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Will Hails Game’s Return To D.C.

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

George Will holds a unique spot on baseball's landscape. He's not just a huge Cubs fan (baseball memorabilia and autographs cover his Georgetown office walls) and prolific author ("Men at Work," his 1990 masterpiece, is the best-selling baseball book ever). As one of Washington's top insiders, Will has a keen eye for how the worlds of baseball and politics intersect, both intellectually and emotionally. To mark the end of this first season of baseball back in Washington, I sat down with Will in his D.C. office to talk about the Nationals, Congress's role in the steroid mess and his deep—very deep—Cubs-fan scars.

Majors | #2005#Column

Piazza Still Has Plenty To Offer

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

Baseball America's readers have watched Mike Piazza grow up from a forgettable 62nd-round draft pick to a top prospect to, quickly and forcefully, the greatest offensive catcher in baseball history. After so many calls for him to move positions, at 37, he still finished this season as perhaps the National League's most productive catcher. But now comes the slow fade-out: Piazza will almost certainly open next season in the American League, as a designated hitter, ending a remarkable run. I sat down with Piazza during this year's final week to talk about aging, the weirdness of New York and what his career could still hold.

Majors | #2005#Column

Daniels Hopes To Dispel Youth Stereotypes

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

Yes, at 28 he's the youngest general manager in major league history. Sure, he's the latest in a string of Ivy League-educated GMs. But as soon as the hubbub about his early-October promotion to Rangers GM dies down, Jon Daniels will be judged like all other club decision-makers: whether he can do the job. I spoke with Daniels during the Texas organization meetings about meshing with established general managers, improving the Rangers and his humble baseball roots that involed crashing in Denver basements.

Majors | #2005#Column

Williams Reluctantly Accepts The Spotlight

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

Flush from his team's magical World Series run, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams did what he likes best: disappear. Never one for the spotlight, Williams avoided the media frenzy, preferring instead to recede into the Chicago background and his work for 2006. But he still took a few minutes to sit down and discuss his management philosophies, the building of a champion, and the sweetness of vindication.

Majors | #2005#Column

Goin’ Deep With Jimmie Lee Solomon

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

Ever since word started filtering out over the summer, Major League Baseball's proposed changes to the lower levels of player development have been kept curiously quiet. From the shifting of the draft to the end of June to the elimination of the complex leagues, from a defined bonus structure and signing date to longer, mandatory instructional leagues, almost no executive has been willing to speak openly about the situation. Not surprisingly, the changes were among the most hotly debated topics at the recent general managers meetings in Indian Wells, Calif. On the meetings' final day, Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's top executive in charge of the situation, sat down for his first extended interview about what might become the most significant alterations to player development in decades.

Majors | #2005#Column

Valentine Embraces Life In Japan

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

For a guy living 12,000 miles away, Bobby Valentine's name has come up an awful lot this season. Mentioned for managing jobs with the Devil Rays and Dodgers, and even possibly a general manager position, Valentine not only led his Chiba Lotte Marines to their first Japan Series title since 1974, but also thrust himself back front-and-center into major league conversations. Valentine sat down to talk about his Marines, the lingering lure of the majors and just what in the world BoBeer tastes like.

Majors | #2005#Column

Classic Roster Excites Martinez

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

As the pieces of the upcoming World Baseball Classic gradually fall into place, one of the biggest appeared at the Winter Meetings: the Team USA manager will be Buck Martinez, the current ESPN analyst and former manager of the Blue Jays. The prospect of managing the greatest collection of talent in the history of baseball, with names like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter and more, has left the garrulous Martinez anything but speechless. I sat down with Martinez to discuss his evolving juggernaut and any plans to bribe the Rocket out of retirement.

Majors | #2006#Column

Not Even Brett Understands HOF Voting

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

The day when the Hall of Fame balloting gets announced is about phone calls: mainly, to the lucky former players who learn they'll be in Cooperstown forevermore. But this year the most notable phone call for me was the one to Hall of Famer George Brett, who after stepping off a plane in Boston wanted to know the voting results. I had the pleasure of getting his immediate and candid thoughts on Bruce Sutter's selection, his continuing vigil for Goose Gossage and Bert Blyleven, and whether his old pal John Schuerholz ever has a shot.

Majors | #2006#Column

Miller Helps Bring Baseball Back To Inner City

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

While in Los Angeles on business, I stopped by Major League Baseball's new Urban Youth Academy in Compton, an immense (and long-overdue) step in revitalizing inner-city baseball. When it officially opens on Feb. 28, after more than five years of planning, the $10 million facility will allow thousands of youngsters a chance to learn baseball from former pros and play games on big league quality fields, complete with stands and lights. All for free. Its director is Darrell Miller, the former Angels catcher and farm director, who gave me a walking tour of the still under construction complex in late January. Among the dirt and cinderblocks lies the future of urban baseball.

Majors | #2006#Column

License To Deal

Jerry Crasnick -

In "License To Deal: A Year in the Life of a Maverick Baseball Agent", longtime Baseball America columnist Jerry Crasnick chronicles the life and career of Matt Sosnick, who runs an upstart baseball agency with his partner, Paul Cobbe. (Page 3 - Getting Cory Dunlap)

Majors | #2005#Book Guide

License To Deal

Jerry Crasnick -

In "License To Deal: A Year in the Life of a Maverick Baseball Agent", longtime Baseball America columnist Jerry Crasnick chronicles the life and career of Matt Sosnick, who runs an upstart baseball agency with his partner, Paul Cobbe. (Page 2 - Draft Day)

Majors | #2005#Book Guide

License To Deal

Jerry Crasnick -

In "License To Deal: A Year in the Life of a Maverick Baseball Agent", longtime Baseball America columnist Jerry Crasnick chronicles the life and career of Matt Sosnick, who runs an upstart baseball agency with his partner, Paul Cobbe. (Page 1)

Majors | #2005#Book Guide

For Pulsipher, Down Doesn’t Mean Out

Bill Pulsipher -Premium Content

Alan Schwarz' Going Deep column is usually in question-and-answer format, but for this issue we make an exception for Bill Pulsipher—one of the spring training's biggest surprises. Here, he tells of his amazing ongoing battle with depression, one he is winning to the point that he made the Cardinals roster after not pitching in the big leagues since 2001.

Majors | #2005#Column

Blue Jays Embrace Role As Canada’s Team

Larry Millson -Premium Content

In December, the Montreal Expos, after years of speculation, left behind an uninterested Quebec to become the Washington Nationals. Then the National Hockey League, Canada's pastime, became the first North American league to lose an entire season to a work stoppage. But as spring arrives, the Blue Jays believe they are well equipped to provide a ray of hope to Canadian sports fans.

Majors | #2005#Season Preview

Selig Outlasts Critics

Tom Haudricourt -Premium Content

Ten years ago, Bud Selig was commissioner of a sport that was shut down in a labor dispute so bitter that management took the desperate measure of bringing replacement players to spring training. Ten years later, Major League Baseball is in what Selig calls a Golden Era.

Majors | #2005#Season Preview