Rob Neyer Opening Day Marathon!
Welcome back to The Show! On Monday, we have a special chat in honor of Major League Baseball's Opening Day. ESPN.com MLB Insider, Rob Neyer, will be chatting during every pitch of every game. Neyer will be switching over to this room at 7 p.m. ET, the halfway point of his first pitch to last pitch chat.
When he enters this room, Neyer will be more than halfway through the slate of Opening Day games. He will keep chatting untli the last pitch of the night.
If Neyer is able to complete his mission, he will have chatted for nearly 12 hours, which would break the current SportsNation individual chat record of 7 hours, 4 minutes, held by Bill Simmons.
Send in your questions now and join Rob for the Every Pitch Marathon on Monday, starting at 1:05 p.m. ET in this room and then moving in here at 7 p.m. ET!
Neyer's new book, "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends," can be ordered now!
Rob Neyer (7:12 PM)
Welcome to Marathon Chat, Part Deux! Let the questions ... continue!
Randy (Sherwood, OR)
Can the Mariners contend in the AL West with Sexson still in the middle of the lineup?
Rob Neyer (7:13 PM)
I do think he'll be better, but not so much better to account for downgrades elsewhere. No matter how you run the numbers the M's don't win more than 81 or 82 games.
Justin (Boston, MA)
David Wright, NL MVP this year or what?
Rob Neyer (7:14 PM)
He's certainly my choice. And if the Mets win their division he might actually be the voters' choice, too.
Patrick (Fresno, Ca.)
Mr. Neyer, want do you think of the Dodgers performance today? Also, do you think they have a shot at the West title?
Rob Neyer (7:16 PM)
I have the Dodgers finishing on top of a tight race in the West. They could almost as easily finish fourth as first, but I just have this gut feeling that the change in management coupled with all that young talent will lead to good things.
ESPN fantasy projections have ARod better in every offensive category..is that possible?
Rob Neyer (7:19 PM)
Are you sure, Alex? My understanding is that our projections are pretty good, but that just doesn't seem reasonable to me. We can assume he'll have another great year ... but that great?
Hurricane Jeff (Byesville, OH)
Hey Rob, it's me, Hurricane. Can the Reds contend for a wildcard spot?
Rob Neyer (7:19 PM)
Mr. Hurricane, I don't think they contend for much with Jay Bruce and Joey Votto in the minors.
Luigi (mongtomery, AL)
Rob, let's say your internet crashes for some reason during this chat. Is that a) like a ten inning perfect game ending in an expos loss, b) a 55 game hit streak getting broken by some spiteful scorekeeper scoring an infield hit an error, or c) a player hitting 60 single season HR the old fashioned way, only to have everyone crap on his accomplishment because we're in the steroid era?
Rob Neyer (7:21 PM)
I refuse to entertain the underlying premise, because if my Internet crashes I have a backup.
Mike (Anchorage, AK)
Rob, any thoughts on MLB and Dish Network still not agreeing to carry Extra Innings? The fans are getting totally hosed here....
Rob Neyer (7:24 PM)
It's just business, right? I mean, I'm sympathetic, but it's not like any of us have a God-given right to watch whichever baseball games strike our fancy.
Nick (Franklin Square, NY)
I got into an argument with a friend over which offense was superior: Yankees or Tigers. I think the Tigers are really good, but the Yankees are a shade better. Am I wrong?
Rob Neyer (7:25 PM)
I don't think you're wrong. As much as I hate to say it, it looks to me like the Yankees are the best in the AL, Mets the best in the NL.
Shields looked decent today after a shaky 1st. What's his ceiling? Never seem to hear much about him...
Rob Neyer (7:29 PM)
I'm as big a Shields fan as you'll find, and it's odd that we continue to hear more about Kazmir when -- in my mind, at least -- Shields has the brighter future.
Here's one that has always bugged me. Why do some players carry their batting gloves in their hands while they run the bases versus putting them in their pocket?
Rob Neyer (7:30 PM)
They do that so they can't extend their fingers when sliding, which might result in an injury. First guy I remember doing this was Kevin Seitzer, though I'm sure he wasn't actually the first.
nick (Los Angeles)
Standing o for Tori Hunter in minnesota?
Rob Neyer (7:33 PM)
Yeah, he just got a really nice hand. Funny how fans sometimes hold a grudge and sometimes they don't. Anyway, the fans also cheered loudly when he popped up the first pitch he saw.
Matt (Las Vegas)
face of the franchise for 8 years, everyone loved him
Rob Neyer (7:34 PM)
Really? I thought hometown boy Joe Mauer was supposed to be the face of the franchise? These are slippery concepts, aren't they?
why isn't the game on espn2?
Rob Neyer (7:36 PM)
My assumption is that it's blacked out in the Twins' market. But I don't know why, as I have zero understanding of the Byzantine blackout rules. Whatever the case, you should blame MLB rather than ESPN.
Darren Orono, Me.
With the base coaches now having to wear helmets don't you think it would make sense to wear the ones with an earflap instead of the ones they are wearing without the earflaps?
Rob Neyer (7:37 PM)
Of course; after all, the coach last year was killed by a ball that struck him *under* the ear. But of course this isn't about safety. It's all about ***-covering.
Joe Morgan just said that "most batting champions are left-handed, because there are more right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers." Is that anywhere close to true?
Rob Neyer (7:38 PM)
It's absolutely true. You won't hear anything truer said this week.
as a Yankee fan, I wanna know, what do you think about the future for Hughes, Kennedy, and Chamberlain?
Rob Neyer (7:39 PM)
One of them will win 150 games, one of them will win 75, and one of them will spend 2009 rehabbing from major surgery. I'm just not sure which will do what.
You may be right but I don't get why you have the M's pegged for .500 or less. 88 wins last year, plus they replace Jeff Weaver and Ramirez with Bedard and Carlos Silva. The biggest loss of consequence is Jose Guillen. What gives?
Rob Neyer (7:40 PM)
Honestly? I don't know. I'm just going where the numbers take me, and they take me to 77 wins for the M's.
Mets and Yanks having the best offenses in their respective leagues? I'm a Mets fan, but even I know that the Phillies have a better offense. I think the Tigers are clearly better than the Yanks as well. What gives?
Rob Neyer (7:41 PM)
That question was about overall records, wasn't it? That's what my answer was about.
Hello Rob. What is your favorite retired MLB stadium of all-time?
Rob Neyer (7:41 PM)
Tiger Stadium was like an amusement park to me. I saw only two games there, which I'll always regret.
Sri (Portland, OR)
Rob, Manny's hall of fame chances?
Rob Neyer (7:42 PM)
He's as good as in. All those 100-RBI seasons and high MVP finishes are plenty. And the World Series rings are like two cherries on top.
Jason (Austin, TX)
Do you think we'll ever see a 30 game winner again?
Rob Neyer (7:45 PM)
Depends on how old you are, I guess. I'm 41 and I'm fairly sure I won't see one again. Actually, I've never seen one because I don't remember Denny McLain.
So the numbers tell you the Mariners won't make it to .500, but you make the gut call that the Dodgers will win the pennant? When do you go with the numbers and when do you go with your gut?
Rob Neyer (7:46 PM)
In the event of a tie.
Have you ever imagined a baseball system with relegation like the English Premier League? It would be nice to reward succesful teams by moving them up from the minors into majors.
Rob Neyer (7:47 PM)
It's fun to think about but a LOT of things would have to change, and ultimately it's probably unworkable for many reasons.
Brooke (Portland, OR)
What is with the Giants starting lineup today, are they trying to lose? Why not start Ortemeier and Lewis over Durham and Winn, those guys are terrible!! Jose Castillo and some Bocock guy for the left side of their infield, please tell me Bruce Bochy isn't senile!!!!
Rob Neyer (7:50 PM)
What's that saying in golf ... Drive for show, putt for dough? I'm not sure why that comes to mind, but I'm pretty sure the Giants are going with the guys who are making the big dough. Which is a good reason to not give old, average players big dough.
Tyler (Dayton, OH)
Why wouldn't you play Juan Pierre if you're the Dodgers?
Rob Neyer (7:52 PM)
I'm just blue-skying here ... but because he can't hit, maybe? JK. Pierre's not the worst player in the majors, and he's so good on the bases that he probably deserves to play somewhere. Just not for the Dodgers, who have three better outfielders.
