Author Topic: Ben Goessling live chat - Feb 23, 2010 (Completed)  (Read 20212 times)

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Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #50: February 23, 2010, 08:33:09 PM »
Ben - First, thanks.  I'm sorry to say I may be one of the reasons your old paper dropped sports.  I don't read the Times, so I didn't often read you (except when linkd here or at NJ).  good luck on your new beat.

With an accounting background, what is your take on sabermetric analyses?  do you use them in your reporting? Are they understandable enough to help you tell readers something about the game or are they niche / jargon that just mess up the story?  Check my signature line.

Love the question. Because of the accounting background, I'm a fair bit more comfortable with numbers than a lot of reporters, many of whom viewed journalism school as the promised land where math's reign of terror held no sway. :-) So I enjoy the sabermetrics stuff, and try to use as much of it as I can in my reporting. The problems I have with it are these: Some of the stats aren't commonly agreed upon yet, and some, like zone rating, have a few subjective elements to them. And as reporters, we still have to cater some of our stuff to the average fan, who doesn't know OPS from UPS. The challenge becomes writing about it in a way that bridges the gap from the baseball-savvy people we cover to the fans who read our stuff. You'll see me write about OBP and OPS quite often, and I'll probably write more about VORP and WARP this year than I have in the past. You have to balance some of it out, though.

Online UMDNats

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #51: February 23, 2010, 08:36:36 PM »
Love the question. Because of the accounting background, I'm a fair bit more comfortable with numbers than a lot of reporters, many of whom viewed journalism school as the promised land where math's reign of terror held no sway. :-) So I enjoy the sabermetrics stuff, and try to use as much of it as I can in my reporting. The problems I have with it are these: Some of the stats aren't commonly agreed upon yet, and some, like zone rating, have a few subjective elements to them. And as reporters, we still have to cater some of our stuff to the average fan, who doesn't know OPS from UPS. The challenge becomes writing about it in a way that bridges the gap from the baseball-savvy people we cover to the fans who read our stuff. You'll see me write about OBP and OPS quite often, and I'll probably write more about VORP and WARP this year than I have in the past. You have to balance some of it out, though.

I can attest to this.

I was actually curious about this too so I really like the response.

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #52: February 23, 2010, 08:37:38 PM »
and now for a question.

What have you found to be the major differences between writing as a Beat Writer for a Major Newspaper, and writing for a TV Station's website?

Are you going to be prominently featured on MASN's Nats-focused TV Coverage?

also, Pirates or Ninjas?

There aren't a ton of differences in the way you go about covering the team -- it's still trying to break news and write the best stories you can each day. The main difference is the time and space constraints; simply, there are none. I can't tell you how much I love the fact that I don't have to frantically write a half-baked game story for an early edition of the paper that will probably be seen by 500 people. And there's no more serving two masters (print vs. web). The difference so far that's been a little tough is the lack of institutional knowledge; there's nothing set up to say, "This is the best way to cover a team on the Web." But that's a good thing, too.

As for the TV part of your question, I'll be doing some stuff during pre- and post-game shows, so you'll have plenty of chances to grumble with your friends about my face made for radio. :-)

Offline tomterp

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #53: February 23, 2010, 08:37:44 PM »
And as reporters, we still have to cater some of our stuff to the average fan, who doesn't know OPS from UPS. The challenge becomes writing about it in a way that bridges the gap from the baseball-savvy people we cover to the fans who read our stuff. You'll see me write about OBP and OPS quite often, and I'll probably write more about VORP and WARP this year than I have in the past. You have to balance some of it out, though.

NOTE:  There is a vigorous debate in progress this week on the Baseball Prospectus site as to this very topic - just how the media can or should present more advanced stats.  It merits its own discussion, so look tomorrow for a thread on the topic. 

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #54: February 23, 2010, 08:38:46 PM »

also, Pirates or Ninjas?

And pirates. Definitely pirates. Big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies -- especially the first one. But I did watch all three of them in one day.

Dork outing complete. :-)

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #55: February 23, 2010, 08:41:11 PM »
Hey Ben love your coverage over at MASN.
How does the organization feel about Derek Norris's chances of sticking at Catcher?
Norris is a big part of the organization's plans -- I think there's a decent chance he's the starter by the end of next year. He's got some power, and if he can improve his receiving and game-calling skills this year, he'll be on his way. That will give the Nats an interesting problem with Jesus Flores, who is only 25 and is still part of the future. He's got to prove he can stay healthy, or Norris will be fighting him for playing time relatively soon.

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #56: February 23, 2010, 08:43:40 PM »
Alright, executive decision here, I'm going to leave this thread intact and let it continue as the official "chat" thread.  It will make it slightly easier for Ben to quote questions already posted if he so desires.

