Baseball BeatDecember 15, 2004
Day Tripper
By Rich Lederer

At the conclusion of the Winter Meetings (in which I commuted between home and the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim), it didn't take me so long to find out -- and I found out. . .

. . .talk may not always be cheap but it is indeed plentiful.

. . .I could get used to having breakfast with Bill James every day.

. . .Fred Claire is a class act (but I already knew that).

. . .the Hot Stove League would be more aptly named the Microwave Oven Circuit -- better for thawing out old stories and reheating recently fed rumors than cooking up a real meal.

. . .my All-Baseball colleagues -- Ken Arneson, Will Carroll, Alex Ciepley, Jon Weisman, and Peter White -- are not only great writers but great guys as well.

. . .friends of A-B, including Jay Jaffe, Jonah Keri, Rob McMillin, and Joe Sheehan, are fun guys to hang with, too.

. . .why many of these guys don't have children. They never go to bed!

. . .Jaret Wright is thankful for second chances (physicals).

. . .Scott Boras has the goods, knows he has the goods, and will wait patiently until the goods are paid for -- no credit extended, thank you.

. . .there were more rumors making the rounds than actual news.

. . ."the likes of" Bill Conlin were nowhere to be seen. Must be home studying the W-L records of retired pitchers.

. . .Voros McCracken is very young, very smart, and very nice.

. . .Ken Rosenthal, Alan Schwarz, and Tom Verducci are all a bit different (as one would expect) but approachable nonetheless.

. . .Ken is a converted Blyleven for HOF voter. He is also voting for Boggs, Sandberg, Trammell, Gossage, Sutter, Smith, and "maybe" Dawson.

. . Alan is against Fred McGreat. . .err, Fred McGriff. . .for the HOF.

. . As for Tom, well, he is for Wade Boggs and "probably" Jim Rice.

. . .Steve Finley is young looking, fit, trim, and a relative bargain at $7 million for each of the next two years.

. . .among the movers and shakers, there was more shakin' than movin'.

. . .the Winter Meetings will be held in Dallas next year. See you there, Scott.

It took me so long to find out, but I did find out. Day Tripper, yeah.


Finley a bargain? Unless he's been resting in some "Primer"-abled storage locker for the past couple of years, he's still 39 years old, right?

Wow, great stuff. I wish I had your job! I'd love to be a fly on the wall to watch baseball stuff happen. Count your blessings...

Finley may be 39 according to his birth certificate, but you would never know it looking at his production.

Do you realize that he led the majors in games played in 2004 with 162? In other words, he didn't miss one single game last year. Not too bad for a 39-year-old.

Finley also slugged a career-high 36 HR in 2004. That sure doesn't suggest to me that he is over the hill. Was it a fluke? No, I don't see how one could make that argument given that he has hit at least 22 HR in seven of the past nine years (including 34 or more on three separate occasions).

He also won a Gold Glove last year, the fifth of his career. Maybe it wasn't deserved based on advanced fielding metrics but there is no getting around that he is an above-average defensive player.

Finley takes good care of himself, is healthy, and has shown no signs of any decline thus far. I believe he is a relatively safe bet for the next two years, and I think he'll fit in well with the Angels and Mike Scioscia's system.

How do you sneak in a mention of having breakfast with Bill James without telling us anything more about?

"How do you sneak in a mention of having breakfast with Bill James without telling us anything more about?"

More (much more) to come on that very subject.

In the meantime, I will tell you that James likes eggs Benedict, and he drinks coffee.

Darn...I so had him pegged as a french-toast-and-milk kinda guy.