Brooke (Portland, OR)
Is that a knock on Brian Sabean, what do you think of his recent job performance?
Rob Neyer (7:55 PM)
Seriously, is there ANY way to defend Sabean's performance? I don't mean to be snarky; I really want to know. They've finished well below .500 in each of the last three seasons, and seem primed for another such season this year. How many years like this does Sabean get? I'm just asking.
The Tigers weren't really a good team until Leyland started coaching them. Do you think that with a better coach the Pirates could turn it around and become playoff contenders?
Rob Neyer (7:56 PM)
I think Leyland played a part in getting the Tigers to where they're at, but a massive payroll -- for that division, anyway -- didn't hurt. I don't know that there's ever been a manager in history who could turn the Pirates into contenders immediately, though Billy Martin could probably whip them to 82 wins or something.
do you think the twins have a chance (even if its an outside one) to surprise some people?
Rob Neyer (7:57 PM)
Sure. There's some talent there. But all that talent would have to develop at once.
Rob Neyer (8:01 PM)
Lackey's the key at this point. If he misses just a few weeks, the Angels are still the best team in the West, easily. If his injury is serious, the door is open for the M's or A's.
Michael (Tacoma, WA)
So you are giving the A's an outside chance?
Rob Neyer (8:03 PM)
Not really. I have them winning 81 or 82 games. But let's say they're on a pace for 85 wins in July. Then they might actually make a move for this season, get to 88 wins and edge the Angels. I'm not saying it *will* happen, I'm just saying I can imagine it.
Jeff (Hermosa Beach)
Sabean deserves the benefit of the doubt, after all he managed to make a deal so bad (Nathan, Liriano, & Bonser for Pierzynski) that it makes us Dodgers fans feel better about the Pedro for Delino deal!
Rob Neyer (8:05 PM)
Yeah, that one was a whopper, huh? These days it's hard to make a truly dreadful trade, because no matter how good the guy is you trade away, he'll get super-expensive in a few years and become a free agent anyway. But a three-for-one where all three wind up doing well? Ouch.
Whats the reason for the Black out the game was sold out
Rob Neyer (8:06 PM)
I believe it's blacked out on ESPN because local cable is carrying the game. Are you sure you can't get it?
Punleu (Boston, MA)
The timer at the corner says 7 hours, but honestly, how long have you spent actually chatting?
Rob Neyer (8:07 PM)
Seven hours, my friend. I got up a couple of times for a beverage, but was gone for only a minute or two. That clock don't lie.
I love it when prospects turn out in a deal and everyone says, what an idiot! What about all the trades where prospects don't pan out? I mean Sabean is an idiot, but I mean can't you second guess every GM in baseball? Give me a break!
Rob Neyer (8:08 PM)
I'm with you, Rodney. But we're not second-guessing every GM. We're second-guessing *this* GM.
not that chatting all day would make you the guy in the know, but any word on martinez' injury???
Rob Neyer (8:08 PM)
Bad hammy, day to day.
Does Carlos Gomez have a shot at 50 SBs this season?
Rob Neyer (8:09 PM)
Survey says ... YES, if he doesn't lose his job due to lack of hitting.
When asked who the best third baseman is in the MLB right now, many people would jump to AROD. I believe that while AROD is a better player, Chipper Jones is a better third baseman... am I way offbase here?
Rob Neyer (8:11 PM)
Pretty far. Chipper's defense has been up and down, and if he's better with the glove (which I doubt) you'd never be able to prove it. Anyway, the *best* third basemen are Pedro Feliz and Ryan Zimmerman. By the way, if anybody cares, I just broke Bill Simmons' chat record (which is only fair, since he broke mine). Onward...
Michael (Tacoma, WA)
Are you just going off of defense? Cuz you would have to throw Chavez in there when he's healthy!!!
Rob Neyer (8:12 PM)
Sure. Rolen, too. But when are they healthy?
About the A's...We did spend a team record amount of time on the DL last year. If Crosby/Harden/Duchscherer/Chavez can come back and produce, then it's like getting a whole new team. Anyways, what do you think Duchscherer's production will be as a starter?
Rob Neyer (8:14 PM)
Yeah. A lot of people have been wondering how the A's could come out ahead of the M's. This is the answer. It's not that the A's won't have injuries again. It's just not likely that they'll have so *many* of them. As for the Duke, I think he'll be solid.
Over/Under on how long til Simmons takes the record back? He takes those pretty personally I hear?
Rob Neyer (8:16 PM)
Does he? I hope he destroys it tomorrow, as he plays for charity while I'm just having fun and trying to sell some books.
How much of the Mariners projection changes if Richie Sexson has a far better year than last? Lets say 40 HR's, 120 RBI's for example
Rob Neyer (8:17 PM)
A lot, but I don't think he's still capable of posting those numbers. 30 homers and a .250 average would be a big improvement over last year.
Andy Ft Lauderdale Florida
Rob, if you answer my question I will buy your book....ooops already have, excellent! Now answer my questions on Barry Bonds or I will have to return your book! Do you think BB will ever play again, do you think he wants to DH, is it also a possiblity for him to take a year off and return in 2009 at the age of 44 after addressing his legal problems and just one more question assuming Bonds did indeed take steroids or HGH how many homers do you think he would have at this point of his career if he NEVER took them? Thank you, Your logical practical fan, Andy
Rob Neyer (8:18 PM)
I think he's probably done, Andy. Especially if he gets discouraged and stops working out, because there's no sense in signing him in June or July if it'll be a month before hes's ready to play/hit.
Christopher (Minneapolis, MN)
Rob, do you think that in a few years that Carlos Gomez will be the face of the Twins franchise? He has impressed me with the little I have seen so far.
Rob Neyer (8:20 PM)
Well, again, I think Mauer's got that one locked up for the moment. But if Gomez can get on base 33 percent of the time? Yeah, people are going to enjoy him.
I'm watching on ESPN gamecast. Is there any word on why Kelly Johnson is out of the game?
Rob Neyer (8:22 PM)
Sorry, I'm watching that game and I missed him leaving. Will let you know when I hear something. Or if someone else knows I'll post it.
Mike (Oakland, CA)
Rob, whose your sleeper team(s) in the AL?
Rob Neyer (8:23 PM)
Blue Jays, and the A's as a really deep sleeper.
Rory (Villanova, PA)
Last try to get this question to you. Is it faster to dive head first into first base/home or is it faster to run through it?
Rob Neyer (8:25 PM)
It's a little bit faster to run through it. This has been proved many, many times. There are occasions when it makes sense to slide, but they're few and far between.
Seems like the same rhetoric every year around now-Twins don't have the depth/picked to finish just above the Royals in the Central. Then, come September, they're right there-Same story in '08???
Rob Neyer (8:25 PM)
You mean like last year, Rico?
Donte Douglas (Memphis, TN)
Are you guys talking about the Atlanta Braves vs Pittsburgh game because the Braves are winning 3-2.
Rob Neyer (8:26 PM)
Yeah, except now it's 4-2 because McCann just took Snell deep. Fun debate: McCann vs. Martin...
Matt (Tuscaloosa, AL)
I'm sorry if this has been asked, but what do you think of the Braves' chances in the NL east this year?
Rob Neyer (8:28 PM)
That's all right, Matt. That has been asked (and answered), but that was six or seven hours ago ... I like the Braves, but not quite enough to predict a postseason berth. I think I have them winning 85 or 86 games, and falling just sort of the Wild Card.
Mike (Byron, MN)
Is pitching against minor league talent really easier on the arm for Liriano? Why don't the Twins find out right away if he is ready??
Rob Neyer (8:29 PM)
The nice thing about the minors is that nobody cares who wins except the little kids in the cheap seats. So it's easy to focus just on getting your work done. I think this is the smart move.
Geoff (Chicago, IL)
Thoughts on Ryan Theriot? And do you release your projected standings via ESPN.com?
Rob Neyer (8:30 PM)
We all did last year, but I haven't seen them this year. I certainly submitted mine. Theriot's okay, can be a decent leadoff guy with a few breaks.
Jeez, why do the Mariners still have Jose Vidro? all he does is hit into double plays, pretty much.
Rob Neyer (8:32 PM)
Well, he did do fairly well (for him, especially) last year, plus (and most important) he's in the second year of a two-year contract.