With that I will throw out another one:

Only a couple of days into camp, who is comparing favorably to expectations, who is disappointing?

For example, from what I've been able to gleen...

Looking good - Martis, Strasburg
Not so good - Olsen and Flores (injuries, obviously)

I think you're right on with who's looking good and who's not -- though there seems to still be a high level of optimism about Olsen. There's also a good vibe about Matt Chico's chances to come back. But as Jim Riggleman said today, anybody can look great in a bullpen session or in batting practice.

Offline wpa2629

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #57: February 23, 2010, 08:44:59 PM »
Do you expect to see Drew Storen in the pen this year with the big club? If so, when? And if so, what will his role be?

Offline Ben Goessling

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« Reply #58: February 23, 2010, 08:45:17 PM »
True or false - Walter Johnson was the greatest pitcher in Twins history.     8)

Well, that's kind of a trick question, since he never pitched for the Twins. Greatest pitcher in franchise history? Absolutely. But if you're talking about the greatest pitcher in Twins history, it's probably Jim Kaat, with Brad Radke, Frank Viola and Johan Santana in the conversation.

Offline tomterp

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #59: February 23, 2010, 08:47:37 PM »
Well, that's kind of a trick question, since he never pitched for the Twins. Greatest pitcher in franchise history? Absolutely. But if you're talking about the greatest pitcher in Twins history, it's probably Jim Kaat, with Brad Radke, Frank Viola and Johan Santana in the conversation.

Pass!   :P

Unfortunately, to find Walter at the HOF you have to visit the Twins area....  :bang:

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #60: February 23, 2010, 08:48:03 PM »
Hey Ben, love your coverage on MASN, you actually respond to the fan comments!

Anyways, who would you say has the best shot for the 4-5 spot in the rotation... and, if you were a betting man... how do you think the bullpen shakes out?

Thanks for the kind words -- though I'll agree with others that your Zimmerman GIF makes me slightly nauseous. :-)

As for the 4th and 5th spots -- I take it you're putting Olsen in the rotation? I think that's a good bet, assuming he's healthy. I think Stammen gets a spot, if he pitches well this spring. And I would have said Detwiler before he got hurt. Now I think Balester, Mock, Martin and possibly Batista all have good shots. Mock's been disappointing in the past, but it's clear he's going to get a long look.

Online blue911

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #61: February 23, 2010, 08:48:04 PM »
Jim Riggleman is a protege of Whitey Herzog.


After two years of unimaginative baseball, you'll now have an orgy of strategy. Enjoy. The guys that had to cover the Acta years deserve some payback. 

Offline CALSGR8

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« Reply #62: February 23, 2010, 08:49:33 PM »
Actually in the "lockers" for each team and their history (has uniforms and records of the team), the Twins list the 1924 championship as their history.

Then again, don't get me started....   :roll:   :crazy: :rant: :rant: :rant:

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #63: February 23, 2010, 08:50:29 PM »
How can Nolan Ryan be in the hall of fame and not Jim Kaat or Bert Blyleven?

Is it an Anti-Dutch backlash?


Absolutely! And as someone who's a quarter Dutch, I'm 25 percent offended by what's going on!

Seriously, though, I think Blyleven gets in at some point. My buddy Mark Zuckerman has a vote after this year, so I'll try to bribe him. Just can't think of anything I could get from the Netherlands that he'd like...

Offline CALSGR8

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #64: February 23, 2010, 08:51:20 PM »
Absolutely! And as someone who's a quarter Dutch, I'm 25 percent offended by what's going on!

Seriously, though, I think Blyleven gets in at some point. My buddy Mark Zuckerman has a vote after this year, so I'll try to bribe him. Just can't think of anything I could get from the Netherlands that he'd like...

Dutch Chocolate?

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #65: February 23, 2010, 08:53:09 PM »
Ben -

With all the Spring Training story lines out there, why has there been so little mention of Ryan Zimmerman ?

Clearly the Nats best player, is he being taken for granted in favor of more juicy, headline grabbing stuff ?


A lot of it is because Zimmerman hasn't been around much; today was the first time I saw him in the clubhouse, and he wasn't there long. He's been showing up, lifting and heading home. It's also a backhanded compliment, in a way. Zimmerman is the surest thing this team has, so there's not as much of an impetus to "check up" on him. I'm sure we'll all talk to him tomorrow and get his read on the offseason, but you kind of know what you're going to get from Zimmerman. There's probably a story to be done at some point about him moving into the elite group of third basemen in the game, as well as embracing more of a "face of the franchise" role. But as far as his performance, there's not as much to worry about.

