Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 5/20/2020

4:00
Meg Rowley: Hi all, and welcome to the chat.

4:00
Meg Rowley: Hope that everyone is doing as well as can be expected.

4:00
Meg Rowley: Let us chat!

4:00
Cat Latos:

How do you think one might counter the general sentiment that baseballers are greedy and make too much? It's annoying to hear my coworkers side with ownership.
4:05
Meg Rowley: I actually think there is a really good conversation to be had as a society about how we value and compensate different kinds of work, and whether that aligns with the value it brings to society. But if we have that convo, there’s no way that say, how we value Manny Machado’s work takes a hit but Ron Fowler’s fortunate remains intact. And since that isn’t what we’re really doing when we have these conversations, the way I’ve been talking about it with family is that these guys are assuming risk for themselves and their families, aren’t asking for hazard pay, and would simply like their bosses to do what they agreed to. There are a lot more zeroes at the end of the check, but the dynamic isn’t that different from the companies that are scaling back “hero pay.”

4:06
Josh: Do you have any advice on getting into the baseball analysis industry?

4:06
Meg Rowley: Allow me to preface this by saying, this advice might be utterly worthless – a lot is changing in the industry and much of it isn’t good!

4:07
Meg Rowley: It wasn’t especially lucrative in the best of times, and now…

4:08
Meg Rowley: But if that doesn’t deter you, my advice is always to write as much as you can to exercise the muscle and accumulate clips to send around, and then to read. Read and read and read. Read current analysis, read the classic works, read non-baseball stuff. You’ll want to be well versed in the discourse, and it’ll make you a better writer besides.

4:08
Meg Rowley: This assumes a fluency with advanced stats to begin with, btw.

4:09
Rob K: Do you have any gentle TV recommendations? I’ve been mainlining Bon Appétit videos, which have perfect levels of humor and conflict, but it’s been two and a half months so now I’m running out.

4:10
Meg Rowley: I’ve been watching old Jeopardy. It engages your brain some, but [color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87);]Trebek’s voice is very soothing, and he seems likes such a nice man. [/color]

4:10
Meg Rowley: huh, that code is weird

4:10
Meg Rowley: yes I did copy Trebek’s name from google because I was worried I’d misspell it

4:11
Meg Rowley: I’ve also been doing old Iron Chef America

4:11
Meg Rowley: which are on Hulu

4:11
ghost of bruce bochte: Hi Meg. Have you ever been to an AquaSox game? As a long time Mariners fan I went for the first time last year and found much of the experience (traffic, parking, proximity to game action, to name a few) more enjoyable than going to Safeco. The only drawback was lack of name familiarity with the players. There’s really not much coverage on how minor league teams will survive this…thoughts?

4:11
Meg Rowley: I’d point you to the very good work that the folks at Baseball America have been doing on the question – things are… not good.

4:12
Meg Rowley: I think Everett will be fine (I agree, it’s a great game experience), but other teams won’t survive, either because they’ve been targeted for contraction or because they can’t weather what is likely to be a lost season.

4:13
Temporarily: This whole thing reminds me of the way Americans have been described as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” I think too many fans are “temporarily not-owning-teams owners.” Possibly because it’s easier to see oneself as a man in a suit than a (seemingly) superhuman, effortless athlete (and not a laborer). Also the owners have the media to help them by and large (not FG, thankfully, which I’m glad to support). I’m just not hopeful the players will ever win the PR battle (and I think the players know that).

4:14
Meg Rowley: I think the instinct to root for laundry is sadly pretty powerful. I don’t think most fans think of themselves as siding with the owners so much as championing their teams. I think sports media has gotten better about asking questions and pushing back on owner statements that are unsupported by evidence, but a lot of fans will always think baseball players are lucky to be paid at all to play the game, and they want the [insert team name] to do well.

4:16
Magic Kingdome: Which current or soon-to-be Mariners jersey should you invest in?

4:16
Meg Rowley: Am in the market for a Connor Sadzeck jersey because I’ve been told it is important to commit to one’s brand.

