mobic 7.5mg maxalt next day shipping buy hong kong fml forte ml online sale of risperdal generic brand amoxil cytotec canada prescription cleocin barato buy generic flomax online buy biaxin no prescription antibiotics order online order yasmin uk pharmacy canadian pharmacy cialis daily use skelaxin and alcohol erowid wellbutrin usa cvs prices western drug ditropan robaxin italiano express care pharmacy avondale buy cheap cabana online zoloft without a prescription from canada lawrence walter in india liquid fertomid review buy micardis no prescription fast delivery acid reflux prescription medicine how to treat gonorrhea and chlamydia at home buy florinef astrailia buy rumalaya gel online reviews ordering low dose cipro mupirocin side effects when will cialis be available in generic form will promethazine tablets get you high fun tonight we are young buy viagra jelly boots asthma triggers weather buying drugs in berlin without overnight cleocin online can you take pletal daily deltasone generic reviews vytorin tablets 40mg all types prevacid pills buy keppra online usa most reliable place to buy pravachol online buy rythmol sr 325 snovitra super power shop net walmart pharmacy trazodone sale online advair diskus cost of seroquel without insurance where to buy orlistat mg wellbutrin common side effects in women order abilify 2mg canada aripiprazole viagra 25 mg ou 50 mg i want to pay some cozaar lantus dose twice daily plendil tablets for purchase buy feldene in australia prozac and weight loss canesten hc clotrimazole hydrocortisone buying female cialis using paypal buy cheap grifulvin v how to get malegra fxt drug metoclopramide mexico pharmacy gerd tinidazole tablets 500 mg order buy deltasone online pharmacy amaryl m2 india cheap augmentin 100 mg dipyridamole cost without insurance noroxin with no rx buying aleve in manchester buy sinequan next day how many molecules of aspirin c9h8o4 are in a 100 mg tablet purchase metformin no prescription citalopram no prescription uk online pharmacy best site get danazol can you buy nizoral at walmart safe place orlistat canada over the counter generic purim uk paypal the online drugstore nootropil speman tablets from buy generic from stromectol aldactone 25mg bodybuilding zantac in croatia what is zenegra made of long lasting erection pills over counter billig lynoral online kaufen metformin australia pharmacy order oxytrol overnight normal dose of seroquel for sleep robaxin 1000 mg side effects retin-a ge express canada zanaflex generico italiano buy live chickens birmingham noroxin suppositories buy can u buy metformin over the counter tadapox in the uk now ordering propecia online is a pain free experience buy celebrex 5 what is albenza prescribed for pariet noprescrition needed uk online pharmacy cheap robaxin free delivery phexin price india online pharmacy 24 med buy arimidex online india the online drugstore diclofenac protonix 20mg tab sinequan drug store online how to take benadryl for sleep buy noroxin in usa ethionamide limited india phenergan pharmacy can you buy lotrisone over counter drugs buy minipress new zealand online bupropion hcl 75 mg tablets pilex best price valacyclovir dosage for outbreak metronidazole flagyl forte medication cost of over the counter allegra finax suppositories buy prescription buy order amantadine donde comprar serophene en venezuela rhinocort online bestellen prazosin direct pharmacy chloroquine side effects ocular cleocin gel 20 mg trazodone hydrochloride uk how long does it take for flonase to leave your system celadrin costco clomid dose male fertility suhagra online bestellen buy food online with paypal pastillas cytotec para abortar chinese herbal erection pills dansko allegra sale what is inderal tablets used for lotrisone generic price buy nizagara online usa clomiphene citrate 50 mg medicine can i get robaxin herpes outbreak treatment valtrex dosage methocarbamol 750 mg street value cialis de 5 mg en mexico bactrim lawsuit settlements ordering lamisil here in canada do i need a prescription for alesse side effects of adalat oros buy metformin without an rx hong kong buy combivent inhaler online order online meds clonidine actonel dose buy citalopram generic health canada renagel asacol discontinued fda finax drugs for sale canada usa mexico alliance how long does it take for crestor to start working order erection packs 18 pharmacy for diflucan order non generic fincar can you buy valtrex over the counter in the uk cheap nexium overseas shelf life of prednisone donde puedo comprar liv 52 prescription viagra sale pastillas para tener ereccion duradera pharmacy has best price zofran micardis plus 40 12.5 mg side effects safe online pharmacy no prescription needed prescription solutions by optumrx fax number clozaril buy online ireland plavix generic equivalent online sale of unisom orlistat fast india can you order beconase aq effects beclomethasone cytotec from canada bupropion prices at costco is it safe to order prescriptions online from canada hp 6-cell lithium-ion li-ion battery price in india ou acheter silagra viagra rezeptfrei pfizer propranolol anxiety side effects side effects prednisone medication Purchase cephalexin 250mg capsules lamisil cost generic septilin tablets price mirapex class action lawsuit canada supreme suppliers review brand flovent for sale caverta women buy buy alphagan eye drops prescription buy over the counter asacol online ciprofloxacin to buy without a scrip list of tesco stores selling diovan baclofen side effects in adults ordering confido cefixime 5mg tablets brand viagra by mail order buy genuine viagra imiquimod cream over the counter uk keflex 250 mg capsules toprol xl next day shipping health canada cialis jelly canada drug service of greenfield llc westhroid medication what is pre cytotechnology non prescription blopress endep for sleep tablet actonel sold over counter himplasia delivery london buy cymbalta without a perscription prednisolone steroids online pharmacy diovan hct generic available clozaril voltaren tegretol diovan acheter pas cher provera where to get lexapro cheap lisinopril hctz 20/25 mg order allies phexin online in us cipla pharmaceuticals indore 3 free levitra coupon buy ranitidine online reviews acticin order brahmi over the couter is it illegal to sell prescription drugs online buy freeze-dried acai powder what is the best ed drug for diabetics no prescription glimepiride generic clonidine photos purchase propranolol mg free ed medication samples clomid dosage and usage how to purchase ortho tri cyclen fastest omnicef uk delivery generic reglan tablets seven second ed pill buy aceon 50 aristocort phone orders micardis 20 mg preis my canadian pharmacy corp montreal cost comparison generic zyvox antivert pct buy zoloft online ship worldwide singulair 40 mg pharmacy buy aldactone tablets canadian how to by sarafem online ceftin side effects dizziness generic cleocin clindamycin proventil canada overnight delivery actonel usa doxycycline hyclate 100mg dosage for dogs can you smoke promethazine pills prazosin usa aleve on line purchase buy alli uk prescription what is parietal lobe function
Home Biz of Baseball - Interviews Interview - Jayson Stark - ESPN

