You know, it's funny. I'm not easily impressed by much in the baseball world. I'm not saying this just because I love y'all, but the truth is that I don't think there is anyone out there on any sports site who knows as much about baseball and the A's collectively as Athletics Nation. I've gotten quite used to reading articles on other sites and coming back to AN to see what's wrong with the analysis. I check other sites for the latest player/owner quotes and the occasional reassurance that the A's won't lose 100 games, but as for analysis, it's all AN.
One glaring exception to this rule is Rob Neyer. I think Rob Neyer knows his baseball--and not in the way that Joe Morgan does. I've been quoting Neyer pretty much since my inaugural front post on AN, and to hear that he has jumped ship from a juggernaut like ESPN to SB Nation is quite simply, awesome.
Rob Neyer has been quoted on AN as far back as 2004; from chat questions to baseball analysis, and a quick search shows how much fun we've had with him over the years.
Blez interviewed Rob Neyer after the 2006 season, offering this ringing endorsement:
Neyer writes pretty much the only column on ESPN.com that's worth purchasing the insider access for. It was a dark day in my life when ESPN decided to put Rob behind the pay wall. Regardless, he's a unicorn when it comes to mainstream press in that he actually understands what Billy Beane is trying to do when he does it. I never thought I'd see one and then Neyer came and revived my faith in the baseball press.
And of course, how could this answer not warm your heart?
Blez: Is Bobby Crosby ever going to blossom into a star shortstop? Better yet, will he ever be healthy?
Neyer: I don't think he'll be a star. Even as Rookie of the Year in 2005, he wasn't that good, with an adjusted OPS (OPS+) significantly worse than league average (without accounting for defensive position). I think he always projected as a good player, maybe an occasional All-Star. I still think he's going to be a pretty good player, but he turns 27 next month, so if it's going to happen it's going to happen pretty soon.
And who can forget my Rob Neyer Is Wrong post back in August 2006, when he booked the Rangers to win the West. I wrote him a rebuttal, quoting the story; he wrote back to me and agreed. And so the love affair was born. I have been reading Neyer ever since.
So...how would you convince the newest member of SB Nation to visit Athletics Nation? How can we sell the game threads? In other news, I'll be at Spring Training the first weekend in March. Anyone else?