4:16
Cal: Assuming the season is played, will it feel legitimate? I’m not sure I would even want my team to win the World Series (if it happens), because it would feel like a “tainted” title, if that makes sense.

4:17
Meg Rowley: I think it’ll really depend on how the money stuff plays out and how good a job the league’s safety measures do in keeping players and the rest of the folks in the baseball ecosystem safe.

4:18
Meg Rowley: Lot of different ways for it to feel very, very icky! I worry about that, both as someone who loves baseball and runs a baseball site. But I don’t think the length of the season or the rule changes do too much to change how I’ll think about the WS winner. It’ll be different for sure, but also, everything is different!

4:20
Billy B: Who wins the 2B job in Oakland? Can Barretto or Mateo become viable MLB hitters?

4:23
Meg Rowley: I am fairly skeptical of both – pretty sure they’ll go with a Barreto/Kemp platoon to start, but I’m not a fan of Barreto’s bat, and think the strikeouts could sink him.

4:23
Cool Papa Bell: How do you feel about Alex Bregman leaving his sports agent after LeBron James (associated with the same agency) announced a documentary about the Astros’ cheating scandal?  It doesn’t speak well to his character, does it?

4:24
Meg Rowley: Of all the things that might undermine his character…

4:24
Meg Rowley: I don’t think he’s obligated to be excited about that

4:24
Meg Rowley: I don’t think that excuses any of his decisions tbc

4:24
Nova: Meg, I finally got a job in my field. Next on the wish list is an exciting baseball season.

4:24
Meg Rowley: Congratulations! That’s great.

4:26
Lunar verLander: Did FanGraphs ever consider selling cloth facemasks, or did that seem to cash-grabby / disingenuous?

4:27
Meg Rowley: Feels not great to me? I dunno. I’m willing to be persuaded but that feels, not awesome

4:27
Meg Rowley: But maybe it would inspire people to wear masks? Wear a mask!

4:27
Short Spring: Let’s say we do have the miniST in June at some point. What happens if someone needs to miss some of that time? (ex. Gerrit Cole is going to have a baby in June.) Does someone then just start the season late? This is not a huge concern because it would mean baseball exists, of course.

4:30
Meg Rowley: I’m not sure – I think because these guys aren’t being asked to baseball biodome, it’s less of an issue, but obviously it raises the risk of exposure for those guys.

4:30
Meg Rowley: it is going to be a very delicate ecosystem (also sorry for the delay on some of these, my internet is being a little wonky today)

4:32
Sir Nerdlington: Which owner’s lawn are we camping out on first? My pitchfork just came back from the shop.

4:32
Meg Rowley: I think there are some pretty reasonable concerns here, and pointing them out doesn’t translate into an angry mob

4:32
Meg Rowley: also, please stay home!

4:33
ChrisDavis4Prez: If the players do end up taking a revenue share this season, what do you think the odds are that it’s only a one-off and contracts are honored normally in 2021?

4:33
Meg Rowley: Depends entirely on the language of the agreement.

4:34
Meg Rowley: But once the precedent has been set, it will difficult to walk back.

4:34
Meg Rowley: There’s a reason that, even in moments when the union’s negotiations have frustrated us, the MLBPA hasn’t budged on this before.

4:34
MSW: Would players have more PR success if they said something like “sure, we’ll agree to a revenue split, but we need X,Y and Z in hazard pay”?

4:35
Meg Rowley: I don’t think so. Asking for more money seems unlikely to go over well.

4:36
Trebek: Really is a nice man (my friend was on the show).

4:37
Meg Rowley: This is very nice to hear!

4:37
Big League Choo: Which MLB position would be most fun for a career? I think LF looks pretty chill. Definitely not catcher. That equipment looks hot and I’m not squatting all game. Pitcher sounds fun at first, but the bullpen has terrible sightlines and boy do they sure need to wrap their shoulders in a LOT of ice after games. That can’t be healthy.

4:37
Meg Rowley: I would find all of them terrible and stressful. Trying to hit? Unthinkable! Pitching? Impossible!