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 617 guests online

Atom RSS

Interview - Jayson Stark - ESPN PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
PoorBest 
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 04 February 2007 16:00
Jayson Stark

It’s hard not to like Jayson Stark. Any conflicting views aside, you have to admire him for his level of professionalism, approachability, knowledge, and perserverance. One story is told of Stark staying after the 14-inning World Series game in Houston—writing a story all night—and then doing Mike and Mike the next morning. A more infamous story is of Stark working the labor negotiations in 2002, where he stayed awake for 42 consecutive hours out on the streets in Manhattan, went live every half-hour all night long on ESPN. And when he finally got finished doing television, went back to his hotel and wrote a column. As Stark likes to say, "It's a labor of love—and it's a good thing, because there's a lot of labor!"

Stark's first book—The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History—will be published by Triumph Books and should appear in bookstores around Memorial Day.

The following interview topics include how he approached writing his new book; his take on the proposed deal to make MLB Extra Innings only available on DirecTV; how he goes about doing his Useless Information Department columns; his voting for Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame, and how the voting process has been impacted in the steroid era; Barry Bonds’ contract language; his opinion of the worst free-agent signing this off-season; where outlets such as Baseball Prospectus fit in with other forms of media, and much, much more.

Before he joined ESPN.com and ESPN as a senior baseball writer in 2000, he spent 20 years at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he covered the Phillies, served as a national baseball columnist and wrote the widely syndicated Week in Review column which appeared in many papers all over the country. He has also been a columnist for Baseball America for two decades, and has written for a number of other big sports publications. 

His regular contributions to ESPN.com include the newsy Rumblings and Grumblings column and his tilted look inside baseball's numbers and quirks, the Useless Information Department.

