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Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Cardinals reverse Willson Contreras’ demotion from catcher after … 6 days

Willson Contreras must be the world’s fastest learner. Either that or the St. Louis Cardinals have lost the plot.

Per, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told reporters that the team has decided Contreras is ready to resume his normal catching duties, six days after demoting the prized free-agent acquisition due to the team’s struggles on the mound.

Contreras will get his next start behind the plate Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers, when he will catch starting pitcher Jack Flaherty. Marmol reportedly said Contreras has spent much of the past week working to get more in sync with the Cardinals’ game plan for attacking hitters and that Flaherty pushed for Contreras to be restored as catcher.


“We felt really good about the progress that we’ve made, and it lines up really well for him to catch on Monday with Jack on the mound,” Marmol said of the decision for Contreras to return to a catching role. “This is what [Flaherty and Contreras] wanted. They both wanted it, and Willson wanted to be behind the plate on Monday. And we felt really good about lining it up that way with all the progress that we’ve made.”


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 16, 2023 at 09:16 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, willson contreras

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   1. salvomania Posted: May 16, 2023 at 09:24 AM (#6128411)
Cardinals 1-0 with a +17 run differential with the New Willson Contreras. Though he was 0-for-4 with a K and a GIDP, he masterfully guided Jack Flaherty through his best start of the season.
   2. Cris E Posted: May 16, 2023 at 11:05 AM (#6128425)
The numbers check out, taking a timeout for thoughtful coaching works.
   3. The Duke Posted: May 16, 2023 at 12:40 PM (#6128448)
Contreras refuses to play along saying that not much changed. It's one of the ugliest and stupidest situations the Cardinals have ever inflicted upon themselves and they had plenty of bad precedents from calling Dexter Fowler lazy to Al Hraboskys facial hair issue

Fowler and Contreras are now two free agents signed away from Cubs to five years deals who immediately became punching bags for the front office. Not that Ohtani was ever going to sign with us, but what free agent would want to take that risk with us now ?
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: May 16, 2023 at 01:52 PM (#6128457)
Flaherty - er, Contreras, sorry - loaded the bases in the first inning, then allowed only two isolated and harmless singles in the 2nd through 7th innings.
   5. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: May 16, 2023 at 02:39 PM (#6128464)
Wild the way the Cardinals are jerking this around. Wainwright and Flaherty both came out with comments saying Contreras should still catch. Now they're back where they started only having behaved like they have no clue what they are doing.
   6. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 16, 2023 at 03:31 PM (#6128471)
I don't understand why any of this was so public. They could have DHed him for a few days, and maybe even put him in LF for a game, while coaching him up in the finer points of catcher. Just say he was dinged up. Instead it was a very public demotion and now a very public shrug of the shoulders. WTF.

How far the franchise has fallen.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: May 16, 2023 at 04:50 PM (#6128489)
In Chicago, we refer to this as a Kris Bryant miracle.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: May 16, 2023 at 04:59 PM (#6128491)
From my outside, it looks like a classic FO vs manager debacle but, these days, managers always lose this fight. And it's not like Marmol has a LaRussa or even Baker track record. In that way, I'm less surprised that this debacle occurred than I am that Marmol wasn't fired before it occurred. It also sounds like Flaherty (and maybe others) really don't like Willson as a catcher and the manager (or maybe the FO) chose sides.

Clearly the only solution is Yan Gomes for Willson and $40 M.

Has Yadi fathered a Yadi, jr? How old is he?
   9. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: May 16, 2023 at 05:19 PM (#6128496)
It's generally a wise policy not to fire managers with a hair trigger. But in this specific situation, it seems like the Cardinals front office are the only people left at this point who don't realize Marmol is drowning, and is only going to do further organizational damage the longer he remains in his role. His continuance in the position is only more head-scratching if you assume--as I do; I agree with Walt--that he's being insubordinate.

Then again, it's crossed my mind to wonder to what extent it may be that Adam Wainwright, specifically, is the problem here, because he misses his BFF and would be jealous of anyone who tried to replace him. If this is the case, then he just needs to be released. He's cooked anyway. And Flaherty is just a guy; if he wants to be a malcontent, trade him, and let him find out the hard way that no other team has Yadier Molina on it, either.

There's so much we don't and can't know. It doesn't seem, from where we sit, like Marmol is worth going to that extreme. But there is a serious cancer somewhere in this organization, and whatever it is, it needs to be cut out.
   10. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 16, 2023 at 05:57 PM (#6128502)
I don't understand why any of this was so public.

