Thoughts From New York

This isn’t an official recap of Saturday’s Live Discussion in NYC – that will come later, with photos and audio for those who weren’t able to attend. This is, however, a collection of thoughts on my experiences in the Big Apple this weekend.

1. My Trip To The Bronx

I only went to Old Yankee Stadium once. It wasn’t shiny or new, but I had a good time in bad seats because of the “I’m in Yankee Stadium” feeling, which was impossible to escape. On Friday night, I took in my first game at New Yankee Stadium, and my feelings were completely different. I still had a great time (in large part because of the terrific people around me), and while the park is now both shiny and new, there’s a feeling of history that didn’t move into the new building.

The stadium is remarkably impressive and downright beautiful in places, but I knew that the best player to ever take the field on that ground was probably Joe Mauer. It’s a great place to watch a baseball game, but I’m happy I got a chance to walk around the old park. There is nothing the Yankees could have done to have saved that “Babe Ruth played here” feeling, so this isn’t a criticism of the new park, but I missed that emotion, honestly.

2. The Conversation

As much fun as I had on Friday night, I was in town for Saturday’s event, and it was even better than I had hoped. The discussion panels were so good that it was painful to cut them off. The media panel, especially, was as engrossing a discussion as I’ve heard in a long time. Just a fantastic group, each with their own perspective, and a lot of intelligent disagreement going on. The group could have talked for eight hours and I wouldn’t have moved an inch.

While the discussions were the main event, the after party was also a tremendous time. When a guy who doesn’t drink spends 10 hours in a bar and has a good time, you know there’s some good people around, and that was certainly the case on Saturday afternoon. It was a lot of fun getting to meet many of you and talk baseball with a terrifically diverse group of people.

Perhaps my favorite conversation came with a 20-year-old named Evan (I think – if I’m getting that mixed up, sorry!). We covered nearly every topic you could think of, and his curiosity and intelligence were both impressive, but one comment in particular he made stuck with me – he started getting into our brand of analysis through Fire Joe Morgan, a site that was often tremendously hilarious and brutally vicious at the same time. After a while of reading hostile take-downs of various scribes, he began to realize that the end goal of all of this shouldn’t be angry rants, but humble attempts at education.

This wasn’t a new idea, but for whatever reason, it made more of an impact than before. As I discussed with several friends later, I have written enough things that I regret publishing, even if they were correct, true, or deserved. I don’t regret having an opinion, but I want my opinions to contain a healthy portion of respect. They haven’t always. They hopefully will more often in the future.

3. Appreciating What We Have

We are all incredibly lucky to have such a tremendous community that has formed around our shared love of the same game. I couldn’t imagine a better group of people to hang out with then the crew I spent the last 72 hours with. I have had conversations about so many different aspects of life with people who have seen tremendously different things, and seen them in different ways.

Anyone who thinks that the sabermetric community engages in groupthink should be required to attend a weekend like this. I don’t know of too many other places where people this different can gather and enjoy each other’s companies, even while we disagreed about things. I had a terrific lunch with MGL, Sky Kalkman, and Mark Simon, and you would be hard pressed to find four different people than our quartet. We argued more than we agreed. It was great. I left with more respect for each of them than I had previously. That we get along doesn’t mean we all think the same, and our ability to see things from a different angle gives the community as a whole a better balance.

It is a fantastic group to which we all belong. Don’t take that for granted.

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

38 Responses to “Thoughts From New York”

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  1. Dave says:

    As an attendee of both the event and after party, I wholeheartedly agree on all points, Dave. Awesome event!

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  2. Asher says:

    Group hug everyone?

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  3. Craig Glaser says:

    Agreed fully, the event was great as were all the people. I’ve still go a buzz from getting to meet everyone and seeing the reaction to our presentation.

    Can’t wait for the next one.

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  4. AndyS says:

    “The stadium is remarkably impressive and downright beautiful in places, but I knew that the best player to ever take the field on that ground was probably Joe Mauer.”

    Um…Roy Halladay?

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  5. SF 55 for life says:

    Ramiro Pena?

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  6. RC says:

    um… alex rodriguez?

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  7. Looking forward to the audio/photos!

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  8. Mike D says:

    A 20-year-old in a bar?

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  9. Russ Oates says:

    Had a great time! Can’t wait to read the wrap up.

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  10. CajoleJuice says:

    Getting to mess around with the Bloomberg Sports Pro application — something I’ll probably never get to do again — had to my personal highlight. You know, other than being able to have intelligent baseball conversation over beers with a bunch of cool people.

    Also, Jonah Keri is TALL.

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  11. Xeifrank says:

    I have written enough things that I regret publishing, even if they were correct, true, or deserved. I don’t regret having an opinion, but I want my opinions to contain a healthy portion of respect. They haven’t always. They hopefully will more often in the future.

    Dave, thanks for this humbling paragraph. I really think you have made great strides in this area. I just wish the Mariners bloggers over at LL would follow your lead.
    vr, Xeifrank

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    • TomG says:

      Wait, what’s wrong with the Landing?

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    • BIP says:

      I can’t even think of one acerbic post on LL by Jeff or Matthew or Graham.