At ESPN, he has appeared regularly on Baseball Tonight, SportsCenter, Cold Pizza, Outside the Lines, the Hot List and numerous other ESPN shows. He is also a regular on Mike and Mike every Wednesday morning, on radio and ESPN2.

Maury Brown for The Biz of Baseball: Let’s start with your book coming out in May, The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History. When I last contacted you, you were putting the finishing touches on it. Since this was your first book, what do you know now about the topic and the book writing process that you didn’t know before starting it?

Jayson Stark: I’ve been saying my whole life that I wanted to write a book. I’m really glad I did. It’s an incredible experience. One thing I learned is that it’s sure a long journey from chapter one to the last line of the appendix. I’ve never entered a triathlon, but I imagine this is a writer’s version of triathlonning. There are times where the finish line seems so far away, it’s tough to keep plowing forward. But when you get to the end and you look back, it’s really exhilarating. I was blown away by how much I learned about dozens of players, including quite a few active players. And it was fun reflecting on all the factors that lead us to underrate and overrate players in the first place—for reasons that are often borderline irrational.

Stark quoteBizBall: How did you make the determination as to who was under or overrated?

Stark: That might seem like a pretty basic concept. But it has more layers to it than you might think. It basically turned into a myth-versus-reality book. When I said a player was underrated, it didn’t mean he was better than Babe Ruth. And when I said a player was overrated, it didn’t mean he would have been better off selling silverware door-to-door. You could be a Hall of Famer, and be underrated. You could also be a Hall of Famer and be overrated. It all came down, really, to the same question: How does the perception of this player match what he actually was (or is)? And the great thing was, even as I was coming to my carefully thought-out conclusions, I knew there would be fans and readers disagreeing with me, by the gazillion, on some of these players—and I didn’t even mind. That, to be honest, was the whole idea. There are many things we love about baseball. But one of them is that it’s the greatest topic in the world to debate for days, weeks and centuries at a time. So once this book comes out, I expect the debates to begin—and not stop until the year 2096.

BizBall: Doing a book like this and covering players that are still active must have been interesting. Are there any concerns that you may offend some of the “overrated” players and make doing your job more difficult?

Stark: Sure. But let me make two points on that. 1) For the most part, I thought I was generally respectful of almost all the players I decided were overrated. In many cases, I laid out all the things they were good or great at – before giving the other side of the story. And 2) I’ve spent a lot of years covering baseball. There are always going to be times, in the normal course of doing your job, when you write or say things that create issues with people you cover. Totally goes with the territory. But I’ve never, ever claimed to be a guy who thinks I’m right about everything, and everybody else is wrong. So if people want to differ with me, rip me or yell at me, I know the deal. That’s what we’re here for. I’m ALWAYS willing to listen to the other side. So this book is no different. I knew going in that lots and lots of people were going to disagree vehemently with many of my choices. No problem. I look forward to hearing from just about all of them.

Stark quoteBizBall: Let’s shift gears… You, like many others, are starting to cover MLB’s proposed plan to make Extra Innings only available on DirecTV. For those that don’t have espn Insider access and your comments recently, what are your thoughts on the proposed deal?

Stark: I just think it’s incredibly short-sighted. I know the people at MLB think they’re not doing anything different than what the NFL does—but they’re wrong. The NFL never offered Sunday Ticket to cable customers at any point, so it never got into a mess like this, where it literally was taking programming away from people who had gotten accustomed (maybe even addicted) to it. The NFL also never forces its fans to choose between watching their home team and watching the rest of the sport. But that’s what MLB is doing to people in places like Philadelphia, where I live. No local pro sports are available on DirecTV here because Comcast offers its Sportsnet only to cable. So is ANYBODY going to order both? Not unless they’re from somewhere else and don’t care about those home teams in the first place. I find myself directly affected by that issue, but it’s the bigger picture where baseball really gets hurt. These fans they’re ticking off aren’t just any fans. They’re baseball’s BEST fans—folks who are willing to do something we once thought people would never do: PAY to watch baseball games on television. Why mess with those people? And here’s where this is especially short-sighted: If you limit your audience, you’ll never know how many fans you would have made or could have made if you’d exposed your product to the maximum possible audience. It only takes one night of watching baseball to turn someone into a passionate fan. So why limit the opportunities for people to have that experience? Fan-building should always rank above bottom-line-building. Shouldn’t it?