This is what I don't get. The Cardinals have always seemed to take the Royal families' position of don't explain, don't complain line. Did Prince Harry get a job in the St. Louis FO?
   11. salvomania Posted: May 16, 2023 at 06:08 PM (#6128503)
who don't realize Marmol is drowning

I get the impression that Marmol is being arm-twisted to do the FO's bidding. If he's drowning it's because the FO is holding him under.
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 16, 2023 at 06:08 PM (#6128504)
But in this specific situation, it seems like the Cardinals front office are the only people left at this point who don't realize Marmol is drowning, and is only going to do further organizational damage the longer he remains in his role.
Didn’t Marmol get the manger’s job because he was more willing to do the front office’s bidding than his successful but more independent predecessor? Firing Marmol so early may give some the idea that the problem isn’t the manager.
   13. Cris E Posted: May 16, 2023 at 06:36 PM (#6128509)
Flaherty is just a guy; if he wants to be a malcontent, trade him, and let him find out the hard way that no other team has Yadier Molina on it, either.

Every pitcher, even the Cards of the past 15 years, is a foul tip away from losing their catcher to a broken thumb. You can't be such a nancy about this and still consider yourself a professional. Take the money, take the ball, then you gotta take your teammates as well. That means don't sign with a team if you think you're entitled to a HoF catcher and they don't have one. (Hint: pretty much no one does.)
   14. Walt Davis Posted: May 16, 2023 at 06:48 PM (#6128514)
Much like the quote about silence and appearing the fool (apparently not reliably attributable), we can go with "better to let people think you are weak for firing your insubordinate manager than confirming it by not firing him." (If Marmol has been insubordinate.)

It's generally a wise policy not to fire managers with a hair trigger

That probably used to be true and I suppose even now is the sensible default position, but baseball managers seem to barely manage at this point. And in Marmol's case, it's barely 200 games. Even as a "real manager" how could this guy have built up sufficient "internal corporate capital" to survive a major, publicly embarrassing clash with the front office? I completely agree it doesn't look good for the FO and I won't be surprised if both are gone but why in the world would Cards' ownership choose Marmol over Mozeliak? And who would take Mozeliak's job if ownership is willing to let a guy like Marmol unseat a GM? And if it's all about the "Cardinal Way" then Marmol better not be the guy who let the story get out.

EDIT: To clarify, I know Paste in #9 was agreeing with that more or less. I'm not sure there are more than a couple of MLB managers these days with the clout to survive something like this.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: May 16, 2023 at 06:55 PM (#6128516)
#13 ... I suppose that with pitcher wins not being such a big deal anymore, the incentive structure for a pitcher in the "Javy Lopez or Eddie Perez" choice leans more heavily to Perez. Flaherty ain't gonna get paid for Willson's 40 more batting runs but he might get paid for Knizner stealing 2 extra strikes a game.
   16. The Duke Posted: May 16, 2023 at 07:31 PM (#6128523)
The manager may not be any good but they've hung him out to dry here. One of the best writers said in a podcast that the most important thing to understand about the Cardinals is that Mozeliak always makes sure the blame is laid at someone else's doorstep
   17. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: May 16, 2023 at 10:01 PM (#6128581)
Him and every other GM/PBO/TP in the sport. You don't climb that far up the ladder in any business if you're not world class at taking credit and shirking blame.
   18. The Honorable Ardo Posted: May 16, 2023 at 11:27 PM (#6128620)
It's bizarre to see the Cardinals behaving like your run-of-the-mill dysfunctional organization. As a disinterested outsider, I agree Marmol has to go.
   19. bjhanke Posted: May 17, 2023 at 03:06 AM (#6128629)
I, for one, am happy with what Marmol is doing with the Cardinal offense. Two years ago, they didn't have any lefty offense. But their system has kicked out three good lefty kids (Donovan, Nootbaar and Gorman) and one OK lefty (Burleson). Donovan and Nootbaar are leadoff types, Gorman is a power hitter. Against righty starters, the lineup, or as close to it as Marmol can get given that Donovan is off to a bad start, is

Donovan 2b L
Nootbaar rf L
Goldschmidt 1b R
Arenado 3b R
Contreras c R
Gorman dh L
Carlson cf S
Burlesson lf L
Edman ss S

That lineup actually has real lefty/righty balance. I am very happy with it.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: May 17, 2023 at 05:15 PM (#6128749)
Teams are less concerned about platoon pitcher matchups these days I suppose but that's a lineup tailored to get eaten alive by a bullpen. Putting the only 3 RHB (none of whom you are going to PH for) in order pretty much guarantees losing the platoon advantage for three straight PAs. Once you're past that, the switch-hitters help but you've still got a long series of lefty-lefty matchups whenever the opposing manager wants them. I suppose nobody's pen has enough LHP in it anymore to reallly take advantage of that.

