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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Exposition:The Jonah Keri Mega Q&A

INSTREAM: Going back to the 1969 Staub trade, on Page 27 you talk about how Manager Gene Mauch “Went to meet with the Astros, leveraging contacts he had within the organization.” How difficult do you think it is for a GM or president to trade with other ballclubs in the absence of deep relationships? From 1976 to 1991, the Expos and Cincinnati Reds exchanged a total of 32 players. I know it’s 15 years and there’s a few GMs in there, but that’s a lot of trades.

JONAH KERI: That practice was rampant then, since we were years away from scouting staffs becoming more sophisticated, and particularly far away from using technology (both by generating reports on players via computers, or even having ease of communication like text). Thing is, though, teams STILL make more trades with other teams/GMs with whom they feel most comfortable. It’s just human nature.

djordan Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:22 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: expos, jonah keri, mlb network

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Boxkutter Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4687030)
Spoiler alert: All the questions are aboot the Expos.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4687051)
Kinda disappointing the answers are all so short and terse. I am very interested in getting this book though.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 16, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4687059)
Spoiler alert: All the questions are aboot the Expos.


I won't let that colour my opinion of the story.
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 16, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4687155)
This book seems really good, but what an awful interview. The author doesn't seem to be aware that you're allowed to ask a follow-up question, or develop a topic, or have any sort of conversation.
   5. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4687192)
This book seems really good, but what an awful interview. The author doesn't seem to be aware that you're allowed to ask a follow-up question, or develop a topic, or have any sort of conversation.

That's often the result when an interview takes place via e-mail. Jordan probably submitted a series of questions that Keri answered, but time constraints didn't allow for follow-ups. I had a similar experience interviewing Brad Ausmus a while back.
   6. God Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:50 PM (#4687499)
Which is exactly why nobody should ever use the word "interview" to describe an e-mail exchange. It's not an interview.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4687584)
I've done two email interviews, both with the subject expounding much more than this. I guess it depends on your guest, but I woulda thought Keri would be wordier than this. Maybe he didn't want to give too much of his book away.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 17, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4687603)
I've done email interviews too, and one thing you can't do is send them 30 questions and expect more than a couple of sentences in response to any one of them.
   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4687643)
I get asked by sources to e-mail questions frequently, but I always ask if I can do the actual interview over the phone. It produces much better results.
   10. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4687739)
When I was in j-school, we were taught that the hierarchy of interviews was:

1. In-person
2. Over the phone
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
34,218. E-mail

Basically, an e-mail interview is only a good idea when it is literally the only option other than not getting anything at all from the person. Well, it's probably better than a fax interview.
   11. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4687797)
Basically, an e-mail interview is only a good idea when it is literally the only option other than not getting anything at all from the person. Well, it's probably better than a fax interview.

From the point of view of interviewee, I would much, much prefer the email interview. The reporter is a lot less likely to misquote or misrepresent what you said when it's written down.

Some good reporters I've talked to followup by phone or email to make sure they got it right, but too often you only find out that they've erred when you see it on the printed page.
   12. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4687817)
A buddy of mine did a "virtual" press tour a couple of years back when he released a new novel. Basically, you pass your book on to a whole bunch of bloggers and they do e-mail interviews or let the writer do a guest posting.

Perhaps the most interesting thing that you see with the e-mail interview stuff is how mundane the questions are. He said the hardest thing was you know that xyzblog asked you the same question previously, so coming up with a different answer for abcblog a couple of days later got a little tiring. At least towards the end, he started to have fun with the questions.
   13. djordan Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4687874)
   14. djordan Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4687880)
Well, to #12's point, there were a slew of Q&As; & podcasts all over the web for this book. I read just about all of them. While many of them were enjoyable, coherent conversations, I found a few topics no one else covered. We asked questions no one else did. My goal with this was mainly:

1. Promote a book I really enjoyed.

2. Not give away too much of the book, but rather tease topics no else mentioned in any of the other Q&As; (the 1970 political standoff in Quebec; the aftermath of the Pete Incaviglia "trading draft picks" rule, among other things). Bill Lee & Woodie Fryman have some really sharp, intelligent quotes. Didn't want to give them away, but rather point out where to find them.

3. To tease topics that I felt a forum like this would enjoy discussing (Should a team be able to swap draft picks? Why so few 2B get drafted in higher rounds; whether or not the Mets got the better end of the Staub deal OR the Carter deal; how Montreal ended up with so many OBP machines like Fairly, Bob Bailey, Jorgy in '74 - was that an accident; the fact that the Expos & Reds traded 32 players in 15 seasons; etc.)

The focus was more an attempt at stimulating dialogue among readers with smart(though to be fair, rapid-fire) questions. Also, track down clips few people had seen much of recently.
   15. DEF: #attentionwhore Posted: April 17, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4688078)
INSTREAM: Do you think the Expos’ ownership group suffered from an issue of having too many Indians (minority owners) and not enough chiefs?

JONAH KERI: No. I think they were stubborn, stupid, or both.



Keri is being far too kind to the collection of idiots that made up the consortium.
   16. BDC Posted: April 17, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4688083)
From the point of view of interviewee, I would much, much prefer the email interview. The reporter is a lot less likely to misquote or misrepresent what you said when it's written down

My experience has been that the inevitable editing of text can misrepresent an e-mail interview worse than F2F. At least in the latter you can get several passes to clarify and press a point home. YMMV ...

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