Tyler: (Brooklyn, NY)
I love it- you telling me not to take away your life line by killing the discussion about "the list" actually killed it. But look, that was like 5 hours ago and you're still going strong! You didn't need the crutch. Nice work, Rob.
Rob Neyer (8:34 PM)
It's baseball, brother. We've got 30 teams and nearly 1,000 players and all that history. If I were a robot I would just keep going forever.
Rob (Los Angeles)
How is David Wright your choice for MVP, but not even in the conversation for best 3B in the league?
Rob Neyer (8:35 PM)
We were just talking about defense, I think. I have Wright as the second-best player in the majors right now, behind A-Rod. And that's for this year. Looking ahead five seasons, I have Wright No. 1.
How can anyone justify what the Rays did with Evan Longoria? How can a franchise that claims that is has turned the corner pull the same old stuff they've done for the last 10 years, just so they can wait an extra year to pay him? They need him now if they're really serious about winning!
Rob Neyer (8:37 PM)
Well, that's easy to say when it's not your $6.5 million. And I don't think the Rays *should* be serious about winning, because they're not quite ready to win yet. Next year, maybe. The year after that, you bet.
Wright better than Pujols? C'mon dude! I know arguing with you won't get me posted but wright is NOT better than Pujols. HA!
Rob Neyer (8:37 PM)
You heard about Pujols's elbow, right?
Stanley (Windsor, NC)
Glavine and Smoltz are over 40, and Hampton just missed 2 full seasons. After seeing them in spring training, what chance do these guys have to combine for 45 wins between them?
Rob Neyer (8:38 PM)
Just guessing ... 7.39 percent. Give or take 0.26 percent.
Ken (Lansing, MI)
What are the Rangers doing with Saltalamachia? He's a young catcher in the AL, even if he can't catch right now he could DH or play 1B. Why waste his youth (and kness) in the minors?
Rob Neyer (8:41 PM)
Right or wrong, their reasoning is that right now he's not good enough with the glove to catch regularly in the majors, and if he's not catching regularly in the minors he'll never be good enough. For the moment I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, but if they don't figure out it soon that trade's going to look pretty bad.
Austin (Bakersfield, Ca)
Just curious, were there any angels players listed in your top fifty for the next five years?
Rob Neyer (8:42 PM)
I don't believe so, Austin, though it's been brought to my attention that I might have whiffed on Kendrick. Maybe I'll take another look this week, now that the dust has settled some.
Andy K (Rochester, NY)
Why are you so negative and stereotypical towards the Braves? Everything you've said about them is negative, while others are picking them to go to the World Series.
Rob Neyer (8:44 PM)
Boy, and I thought winning 85 games was pretty good. Just shows what I know. I'll tell you what, next spring I'll wait to see what "others" are saying about the Braves, then I'll say the same thing. Cool?
Larry (Tampa Fl)
I wish Longoria would stay on the Rays roster, but I think they sent him back down to the minors for arbitration reasons. Look for Evan to be playin in late April, early May.
Rob Neyer (8:45 PM)
Well, if it's arbitration they're worried about they'll leave him in the minors until late May. If it's just free agency, they could bring to the big club as early as mid-April. They're totally different things (and my thanks to Rany Jazayerli for educating me on these things).
Why is Corey Patterson and his .298 OBP a leadoff hitter?
Rob Neyer (8:47 PM)
You know what's funny about this? Dusty Baker's entire reputation is based on what he did in San Francisco, and the Giants won almost purely because they had a great team OBP ... and Baker has paid zero attention to OBP while managing the Cubs and now the Reds. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Just a little?
Shawn (Greenwich, CT)
Picked up the Big Book of Baseball Legends at Barnes and Noble yesterday. Which legend is your favorite?
Rob Neyer (8:50 PM)
Got this question earlier, so I'll offer a different answer this time ... I love all of them, but the one about the home run and the explosion at the bean factory is pretty hard to beat, don't you think?
Tyler (Dayton, OH)
Why is Joey Votto (Reds) being talked about as much as he has? When he player for Dayton (A) he was just above-average. Has he just improved that much?
Rob Neyer (8:50 PM)
Yeah, he has. By most accounts he's among the top 10 prospects in the game, and some have him in the top five.
Jon (Basking Ridge, NJ)
any update on how Kelly Johnson is? Prado is in right now and no word on Johnson
Rob Neyer (8:53 PM)
Sorry, I just tuned in and caught the tail end of Prado's AB, missed any discussion of why he's in the game. Will continue to monitor...
Boon (Portland, OR)
Do you feel MLB (Officials) were ever really serious about getting a team in to Portland, OR or was it all show even though Washington DC location was a lock?
Rob Neyer (8:53 PM)
I think MLB was serious about putting pressure on the DC people, so I guess my answer is a little bit of the former but mostly the latter. That was the plan from Day 1 and MLB was going to make it work.
Alex Gordon or Billy Butler, who's the better of the two and do you foresee the royals being able to keep both of them long term.
Rob Neyer (8:54 PM)
Butler will be the better hitter, Gordon the better player. My guess is that both of them sign extensions that buy them out of their first year or two of free agency.
Mark (San Mateo)
I know you're down on the Giants (for good reason) but are there any Giants on your top 50 list?
Rob Neyer (8:55 PM)
LSTM (Laugh Silently to Myself) Sorry.
Neil (New Haven, CT)
The Pirates just made the # 1 web gem, I think. What a play.
Rob Neyer (8:57 PM)
I wish I could show everyone right now ... Wilson just made a play that I don't believe I've ever seen, in all my years of watching as much baseball as I can watch. I'm not saying nobody's ever made it. But I've never seen it. Check it out later, however you can.
Chris (Milton, VT)
If I remember correctly from the WS chats... Are you consuming mass quantities of PESF (performance enhancing sweedish fish)?
Rob Neyer (8:58 PM)
Nope. I do like parmesan Goldfish, but my flight was late this morning so I didn't have time to stock up on anything, actually got home with only six minutes to spare.
So you're saying that Cain and Lincecum dont come close to making your top 50?
Rob Neyer (8:59 PM)
Yeah, but that's nothing against them; I just don't like young pitchers, and had only six of them on the whole list. No Joba Chamberlain or Clay Buchholz, either, if that makes you feel better.
Sean (St. Cloud, MN)
Rob Neyer (9:00 PM)
Ah, that makes sense. Thanks, Sean!
John Pomfret (Memphis, TN)
Hmm, I've asked 3 questions....all of which have been legitimate baseball questions and none of them have been answered. So, I pose this question to you Rob. Do you think the Memphis Tigers can win the National Championship?
Rob Neyer (9:02 PM)
I didn't see your baseball questions, John ... they're coming in pretty fast, too fast for me to see them all. But Memphis? Sure. Looks to me like Carolina's the favorite, but the other three teams are all good enough to win. I have to admit I've seen Memphis play just twice this year, and UCLA just once. So I'm no expert on them.
Kyler Way (South Dakota)
Who is the best closer in baseball?
Rob Neyer (9:03 PM)
I think I played this game last winter and came up with J.J. Putz, just ahead of Nathan and Rivera. And Saito. And probably another three or four guys.
Stosh (Branford, CT)
is it me or does it seem like everybody is overrating Detroit. their pitching staff aside from Verlander is average and most of their position players are coming off of career years(Ordonez, Granderson), injury/age(Sheffield, Pudge), or struggle when faced with pressure(Renteria w/ Boston).
Rob Neyer (9:05 PM)
I can't argue with anything here, except maybe your point about Renteria. I do have the Tigers edging the Red Sox for the Wild Card, but nobody should be surprised if they're on the sidelines next October.
Nick (South Dakota)
Hey Rob, what's the deal with some players becoming vegetarians this year? Is there something that they know that I don't??
Rob Neyer (9:07 PM)
Is there more than one? I heard about Prince Fielder. Or Ray King. Now I can't remember which. Both? Anyway, I don't know what you don't know, but a lot of us have no idea where the stuff we eat comes from, or what it's doing to us. The best primer is probably "Fast Food Nation" (the book, not the movie).
Brian (Bettendorf, IA)
Last year Chipper Jones missed almost a fourth of the season due to injury. What do you think his impact will be if he can stay healthy for 140 or 150 games this year?