Also deJong is now the starting SS, pushing Edman to 2B. Burleson has been bad and is barely getting any PT now -- 3 starts and 21 PA in the last 14 games. Donovan hasn't really lost any playing time even though he did get benched for 3 straight games (after which he's started 3 straight). He's started 9 of 14 in May after starting 21 of 29 in Mar/Apr. DeJong's hot streak has come at the expense of Burleson mainly and has solved the Cards' defensive issues at 2B.

On the bright side, the Cards have solved their OF logjam -- other than Nootbar, they all stink. :-) Walker's 99 OPS+ is the 2nd-best among Cards' OF so far this year -- they could call him back up but he's been struggling at AAA and maybe they haven't had the same miraculous defensive turnaround as they pulled off with Willson. :-) The others: Donovan 92, Burleson 79, Carlson 74, Yepez 74, O'Neill 72 (on the IL). At least one of those guys will figure it out before the year's up but clearly it was a bad idea to make Contreras the batting coach for the OFs.
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: May 18, 2023 at 12:10 AM (#6128870)
I can make random ass assumptions as much as anyone else without facts....

There is no smoke, there is no fire, people making a deal out of this are just ####### idiots, nobody is upset, the team is fine, this was publicized, simply because the team decided to give Contreras a break while going over pitch calling with him. There is literally nothing to this story other than the team felt the need to reset expectations.

Some people are saying "why publicize it" when ultimately they had decided to make the move, if they didn't publicize it, then the press would be wondering why not publicize it when they see Contreras as the DH for a week and the team calling up a third catcher... it was an either way they lose situation... by making the comment public, they were able to control it to an extent. (not very well obviously)
   22. The Duke Posted: May 18, 2023 at 09:24 AM (#6128895)
It's odd you would think there's nothing to see here. They said their five year $90 million investment was potentially a bad one, intimated that they weren't sure he'd ever catch again and then abruptly changed their minds when Contreras refused to play outfield and forced them into using him as a DH on a team loaded with DHs.

To think their real intent was that Contreras needed a week off to hit the books is a misread proving once again that if you spew official bull crap out there, no matter how ridiculous, that some people, even a significant minority will believe it.

The really sad thing about this is that the division is so weak, the Cardinals may still win it handily which will only strengthen an already dysfunctional management team.

The cardinals Mgmt ain't what it used to be and it will lead to long term decline if not fixed soon.
   23. bjhanke Posted: May 18, 2023 at 11:29 AM (#6128900)
Walt (#20) - I agree that lining up Goldschmidt, Arenado and Contreras is an invite to righty relievers, but that is well documented as a real Contreras issue. The Cards asked him where he like to hit, and he said #5. For some reason, they have taken that very seriously until very recently. I would certainly switch him with Gorman. It is certainly better than inserting Tyler O'Neill in the #6 slot, giving the team four consecutive righty power hitters in a row. What I think I can see is Marmol being completely patient while waiting for Donovan to get back to where he has always been. Even in the minors, he was a .280 hitter with a .400 OBP. This year, his AVG is down some, but he is also not taking his WALKS. I don't really know what to think of this. He's always taken walks, and it is very rare for a hitter to radically change his walk rate, in either direction, in mid-career. It may be Sophomore Slump, but I'm just glad to see Marmol not give up on him.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: May 18, 2023 at 09:37 PM (#6128987)
This year, his AVG is down some, but he is also not taking his WALKS. I don't really know what to think of this. He's always taken walks, and it is very rare for a hitter to radically change his walk rate, in either direction, in mid-career. It may be Sophomore Slump, but I'm just glad to see Marmol not give up on him.

It's not that he isn't taking pitches, it's that pitchers are throwing him more strikes, it's been a bit frustrating to watch him bat because of this, but it will turn around. I think it was yesterdays game (or the day before) he had a four pitch strikeout in which he didn't swing at a single pitch. I think something like that fixes itself over time to be honest. As long as he doesn't panic.

