Getting to know your Eye on Baseball scribes
Want to get to know a little background on Matt Snyder, Dayn Perry and Mike Axisa? Click through, and find out. If not, that's cool. There's plenty more to do on opening day.
We're about to embark on a seven-month journey through the baseball regular season and postseason together here at Eye on Baseball. For many of you, there's no possible way you could care less to get to know us. After all, we live in our mother's basement and look like this in your mind:
For others, though, you might want to get to know us three and maybe even interact with us. You can do so on Twitter -- @MattSnyder27 @daynperry @mikeaxisa @EyeOnBaseball -- or attempt to mix it up with us in the comments section.
So below is a little bit about Dayn Perry, Mike Axisa and myself. I cannot stress this enough: If you don't want to know us and wish to keep anonymously hating us as the evil media, stop reading and check out some of our other content. There's plenty. The great thing about the Internet is there aren't space limitations like there are in newspapers -- which means the "how is this news?" comments are incredibly off-base. It's not 1985 anymore. It's 2013. There's room for non-newsy fun in addition to straight news.
We're new school. We're bloggy. We like to have fun. We take ourselves seriously when need be and goof off when acceptable. And we love baseball. This is us, your Eye on Baseball team.
Snyder: I’m reluctant to post it here, because accusations of bias against certain teams ( St. Louis Cardinals , Chicago White Sox ) are sure to resonate, but I’m a Chicago Cubs fan -- like my father and grandfather before me -- and have been since they reeled me in at the age of 6 in the summer of 1984. And, yes, I think the Theo Epstein administration is building the team properly. I should also note my wife is a New York Yankees fan, so I'm OK with them doing well.
Perry: I come from a long line of Cardinal fans, and that’s why -- to this day -- I consider myself one. My dad has been a Cardinal rooter for, oh, 67 years, and I date my fanhood back to my first major-league game back in 1980. When it comes to my professional capacities, I don’t let my preferences enter into it. If anything, I probably overcompensate by being a bit too hard on the Redbirds. Besides, as someone who lives on the North Side of Chicago, I’m accustomed to “muting” my enthusiasm.
Axisa: I am one of two Yankees fans in a family of New York Mets fans. My grandfather -- the other Yankees fan -- got me into the team when I was young and impressionable, which really didn’t please my parents. Am I biased? Sure, but I hate every team equally. If anything, I compensate by criticizing the Yankees too harshly and other teams too favorably.
Favorite current player
Snyder: Anthony Rizzo , though I’m giddy over the eventually arrival of Javier Baez.
Perry: Yadier Molina . I have a longstanding bias toward catchers, and Molina is the most complete one in the game today.
Axisa: Mariano Rivera . No question.
Favorite current player not on your favorite team
Snyder: It’s hard to narrow it down because there are so many I like. I’m still just a young fan at heart. I’ll go with Andrew McCutchen for various reasons, including how nice a guy he appears to be off the field.
Perry: Adrian Beltre . He’s a ridiculously brilliant glove man (the best defensive third baseman I’ve ever seen), and he hits home runs from his knees.
Axisa: Bryce Harper , and I kind of hate myself for it. He does everything I enjoy about baseball -- homers, outfield throws, etc. -- so ridiculously well.
Favorite retired player you saw play
Snyder: Greg Maddux is my all-time favorite player, past or present.
Perry: Man, this is a hard one. Ozzie Smith and Pedro Martinez. Ozzie was the rare “highlight reel” player whose defensive skills were just as sublime as those highlights, and I loved watching his evolution from awful to useful at the plate. As for Pedro, when he was in top form, he was the greatest and most aesthetically pleasing pitcher I’ve ever seen.
Axisa: I always loved Jorge Posada and Darryl Strawberry, but all-time I will go with Randy Johnson. Everything about him fascinates me, from his unique size and durability to the way things didn’t finally “click” until his age-29 season. Did you know Johnson owns six of the eight highest single-season K/9 rates in baseball history? Crazy.
Favorite "before your time" player
Snyder: Jackie Robinson for many, many reasons.
Perry: The day after this player died, my dad called me on the phone. The first he said was, “You’re talking to someone who saw Stan Musial play.” I so wish I could see No. 6 uncoil on someone’s best pitch and cruise into second standing up.
Axisa: I’m not sure I have one. Probably Ted Williams because he was the greatest hitter in baseball history.
"Time-machine moment" we'd like to witness
Snyder: Man, far too many here, so the choice won’t feel right. Josh Gibson’s reported 580-foot home run in Yankee Stadium is the pick, winning just barely over Babe Ruth’s “called shot.”
