Title Defenseby Sal Baxamusa
February 09, 2008
Well, I guess I was right about Bill James. After munching on sandwiches with Keith Woolner - a perfectly delightful human being - and a short chat with Rob Neyer, I filed into the auditorium for the Title Defense panel when who else but Bill James should walk by. He's going to be on panelist this afternoon on baseball analytics, so I'll be sure to check in with anything interesting from that.
Now, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey and New England Patriots Director of New Business Development are introducing a panel title "Defending the Title." Who's moderating? None other than the legend himself Peter Gammons.
A lot of the talk is about the importance of character in putting together a winning team. Jed Hoyer, the Red Sox assistant general manager, says that the Red Sox have had trouble recruiting free agents because how difficult it is to play in Boston - I assume he's talking about the pressure-cooker media. For that reason, the organization has focused heavily on character when drafting players. He says that the leaders of the team are not the veteran players, but guys like Dustin Pedroia and Jonathan Papelbon.
He also intimates that part of the reason they didn't repeat as champions in 2005 was that starter-quality guys who accepted bench roles in 2004 for the stretch run wouldn't do so in 2005. I'm guessing he's talking about Dave Roberts.
Sal Baxamusa is a graduate student in chemical engineering. He can be reached here.