Rob Neyer (9:09 PM)
Ask me when he does it. If every injury-prone player -- J.DL. Drew, Eric Chavez, Scott Rolen, etc. -- stay healthy for 150 games a lot of things will be different than they look today.
Tyler (Dayton, OH)
During this 8 hour run, what have you had to drink the most?
Rob Neyer (9:10 PM)
Fruity hot tea. Love the fruity hot tea. With honey.
Nick (South Dakota)
I have heard that Pat Neshek became a vegetarian too...
Rob Neyer (9:11 PM)
Well, of course. He's an intellectual. Next it'll be Lenny Dykstra.
Bill (Connecticut Texas)
Just wondering how poeple can have the astros as one of the bottom feeders when the have an emerging OF in Pence plus they also have Lee and Berkman. thier pitching is a liittle weak but its not as bad as some teams.
Rob Neyer (9:13 PM)
Yes, they do have a fine outfield. They also have a bunch of stiffs in the infield, and the rotation after Oswalt might throw fewer strikes than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Astros could finish third, or sixth. Either way they're not contending.
How many starts does Hughes,Kennedy & Joba combine for this season?
Rob Neyer (9:16 PM)
Chris (New York, NY)
Rob - how'd you get here? It's quite an accomplishment to become a writer for ESPN.
Rob Neyer (9:19 PM)
I started in the mail room and worked my way up. No, but seriously folks ... I got hired before ESPN.com was a juggernaut, and nobody cared too much that I didn't know what I was doing. My entire career has been characterized by that sort of dumb luck. Just ask anybody.
Austin (San Antonio, TX)
Rob, why do you think that Texas is holding on to both Laird and Salty? They seem like they could be decent trade material.
Rob Neyer (9:21 PM)
My guess: They're hoping that Salty progresses some with the glove, and they can deal Laird to a contender in June or July. That way everybody's a winner.
I miss ESPNET Sportszone!
Rob Neyer (9:22 PM)
I don't. Too many syllables!
Rob, general consensus around Boston is Coco Crisp is only receiving playing time in order to shwocase him to other teams. Do you find this to be true, or may the Sox actually think he will remain a contributing player this season?
Rob Neyer (9:23 PM)
Either way, it makes sense to play him two or three times every week. It's not like the guy's not any good. He's just not quite as good as the other guy, probably.
I know shortstop has some ridiculous athletes, but how is it that Jack Wilson doesn't have a Gold Glove? I think he's finished second like four times. That play he made before was absolutely incredible.
Rob Neyer (9:25 PM)
It was, but I don't recall him actually deserving a Gold Glove. Remember, most years he's been up against Adam Everett, and there's really no comparison between the two.
Hanley showed really good range to his left and looked (remarkably) unlazy on routine plays. Can he become a legitimate defensive shortstop, or is CF inevitable?
Rob Neyer (9:27 PM)
It's uncommon, and perhaps downright rare, for a crummy defensive shortstop to show real improvement in his mid-20s. My guess is he's an outfielder within three years.
Troy Keohane (Richmond,VA)
Hello Rob, who is the best pitcher out there now? My choice is Carlos Zambranos. WHat do you think about that?
Rob Neyer (9:30 PM)
I think he'd probably make my top 15 and perhaps my top 10. But not my top 5. Not even in the National League, probably. Too many bases on balls.
Mike (Takoma Park MD)
Speaking of Lenny Dykstra, did you read Ben McGrath's piece on him in the New Yorker a couple weeks ago? It was brilliant and hysterical.
Rob Neyer (9:31 PM)
Yeah. I linked to that piece in the blog today. That's why I mentioned him.
Adam (St. Cloud MN)
neshek is lights out in the eight giving up a bloop double, but striking out the side
Rob Neyer (9:33 PM)
I saw him get Guerrero. I'm a big Neshek fan, love watching him pitch. Fun watching O'Day, a sidearmer, pitching for the Angels, too. Lots of funky deliveries around the majors these days. Which is kind of strange when you think about it, considering how many young pitchers have personal coaches who teach the classic poses.
What do you think about livan hernandez this year?
Rob Neyer (9:34 PM)
I think the O/U for his ERA is 5.47. So he's off to a great start.
Dan (St. Paul)
What do you think about the idea of the Twins moving Neshek to closer and moving Nathan?
Rob Neyer (9:36 PM)
I thought they should have done it already. But if having Nathan signed to a long-term deal makes him more attractive to other teams, all the better.
Geff ( Toronto)
Name your 5 worst contracts in baseball today. Vernon Wells has to be one right?
Rob Neyer (9:38 PM)
I don't know that I have five handy, but I'm pretty sure Wells wouldn't be one of them. Sure, he was disappointing last year, but we can expect him to bounce back some. No. 1 has to be Barry Zito, and Juan Pierre's in the mix. J.D. Drew's not looking too hot right now. Julio Lugo. Carl Pavano. There are others worse than Wells'.
Hunter (Cleveland, TN)
Rob, should we or should we not buy Jose Canseco's new book coming out tomorrow? Not to get to in depth but what is your view on the book and Canseco himself?
Rob Neyer (9:41 PM)
Oddly, this is the first question on this topic I've seen today... My take on the book is that everything you'd want to pay for, you've already seen in the reports about the book. As for Canseco himself, the two books do give you pretty good window the psyche of a narcissistic lunatic, but you can get roughly the same window by reading Pat Jordan's recent piece about Canseco (I can't tell you where to find it, but you'll figure it out).
Tyler (Dayton, OH)
About Jack Wilson, how can you not think that Jack Wilson should not of had a Golden Glove sometime in recent years. He seems to put up great play after great play after great play, and his stats show for him too. Last season he had a FPCT of .983, only 11 Es, 177 POs, and 452 As on 640 chances. Come On.
Rob Neyer (9:44 PM)
I ... FIND YOUR DATA ... UNCONVINCING ... DOES ... NOT COMPUTE.
I can't imagine a contract MUCH worse than Richie Sexson.
Rob Neyer (9:45 PM)
Oh, right. That's another nice one.
You know rob the thing about canseco is he is like a car wreck for some reason people just cant look away
Rob Neyer (9:46 PM)
I get that, sort of. But the same car wreck, again and again? That's what I don't get.
Andrew (Portland, Oregon)
My question is, why didn't Canseco come out with A-rod's name in his first book?
Rob Neyer (9:48 PM)
His explanation is that he hates A-Rod so much that if he'd accused him in the first book, nobody would have believed him. Which of course leads to an obvious question...
James (New York)
Rob, What is your opinion about the way the President was booed at the Nationals game yesterday? In my opinion as leader of this nation, the man deserves some respect whether you agree with his administration or not. He was not doing anything harmful; he was just ushering in a new era of baseball.
Rob Neyer (9:51 PM)
I'm glad I live in a country where you can jeer your leader without being taken to a wall and shot.
Tim: (Bangor Pa)
No your all wrong, Adam Eaton has the worst contract of all time.
Rob Neyer (9:56 PM)
Ah yes, another fine candidate. Getting back to the original question, there's no WAY Wells' contract is one of the five worst, and probably not one of the ten worst.
Zack (Pittsburgh, PA)
Rob Neyer (10:02 PM)
I don't think he'll be a household name in September, but I don't see why he won't establish himself as a decent everyday player, a sort of poor man's Ryan Church (and I mean that as a compliment).
They're showing the replay of the White Sox/Indians game today. We're to the point where Hawk and DJ go off on the umpires again. It's good entertainment.
Rob Neyer (10:03 PM)
Yeah, that was fun. They just didn't want to let it go, did they? I wonder if, afterward, someone explained to the two ex-major leaguers that yeah, that really *was* interference...
Steve (Clemson, SC)
How the heck is Nathan and Saito ahead of Papelbon on your closer list? Hasn't he proved himself yet?
Rob Neyer (10:04 PM)
No, he was up there. I just forgot him for the moment.
Brian (Syracuse, NY)
Your thoughts on the news that the Jays want to extend Rios to the tune of 6 for $65 million? Given the contracts already on the roster (Wells, Ryan) and my opinion that he may never become the prototypical corner outfielder, isn't that a bit much?
Rob Neyer (10:07 PM)
I don't have a good handle on what salaries will look like four, five, six years down the road. But considering Rios's career stats, that does seem like a lot of clams.