4:37
Meg Rowley: Baseball is so, so hard.

4:37
Magic Kingdome: What is your favorite place to sit at the ballpark (let’s exclude any premium, club, or suite seats)?

4:38
Meg Rowley: Depends on the ballpark – generally like to be to visualize the whole field if I can, which means being up, but otherwise down the open side of whichever hitter I’m most excited to see.

4:39
wily mo: me growley. also, whenever we finally get to have games with fans again, we’re still all going to bring trashcans and bang on them whenever the astros are hitting, right? i just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here

4:39
Meg Rowley: On the one hand, I wonder if the moment has passed. On the other hand, Ryan Braun still gets booed a lot on the road, so…

4:40
TKDC: Fangraphs covered teams that have the most to lose, but how about players that have the most to lose financially? For example, is Scherzer going to lose $35 million in salary/bonus and $15 million in future deferred money? Some of these backloaded contracts that are now in the backloaded portion are bad luck for those players.

4:40
Meg Rowley: One of those things that’s perhaps a bit more interesting as a twitter thread than a piece, you know?

4:41
Sam: Given the emphasis on having players keep their distance on the field, do you think we will see any tangible impacts on the game (e.g. more steals because runners can’t be held on as much)? Also which team/player do you think will come up with the most creative no-cobtact celebrations?

4:41
Meg Rowley: The guidelines allow for baserunners to be held on – the retreat it suggests is when the ball is not about to be put in play.

4:42
Magic Kingdome: If MLB cannot play until September, should they forget playing a regular season and just do a soccer-style tournament?  A one-off crazy tournament would seem to be a better deal than no baseball at all.

4:43
Meg Rowley: I think they’ll be back before that, but yes, there’s probably a point in September when you just accept the season is a loss and try to put together an amazing tournament.

4:43
Sir Nerdlington: If the owners maintain a take it or leave it approach to 2020, what odds do you put on a strike in 2021?

4:45
Meg Rowley: I think they’re pretty low. But I also think the players have a fair amount of leverage here. I don’t think the league or the owners want to jeopardize their national contracts/rev streams, even if they were bizarrely downplayed in their presentation to the union.

4:45
JoJo: Are you a believer in some of the injured SPs in a short season like Snell, Canning, Puk etc?

4:46
Meg Rowley: Was already a Snell and Puk believer, Canning I’m less sure on just because of how recent the injury was.

4:47
Brock: These are obviously extremes but owners get killed by the media for mega deals to guys like Pujols and Miggy.  Same thing with spending on a bunch on vets like the Rockies did with McGee, Davis, Shaw, and Desmond.  So then teams lock up guys like Acuna and Albies or Yelich to long term deals at reduced prices and get killed for “taking advantage” of the player.  I don’t side with billionaires or millionaires.  I think everyone is out to get the best deal they can (and should).  But it does seem the criticism is always one sided by the media.  It’s never that Pujols is overpaid and should retire because he’s below replacement level and made enough for 10 lifetimes.  It’s that the Braves are horrible for what they did to Albies, or that teams shouldn’t manipulate service time even though the players signed the CBA that made it easy to do so.  I think that there is enough money for everyone and I would love for them to go behind closed doors, work it out, and have a 2020 season.

4:50
Meg Rowley: Couple of things here. I don’t think you’ll find many people generally, and specifically at FanGraphs, who thought Desmond’s deal was or is good, or that Pujols is still playing at the level that justifies everyday play. There is enough money to go around but ownership isn’t typically keen to share more than they have to. Should the players have negotiated a different CBA? Yes! But ownership should also be “held responsible” for getting exactly what they wanted. They designed the system. They created the incentives.

4:50
Isolated Thinker: Unlikely to happen, and probably the worst case scenario, but how do you think the recent agreement handles this happening:  An entire team, including all potential backups, needs to be quarantined for 2 weeks because of an internal outbreak.

4:51
Meg Rowley: Imagine they have to concede their games at a minimum and there is sure to be some shut down, because you’d have to test pretty broadly.