BizBall: You churn out an unbelievable amount of interesting tidbits in your "Useless Information Department" segments, which are really far from “useless”. Without giving away the goods, how do you research for them?

Stark: I’ll let you in on a secret. There’s really no such thing as useless information. It’s the most tongue-in-cheek column title in the history of column titles. And the proof is the response to this stuff. I can’t believe how people gobble up these nuggets. I’m 4,000 emails behind in my Useless Info mailbox, if that gives you any indication. I start by keeping a notebook every day of the season of things that go on that interest me, or have Useless Info potential. Plus, I get fantastic ideas from readers. Once you get the idea, the rest is just good detective work. I research these notes in all kinds of ways. Whatever I can research myself, I tackle through all the great online tools we have now, or through stats I keep myself or with Lee Sinins’ awesome Complete Baseball Encyclopedia. With other projects, I need help. The Elias Sports Bureau has been tremendous about plunging into this stuff. Plus, I’m lucky to have friends and readers – David (the Sultan of Swat Stats) Vincent, Dave Smith of Retrosheet, Trent McCotter of SABR, etc.—who are always coming up with amazing tidbits. I even have readers who will look up, say, the most letters in the names of any double-play combination in history. And yes, Graffanino to Grudzielanek to Mientkiewicz IS the correct answer.

BizBall: Can you recall one Useless Info entry that stood out more than others?

Stark: The factoid that I think got the most oohs and aahs on ever was one I came up with in 2004 on Barry Bonds. Barry walked so much that year that even if he’d gotten ZERO hits all season, he still would have had a higher on-base percentage than the guy who LED THE LEAGUE IN HITS (Juan Pierre). I still can’t believe that happened myself. Now THAT’S the epitome of useless information.

BizBall: You voted for Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame. In writing on the decision, you said:Mark McGwire

"It isn't my intent to belittle anybody or give some big spiel about why I'm right and why they're wrong. This is a tough, complicated decision, dumped in our laps by a sport that left it up to us to deal with its mess.

"So there's no right and no wrong choice here. We probably can't do the right thing no matter what we do about Mark McGwire. But here's why I voted the way I did:

"The fact is, people have oversimplified this issue, to the point that, if you listen to the way most folks talk about it, you'd think there were only 10 players taking any kind of performance-enhancing drugs in the '90s."

This brings up an interesting and difficult quandary for the voters, and for you… Will it be a case that only players caught using will be those you won’t vote for, and how does Barry Bonds fit into this equation when the time arrives?

Stark: I’m like many of my fellow voters. I’m still sorting this question out as I go along. So I can’t tell you yet precisely what I’m going to do about Barry or anybody else. But here’s what makes this so difficult: We really have no idea which players did what during the ‘90s. Even with players we all think, assume, or are even dead sure were clean, how can we be so certain? HUNDREDS of players used these substances, or at least experimented with them, because that was the culture in a sport with no tests or penalties. So are all those voters who want to make a statement just going to withhold votes from players who hit home runs, or got subpoenaed, or showed up in Jose Canseco’s book? If you really want to be fair and consistent, you would have to vote for NO players of that generation, unless evidence emerges that tells us who did and who didn’t. That doesn’t seem like a real good solution. And when I looked back at this historically, I learned it’s clearly not how past handled cheating (in all its forms), drug use or just about any other controversial issue in baseball’s history. Players were judged on their careers, period. Ask Gaylord Perry. So I understand why voters want to make a statement against steroid use. I’m just saying it’s only going to get trickier to do that as we go along, and more and more players from that era show up on the ballot.

BizBall: Now that Barry Bonds is signedor not signed, we're still hanging—what’s your take on the unique contract?

Stark: When you hear there is a clause that allows the Giants to wriggle out of the deal if Barry gets indicted, it sounds like the Giants hold a humongous hammer. But look a little closer. The conditions that would allow them to enforce that clause are extremely unlikely. There is almost no chance Barry would miss a significant chunk of games because of indictment-related court dates. And it’s hard to believe Bud Selig would try to suspend the guy based on an indictment, because it would never fly. It would provoke legal chaos. Ask yourself this: Why would Barry or his agent ever agree to a clause like that? Because they think it’s a violation of the Basic Agreement, if not the Constitution. And as much as Bud Selig and about 25 million other Americans wish Barry would just go away, they probably would have been better off rooting for him to fall of a ski lift on that “skiing vacation” than believing they can use this clause to get him out of their hair.