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      • CaR says:

        You have to be joking BIP. However talented a writer Sullivan is ( and he’s got more of a future than any other analyst I’ve read), his contributors haven’t gotten the whole humility thing. I have never read anything that Graham has written that hides his disdain for the reader. Unless you forget the essays declaring most people with a real baseball background unable to discuss the sport intelligently with the likes of himself, who would likely walk up to the plate holding the wrong end of a bat. And who could forget Grahams’ claim that since he can’t decide how injuries happen, no one else can either. There are dozens of examples of his caustic behavior towards anyone that could give a field-level perspective. To claim otherwise puts you on similar footing.

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  12. Phillies Red says:

    Wow, this makes me wish I could have made it even more. Congrats on what sounds like an awesome event, and I hope you guys do it again soon.

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  13. Brian Cartwright says:

    Many thanks to David Appelman and Dave Cameron for the event. Informative and entertaining to watch, and great to meet in person and talk with a few folks I’d only previously known online.

    I really wished I had more time to talk – I didn’t find out about the after party until earlier in the week and couldn’t change my plans on going home Saturday afternoon.

    Illustration of that was Cameron literally pushing me and MGL up the steps and out of the theater at half past closing time as we were deep in discussion on how to measure defense.

    Also had good conversations with Jonah Keri (who was a great, funny moderator), Craig Glaser and Ben Lindberg and a chance to say hi to Sky Kalkman.

    Let’s do it again!

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  14. Al says:

    Let’s try not to be completely biased, illogical, and downright ridiculous and acknowledge that A-Rod is (currently) the best player to play in the new Yankee Stadium? Talk to me in 10 years and maybe you can say Joe Mauer. Whats their career WAR? Oh, ok. A-Rod has six 9+ WAR seasons, so yeah, let’s give credit where credit is due and not get caught up in hysteria and hyperbole. Thank you.

    – Yankee fan not on a bandwagon and without blinders

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    • Jason B says:

      Totally agreed. A-Rod, Jeter, and Halladay are head-and-shoulders above Mauer at this point. No knock against Mauer, but that’s one of the ten best players ever, and one of the ten best SS ever, and perhaps the best pitcher of this post-Maddux-Glavine-Pedro-RJ generation.

      – Blue Jay fan, still coming down off the high of a magical weekend

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      • Kevin S. says:

        It depends how you’re looking at it. If you’re talking about players who have had the best careers who played at NYS, isn’t Griffey also in that category? But Junior was obviously a shell of his former self by the time the new place rolled around, just like A-Rod was no longer at his 10-WAR peak. Joe Mauer was pretty clearly the best player in the AL last year, and that is, I think, what Dave based his claim on.

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      • Erik says:

        In the two years that the new Yankee Stadium has been around, there is no chance you, or anyone else can make the claim that Derek Jeter has been ‘better’ than Joe Mauer.

        Heck, even A-Rod would be a difficult yet appealing case to be made.

        I figured Dave was just referring to position players – leaving Halladay out of the discussion.

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      • dutchbrowncoat says:

        does it really matter? he made an off the cuff comment on who he thinks one of the best players to play in the new stadium is. leave the poor guy alone.

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  15. Bernard says:

    I don’t think there’s any question that Rodriguez and Jeter are the greatest players to take the field in the new stadium. Thome before Mauer. And Pudge. And Rolen.

    Mauer is a fantastic player, but it’ll be a number of years until he will have legit hall of fame credentials like those players mentioned above…

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    • Erik says:

      “A number of years?”

      Really? Hasn’t Mauer already supplanted himself as the best catcher in the game, and one of the best of all time? His WAR speaks for itself.

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      • joe says:

        Yes “really”…

        A) The Hall requires 10 years, not 6 and a half – he needs 3 or 4 more years just to meet the minimum longevity requirement.
        B) Catchers can deteriorate
        C) WAR is not the end all be all… and his career WAR is ~31 (not even close to the HOF – granted he has many more years to pile up’s #’s, but that’s the point he needs a number of year of good #’s to put himself in the HOF range
        – Jim Rice had a career WAR of 56 and he was bordeline (and arguably a mistake), Tim Raines ~71, Jim Thome ~71. His career WAR does not speak for itself – it speaks to a guy who’s had a great 6-6.5 year career, but probably needs to at least double his WAR if you are going to use that metric to speak for itself for the HOF

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  16. Oh man! I *live* in NYC yet I missed this event. Is there a mailing list where this shit gets advertised? Haven’t been following the blogs lately but wanna know about events…

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  17. Erik says:

    With that said, I cannot wait to see the photos and hear the audio from this event.

    Bring one of the Twin Cities!

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  18. Evan says:

    I don’t know if you’re referring to me or the other person who was with me (I believe his name was Brian or Ryan. I can’t believe I don’t know for sure) but it was great chatting with you, Dave, and being a part of that conversation.

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  19. Paulie Scarfo says:

    Mauer as the best to grace new YS (edgy! … would have loved to have said Braun!) doesn’t bother me as much as saying circa-2005 YS (I’m guessing) was the “old” Yankee Stadium … but what’s really funny is that FJM keeps getting credit for creating that “style” (remember magazines? the 80s?)

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  20. Schwam says:

    Excellent time and will most definitely attend anything near the Northeast next time around. Excellent work and great times hanging with everyone.

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