They said their five year $90 million investment was potentially a bad one,

When did they say that?

intimated that they weren't sure he'd ever catch again

When did they do that, from day one when they took him off of catching duties they flat out stated it was temporary.

when Contreras refused to play outfield
What evidence do you have of that? everything Contreras has done or said has been that he's a team player, the backing out of making him an outfielder was more because the press made a deal about the logjam, and I'm sure that the 4-5 outfielders out there more than likely said something before Contreras who has been as big of a professional on this deal did.

   25. JJ1986 Posted: May 18, 2023 at 10:22 PM (#6129004)
Giving too much weight to this season's stats, the lineup should be something like:

LF Nootbaar
1B Goldschmidt
DH Gorman
3B Arenado
CF Carlson
C Contreras
2B Edman
RF Donovan
SS DeJong
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: May 18, 2023 at 10:40 PM (#6129010)
The first four has been pretty common this season, Carlson is on the injured list and hasn't been that good so Contreras has been the primary fifth guy, add in that Contreras is a much better hitter than Carlson regardless of the handedness of the pitcher and I'm not seeing any reason to bat Carlson ahead of Contreras... I absolutely would move DeJong to 6th if I trust his return to form. I like the Edman as the second leadoff hitter approach so him in the ninth spot works for me. Whoever is the third outfielder goes into the 7th spot, although Donovan in the 7th isn't a bad idea either.
   27. bjhanke Posted: May 19, 2023 at 05:30 AM (#6129044)
RE: #25 -

The one big problem with the lineup there is Dylan Carlson's platoon splits. In spite of his being a switch-hitter, they are the splits of a righty who can't hit righty pitching. That's not supposed to happen when you take-up switch-hitting, but it's there. What you have to do is treat Carlson as another righty hitter, and when you do that, you get Arenado through Contreras as righties. And then, it turns out that Tommy Edman has the same issue - a switch-hitter who doesn't hit righties. So, that makes four "righties" in a row, between Gorman and Donovan. Assuming that Donovan does figure out how to deal with the new pitching against him, he's an extreme leadoff type (AVG .280, OBP .400, little power), and he and Nootbaar should really be leading the lineup off, even though they are both lefties. If you do that, then Goldschmidt, Arenado, Gorman and Contreras is right, although, apparently, Contreras will pout. I don't know how much Contreras' pouting is worth right now.

It's also worth mentioning that Alec Burleson gets into the lineup whenever one of the OF or DH crew misses a game. He's sort of the "fourth OF", although the concept is now the "fifth OF/DH." He will probably lose playing time when O'Neill comes back, although - I don't know about you - but I am done with O'Neill. He can't stay healthy, and he's only played WELL one year in his entire career. He's also the oldest of the OF/DH options, being 28. He's the only one who does not have room for more growth. Dylan Carlson, although he is in his fourth MLB season, is only 24. I wonder if it would be a good idea, with that much growth room left, to see what would happen if he just stopped switch-hitting altogether. It's hard to imagine that he would be worse against righties as a righty hitter than he is as a switch-hitter.

RE: #26 -

Dylan Carson, for his career, has hit .304 against lefty pitching. He hasn't much power, but still, I'd rather have him than Contreras against them. It's righties he can't hit.
   28. Ron J Posted: May 19, 2023 at 06:45 AM (#6129045)
#27 Far from uncommon for switch-hitters to have large career platoon splits actually. Last time I checked in detail was over two decades ago. Back then around 20% of players who reached the majors as switch-hitters either ended up giving up switch-hitting or became a platoon player.

Though most people assume switch-hitters have small platoon splits, it's actually pretty uncommon.

Research published in a place you just might remember -- BBBA.
   29. Adam Starblind Posted: May 19, 2023 at 03:44 PM (#6129108)
the backing out of making him an outfielder was more because the press made a deal about the logjam

That's even worse.
   30. bjhanke Posted: May 20, 2023 at 12:16 AM (#6129198)
Ron J - Thank for the info. I haven't looked at a BBBA in years. I should try it. I know that there are lots of switch hitters with strong platoon splits, but it's not generally known, and you have to point it out sometimes. Thanks for doing that. I don't remember what was in the BBBA article - I don't think it was one of mine - but I did develop a theory about that. A lot of the time, the reason for converting a player to switch hitting is that he's a fast runner who is a righty. By moving him to switching, you get two extra steps towards first base against righty pitching, plus the platoon differential. The problem is that the man is a natural righty, so sometimes, the bad facets of trying to hit off-handed more than even that out. I've seen an article that claims that about Cool Papa Bell. Apparently, he was switched for the two steps, but the switch cost him all his power and didn't gain him anything like enough singles to make up for that. The article claimed that part of Cool Papa's rep was remembering the power he had had before he switched. I think that is what happens. Carlson is just not a good hitter off handed. What I don't know is the cost of trying to get him to switch back at the MLB level. In favor of the plan, Carlson is still only 24 years old. It might be worth the try.