4:51
Andy: Hi Meg, I love Fangraphs! You guys do a great job! Why do you believe they’re coming back this season? Because I believe 100% they don’t, due to the owners trying to undercut the players along with their public media ploys, and just the politics in society surrounding this epidemic.

4:52
Meg Rowley: I think there is just too much money to be lost. I’m not saying a resumption of play is necessarily advisable, or even sustainable, but I do think it will happen.

4:52
Jason N: What happens to graduating college seniors that don’t get drafted this year, don’t get signed for $20k after the draft, but are good enough to play MiLB?

4:53
Meg Rowley: They become salesmen or office workers or try to catch on with an indy league team.

4:53
Meg Rowley: The amount of baseball talent that is going to leave the sport because of this bums me out pretty profoundly.

4:54
Nate: I don’t understand how people think a WS title this year would be tainted. As you said, if you want to debate the logistics/how ok it is for them start playing again in general…that’s one thing. But if your team wins the WS…are you not going to be jumping around/doing cartwheels for the next year because of it? Do you taint teams that won during 156 game seasons or before extended playoff rounds began? Just dumb…I feel like people like to complain and over analyze these things too much

4:54
Meg Rowley: In fairness, there is a big difference between 156 games and 82. To say it is exactly the same is silly.

4:54
Meg Rowley: But I think it will still feel great.

4:54
Meg Rowley: They wouldn’t be wrong to raise a banner.

4:55
Dan: If you have someone already familiar with the process sell masks and donate the profit. If you don’t I don’t think you’ll make enough on them to justify the time of setting it up.

4:56
Meg Rowley: Eh maybe. Still feels weird to me. Also, I don’t know if that’s the best way to promote the site? Wouldn’t you rather have it on a happy hoodie or a marvelous mug?

4:56
Meg Rowley: Masks are a necessary bummer.

4:56
Gashouse Gorilla: Given the rancor in the discussions on restarting, do you think the next CBA has become harder to negotiate, and are there new issues that will need to be addressed?  And, do you think there’s a chance the Union might hire someone competent this time?

4:57
Meg Rowley: At the very least, I don’t think the league has done much to convince the players that it is keen to negotiate in good faith.

4:58
Meg Rowley: It was always going to be a contentious – now the league (or its owners) has set itself up to be the entity that tried to pay them less in a pandemic.

4:58
TKDC: Better on Twitter? I thought Twitter was only for canceling cookbook authors??

4:59
Meg Rowley: What I mean is that sometimes, a data query is interesting but not enough to sustain a 1,500 word piece.

4:59
Derek Smalls: Bregman gets dumped on a ton, and I guess he comes off as an ass because he has the drive to be the best–as i’m sure all great athletes do. Regarding trash cans, his road splits are far superior to his home splits. If you never saw the little girl from ABQ he helped visit Kris Bryant (her favorite player), google it, it’s fantastic. He just finished arranging to feed 150,000 meals to people in need earlier this month. He’s also been very involved with helping kids with autism. No question, just wish people would look at the person a bit more in-depth before judging. There are plenty of guys in the league to dislike, but I really don’t think he’s one of them.

5:00
Meg Rowley: He’s certainly done good work in his community. Before the banging scheme, he also cast himself as a heel. Hard to walk that back when part of the bit was long stares at the camera after a home run.

5:01
Meg Rowley: I’ll grant he’s more complicated than either the more angelic or demonic aspects of his public persona. Of course he is – he’s a human being! But he kinda has to wear this.

5:02
Meg Rowley: Ok pals, I need to get rolling. Thank you for the chat, and for reading the site. We appreciate your support so, so much.

5:02
Meg Rowley: Sorry for what I didn’t get to. Be well, and have a good long weekend!

We hoped you liked reading Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 5/20/2020 by Meg Rowley!

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Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs, the host of FanGraphs Audio, and the co-co-host of Effectively Wild. Her work has previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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bookbook
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bookbook

A mask. might work. It could say somethings like: “Fangraphs: I wear this mask because I understand statistics.”

StuShea
Member
Member
StuShea

I’d buy Fangraphs masks.