interest free credit cards bad credit rating secured credit cards pnc bank bank america worldpoints visa signature credit card apply for a credit card for bad credit online air miles credit card no annual fee international credit card fees class action orchard bank gold credit card reviews consolidating credit card debt cibc credit card zero interest offers pay hdfc credit card bill online through billdesk spirit airlines credit card free flights how do i pay my walmart credit card bill online advantages and disadvantages of credit cards and debit cards gap credit card paperless statements pay metrostyle credit card online how to consolidate credit card debt canada circuit city credit card pay get business credit card new business canadian credit cards with lowest interest rates shell gas rebate credit cards how to get a credit card company to reduce your interest rate report lost credit card mastercard how to apply credit cards chase student credit card limit credit card encryption+drupal secured credit cards for bad credit with no deposit card credit debt negotiation settlement accept credit cards paypal mobile credit card machine companies helzberg diamond credit card order a credit card with visa how to dispute a credit card chargeback get chase credit card bad credit credit india plastic card embossing machine credit card interest rate calculation formula goodyear credit cards online list visa credit cards numbers best credit card for medical expenses paying credit card late response letter summons credit card debt nab internet credit card payment can you use an american credit card in europe orchard credit card login what is my credit card number square iphone credit card canada best australian prepaid credit card credit card transfers zero percent credit cards no balance transfer fees best credit card with airline miles surcharge on credit card transactions which is the cheapest credit card to use abroad pay citibank credit card uae low credit card rates good credit best corporate credit card canada credit card issuers airline miles credit card for bad credit figure monthly payment credit card first premier bank credit card processing fee why do people get multiple credit cards no credit credit cards students visa use credit card through paypal can unused credit cards hurt your credit score apply for the children;s place credit card free credit card number and security code credit cards with 0 percent interest on transfers halifax credit card balance transfer to bank account sears solutions credit card application target credit card login page credit card sitex 2011 united airline credit card 50000 case-mate id credit card case for blackberry 9700 credit card air france miles natwest student credit card contact number does wachovia offer secured credit card standard chartered credit card online payment other bank discover student card average credit limit free dating no credit cards bt credit card review credit card manufacturers canada credit card default consequences california $100 free dating site no credit card first national bank credit card login amazon credit card foreign transaction fees amex centurion credit black card bank of america cancel credit card transaction hsbc credit card points redemption uk credit card special offers benefits do credit cards offer merchants best credit cards cash rebate credit card debt relief government help get new credit card sbi fortunoff credit card account charges for using halifax credit card abroad best credit card purchases samuels diamond elite credit card new acm wallet credit card holder & money clip hybrid commonwealth low rate credit card limit wamu credit card agreement can you pay credit cards online credit card with high limits applications credit card payments applied highest interest apple credit card reader uk quickbooks credit card processing reviews singapore airline letter indemnity credit card use prepaid credit card online poker universal 1 credit union card services credit cards with 0 interest for 12 months on purchases wyndham rewards visa credit card login credit cards to build credit score neiman marcus credit card pay by phone visa airline rewards credit cards transfer balance credit card 0 interest ge money credit card uk credit card starting with 4999 government credit card citi exxon mobil credit card pay on line alaska airline credit card canada itunes wont accept my credit card security number credit cards bankruptcy no annual fee free credit cards information wireless credit card terminal first data instant credit card approval canada bad credit visa disposable credit card number can jc penney credit cards used american express credit card pay online india first premier bank credit card activation phone number credit card number generator with cvv and expiration date when do you have to pay off credit card credit card numbers and security codes that work 2013 best credit cards for fair credit credit cards for people with bad credit trying to rebuild credit how much cash can i withdraw from my credit card citi.com credit card login can you pay chase credit card payment chase bank highest rated credit cards rewards activate your rbs credit card apply sears credit card login credit card payments through google stimulus help for credit card debt credit card judgement in pa visa credit card dispute resolution how do i pay federal taxes with credit card magnetic money clip credit card rbs credit card payment uae exchange credit card services rbs phone number hsbc online credit card application philippines can you use sears credit card at sears outlet credit card collection defense free background check no credit card required tractor supply credit card online update credit card information playstation network first premier centennial classic credit card archangel usb 2.0 usb credit card flash drive credit card amazon points where can i get a prepaid visa credit card credit card processors online business mastercard credit cards for people with bad credit credit one card payment make barnes and noble credit card scam how to get a credit card with frequent flyer miles bank america stop sending credit card checks how do you pay off amazon credit card why do we have high interest rates on credit cards airport lounge access credit card paying off credit cards with credit cards secured credit card canada td vending machine credit card acceptance mobile credit card terminal recurring credit card authorization form doc how hard is it to