I should have said more about Burleson. I sometimes harp on this until it gets boring, but the context of the Cardinal outfield is different than for normal logjams because al the contenders are still prospects. What they most need is PLAYING TIME. Time to grow into what they can be. But the Cardinals have more of them than they have OF/DH spots, so the time isn't there. Someone has to pay for that, and it's Burleson. He really should be in AAA, playing every day. But the Cards need every lefty bat they can get, so he's playing part time up here. It's not fair to him, but the Cards have an unusual situation. Someone has to be sacrificed.

Why is Carlson playing every day, when he's not hitting? Because he's the only one of the kids who is an actual CF glove. And because he's a hot prospect. He's 24, and this is his fourth year in MLB. That's a hot pick, even if it's not hitting yet. You don't want to send him down to AAA and scare him. This context governs everything about the Cardinal OF/DH problem. It's not a normal logjam. They all need to play every day, and there are too many of them. That's why taking Contreras out from behind the plate was intolerable. The last thing the Cards need is a veteran sucking up one of the precious DH/OF slots.

Why is Donovan still playing every day? Because he's young. He needs playing time, and he's still good enough that he's not killing the team effort even while he is struggling. Part of why I'm done with O'Neill is the the Cards don't need him. He's not young any more, and he's only had the one good year, and he can't stay healthy, and he's a righty power hitter, of which the Cards have more than enough, thank you. Give his time to Carlson or Burleson. They need it.

The Oscar Mercado addition would seem to be silly, but it does serve a need. Carlson's going on the IL. The Cards don't really have another CF glove. Nootbaar and O'Neill are not good choices there. Mercado will be happy with a role as the backup CF, and he IS an actual defensive CF. He won't be demanding playing time the the kids need. He'll just suck up a little of what Carlson would be sucking up if Carlson was available. I assume that he will go right to the bench as soon as Carlson is healthy.

I should mention that the STL press corps seems to have NO idea of this. They are treating the whole thing as a normal logjam. That's part of why I keep harping on the "Kids need playing time" thing. It's not getting noticed in STL, and it governs the whole analysis. Of the STL writers, Ben Frederickson, who seems to know very little about baseball, is just adjusting to the idea that Donovan and Nootbaar are leadoff types. Bernard Hochman, just today, put out a column about Nootbaar taking "more walks than most." It starts out by noticing that Nootbaar has the second-highest walk rate in the league, behind only Juan Soto. That's not "most." That's "overpowering leadoff credential which, when added to what Brendan Donovan has always been able to do, makes the top of the Cardinal lineup look really scary." But Hochman hasn't thought about any of that. H'es just writing a "wow - look at this stats oddity that Nootbaar has" piece. Because that's all he sees. One reason that I defend Marmol is that he's way ahead of that. He's getting no media support for putting Donovan and Nootbaar at the top of the lineup, but he knows what he's doing.
   31. The Duke Posted: May 20, 2023 at 10:14 AM (#6129220)
Mozeliak on the signing:

We’ll be patient, but look, again, this has not gone how we would have thought. You’ve got to remind yourself it’s a long season, but it’s certainly gotten off on the wrong foot.

Mozeliak on whether Contreras will catch again:

I do (still believe in Contreras). But some of the things we expect, some of the things about the game we’ve become accustomed to, I think he realizes it’s going to require more preparation. Now the question is, can that happen? I guess we’ll have to find out.

Mozeliak on Contreras playing OF:

I know that came out yesterday, but after talking with him, it’s basically going to be more in the DH role right now.

Contreras on playing OF:

Contreras approached the Cardinals on Saturday after the club lost to Detroit 6-5 in extra innings for their eighth straight loss. He understood that his role, for now, will be as the team’s primary designated hitter. However, he did express a desire to remain focused on two positions, catcher and designated hitter. The Cardinals adjusted and will no longer keep him in their tentative outfield plans.

   32. Ron J Posted: May 20, 2023 at 02:18 PM (#6129244)
#30 Pretty sure my research was published in the 2000 BBBA. In an article generally focused on career platoon splits for switch-hitters (Inspired by James' earlier comments about how UL Washington's switch-hitting may have damaged his career) and the way these contrast with conventional hitters. Don't recall the title Don gave it. My copy is somewhere around here, but I can't find it.

