zero percent interest credit cards balance transfer lowest interest rate credit card india which credit card is easiest to get approved for with bad credit how to pay canada student loans compare credit cards with free travel insurance victoria secret credit card reviews legit cash advances online list of credit card companies bad credit loans no credit check top 10 unsecured credit cards bad credit rewards credit card for average credit credit card loan definition credit card transfer offers australia freedom chase visa credit card legitimate online payday loans can you use a visa gift card to get cash back sample visa card number cancel hsbc credit card insurance premium how old to get a credit card in uk duplicate hdfc credit card statement tesco credit card ppi credit cards instant approval for bad credit bad credit cards unsecured hdfc titanium credit card information unsecured instant approval credit cards secured credit cards after bankruptcy canada usaa credit card cash advance limit wells fargo credit card payment plan how to apply citibank credit card philippines pay sears credit card account online 0 interest credit card offers uk british airways visa credit card usa online credit card apply hdfc bank my tesco credit card login united airlines credit card phone number does western union accept credit cards united credit card offer flyertalk credit card reviews australia cash back offer on icici credit cards unsecured credit cards for low credit scores interest charge on cash advances us bank credit card rewards canada 2011 credit card payment gateway singapore 7 best credit cards for bad credit best uk credit card balance transfer new credit card offers bad credit what does it mean if a credit card is secured visa credit card applications for fair credit best mobile credit card processing canada compare prepaid credit cards us track lloyds tsb credit card application credit card compare uae payday loan lenders uk bad credit best airmiles credit card canada 2011 how to use a mastercard gift card online virgin credit card online chat merchant cash advance leads capital one credit card business rewards compare citibank credit cards hsbc household bank credit card best gas credit card for students best no annual fee credit card with reward i need a credit card fast best visa credit cards 2011 canada car finance bad credit uk hsbc personal loan against credit card best cashback credit card on the market first time credit card holder advice axis bank credit cards customer care number average credit card apr bank of america alaska airlines credit card business instant online loans unemployed woolworths everyday rewards credit card travel insurance hdfc credit card points redemption form free credit card numbers list bank of canada credit card debt payday loans cash advance for bad credit online cash advance direct lenders bad credit unsecured credit cards no deposit buy virtual credit card with bitcoin small business credit card processing reviews how to stop pre approved credit cards credit card fraud statistics uk how to register a hdfc credit card online merchantware mobile credit card terminal falcon credit card fraud detection system hdfc credit card helpline number kolkata credit card approval with no credit hdfc credit card charges for irctc vodafone to airtel balance transfer code can i pay my us bank mortgage with a credit card prepaid credit cards visa international use new credit card offers october 2013 starwood hotels credit card uk how to build credit with your first credit card hdfc credit card offers on air travel contact rbs credit card services hdfc credit card easy emi offer store credit cards easy to get approved cash back credit card comparison 2013 credit card 0 apr no annual fee hdfc credit cards offers india sample uk credit card number td canada trust pre approved credit card college student credit cards visa citibank credit card travel insurance zurich apply for lifetime free credit card paypal credit card fees ebay best rewards credit card canada how to credit card a door lock credit card reader for small business uk hack valid credit card information student discover credit card review virtual credit card number uk credit limit definition wikipedia icici credit card with no annual fee in india best travel credit cards review us banks that offer credit cards what banks offer secured credit cards in canada how to get a secured credit card with no credit visa credit card number generator with cvv belk credit card services phone number post office credit card contact address fake credit card numbers for itunes fake visa credit card number and cvv best cash back cards canada 2012 online prepaid credit card chase best buy credit card application mastercard careers london how to set up a small business to accept credit cards halo reach credit limit bypass what happens to my credit score if i cancel a credit card are secured credit cards good for rebuilding credit cash loans uk online icici coral credit card application status best business credit card 2013 transunion free annual credit report check my visa credit card application status webster first usa credit card western union gold card uk credit card canada review best credit card processing companies to work for best gas credit cards for students get quick loans online online loan calculator india best 0 apr balance transfer credit card halifax credit card contact centre virtual prepaid credit card uk hdfc gold credit card withdrawal limit credit score check bank of india credit card apply online in india 200 cash back credit card chase whats a good first credit card capital one credit cards login list of online payday lenders icici hpcl platinum credit card offer natwest visa card issue number tesco credit card points petrol hdfc international credit card payment credit card information security policy template best credit card rates australia nhs black card code hsbc credit card loan singapore do you need a credit card to rent a hotel room in canada track barclay credit card application hsbc orchard credit card phone number petro canada credit card cibc getting out of a credit card machine lease uk credit cards accepted in cuba barclaycard business credit cards online what is the best credit card rewards program best