get a walmart credit card best credit card foreign exchange fees credit card cloning machine buy car with credit card points can change my credit card info itunes sears credit card online pay bill iphone terminal credit card credit card interest payment calculators consolidate credit card debt into loan where to apply for a credit card credit cards best rewards consumer reports credit card lawyers ny british airways visa signature card credit score picture of credit card statement credit card deposit to bank account can you pay for my western union money transfer with a credit card how to pay new york and company credit card online hsbc credit card services barclay apple credit card login balance transfer credit cards fair credit hsbc credit card benefits malaysia sears credit card balance canada american express delta platinum credit card best credit card app for ipad answer credit card summons template citibank credit card india online application cell phone can swipe credit card hhonors credit card diamond conoco credit card customer service 76 credit card payment credit card payoff time formula best credit cards no foreign fees air mile reward credit cards prepaid credit card visa usa southwest credit card free flight round trip how do i get a free credit report without using a credit card home pc credit card reader cannot use credit card with paypal when did people first start using credit cards difference between visa debit credit card sbi hero honda credit card number activate chase freedom credit card cell phone credit card debt collection agency dining credit card promotions singapore gm credit card payment address better use credit card debit card online best elite credit card credit card payment processing time who has the best credit card deals claim money back my credit card there any government programs help credit card debt javascript credit card validation jquery there government program credit card debt relief prepaid credit card for business clear choice credit card processing sbi credit card online payment through net banking can you pay your irs bill with a credit card pay capital one credit card bill by phone florida banks that offer secured credit cards bank of america credit card for students safe credit union secured credit card credit card act section 75 stealing credit card information wirelessly apply for a bank of america visa credit card summit credit card log interest free credit card transfers ireland canadian travel reward credit card comparison pay irs credit card check hdfc credit cards reward points gifts 76 gasoline credit card activate bofa credit card aaa credit card gas discount no security deposit credit card accepting credit card payments through iphone best credit cards uk 2011 credit card balance transfer rates slate from chase can college students get credit cards commerce bank credit card customer service number is target credit card easy to get best credit cards flying points credit card processing system problem statement any real credit card generators rbs mint credit card ppi address legacy visa credit card reviews first citizens credit card application prepaid credit cards online use ashley furniture credit card can make payment my walmart credit card store business credit card bmi miles high risk credit card processing companies can you use a credit card at an atm can you cancel capital one credit card online how do i get my credit report without a credit card credit card applications bad credit no application fee gmac mortgage equity rewards credit card using someone else;s credit card with permission best buy master credit card payment can you set up direct debit credit card can you transfer money from credit card to paypal credit card build credit after bankruptcy 0 purchase credit cards government grants credit card debt relief credit one bank credit card agreement first premier bank prepaid credit card credit cards terminals verifone free valid credit card numbers that work 2010 use level up cards facebook credits 5466 credit card number secure online credit card processing aspire credit card reviews fnb gold credit card limit credit card company list hdfc titanium credit card reward points redemption catalogue barclaycard us credit card phone number lowes credit card special offers best credit card get you have bad credit tiffany credit card customer service tesco on line credit card banking do credit card debt too high metal business card credit card holder want apply sears credit card online regions visa credit card world points credit union card online gold delta skymiles credit card phone number why will i need a credit card to download free apps can you buy things online prepaid credit card nordstrom rack credit card pay online mile credit card value calculator make paypal account prepaid credit card use amazon credit card reward make itunes account without gift card credit card best bank get your first credit card credit card debt forgiveness tax consequences card usb flash drive price products credit sears credit cards payment center abercrombie credit card application usaa credit card dispute charge new millenium bank credit card for bad credit pay hsbc credit card by phone check my credit report free without credit card paypal credit card reader for pc can i send money through western union with a credit card get business credit card only ein marriott premier credit card login absa platinum credit card benefits credit card starting with 5 securely store credit card numbers database how to apply a credit card in icici bank buy injectable steroids with credit card what kind of credit cards are good for college students does mean earn cash back credit cards personal loan credit card debt consolidation honda credit card payment pay off credit cards refinance credit card statement cr send money paypal account using credit card does a visa debit card have the same protection as a credit card balance transfer credit cards low fee best bank credit card apply visa debit card same protection as credit card td canada trust debit credit card credit card american express bangladesh mbna credit card america sunoco credit card accountonline visa platinum business credit card capital credit card online banking disposable prepaid credit card uk credit cards for average credit rating citibank credit card payment by cheque in india processing credit cards through google valid mastercard credit card numbers accepting credit cards small business bank america