Back then we only had access to around 15 years of detailed data.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: May 20, 2023 at 02:58 PM (#6129250)
#30 Pretty sure my research was published in the 2000 BBBA.

I loved the bbba, not sure the year that I got first, but a friend of mine worked for the printers and knew I liked stats so he snuck a copy out for me (sorry I took some of your pay---Brock was also a writer for that wasn't he?)
   34. Ron J Posted: May 20, 2023 at 03:18 PM (#6129252)
#33 Brock was the initial editor. By the time I started to write the occasional article (and contribute some player comments) Don Malcolm was editing.

You didn't cost me anything. Don just sent me a check -- I had no contract or entitlement to a share of the profits (if any. I doubt that BBBA made minimum wage profits). I'd have done it for nothing (hell, it's the kind of thing I'd do on Brock on the other hand ...
   35. bjhanke Posted: May 21, 2023 at 03:14 AM (#6129331)
Just for history's sake: I was the first editor/publisher of what are now known as the Big Bad Baseball Annuals. It's easy to figure out who did which ones. If the job is actually called the BBBA, that's Don Malcolm's editing/publishing. All other titles are mine. I struggled like hell trying to find a name that would draw attention. Never really got on right - until the very end of my run, when I, just in passing in a conversation with Don - came up with BBBA. So odd. The title is mine, but I never got to use it.

The only BBBA that ever made a profit of any kind was the first one - the 1989 Baseball Abstract. I don't think that Don ever made a cent; in fact, he was subsidizing the book to a larger tune than I had been able to.

What happened to get me into the project was this: Bill was giving up on doing his Bill James Baseball Abstracts, and knew there would be people who wanted to continue the franchise. I'd never met Bill, but knew John Dewan through Project Scoresheet. So, I bought a book called "How to Write a Book Proposal", and followed instructions. No one else thought to do this, so my sample looked more professional than it really was. This was useful, because Bill's one constraint was that whoever did the book would have to self-publish. No commercial book deals gotten because of Bill's name by people who were not Bill. I agree with that. Someone that Bill knew better than he knew me would have done the book if he could have gotten a commercial deal.

Bill, who of course got to choose who could use his title, paired me with Rob Wood, who I had never met. Rob and I had very different ideas about what kind of book to do, so that didn't work, but we both tried for the one issue. I ended up editing and publishing because 1) I have a Master's Degree in English, so I have editing experience, and 2) I had done the work of finding out how to get a trade paperback printed and how to get a book into bookstores. My sabermetric credentials were no better than Rob's. My main collaborator was Don, who I had known since 1969 from Washington U. in St. Louis. Rob, I think, worked alone. Bill contributed an article, to help us out.

I printed 1500 copies, which was too few. I needed to print 3,000 total, so I had a second printing.

The book did not make much money, and it was obvious that none of us could quit our day jobs.

The one thing I really regret was my failure to use more outside contributors. The issue was workload. I was writing, editing, doing the printer's masters, and publishing, and I had to work a day job to live. I just never did have time to make a contact with anyone who sent me submissions. I take responsibility for that - I was trying to do way too much. Don, who had more living resources than I did, was MUCH better at finding and using contributors. That's why Ron J's work was all done for Don. I just didn't have the time to work with others. The second-most regret is the lack of quality of the copy editing. The things are mostly proofreading trash. The reason, again, was time. I can copy edit and proofread. I've done both for money. But I just had to get the masters to the printer by the deadline, and something always had to give....

In case anyone was wondering, I did the printer's masters in PageMaker on a Mac. PageMaker is designed to produce newspapers, and I found it ridiculously easy to use. I could never have put the book out without it. I get to thank Don Malcolm. He knew what a Mac was and what PageMaker was. I did not, at the time. He turned me on to them.

All those great stat dumps in my books were done by Dick Cramer. Dick was living in STL at the time, and did ALL the programming for FREE!!!! He was perfect. I'd say that I had an idea but didn't want to make him program even MORE numbers, and he'd say to include it. He was HAPPY to do all that programming. Dick's programs ran in the background partition of John Dewan's Dec VAX computer. The whole Dick Cramer program took an entire 24-hour DAY to run. That, again, was crucial. I could never have done all those stats without that computer access.

OK. Enough reminiscing about my misspent youth for now.

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