credit card to get uk best unsecured credit cards for poor credit best credit card apply online aeroplan credit cards canada no fee phone number for bank of america business credit card everyday rewards cards registration cpp credit card protection insurance credit cards for bad credit uk best rewards credit card us bank credit card travel rewards reviews best buy credit cards hsbc horrible paypal credit card scanner for iphone current mastercard exchange rate can international students apply for credit card in uk benefits of visa signature credit cards payday loans lenders not brokers no credit check consumer reports best reward cards lord and taylor credit card contact info natwest your points credit card review barclay credit card approval best united mileage credit card offer british airways credit card offer review loan companies for bad credit no brokers credit card app iphone canada sign up for a visa credit card canada chase bank first credit card credit card after bankruptcy discharge canada interest free credit cards with bad credit uk credit card debt 2011 hdfc credit card deals on flights credit card limit increase credit score shell gas credit card capitec online loan application form credit card credit agreement best credit card for business canada standard chartered credit card customer care number singapore lic online payment through sbi credit card compare credit card rewards canada setup paypal virtual credit card generator pc mastercard sign on government credit card debt relief act goodyear credit card consolidating credit card debt with personal loan how do i know which credit card is best for me online credit card processing for small business short term cash loans for unemployed hdfc offer credit card holder are orchard bank credit cards good no fee balance transfer credit cards hsbc canada credit card sold list of all hsbc credit cards citibank virtual credit card mobile sbi credit card emi charges top credit card companies in usa gold card hostelworld store credit cards uk african bank credit card limit increase online credit card reader for ipad iphone 4 iphone 4s credit card numbers for testing purpose air canada credit card offer payday lenders uk 2012 air miles credit card uk apply for best buy credit card hsbc credit cards online australia credit card for bad credit no annual fee no deposit dbs debit visa card secured orchard bank credit card macally secured credit card terminal for iphone and ipod touch canada business credit card comparison citifinancial credit card payment address mlc nab credit card insurance walmart visa credit card application credit card payment protection fnb gold credit card design natwest credit card fees and charges which is the best credit card for students with no credit history gas reward cards best virgin credit card uk sign in 0 balance transfer credit card for poor credit rating barclays credit card application india ge capital retail bank credit cards amazon gas credit card for bad credit axis bank gold credit card online apply small banks that offer credit cards 0 credit cards online decision free sim card with credit for pay as you go credit card with bad credit canada royal bank of scotland student credit card city bank credit card customer care phone number singapore best buy credit card interest free no transfer fee credit cards 0 interest travel pay advance army payday loans online direct lender only best credit cards for poor credit low interest rate credit card canada instant credit card temporary number sss member loan application online discover card credit score tracker blank standard credit card authorization form hdfc credit card limit eligibility journey capital one credit card reviews rewards credit cards cash advance fee vanquis credit score needed for valero gas card vanilla visa prepaid debit cards business credit cards comparison virtual credit card uk free best credit card after bankruptcy best small business credit card reviews bp gas credit card balance pay tesco credit card bank transfer visa card application status credit limit calculator java program credit card number search tool citibank credit cards for fair credit american express black card uk credit card cash advance without pin number credit union credit cards online banking lloyds tsb student credit cards mastercard prepaid credit card uk hdfc credit card login for non account holders 3d secure credit card icici bank icici titanium instant credit card chevron texaco credit card address delta skymiles credit card deal how do i pay my lane bryant credit card on line credit card with bad credit no deposit no deposit no credit check credit cards chase disney credit card login best credit cards for students with no annual fee travel credit card uk i want to apply for a sears credit card online typical m&s credit card limit free credit card numbers and security code and expiration date that work 2012 check your standard chartered credit card status online credit card payment sbi holiday gas station credit card offers i need a loan with bad credit not a payday loan citibank credit card apply online in india icici international visa credit card apply for old orchard credit card credit card points guy history of growth and development of credit card in india discover credit card payment site apple credit card machine for iphone how to transfer balance to new credit card business card credit analyst salary experian credit card fraud alert android app for store reward cards online credit card fraud statistics best 2 cash back cards platinum card concierge review long term personal loans online how to apply credit card in icici bank online credit card for no credit rating unsecured credit cards after bankruptcy discharge canada no credit credit cards instant approval uk what is the best credit card for rewards uk capital one secured credit card application status hdfc credit card loan offer disney chase credit card rewards citibank small business credit card credit card terminal rental ireland loans online instant approval nz cash advance rate commonwealth bank best travel rewards credit card lifehacker prepaid credit card 5000 limit letter to credit card company can;t pay chase secured credit card review best prepaid credit card in canada credit card transfer