Justin (Chapel Hill, NC)
Wait...why is Ausmus starting tonight and not Towles??
Rob Neyer (10:08 PM)
Hey, it could be worse; at least Erstad's not in the lineup.
How ya doing there Rob? Starting to hallucinate yet? Those voices must be telling you the answers...
Rob Neyer (10:09 PM)
Not yet. But we just passed the nine-hour mark, and I suspect those voices are going to start showing up at some point in the next three hours. Basically, any crazy stuff I post between now and 1am Eastern can't be held against me...
Tyler (Dayton, OH)
Do you think Aaron Harang should recieve more consideration for the Cy Young?
Rob Neyer (10:12 PM)
Gee, I don't know. He did pitch well today, but it's only March.
Rob, your my boy, but I have to disagree on the poor man's Church comment about McLouth. I think he's as valuable as Church, similar on base ability, a little less power, but he runs at an excellent success rate and frequently enough that his stolen bases are actually a positive attribute, thus closing the gap. Jack Wilson is a poor man's Adam Everett defensively, I think your un dercutting Nate. I respectfully dissent.
Rob Neyer (10:14 PM)
I appreciate your dissent, Tom. Let's revisit this debate next winter. Don't forget.
Where did Rollins actually deserve to finish in the MVP voting last year? Top 5, let alone #1 seems too generous to me.
Rob Neyer (10:15 PM)
There were a bunch of good candidates, and he was one of them. I think I had Wright No. 1, followed by Hanley Ramirez, Utley, and then Rollins not far behind.
Rob, do you still speak to Bill James? Do you know if he will ever update his Historical Baseball Abstract, or is he too busy with the Red Sox?
Rob Neyer (10:16 PM)
Jim, I don't think Bill is working on another Historical Abstract, but he's got a new book, The Bill James Gold Mine. And he's also working on a book about famous American crimes.
I'm a patient guy, so Votto and Bruce not playing on opening day doesn't worry me all that much. When should I begin to worry?
Rob Neyer (10:17 PM)
Depends on your hopes for this season. If you entertain thoughts of postseason glory, you should begin to worry in early May.
Ross (Sidney, MT)
Miguel Tejada - HOFer?
Rob Neyer (10:17 PM)
Very little chance.
i know this is a stretch because this is opening day but i have been on this chat for probably 8.5 hours today and might be one of the most entertaining and informational chats i have been apart of. Rob whats the chances of you having ESPN fitting these chats into your contract so we can have them a few times a week?
Rob Neyer (10:19 PM)
They'd have to give me half of Space Mountain. The fast, scary half.
Evan (Staten Island)
Rob, make a bold prediction. Who has the better career if both stay healthy? Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez?
Rob Neyer (10:21 PM)
It's close but I'll take Ramirez because he's already got a game-changing skill: his hitting.
Eric G. (chesaoeake, Va)
okay, why is everyone suddenly(and when i say suddenly i mean in the past two days) picking the braves to make it to the world series. it all started with Eric Young pickong them to make it to the series, which as a big braves fan, i wasn't very fond of. Then Gammons then Stark. Rob, what is so appealing about the Braves?
Rob Neyer (10:26 PM)
Eric, I don't know. I do think they'll contend, especially for the Wild Card. But sometimes these things feed on themselves, or loop around themselves, or whatever. I look at an outfield that's not that good, and an injury-prone third baseman, and a kid shortstop, and a bunch of old guys in the rotation, and I see 90 wins as an absolute upper boundary.
Dwight (Springfield, MO)
Rob, what made you a Royals fan? And, have you ever thought about moving back to KC?
Rob Neyer (10:32 PM)
The '76 Royals made me a fan. At that time, the city was obsessed with the Royals, a real source of pride for fans with an inferiority complex. Playing in one of the smallest markets, the Royals regularly drew two million customers when two million was a lot. I used to think about moving back to the midwest, but I've been gone long enough that now when I get it homesick it's for Oregon.
why is the game not on ESPN 2? Sportscenter is on.
Rob Neyer (10:34 PM)
My guess is that it's blacked out where you are, Kenny. Check your local sports channel...
Andrew (Chesapeake, VA)
Rob, I don't really have a question...I would just like to say congrats on this incredible feat. You have been chatting almost all day and have proven to me once and for all that you are probably the most knowledgeable baseball analyst at ESPN, and I look forward to reading your book. Keep up the good work, buddy!
Rob Neyer (10:36 PM)
Thanks, Andrew. You win the contest! I'd send you a book but I don't know how to get your address...
Blah Blah Blah - you've got 7 more innings to go, at least
Rob Neyer (10:36 PM)
Good point, Joe; just getting started!
Ryan (Dallas, TX)
How is the game being blacked out in Dallas texas for a Houston astros game
Rob Neyer (10:37 PM)
Ryan, if there's one thing I've learned from you guys over these last few years it's that the blackout rules make zero $@%$ sense.
Donald Evans (Kirkland, WA)
Rob, Is it just me or is Jose Reyes terrible over rated. Don't get me wrong he is a very good player but ..... the last two years his OPS + was 115 and 103 ... the last two years his FRAA were -14 in 2006 and then 9 last year, don't know what quite to make of that ..... but 9 above avg doesn't seem like he is an elite defender .. i dunno again don't get me wrong he is more than a fine player but i just think he is also over hyped ... do you hear me ?
Rob Neyer (10:38 PM)
I hear you. He's a good player and should get better, but he simply isn't a great player at this point. And Hanley Ramirez, poor defense and all, is.
Hey Rob, what do you think of my A's this year? Are they gonna do anything if they stay healthy?
Rob Neyer (10:40 PM)
If they're healthy they're going to shock the world. If they're just sort of healthy they're going to finish ahead of the Mariners.
Chris (Pocono Lake, PA)
The difference between Rollins and Wright last year was this: Wright is supposed to have 30 HRs and 107RBI batting 4th in that lineup, as a matter of fact, he should have had MORE than just 107RBI. Rollins, as a lead off hitter, should have been nowhere near Wright's stats. Rollins was close to 100RBI, they were close in doubles, they had the SAME amount of HRs also. Rollins obviously had more at bats as a lead off hitter, but when needed in Sept/Oct, Rollins carried his team to the playoffs. I think the writers made the right choice, I also think that Holliday was a good choice at number 2. Your thoughts Rob?
Rob Neyer (10:41 PM)
Holliday was real good, and I should have mentioned him earlier. But I'm not sure why Rollins gets extra credit for the pennant race when Wright was fantastic down the stretch. But then, we went through all this last fall and I haven't convinced anybody yet...
Ryan (Dallas, TX)
Does ESPN realize that Dallas is 300 miles away from Houston?
Rob Neyer (10:44 PM)
Probably, but that's MLB's call, and they don't want ESPN competing with your local cable channel. Or so I've been told. Like I said, the blackout rules make no sense.
Rob, as a Phillies fan, how worried should I be? The pitching's just abysmal outside of Hamels and Myers, and even Myers got roughed up today. Do I have any hope that the hitting's going to carry this team, or should I just wait until football season starts so I can start being disappointed in the Eagles?
Rob Neyer (10:46 PM)
The Phillies are definitely in the mix, but I have them in third place for exactly this reason. Oh, and Hamels isn't exactly a sure thing, either, considering his injury history. They might score 950 runs and allow 900.
how bout those twinks? what's their upside? think they stand a chance is a scary looking al central?
Rob Neyer (10:47 PM)
You know who the "Twinks" used to be? That used to be the nickname of the Hollywood Stars. Anyway, strange turn of events in Atlanta...
JEFF (New Jersey)
Rob, How is Hanley Ramirez getting a pass on defense by you and being called a great player? When you eventually get off this chat, go and look at the 2 consectutive defensive laps by Hanley in the 9th inning today and tell me whether or not defense should be considered in determining greatness....He single handedly gave up a run... If you cost as many runs as you produce its a wash, not greatness..... Not to mention we are strait out of Spring training and these errors were mental.
Rob Neyer (10:48 PM)
So I'm guessing you don't classify David Ortiz as a great player. That's fine. We'll just have to agree to disagree.
what is happening with pittsbrugh?!!
Rob Neyer (10:50 PM)
Sorry, buddy ... Two outs, two on, two-run lead ... Pirates outfielders let a routine fly fall between them, tying the game. Now they're going to the 10th.