Perry: It’s an obvious answer, but the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” It’s a cultural touchstone -- the right city, the right era, the right archetypes. I would have worn a fedora to the game.
Axisa: Either Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game or Reggie Jackson’s World Series three-homer game. I’ve been to World Series games, and I’ve been to both almost-perfect games and almost three-homer games, and I think combining all of that would be insanely fun.
Random player we inexplicably love
Snyder: Jose Altuve . It’s probably because he’s so short. Then again, there have been plenty of short players I didn’t care about. But I love me some Altuve.
Perry: Darren Oliver . He’s entering his 20th season in the big leagues, and he’s reinvented himself as a top-shelf lefty specialist. Ever since the days of Rick Honeycutt, I’ve harbored a soft spot for aging LOOGYs.
Axisa: Danny Espinosa , and I can’t explain it. I like second basemen and I like homers, so Espinosa it is.
Random player we inexplicably dislike
Snyder: Something about Jonathan Papelbon absolutely drives me crazy. I’m not even sure it’s his fault. In fact, it’s probably not.
Perry: Brett Myers . And I can explain it quite easily.
Axisa: Papelbon, and there is nothing inexplicable about it.
Most disliked person in baseball
Snyder: I’ve moved past all fan-related biases in that I actually don’t hate the Cardinals. I only dislike players -- usually temporarily -- based upon actions I don’t care for. But -- no matter what -- no player or manager or anyone else come close to Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. I’ll just leave him here on his own.
Perry: Loria, and it’s not particularly close. I’ve had a healthy distaste for him ever since he snuffed out the Expos with malice aforethought. What’s unfolded in Miami is just aftertaste.
Axisa: Loria. Not all that close. It dates back to the Expos stuff, but everything that is going on in Miami right now is criminal.
Favorite ballpark of all time
Snyder: Wrigley Field in a blowout.
Perry: Wrigley. Especially when viewing the game from the 500 section. Obstructed views, terrible beer, the whiff of urine and encased meats -- it’s baseball.
Axisa: I have to say the old Yankee Stadium, don’t I?
Favorite "new/old school’ ballpark, which is all of them after Camden Yards
Snyder: AT&T Park by a nose over Comerica Park. So, obviously last season’s World Series was cool for me even if it didn’t last nearly long enough.
Perry: PNC by a nose over AT&T. Love the view of the Pittsburgh skyline (Pittsburgh is, in my opinion, the most underrated American city), and I love the seats that are angled toward home plate.
Axisa: PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Love everything about it from the concessions to the view of the skyline.
Snyder: Anything in the hot dog-bratwurst-italian sausage family. Peppers and onions are a plus.
Perry: Beer (especially the Midwestern craft beer stand at U.S. Cellular Field) and peanuts.
Axisa: I’m a simple guy; peanuts it is.
Favorite baseball ritual as a fan
Snyder: I don’t know if it’s a ritual, but for me, absolutely nothing beats walking through the tunnel in any stadium and first catching that first glimpse of the diamond. It never gets old.
Perry: Crooning Take Me Out to the Ball Game. It’s a drinking song that celebrates baseball -- who could possibly not love this? It’s also a great unifying moment and the kind of thing that sets baseball apart.
Axisa: I’m not sure if it qualifies as a ritual, but I do enjoy getting to the park ridiculously early to catch some batting practice and just walk around the concourses.
Favorite baseball memory
Snyder: On June 15, 1998, Sammy Sosa hit three bombs in Wrigley Field. After the third, I joined a good amount of fans in throwing my hat on the field for a “hat trick.” And I got caught. And I got kicked out of Wrigley Field. And, no, I wasn’t drinking (I was only 20).
Perry: Watching Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. I wasn’t at the game, but it remains like nothing I’ve ever seen. It seemed plucked from the 1986 postseason. I’m still not sure I believe it actually happened.
Axisa: There are a lot, but Jim Leyritz’s three-run homer in the Game Four of the 1996 World Series stands out. That was the first time in my life that I felt like my team could actually win the title. Aaron Boone deserves a mention as well.
Favorite baseball movie
Snyder: Major League gets the nod over Bull Durham, The Natural, Field of Dreams and The Sandlot.
Perry: Confession: I’m a movie snob, and I think almost all baseball movies are dreck. With that said, I love Sugar, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg and Long Gone.
Axisa: The Sandlot, easily. I’m not a big movie guy, and I didn’t enjoy the vast majority of the baseball movies I’ve seen, but The Sandlot is a classic.
Favorite baseball movie character
Snyder: The immortal Crash Davis. For his beliefs, obviously.
Perry: Stud Cantrell of the Tampico Stogies.
