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Loverro: "Back in the good old days people stuck with old fashioned potatoes and hickory."

Did you ever notice that the two main DC baseball columnists are named "Thomas"? Do you suspect, as I do, that if we were to merge the two T(h)oms into one fabulously scary personality, we'd end up with a manic-depressive serial killer whose modus operandi was bludgeoning anyone in the game under fifty years of age with a NATS ARE TEH NUMBER 1!!!111!!!! foam finger?

Maybe it's just me . . .

Oh, sure Loverro says he's relieved that "intern boy" Josh Byrnes decided to take a job in Arizona---presumably, since Byrnes retroactively inspired the 1985 movie D.A.R.Y.L., to continue his flight from sinister agents in the service of a government that created him but now wants him destroyed. It is, after all, easier to hide in the desert than at RFK Stadium, where not even Marlon Byrd's Escalade is safe.

But you just know that Loverro is being coy. No, he secretly desired for Byrnes, widely known to be a favorite of prospective Nats' owner Fred Malek, to take up shop in the District. Loverro would bide his time until, inevitably, Malek's team was selected. In Loverro's world, Byrnes would still be merely an "up-and-coming" GM prospect, as free as a bird to explore his world. And Malek would select Byrnes to run the show, and . . .


Josh Byrnes is thirty-five years old. In the real world---not the idiotic fiction of "Organized Baseball" in which duds like Loverro purportedly operate---guys who are thirty-five aren't "interns." They are husbands and fathers and community leaders and members of church boards and school boards and are accomplished professionals. They are law partners and business executives and scientists and doctors and military officers. [Edit: And throughout history, they have been so much more, as Brick reminds us.] You know what Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito was doing when he was thirty-five? He was an assistant U.S. Attorney General. Doesn't sound like much? Five years later, he was confirmed to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Doesn't sound like much? That's his job now, now that he's nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yet, Loverro believes that Byrnes is one of the "intern boys"---apparently one of the older ones, since Theo Epstein is 31, and Paul DePodesta is 32, and Jon Daniels and Andrew Friedman are both 28. Of course, all of those guys could be congressmen. Epstein and DePodesta could be senators. Heck, Byrnes could be President . . . of the United States!

And yet a guy in his mid-thirties, who has worked in baseball for well over a decade, who has been an assistant GM in two different organizations---that guy, yeah, he's an "intern boy."

Don't fret too much for Loverro or the District's murder rate, though, because he may get another shot at wiggling that foam finger. Maybe Theo "Boy Wonder" Epstein will even drop by. "The possibilities!" Loverro's keyboard---eh, ink pen---exclaims:

If there are any potential Nationals owners drinking the Theo Kool-Aid, they need to swear it off now -- unless they are going to get Mike Port, Bill Lajoie, Craig Shipley and Bill James in the deal as well. They were part of the support team that surrounded Theo the Red Sox GM.

Egads, Epstein didn't run the Boston front office all by his lonesome? You mean, he had . . . advisors and special assistants? Golly, that must be pretty rare. Well, at least he liked them. (If Theo's coming to DC, though, we had better make some quick calls to Manhattan; that's where indispensible party Mike Port works now, for MLB.)

I'm not sure how "doing-things-the-right-way"---allowing for opinions from various and important perspectives like scouts and old vets and stat drunk computer nerds---can be seen as a sign of weakness, but not everyone can sport the strong, decidedly-non-intern-boy credentials of a Gord Ash, who started out as a ticket-taker or something mission-critical like that.

Come to think of it, Ash didn't need a "support group," either. No sir. When the Blue Jays fired Ash, there was no one there to support him.

Anyway, we can't stop Loverro, nor contain the guy, because he's on a logical roll here:

[A]ll you may be getting is a smart, decent 31-year-old young man.


"It's fine if he's smart---and if he's decent, all the better. But if he's thirty-one years' old, whoo boy. That's too much."

So, it's my supposition that the first half of Loverro's column, which purports to profess unrequited attraction for Pat Gillick, is pretty much pretext. No, Loverro wanted a column where he could pile on the ragging of young, unfeeling, never-played-the-game-professionally cretins the nation over who snobbishly prefer their batters boringly-patient and their stats borishly-sophisticated. Thus, while the "serial killer" theme might be a bit too novel to be taken seriously, please understand it's an eye-for-an-eye consideration, as Loverro makes no attempt not to put words in the mouth of a guy like me:

There has been this obsession with these intern boys who now run baseball teams, probably because fantasy baseball geeks look at them and see themselves.

Perhaps I insintuate myself too much, since I don't play fantasy baseball. But when I look at Theo Epstein, I don't see myself. I'm very happy with who am I and what I do. I'd never want to be a baseball executive, primarily because I have no business to be but also because then I'd have to deal with guys like Thom Loverro---and, judging by this column, I wouldn't want to do so until I'm at least fifty-five. No, when I look at Theo Epstein (or Josh Byrnes, though I don't really know what he looks like), I see a "smart, decent" man who could probably do a damned good job as the GM of my team.

Of course, Gillick, who is well past sixty, could probably do so, too. See? I'm equal opportunity here.

One more thing from Cranky Thom:

But they are nothing more than a smoke screen by team owners to call the shots themselves, so they won't have to deal with long-time baseball people who may know more about the game than they do.

Hmmm. Maybe Loverro's got a point. Maybe not, though. I don't remember veteran execs like Doug Melvin (Texas, 2000-01 offseason) or Ron Schueler (Chicago White Sox, 1996-97 offseason) stopping their owners from ridiculously overspending, no doubt despite the strenuous objections of the GMs themselves. An owner, by definition, owns a team; he can do what he pleases, from setting a firm budget to deciding to pay A-Rod or Albert Belle twenty percent per year more than anybody in the history of the game. So, lest I disregard the importance of gravitas, an oily voice, and an enlarged prostate, it's hard for anybody to stop a rich guy with an inflated self-worth.

Plus, I don't even think Loverro comes close to capturing the essence of the "young intern boy" GM movement. At least, his evaluation is incomplete.

See, here's what I think the genesis of this stuff is:

  1. Blue Jays fire Gord Ash.
  2. Blue Jays interview established execs, who say, "Give me more money, and I'll build you a winner."
  3. Blue Jays interview this obscure Oakland assistant named Ricciardi, who says, "I can get this team to win pretty much as often as it does right now, maybe more, but for less money."
  4. Blue Jays say, "Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter."
So, yes, Thom: control is important to these owners, but what you're missing is that these young guys promise to bring financial control to the organization. It's just lucky for Epstein that he found a team that didn't care so much about that stuff.

Now where's that Metamucil, killah?