Offline GMUTrkstar

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« Reply #66: February 23, 2010, 08:54:09 PM »
Hey Ben,

What prospects are in camp that haven't been reported on much, I'm thinking the Destin Hood, Micheal Burgess Brad Meyers, and to a lesser extent Chris Marrero's of the world?



Offline CALSGR8

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #67: February 23, 2010, 08:55:14 PM »
I don't know if this has been asked already.  Have you seen Zimmermann (2 "n"s) pitch?  How's he look?

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #68: February 23, 2010, 08:55:45 PM »
Ben -

What is this year's coaching staff's attitude towards pitch counts?

Well, pitching coach Steve McCatty is one of the holdovers from last year, so you'll see a similar approach to last year's. But I don't think Jim Riggleman will be as strict with them as Manny Acta was. Don't get me wrong; he's not going to be leaving young pitchers out there for 120-130 pitches. But he showed a willingness to let Lannan go deep into games, and Marquis will probably get the same courtesy. Riggleman and McCatty are much more old-school than Acta and St. Claire were, so you'll probably see a slight change that way. Riggleman also likes to save his bullpen for a boatload of strategic moves and switches in the late innings, and letting a starter go a little deeper into the game allows him to do that.

Online blue911

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #69: February 23, 2010, 09:00:41 PM »
Well, pitching coach Steve McCatty is one of the holdovers from last year, so you'll see a similar approach to last year's. But I don't think Jim Riggleman will be as strict with them as Manny Acta was. Don't get me wrong; he's not going to be leaving young pitchers out there for 120-130 pitches. But he showed a willingness to let Lannan go deep into games, and Marquis will probably get the same courtesy. Riggleman and McCatty are much more old-school than Acta and St. Claire were, so you'll probably see a slight change that way. Riggleman also likes to save his bullpen for a boatload of strategic moves and switches in the late innings, and letting a starter go a little deeper into the game allows him to do that.

McCatty was one of the 5 warriors of Billy Martins 1980 A's

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #70: February 23, 2010, 09:02:33 PM »
First of all, mad love for the 2 plus hour of chatting a couple of weeks back.

For my ?? ... Are the Nats still looking for another starting pitcher or another player?  If so, who?
Thanks! I really enjoy doing the chat thing, and you'll probably see quite a few more of them in the coming weeks, certainly over at MASN and possibly again here, if I've been a well-behaved guest. Sorry about the footprints on the carpet, fellas. And sorry I just subconsciously quoted "Smooth Criminal" -- been listening to a lot of MJ lately.

Anyway: Yes, the Nats are looking for another pitcher, though they're well aware they do, in effect, have another one coming in May with Chien-Ming Wang. Stephen Strasburg will also be a bonus at some point, so they're not going to spend big money on a guy who might not be in the rotation for long anyway. I'd keep an eye on the names you've heard: Braden Looper, Livan Hernandez and the remote possibility of John Smoltz (though I think the price will be too high). I think that's a more probable route than another position player.

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #71: February 23, 2010, 09:04:10 PM »
Also, John Lannan was doing a twitter contest some time back and he drew my screen name out of the hat and I won free tickets to any home game. He says he wants a week's notice on a game. So I was wondering, how the heck do I get in touch with him to let him know which game I want??

I'd just send him a message on Twitter (@JLannan31). You can also write to him care of the Nationals (1500 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC, some ZIP code I don't know off the top of my head). But I'd think a Twitter conversation would work best.

Offline DPMOmaha

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #72: February 23, 2010, 09:06:41 PM »
What are realistic expectations for this team this year?  What does the Front Office, coaches, players expect for this year?  We've already heard Marquis and the like make the obligatory "We want to shock the world" quotes, but is there any way to gauge what a realistic, "successful" season would look like?

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #73: February 23, 2010, 09:07:31 PM »
NOTE:  There is a vigorous debate in progress this week on the Baseball Prospectus site as to this very topic - just how the media can or should present more advanced stats.  It merits its own discussion, so look tomorrow for a thread on the topic. 
Interesting...I might have to check that out and see what people are saying. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. So hit me up with those, too (ben@masnstudios.com, @masnnats on Twitter). As one poster here correctly pointed out, I respond to comments over at our site, too, so come check that out (www.masnsports.com/index_nationals.html).

Offline Ben Goessling

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Re: Ben Goessling live chat - IN PROGRESS NOW
« Reply #74: February 23, 2010, 09:09:39 PM »
Do you expect to see Drew Storen in the pen this year with the big club? If so, when? And if so, what will his role be?
I do expect to see Storen this year, probably by June or so, probably in a late-inning role to start with, continuing toward becoming a setup man and the eventual closer. The Nats love everything about this kid, and they're not going to hold him back longer than they need to. That's not to say they're going to rush him along. But I don't think it will take him long to reach the majors, and he's certainly near the top of their prospect radar.