BizBall: With the wild free spending we’ve seen—especially with the Cubs—care to predict how they finish in the NL Central?

Stark: Hey, thanks. I was at least hoping to get a look at everybody in spring training before I tossed those predictions out there. If you could tell me how many games Mark Prior will start, where Roger Clemens will pitch and whether Mark Mulder will make any meaningful contributions to the Cardinals, that would sure help my prognosticating. But for now, I’m going to adopt the philosophy I’ve been using with the NL East the last few years: Pick the champs (in this case the Cardinals) until they’re no longer the champs. Like the Braves of recent seasons, I think the Cardinals have slipped on paper over the last few years. But they always find a way to win. So they’re my pick. But I can see a scenario where everybody but the Pirates contends in that division.

BizBall: Worst free agent deal this off-season?

Stark quoteStark: Boy, there are about a dozen I could pick with no problem. But I’m going to go with the Barry Zito contract. I haven’t found anyoneANYONE—who thinks the Giants will get seven ace-type years from Zito. I’m sure they’ll get some respectable years, and some reasonably healthy years. But seven years, at those dollars? Way too long a deal for a guy who probably has No. 3 starter stuff at this point. Remember, in the postseason, he faced 51 hitters – and struck out ONE of them. That doesn’t sound like a dominator to me. I have a lot of respect for Barry Zito, and for the men who run the Giants. But I have no idea how they can get their money’s worth out of that investment.

BizBall: How do you approach writing and television?

Stark: The great thing about working where I work is experiencing how ESPN manages to get all its various entities to flow into, and play off of, each other. I consider myself privileged to work there for many reasons, but the best part is having all those different media to communicate with the audience. We’re now integrating video online in so many creative ways that we’re no longer producing video only for television. I just finished a piece on how a pitcher gets ready for spring training, for example. Not long ago, that might have been only a column. In this case, I followed Randy Wolf of the Dodgers through his entire workout day, along with a cameraman. So we had a cool video piece on how he prepares, along with a separate companion column that gave us a chance to look at his philosophy on how to get ready for a season. Those two pieces didn’t duplicate each other. They complemented each other. That’s where the online world is heading, especially at ESPN.com. By the time I was finished, I felt downright futuristic.

BizBall: Is there a blurring between online media—the Baseball Prospectus’ and The Hardball Times’ of the world—and print media? Do you feel they are gaining acceptance as valid outlets compared to their print media counterparts?

Stark quoteStark: I’m not sure if “blurring” is the right word. I just know the internet offers a voice to people who might not have had that voice in the past. There’s always room now for folks who think creatively about baseball, and the guys at Baseball Prospectus and Hardball Times think as creatively as anyone out there. What those sites do is different from what newspapers do, or what websites like ours do. But that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. There is a place for all of us now, which is great. It doesn’t mean they supplant what we provide or, say, what the beat writers covering the Indians provide. It just means there are more ways to get valuable perspective on the sport than there have ever been. And I’m all for that.

BizBall: Last question… What does Jayson Stark do when he’s not watching and covering baseball?

Stark: Or writing books about baseball, you mean? Well, theoretically, I’m pretty sure I’d be considered a relatively normal human being. I have a wife and three kids. So I love spending as much time with them as my insane life allows. My kids have all been volleyball players, and my wife is a volleyball coach. So I’ve spent a billion hours watching and talking about volleyball over the last few years. That’s a big part of our life. I also love music. I love movies. I love reading newspapers. I love Lost and The Office and 30 Rock and 24. I love college basketball. And I especially love what I do. So it’s scary how much time I spend thinking about baseball when I’m not even supposed to be thinking about baseball. I try to convince myself that’s a good sign. But I’m sure I could find a team of psychiatrists who would tell me otherwise.


  • Interview conducted by Maury Brown on 1/29/07

To read other interviews on The Biz of Baseball with the likes of Charley Steiner, Ken Rosenthal, Stan Kasten, Marvin Miller, Bowie Kuhn, Bob Costas, and others, select the Interviews navigation element to the left on any page.

 

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?