Roel Torres (Somerville, MA)
After the Rays and NYY had issues over blocking the plate in spring training, my question is this: what is the actual MLB rulebook legislation concerning blocking the plate? It seems to me like it should be illegal.
Rob Neyer (10:51 PM)
The rule says you can block the plate if you have the ball, or are in the act of catching the ball. I'd like to see that rule enforced, and the addition of a rule that further limits collisions. I don't understand why baseball is a non-contact sport exactly until you reach the most important point on the entire field. That just strikes me as dumb.
Joba or Phil Hughes... better future?
Rob Neyer (10:54 PM)
That's a tough one, so I'm going to hack through the Gordian Knot and say Ian Kennedy.
Rob, you say its a bunch of old guys in the braves rotation. I dont really see your point with how that will effect their playoff contention. Havent these oldies been quite successful the last few years (including Maddux, Rogers, etc)?
Rob Neyer (10:55 PM)
Rogers missed much of last season. Glavine was shaky. Smoltz is on the DL at the moment. I mean, really?
IPK over Phranchise and Jobanator? Explain.
Rob Neyer (10:57 PM)
He has solid -- though not overwhelming -- stuff, and a history of real success as a starter in the majors, plus he's been generally healthy. I know his upside doesn't match that of the other guys. I just think he might have the best chance of not being on the DL three months from now.
Rob, what if DeWitt plays well and the Dodgers have three 3B? Is it possible they just cut Nomar completely?
Rob Neyer (10:58 PM)
DeWitt won't hit. Trust me on this one.
James H. (Bronson TX)
Rob Neyer (11:02 PM)
Wrigley, Fenway, and whatever they call where the Giants play. Also, the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Thomas (Sioux City)
Don't you dare say Coors field. That place is a friggin dump.
Rob Neyer (11:04 PM)
Actually, Coors is one of my favorites, too. One fantastic feature: walking around the lower-level concourse, you can see the field at almost every point.
Wait a minute? Kennedy has "a history of real success as a starter in the majors"????? he has only made 3 starts in the majors... all last year. What??? Earlier you told me joba was tough to rate becuase he has only pitched 24 ininings... IPK has only pitched 19.
Rob Neyer (11:05 PM)
You're right: I misspoke. I still like that he pitched at four levels last season, totaled 165 innings, and was successful everywhere.
Rob, would you agree Oswalt is the most underrated pictcher in baseball?
Rob Neyer (11:06 PM)
Oh, I don't know. You think he's still a big secret? There must be somebody else who's just as good, or nearly as good, but doesn't get any ink. Candidates?
Javier Vazquez, how bout it rob?
most underrated pitcher is aaron harang
Underrated pitcher....Matt Cain
Rob Neyer (11:08 PM)
All three of those guys are solid candidates.
Rob, what are you going to do after the chat ends?
Rob Neyer (11:10 PM)
Blog. Sleep. Blog. Repeat.
Rob are you watching the Pit vs Atl game? Pit just got charged with a vist to the mound becasue the Manager called time and told the catcher to go talk to the pitcher. Is this a new rule? The play by Play guys have no idea whats going on.
Rob, fattest player in the MLB? CC??
Rob Neyer (11:12 PM)
Oh, no. Not close. Has to be Prince Fielder or Dmitri Young. Or Prince Fielder after he's swallowed Dmitri Young.
Dan (New Canaan, CT)
So I take it you won't be missing Shea Stadium when it kicks the can this year?
Rob Neyer (11:13 PM)
You know what? I don't hate Shea. The scoreboard with the New York skyline, and the Big Apple popping out of the hate ... they have their charms. Not that I'll miss the place, either.
irishyankee (Long Island)
Yank-ee Base-ball..... Hey rob, can we get all u "experts" on baseball 2nite and litteraly eat crow when the yanks make the playoffs?
Rob Neyer (11:15 PM)
Dude, are you on some wacky drugs or something? I'm pretty sure most of the "experts" have the Yankees in the playoffs. Either way, I have them with the best record in the league. Don't worry; one of these days the Yankees will finally get the respect they so richly deserve. One of these days...
Dan (New Tork New York)
Hey Rob, was Jimmy Rollins the worst Mvp ever picked?
Rob Neyer (11:16 PM)
Oh gosh no. Not close. Not within five miles of the worst.
Would you take Peavy or Oswalt at the top of your rotation?
Rob Neyer (11:18 PM)
Santana's No. 1, then Peavy and Webb tied for No. 2, then Oswalt and a few other guys tied for No. 3. The other guys? Haren, Harang, Zambrano, and maybe Hamels.
what's going on in atlanta?
Rob Neyer (11:19 PM)
Bottom 11, one out and nobody on, still 9-9. Fun game, if ugly.
Why wouldn't you take the only 20 game winner last year, Beckett. He isn't getting any love this year from you "experts"
Rob Neyer (11:20 PM)
I was just doing National Leaguers. Obviously the American League discussion would include Beckett and Sabathia.
Rob, there is a debate going on over at River Ave Blues (Yanks blog) over whether Paul O'Neil's number should be retired. LaTroy is wearing 21 this year (the first player since Paulie retired) and it has some Yankee faithful very uncomfortable if not angry. Even though I love Paulie, where is the line drawn? I don't have a problem with it. Your thoughts?
Rob Neyer (11:22 PM)
It's up to the Yankees, of course, but the bar for retiring a number should be set pretty high, and O'Neill doesn't clear that bar. I do think the Yankees could have let the number lay fallow for a bit longer, though.
David (Goatse, GA)
What's been the biggest surprise on opening day so far, Rob?
Rob Neyer (11:23 PM)
I don't really believe in one-day surprises, but the right answer is probably two closers in one game giving up three runs apiece.
who is your "surprise" team this year? i hate listening to experts when they pick the most talented teams to do well.
Rob Neyer (11:24 PM)
The Jays and the A's are my picks. I wish I had one in the National League, but I won't have one unless the Reds call up Bruce and Votto fairly soon.
Paul (Philadelphia, PA)
Rob, Lastings Milledge looked great today. Do you see him representing the Nats in the All Star Game this year?
Rob Neyer (11:27 PM)
Him or Nick Johnson, but often it comes down to positional need, in which case it could be anybody who's playing well at all. Actually, come to think of it, we missed the obvious choice: Zimmerman, the second- or third-best third baseman in the league.
Robert, if you had one everyday player 23 or younger to build a team around who would it be? Francoeur possibly?
Rob Neyer (11:31 PM)
Zimmerman's 23. He's a great candidate. B.J. Upton's 23. Troy Tulowitzki, ditto. It'd be one of those three guys, for sure.
Thomas (Sioux City)
Rob, how can I take you seriously after you said you liked Coors Field? That's like admitting you watch Golden Girls.
Rob Neyer (11:33 PM)
My three favorite TV shows, all-time: 1. The Office, 2. Golden Girls, 3. Arrested Development.
Matthew (Oxford, MS)
The braves will win this one
Rob Neyer (11:33 PM)
Probably not, since the X-Man just hit a three-run bomb.
If you like Arrested Development you should check out It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Just as hilarious, and that's from an AD devotee
Rob Neyer (11:35 PM)
I disagree with you, but I've seen every episode and I do like the show a lot. It's just not as dense or as brilliant, relies on low-brow stuff for it's humor. But it's great low-brow humor.
Thomas (Sioux City)
Coors, Golden Girls . . . what's next? Michael Bolton fan too?
Rob Neyer (11:37 PM)
What are you, some sort of freakin' mind reader? Stop getting inside my head, dude!
Andrew L, Chicago, IL
Sorry I just joined the chat, but what did you think of those 3 calls that went against the White Sox today? Each cost them a run, and two were quite obviously wrong calls(not sure about the O-Cab slide)
Rob Neyer (11:38 PM)
The first one was bad, the second one was probably bad, and the third one was good. The Sox did have a beef, but it's a long season and stuff happens.
Adrian (Knoxville, TN)
Ok, so, who was the worst MVP choice ever? And if you can think of them off the top of your head, the worst 5?