Axisa: Pedro Cerrano.
Favorite piece of baseball memorabilia
Snyder: The official program from the 2011 World Series. It was the first World Series I ever covered, and I will never, ever forget how amazing that series was. I remember walking back to my hotel after Game 6 and just thinking, “Holy s---. This is my job?” The program is on display in my office and brings back that memory every time I see it.
Perry: One Christmas, my sister gave me a 1970 Bob Gibson card. I’ve lost most of my baseball cards over the years, but I still have that one.
Axisa: I have a little Darryl Strawberry figure -- not a bobblehead, just a little plastic figure -- that I received as a giveaway promotion at a game as kid. It survived all these years.
Who's most responsible for you being a fan?
Snyder: My father, Jim. He already had a bat, glove, ball and Cubs hat for me before I could walk. Having a brother, Eric, only one year younger than me didn’t hurt, either. I can’t leave out my mother or sister, either, as it was a die-hard baseball family all around.
Perry: My incredible parents. Most summers of my youth, they’d take me along on the 13-hour drive from South Mississippi to St. Louis to go see a weekend Cardinal series. My dad and I would watch the game, while my mom would -- seriously -- do needlepoint in the stands. Before I’d go back in time and watch Musial, I’d go back and watch a game with my mom and dad.
Axisa: My grandfather, the Yankees fan. When I was a kid, my grandparents lived literally right next door. So when my parents went to work, they used to just drop me off next door. I spent most of my youth summers watching the Yankees with the grandfather in his den.
To sabe or not to sabe?
Snyder: I’m a mixture here. Having played in college, I know there’s an obvious human element that cannot possibly be measured, and I hate it when some people act like robots are playing. On the other hand, I like some of the advanced stats like WAR, I hate using wins to measure a pitcher, I generally hate sacrifice bunting and on-base percentage is far superior to batting average.
Dayn: While I wholeheartedly advocate an embrace of emergent statistical analysis and traditional scouting, I’m a stat-head at heart. That’s mostly because I’m better at wielding those concepts than I am at scouting a game (which isn’t to say I’m all that good at the former).
Axisa. Both, but mostly sabe. There are absolutely intangible concepts that impact games and can't be measured, but there is a whole lot that can be quantified. Our eyes and our memories lie to us all the time. Stats don’t as long as you put in the time to understand what you’re looking at.
Snyder: Yes, I play in one league with personal friends. I don’t have an issue with those who play in multiple leagues and with people they have never met. It’s just not for me.
Perry: I’ve been in multiple Diamond Mind leagues over the years. I much prefer sim leagues to straight fantasy.
Axisa: Yes, but not nearly as much as I used to. I’m still in the first FanGraphs staff league, and it is rather intense. That’s my only league this year.
Random hope for 2013 season
Snyder: I want to see the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series for a few reasons. First of all, I’ve never been to Toronto -- hopefully, I’ll get to cover the Series again! -- and secondly, I’m unbelievably annoyed at the people who think the Blue Jays can’t succeed just because the ‘12 Marlins didn’t. Maybe the Jays tank, but it won’t be because they “won the offseason.”
Also, obviously not surprising, but one of my dreams for the season would be Loria putting the Marlins up for sale.
Perry: I want the Pittsburgh Pirates to notch a winning season. It’s been since 1992, as we all know. Great park, great city, fan base that will absolutely embrace a winner -- let’s do this.
Axisa: Man, it would be so easy to say Mariano Rivera closing out the World Series in his final season. But for the sake of variety, I’ll say that I want to see the Houston Astros be better than expected. They’re going to stink, but it would be neat if they were a pesky team that throws a wrench into other teams' playoff plans.
Favorite non-baseball sport
Snyder: Probably college basketball in a photo finish over the NFL. I’m an Indiana boy, after all.
Perry: College basketball, easily. Viva la Ken Norman.
Axisa: Hockey. There was once a time where I was as much of a hockey fan as I am a baseball fan, but things have changed as I’ve gotten older. Hockey’s the perfect blend of speed, power and finesse.
Favorite non-baseball teams
Snyder: Indiana Hoosiers (yes, I’m still in mourning), Chicago Bears, Indiana Pacers.
Perry: Vancleave, Mississippi High School football (my awesome brother-in-law is their awesome head coach); Big Ten hoops; Nebraska football (I married an Omaha girl and got indoctrinated).
Axisa: New York Rangers. I jumped all aboard that bandwagon in 1994 and have stayed on since. No shame.
And that's probably far more than you care to know, but definitely feel free to interact with us on the above. Let's have a great season together, and thank you very much for reading Eye on Baseball content.