Alan Schwarz

Going Deep: Cooper Brannan

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

Cooper Brannan's career as an infantry rifleman in the Marines ended two years ago, when on his second tour of duty in Iraq, a grenade blew several fingers off his left hand. Yet that horrific moment ultimately led to a second career beginning right now: Padres minor league pitcher. Brannan, 22, still has only four fingers on his left hand but will carry 40 times the normal life experience inside his new uniform. I spoke with the righthander about getting signed by the Padres, his experience in Iraq, and playing Wiffle ball in the desert with buddies who never came home.

Majors | #2007#Column

Baseball America’s Scouting Dictionary

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

It happens to everyone at Baseball America. A scout is describing a player's skills, breaking down a kid's tools and potential and mindset, and every 10 words or so starts speaking in a tongue so foreign — "chicken-winger" . . . "cankles". . . "snap dragon" — that you long for an English-to-scout dictionary. Laughs Dodgers scouting director Logan White, "My sister would ask me when I talked about my job, 'What the heck are you saying?' She had no idea." We know the same thing happens to you when you're reading BA. To appease the desperate cries, we hereby present the Baseball America Scouting Dictionary, the first time all important scouting terms have been brought together in one handy-dandy, clip-and-save resource.

Majors | #2006#Column

Going Deep: Billy Beane

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

With all the hoopla surrounding Billy Beane and his management of the Athletics several years ago, I tended to be more reserved, saying, "The scouts gave him cheap stars like Hudson, Mulder and Tejada. Re-tooling the club will be the real trick." Now he's turned it. The A's just won 93 games and went deeper into the postseason than any Oakland club since the team went to the World Series in 1990, fueled mostly by the Danny Harens, FrankThomases and Mark Kotsays he acquired without the draft. I sat down with Beane a few days after the Tigers swept Oakland from the playoffs to talk about his evolving shopping lists, what he wants from his next manager and how—gasp!—his A's might one day lead the league in steals.

Majors | #2006#Column

Going Deep: Joe Buck

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

In the 10 years since Joe Buck called his first World Series at age 27, he has become the nation's primary network voice for both baseball and football, called about 9,642 hours of Yankees postseason games and, now that he works the Fox football pregame bacchanalia as well, learned to decode not just Tim McCarver but Terry Bradshaw, too. I caught up with Buck just before his first postseason broadcast this October to talk about Yankee overkill, the difference between football and baseball culture and just what bass fishing can do for a guy.

Majors | #2006#Column

Going Deep: Jered Weaver

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

Jered Weaver, two years removed from being named Baseball America's College Player of the Year at Long Beach State, became the first pitcher since Livan Hernandez in 1997 to win his first nine career decisions, posting a 1.95 ERA overall. (This while also going 6-1, 2.10 in two stints at Triple-A Salt Lake.) I sat down with Weaver in New York to talk about his corkscrew delivery, essentially replacing his brother Jeff on the Angels, and feeling like he's living a video game.

Majors | #2006#Column