Rob Neyer (11:39 PM)
Sorry, I'd have to look at a list. Hank Sauer and Andre Dawson -- who had a lot in common -- come to mind. A lot of sluggardly sluggers would be candidates.
robin yount's second mvp was pretty bogus
Rob Neyer (11:42 PM)
Yeah, it was a bit of a stretch, but I don't recall it being *that* bad. In fact, a lot of the ones people talk about -- Kirk Gibson, Terry Pendleton, Zoilo Versalles, Phil Rizzuto -- look a lot better when you figure in defense and park effects. How about Marty Marion in 1944? That was a bizarre choice.
Jenny (New York)
Why is the Yankees' perennially weak rotation not a turnoff for you again this year. I dont see plugging in a bunch of unproven young guys as being a huge upgrade over the last few years. Why so confident?
Rob Neyer (11:44 PM)
Okay, so it's not an upgrade ... they averaged 95 games over the last three seasons! With legitimate questions about their rotation before every season. Maybe this is the year the Yankees are left standing around when the music stops. But until it does I'm taking them.
Nathaniel (Spring, TX)
Do you still standby your previous thoughts that Tim Purpura was a good GM candidate?
Rob Neyer (11:44 PM)
Oooo, that's a blast from past. Care to dig up my exact quote? In fairness to Purpura, there's been talk that he was hamstrung by ownership. But that's a thin reed...
Scott (Cleveland, TN)
Ummm...Braves are coming back again...
Rob Neyer (11:45 PM)
Jeez, what hap--- oh, okay. Three outs. Some game, huh? Maybe the game of the day?
Will Alan Trammell ever get into the hall of fame? He gets the shaft every year. Better then Ozzie Smith by far but he didn't do a back flip!
Rob Neyer (11:46 PM)
Trammell wasn't better than Ozzie. Not career-wise, anyway. But he wasn't a lot worse, and it's a shame to see his brilliant career mostly forgotten so quickly. He'd certainly get my vote.
Game of the day was Royals vs Tigers.
Rob Neyer (11:48 PM)
I'd probably agree, but -- and maybe this is just me -- but games in Detroit never *look* good, at least not on my TV. I don't know if it's the air there, or the colors of the stadium, or the broadcasters ... but I never have any fun watching a Tigers game, even if they're getting beat by the Royals.
Buffalo deserves a baseball team dont you think?
Rob Neyer (11:51 PM)
The population/demographics doesn't work. But a lot of people reading this might be surprised to learn that 20 years ago Buffalo really was considered a real candidate for an MLB franchise.
Josh (Schererville, IN)
Rob, how long have you been chatting for today?
Rob Neyer (11:52 PM)
Well, let's see ... according to the official timepiece it's been 10 hours, 45 minutes, 57 seconds.
Do you think there will ever be a MLB team outside the US?
Rob Neyer (11:54 PM)
Yes. I predict that someday there will be at least one team in Canada. Maybe two, but one of the teams won't last long.
Why doesn't ESPN have you and Simmons have simultaneous chats and just see who can last longer?
Rob Neyer (11:54 PM)
My guess is that one of us would wind up dead.
Ted (Poughkeepsie, NY)
You said you would build your team around B.J. Upton, which I totally agree with. But I heard his brother has an even bigger up-side. Why not build your team with him? Is it because he hasn't proven himself in the Majors yet?
Rob Neyer (11:57 PM)
Yep. You can't go wrong with either of them, but I'm assuming we get to keep them for a finite period of time, and I'd rather have B.J. for the next five years than Justin. Because I'm pretty sure that B.J.'s going to be excellent in his first of those five years.
Gregg (LA, California)
When rating a catcher's defense, do you ever consider how they handle pitchers, or is that just too speculative to consider?
Rob Neyer (11:59 PM)
I would be happy to consider it, if I had any information that made sense. But I haven't seen it yet. I mean, I'll give bonus points to Variteck and Ausmus and their ilk. But just a few.
Tony (Toronto, ON)
Rob Neyer (12:00 AM)
Honestly? I went through a little rough patch in the seventh hour, but now I could go for another five or six if necessary. I think. Maybe. It'd be easy if I hadn't been up since 4:30 this morning.
Pat M. (Milw, WI)
Why do you hate prince fielder so much? EVERY TIME you mention him its about how fat he is instead of how he hits for average and was the youngest player to hit 50 homers in a season
Rob Neyer (12:02 AM)
I don't think I ever said he was "fat". I think I merely suggested he might be belt-buckle-notch-challenged. That's totally different.
Jeremy (Providence, RI)
Wow, the Astros really do have a terrible rotation! After Oswalt, there's no one I'd want starting in any reasonably important game at all. Do they have the worst rotation in the game?
Rob Neyer (12:03 AM)
I think Oswalt disqualifies from that great honor. On paper it's probably the Nats, right?
you should have just did like 7 1/2 hours just to break the record. now next chat your gonna have to do like 13 hours or people will be like "who cares i seen rob do 12 hours straight"
Rob Neyer (12:05 AM)
Nah. I'm going into semi-retirement after this one. And then, if I ever write another book, I'm going to blow your freakin' minds.
I'm not impressed that you've been watching baseball all day and "chatting" at your computer. However, I am thankful.
Rob Neyer (12:06 AM)
I know it's not exactly digging ditches or pitching hay. Actually, I would rather do this for eight hours and dig ditches for four hours. But nobody asked.
Rob, in your opinion who will have a bigger impact for the NY Yankees this season, Johnny Damon or Melky Cabrera?
Rob Neyer (12:06 AM)
I'll say Cabrera because of his defensive value and his presumed durability, but I suppose it's close.
Rob, how was Ozzie better then Trammell? Seriously, look up their stats at Baseball-Reference and compare. Trammell was BY FAR the better hitter, not even close. Better career AVG, OBP and SLG. Yes, Ozzie won all those gold gloves but Tram also won four gold gloves. Guess what, Tram was .10 above the league fielding percentage, Ozzie was .12. The difference in fielding between the two isn't nearly as great as the difference in batting between them. Tram was top 10 in MVP 3 times, Ozzie once! Look it up!
Rob Neyer (12:09 AM)
You're not doing justice to Ozzie's defense, my friend. And I'm afraid that using fielding percentage as evidence automatically disqualifies you from participating for four calendar weeks. See you in late April!
Rob- What do you think of Jay Mariotti removing the comments section of his daily column on his website. Talk about dishing it out and not being able to take it.
Rob Neyer (12:11 AM)
Let me tell you something about professional writers ... On second thought, I think I'll save that for another time. Next time you see me at the ballpark...
Tram was top 10 in MVP 3 times, Ozzie once
Rob Neyer (12:13 AM)
Yeah, you mentioned that. It's one data point. Or four, if you prefer. I have lots more. Trust me, Marty: I'm on your side, but you don't help yourself by arguing that Trammell was better than Ozzie. There are other Hall of Fame shortstops who serve your purpose to great effect.
OK, Im about to set a record by submitting questions for 10 hours without a response. But here, I finally have a good question: what player or preditcion were you most wrong about over the years? I remember Karabell telling people to draft Renteria over Jeter a few years back, but what's your most shameful moment?
Rob Neyer (12:15 AM)
Oh, so many ... In 1999, I chose Fernando Tatis as the "Third Baseman of the Aughts" ... and in the winter of 1997-1998 I gleefully referred to Sammy Sosa as "Sammy So-So" ... Those might be the top two, but so many candidates...
Michael (Austin, TX)
Rob, I've been on here since noon central time (longer than Chris' 10 hours) without getting a question answered, so I believe I hold the record he claims to have. Why do you think the Rockies aren't getting much attention?
Rob Neyer (12:19 AM)
Probably because their big off-season move -- as I recall -- was signing Scott Podsednik as their fourth outfielder. And of course playing in Denver doesn't help.
I was reading the acknowledgments in Michael Lewis' book "The Blind Side" and was surprised to find that you edited it. Approximately how many books have you edited?
Rob Neyer (12:21 AM)
Zero. I just offered a few notes and Mr. Lewis was overly kind. Just being a part of the process was a thrill for a fan like me.
Devin (Green Brook, NJ)
And there's the Jose Reyes is the worst regular in baseball comment, but you took enough abuse for that one.
Rob Neyer (12:23 AM)
Hey, thanks a lot for bring that up! ;-) Actually, I don't have a problem with that one, because when I wrote that -- in a chat -- he was playing terribly. Was he *fundamentally* a terrible player? No. Was I engaging in a bit of hyperbole? Probably. Am I just talking to myself now? Absolutely? Do I regret any of it? Not on your/my life.