santander credit card login problems citi credit card customer service phone number centon dsc32gb-001 datastick credit card usb flash drive get visa credit card no credit check java code validate credit card number my thomas cook credit card login experian credit card score american airlines frequent flyer program credit card bluetooth credit card reader iphone best credit card processing companies to work for chase disney credit cards rewards wells fargo business credit card icici credit card reward point catalogue valid credit card numbers that work online credit card reform act summary 2009 how to pay credit card bill by another credit card citizens bank credit card login rbs webster credit card login best credit card rewards program in canada current interchange rates credit cards ufcw credit card payment address fidelity 529 american express credit card get cute credit cards amazon credit card uk contact capital secured credit card login common questions about credit cards help with credit card debt.gov ge capital credit card payment online prepaid credit cards no fees international credit card applications for bad credit canada pay with 2 different credit cards amazon credit card forms sample living social credit card stolen members 1st credit card application barclays bank delaware credit card credit card receipt printer mac credit card with high limit and low interest credit card fair fee act 2008 credit cards for fair credit instant approval uk best credit card balance transfer bad credit apply credit cards barclays bank android market account without credit card is citi a good credit card standard chartered hong kong credit card promotion get free cash credit card much do credit card companies sell bad debt does american express offer secured credit card best credit card form design bank hawaii hawaiian airlines visa signature credit card hsbc premier credit card reward mbna europe bank credit card first data credit card processing merchant accounts what do you need to get a secured card credit history credit card type prefix numbers phillips 66 credit card account delta sky rewards credit card check bank of america credit card statement delta credit cards miles bmw credit card application best personal credit cards 2011 say no college credit card offers paypal process credit cards online bloomingdales credit card customer service phone number credit card batch processing pci compliance virgin credit card section 75 cache credit card payment compare bad credit credit cards online credit card payment service hsbc ge money bank credit cards walmart visa united airlines credit card log citi forward credit card customer service number icici bank credit card interest calculation hsbc credit card promotions sri lanka usa credit platinum shopping card what can you do with a stolen credit card number how to pay off your credit card balance american express travel miles credit card credit card debts of deceased spouse capital one credit cards venture rewards card limited credit card login page best free credit cards us hsbc credit card insurance policy walmart credit card help number murphy usa walmart credit card paypal limits unverified credit card easiest place to get accepted for a credit card reasons for disputing credit card charges how to get your first credit card yahoo amex blue credit card offers government credit cards citibank login find unsecured credit card bad credit younkers credit card online payment forever 21 credit card bdo credit card bin numbers australia cannot send money using credit card paypal best credit card processing company in canada credit card rights for consumers citibank credit card contact number bangalore how long does it take to get a navy federal credit card accepting credit cards benefits does credit card company charge off credit cards 0 apr for 15 months ace elite prepaid credit card credit card shape usb flash drive best credit cards to apply for after bankruptcy best credit card software processing credit card low interest rate transfers credit cards 2 percent cash back prepaid visa credit card pet care credit card no interest lowes business credit card does credit build credit cards 4 major credit cards companies pay chase credit card by check credit card gasoline cheap credit card wallets men free credit report scores no credit card required credit card machine my new business sbi credit card credit limit increase form easiest credit card to get approved for bank ireland credit card offers chip and pin credit cards bank of america buy stolen credit cards online close target credit card account understanding the apr rates on credit cards merchant credit card account bad credit best credit card for travelling abroad credit card application approval process issue number on credit card mastercard hsbc bank credit card payment other bank account penn state alumni association credit card should i apply for a credit card online or in person city bank credit cards india where can i pay my discover credit card bill free prepaid online credit card what is the best gas credit card http www bankrate com calculators credit cards mastercard minimum payment aspx top rated merchant credit card processors united chase credit card travel insurance do taxis in paris take credit cards maruti suzuki credit card credit cards help build credit rating can credit card companies garnish wages in florida juniper barclay credit card login union bank india credit card bill design your own credit card chase unsecured credit cards people bad credit canada marshall credit card payment lowes home improvement credit cards starwood credit card referral bonus chevron texaco gas credit card lowes credit card financing offers letter change credit card billing address best travel rewards credit card for average credit network good credit card fees merrill lynch credit card awards pay shell credit card bill online sunoco gas credit card how to pay my wells fargo credit card
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 293 guests online

Atom RSS

Interview - Jayson Stark - ESPN PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 5
PoorBest 
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 04 February 2007 16:00
Jayson Stark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BizBall: Worst free agent deal this off-season?

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

BizBall: How do you approach writing and television?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?