balance offers 0 interest american express credit limit decrease pre approved credit cards offers cash advance reviews paypal credit card numbers generator i have lost my barclays credit card my premier credit card pay online compare credit card protection insurance standard chartered credit card bank disney rewards credit card phone number how to activate sbi platinum credit card 0 credit card offers neiman marcus credit cards accepted visa prepaid credit card no fees icici platinum credit card charges how to prevent credit card fraud online ge card services care credit best canada credit cards list of payday loan lenders uk bank of america instant credit card approval number average credit card fees for merchants credit card payment calculator uk direct payday advance loans legitimate cash advance lenders personal loans with bad credit in florida how do credit card companies make money payday loans uk same day no credit check credit card number verification online citibank secured credit card visa chase visa card login discover credit cards fair credit gas credit cards bad credit shell us credit card for itunes chase business credit card logon credit card debt settlement agreement credit card fraud detection techniques pdf commonwealth bank credit card travel insurance review how to review apple id without credit card 2013 renew credit card bank of ireland new debit visa card canada what banks offer visa debit cards canada credit card settlement process secured credit cards to rebuild credit reviews does applying for store credit cards affect your credit how do i setup a pin for my usaa credit card best credit card advice best credit card for balance transfers and purchases aspire visa credit card payments credit score required for credit card canada starwood credit card australia southwest rapid rewards credit card upgrade can i receive credit card payments via paypal how can i accept credit cards over the phone best credit card for purchases 2012 citibank credit card types india visa gold credit card which credit card credit cards for bad credit online approval apple app store credit card declined standard chartered credit card customer care number malaysia no fee air miles credit cards canada payday loan lenders online uk icici instant credit card activation time bad credit payday loans online capital one credit card cash advances getting a credit card machine for a business america first credit union apply credit cards online india first cash advance does applying for credit cards hurt credit score credit card promotions in dubai southwest credit card with no annual fee home depot credit card application for business can i get a personal loan with bad credit and no bank account list of online loan sharks 10 best credit cards for bad credit cash loans to your door uk three types of credit card fraud how do i get a us credit card in uk hsbc credit card application online status online virtual credit cards uk sears citi mastercard credit card login whats the average credit card apr is it easy to get approved for a walmart credit card capital one credit cards cash rewards average zara black cashmere cardigan lowest interest credit card 2013 hdfc bank credit card login best credit card with bad credit rating canadian visa credit card personal loans with bad credit and no job united cash loans login page natwest gold card travel insurance instant approval student credit cards zero percent interest credit cards for 12 months halifax credit card 0800 how to get a us credit card in canada new york and company credit card approval why do i get pre approved credit card cibc credit card comparison free background search no credit card united credit card offer apply chase credit card visa how to get a credit card at 18 canada uk credit card size where can i pay my bestbuy credit card pay loans faster how long halifax credit card application westpac credit card rewards programs free download easy credit card checker 1.2 payday loans online instant approval tips on how to pay off credit card debt fast can i pay my wells fargo student loan with a credit card credit cards with low apr for life virtual credit card terminal paypal cibc credit card lost navy federal credit union business credit cards need a loan with bad credit and no job credit cards for low income earners with bad credit lane bryant credit card address cash advance lenders only highest credit card limit possible credit card low interest rate canada best free credit cards canada 2013 incircle neiman marcus credit card gas credit card best credit card payment gateway australia tips for getting a secured credit card printable visa credit card applications does murphy usa take walmart credit cards which credit card has the best rewards system guaranteed credit card approval for no credit instant payday loans direct lenders no credit check cashback payday advance in corona ca united club credit card review visa debit cards india denied wells fargo secured credit card payday loans no credit check no upfront fees no guarantor best balance transfer credit card in malaysia icici credit card bill payment are cash reward credit cards worth it best credit cards for travel rewards canada bank of america sign up for credit card bad credit mortgage credit score for best buy credit card approval icici credit card helpline mumbai american express canada low interest credit card billdesk hdfc credit cards payment best credit card company philippines credit card compare malaysia hsbc credit card application bank of america credit card balance transfer offers visa canada credit card exchange rate credit card settlement letter format new payday lenders no credit check prepaid credit cards in canada walmart capital one credit card visa signature what store credit cards use comenity bank discover more card no credit history
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 1607 guests online

Atom RSS

Interview - Jayson Stark - ESPN PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 5
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 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 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 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.




Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?