Jonah Keri

jonah keri

Recent Posts

Positions

It’s much tougher to wield an adequate glove while playing shortstop or center field than it is first base or left field – imagine Mark McGwire trying to do what Ozzie Smith did for 19 years. It’s a blatantly obvious point that somehow gets missed when voting time rolls around.

Alan Trammell excels with the bat and in the field, but he can’t get a whiff of support because he hit 197 fewer homers than Jim Rice. At least Trammell’s still on the ballot. Players with solid Hall of Fame cases like Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker couldn’t even garner the necessary 5% support to warrant consideration, because voters can’t figure out how to value well-rounded second basemen.

You Had To Be There

It’s after 5 pm here on the West Coast, and I’m watching the sunset at the beach. The sun drops, drops, drops…and it’s gone! Into the ocean! Miraculously, a brand new sun will appear, fully formed, 13 hours from now. This is roughly how Hall of Fame voters justify ignoring numbers in making their case for or against certain players.

Jack Morris is a Hall of Fame pitcher because…well…you had to be there. Here’s the thing about us humans: We’re terrible at observing reality. As in the case of the setting sun, our eyes can only take us so far. Our minds are even more unreliable. We remember Jack Morris’ dominant Game 7 in the 1991 World Series, but conveniently forget his miserable playoff performance the very next year. This is known as confirmation bias, where we collect observations that prove our argument, and throw out the ones that disprove it. This is why science exists, people. Without hard data, our observations can be nearly useless – or worse than useless.

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Alex Anthopoulos began his baseball career with the Montreal Expos organization, where he worked for three years. The Montreal native moved to the Blue Jays in 2003, where he took over as scouting coordinator. Two years later, he earned a promotion to assistant general manager, then vice president of baseball operations.

Finally at the end of the 2009 season, Anthopoulos took over the big chair, becoming one of the youngest GMs in the game at age 32. Armed with a scouting background, he’s vowed to try and outscout the competition, and building a Blue Jays team that can contend over the long haul.

Just ahead of the Winter Meetings, I talked to Anthopoulos about the challenges of competing in the toughest division in baseball, the little (and big) moves the Jays can make to get back on top, and the sleeping giant potential of North America’s fifth-biggest market.

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