While old-school guys are still holding most of the top spots in sports broadcasting, one thing we can all look forward to in the near future is the influx of young, sabermetric-friendly announcers that is on the horizon. Those kids who grew up reading Bill James eventually turn into adults, after all. Friend of AG.com Jon Sciambi, a 34-year-old who has worked as one of the Florida Marlins' radio announcers for the past eight years, recently signed a deal with ESPN television to work some Monday and Wednesday night games this season.
While I haven't heard Jon work Marlins games on radio (what with me being in Minnesota and all), I have spoken to him enough to know that he will be head and shoulders above most of the play-by-play guys working national games when it comes to bringing an interesting approach and some actual insight to the broadcast. In other words, there's a chance he might not just keep spewing those same tired cliches that are staples for announcers. As I told Jon when I congratulated him on the new gig yesterday afternoon, it'll be nice not to know what the announcer is going to say before he says it for once.
Here's hoping there are a few more Jon Sciambis on the way.
While wading through the incredible amount of information available at TheBaseballCube.com the other day, I stumbled across the player page for Tony Leseman, soon-to-be junior outfielder for the University of Minnesota and the best player I ever played on the same team with. Back in Little League, Tony pitched, played shortstop, and deposited extra-base hits all over the ballpark for our team (which his dad coached). Meanwhile, I played second base and third base while trying to bloop singles into shallow right field.
Tony hit .315/.377/.427 as a redshirt freshman for the Gophers in 2003 and then hit .283/.410/.364 as a sophomore last season. He is expected to be the team's starting centerfielder this season, taking over for Sam Steidl, who hit .372/.441/.500 last year and was taken by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the draft. As for me, I'm still talking about the time I hit a grand slam off my uncle playing one-on-one baseball two summers ago.
Eric Gagne sure looks a lot less intimidating without the dirty hat and goggles.
Don't ask me why I suddenly discovered this information, but on the day I was born -- January 3, 1983 -- Tony Dorsett had his record-breaking 99-yard run for the Dallas Cowboys. Anyone wanna guess which team it was against? The Vikings, of course.
Sadly, that appears to be the only interesting thing that happened that day (aside from me being born, obviously). However, on January 3, 1920, the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. What this has to do with anything is anyone's guess, but this is the sort of stuff you come across when you spend hours aimlessly searching the web for interesting stuff to blog about on a Friday in late January.
Am I the only person who read this story and immediately wanted to undercut the guy's price? For $37,375 I'd agree to a lot worse than an advertisement on my forehead. In fact, if anyone out there is interested in some ad space on my body (and there is plenty of space, trust me), just let me know. For those of you thinking dirty, sick thoughts ... shame on you!
And last, but certainly not least ... I once again contributed to Rotoworld's annual fantasy baseball magazine this year. I think my official title last year was "Senior Contributor," which sounds really good when you say it to people and looks even better on a resume. Of course, being the jackass that I am, I forgot to ask for the title again this time around, so I'm hoping they were feeling charitable. Anyway, the magazine is being published by the world famous (to anyone who collects sports cards, at least) Beckett Publications this year and you can order it online right now for just $6.99.
There are obviously a ton of different places to get help preparing for your fantasy baseball draft, but I can personally vouch for Rotoworld's magazine being extremely good. I wrote three lengthy articles -- one on prospects, one on sleepers, and one on busts -- and I also worked extensively on the previews for each team. Those of you who are familiar with Rotoworld.com know what an outstanding website it is, and the same guys who run things there were in charge of the magazine.
Incidentally, I showed my mom a picture of the cover -- which as you can see features Albert Pujols -- and the first and only thing she said to me was, "Boy, he's really got some big thighs ... is that Barry Bonds?"