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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

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

Randolph Follows His Own Path To Top

Jerry Crasnick -Premium Content

Now that Willie Randolph finally made it with the Mets as part of general manager Omar Minaya's rainbow coalition and career development program, he has no second thoughts about his career path. And he feels no need to apologize for the lack of an Arizona Fall League stint on his resume.

Majors | #2005#Column