Dan (cedar falls, iowa)
I have also been here all day with no question answered, and I'll ask who is the worst starting position player in the majors, this years nick punto?
Rob Neyer (12:24 AM)
He's not starting this year, is he? I think he's a utility guy this year. Anyway, I wish I could answer the question because it's a good one, but I'd have to scan all the depth charts.
How can you say the Nationals have the worst rotation in baseball? They didn't trot out Mark Hendrickson on opening day
Rob Neyer (12:27 AM)
Yeah, the Marlins are a solid candidate, too. Scott Olsen could be okay if he's healthy. But yeah. Scary stuff. And remember how many good starters they had two years ago? This is why I hate young pitchers. Because if you hate them they can't break your heart.
Kyle (Syracuse, NY)
Peavy looks NASTY as usual. This game looks promising for the Padres, who finally have SOME offense, especially off a guy like Roy Oswalt. Granted Peavy has 2 of the team's 3 RBI's...
Rob Neyer (12:29 AM)
Darn it. It took until well after midnight Eastern to get to the single most important thing I'll say in the entire chat ... The Padres CAN HIT. Last year they were fourth in the National League in road scoring! All the talk about their lack of hitting is due to their home park ... Oh well. Maybe I'll say it again tomorrow, if anybody asks a related question.
Is Ichiro a Hall Of Famer if he goes 3 or 4 more seasons at his standard pace?
Rob Neyer (12:30 AM)
Yep. He's already got sentiment on his side, and once he clears 2,000 hits he's a shoo-in.
Would you be amused if the Marlins ballpark deal fell through at this point, and if so what do they do?
Rob Neyer (12:30 AM)
Move to Portland! Move to Portland! Move to Portland!
Tony (Brooklyn, NY)
Here's one you have to regret - picking D'Angelo Jimenez to have a better future than Alfonso Soriano.
Rob Neyer (12:34 AM)
May I just say that I'm astounded by your collective memory? Now that you mention it, I remember that vividly. Obviously, I was wrong about Soriano, but Jimenez's career was destroyed by a car accident, so I will plead for the mercy of court on this one.
Ada (Eugene, OR)
Why is Terra so cute?
Rob Neyer (12:35 AM)
The big brown eyes, mostly. And the expressive ears.
joel h (st. louis,mo)
why isnt any of my questions getting answered bout the cardinals being contenders
Rob Neyer (12:36 AM)
Steve (PV, KS)
Royals and return of the Powder Blues. What do you think? I think it's overrated!
Rob Neyer (12:37 AM)
Especially because they're going wear white pants with them. Yuck!
How much does the Rolen injury hurt the Blue jays? Is Scutaro an adequete replacement for a month?
Rob Neyer (12:38 AM)
Sure, this month. But what about the other month he's hurt? And the three weeks later on? That's the scary thing about an injury at the beginning of the season ... It's not like you don't have the same injury risks over the following five months.
Kris (Casper, WY)
The Padres can hit??? Their power outfeild makes the Giants outfield look like an All Star lineup.
Rob Neyer (12:39 AM)
Yeah, yeah, yeah ... People were making the same jokes last year. Trust me: at season's end the Padres will rank in the upper half of the league in road scoring.
Carlo (New York)
What is Simmons's record for chat length? Have you broken it yet, Rob?
Rob Neyer (12:40 AM)
There was a record? I was just doing this for fun.
Was doing this 12 hour chat your idea, or an editor or higher up at ESPN/the dot com? And why didn't you do yours for charity, like Simmons?
Rob Neyer (12:42 AM)
I gave $25 to ThinkCure on Saturday night, figure I'm good for the year.
Ok, then is Scutaro an adequete replacement for the 65 games Rolen is on pace to miss this season?
Rob Neyer (12:42 AM)
Melody (Quincy, MA)
Nice reactions to you book from both Posnanski and Shysterball. I might even buy it...
Rob Neyer (12:45 AM)
My mom said she liked it. Sort of. Does that push you over the top?
Congrats on your Royals being in 1st place!
Rob Neyer (12:46 AM)
Thanks! If there's one thing I've learned over the last 22 seasons, it's take your small pleasures where you find them.
For the worst starter, it has to be Luis Hernandez of the Orioles. He has the potential to be the worst starter of all time. Check out his minor league stats
Rob Neyer (12:50 AM)
If he's any good at shortstop I'm pretty sure he's not the worst ever. But yeah: He's significantly worse than Tony Pena Jr., which means he's an *excellent* candidate for worst starter right now.
Ivan (Whittier, CA)
Will Greg Maddux retire at the end of this year?
Rob Neyer (12:50 AM)
I think he'll pitch as long as he can pitch.
frankie (yuba city, CA)
Rob, the twins have a dynamite bullpen, a pretty balanced offense that can do the little things like steal and get runners over like tonight, and hit for power on other nights. they have a great defensive outfield, and a good defensive infield. they'll have a great rotation if they young guys step it up. why can't they contend?
Rob Neyer (12:52 AM)
What you said about their rotation is true of half the teams in the majors.
chris acworth ga
did you watch canseco on letterman tonite? he seems like a tired act. i believed his first book. but i think hes out for money now. im a mets fan so im not trying to defend arod. canseco seems iffy to me now
Rob Neyer (12:55 AM)
I'm out west so that's still a couple of hours away. But no, I'm not going to watch. Watching inarticulate people speak makes me uncomfortable. In that sort of setting, I mean. Behind Canseco's back, everybody involved with this entire enterprise is laughing at him. He's a pathetic, damaged creature and I prefer to not participate.
Jason (Kadena AB, Okinawa Japan)
Deployed now with the Marines, currently in Japan. Glad to have a couple games over here, but seriously, America's pasttime having opening day abroad?
Rob Neyer (12:56 AM)
Not my preference, but then I'd strip all the signs from the outfield walls, too. Some windmills just aren't worth tipping unless you're a tragic hero. Which I'm obviously not.
Seriously, what will you do if the Houston/San Diego game goes extra innings and you have to stay here for an extra hour or so?
Rob Neyer (12:57 AM)
Don't worry. I'll model through it.
Joe (Madison, WI)
Rob, you talked about that Jack Wilson play, but it didnt even crack the top 10 on Sportscenter! What gives??
Rob Neyer (12:57 AM)
Sounds like a technical glitch to me. What about Baseball Tonight? I think it starts in a few minutes...
Andrew (St. Louis, MO)
You're crazy man. I like you, but you're crazy.
Rob Neyer (12:59 AM)
I can think of no higher compliment.
Sam (Santa Fe)
Brian Bocock! Brian Bocock! Dude couldn't OBP .300 in *A Ball* last year. Now that's a potentially worst of all time.
Rob Neyer (1:01 AM)
Right, he's probably the guy. But he gets an asterisk because everybody knows he can't really play and is just holding the position for Vizquel. But man, his numbers could be truly insane.
One out away - anything you'd like to say?
Rob Neyer (1:02 AM)
Oh. Right. Good night and good luck? Been used already. Actually, I'd like to get to 12 hours, so give me a couple of minutes to come up with something. In the meantime...
Chip K (Los Angeles)
Do you feel all of the expansion has hurt MLB as far as the talent being watered down compared to when there were only 24 teams?
Rob Neyer (1:03 AM)
Maybe. Just a tad. But don't forget about all the players from Japan and Taiwan and Korea and Australia and Venezuela and various other faraway places. I wouldn't be surprised if the talent level isn't actually higher than it's ever been.
i have no problem with what the rays are doing with longoria, i don't think they'll be in the running this year. but is this what the brewers did with braun last season? if so, did they cost themselves the division with that move???
Rob Neyer (1:04 AM)
No, I think they did that with Braun because of legitimate questions about his defense. In fairness, they couldn't have guessed he would be THAT good with the bat. Nobody could have.
Looks like Baseball Tonight is going to leave us hanging on the Wilson highlight as well.
Rob Neyer (1:05 AM)
MUST ... TRUST ... IN ... WEB ... GEMS...
Rob Neyer (1:08 AM)
Okay, I'm going out at the 12:01 mark. Thanks for helping out. Let me leave you with these Opening Day watchwords, from the great Ring Lardner: "The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong -- but that's the way to bet."
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