Wednesday, February 25, 2004

DePodesta's Baseball Pedigree

I have a problem with the coverage of Depodesta, and it's not Bill Plaschke's fault. Don't get me wrong - I'm not going to side with Plaschke on the issue. I'm all for Aaron Gleeman's trashing of Plaschke.

Gleeman points out,
DePodesta played both football and baseball at Harvard University, where he graduated with honors. I certainly could be wrong, but I suspect that means DePodesta played two more collegiate sports than Plaschke did."

Having read Gleeman and innumerable other articles about DePodesta last week, I was surprised to hear a friend (and former college baseball player) tell me that DePodesta never played baseball for Harvard. How could everyone, from the "mainstream media" to Gleeman, be so wrong about this? Wasn't it more likely that my buddy had erased his senses with the seven scotches he threw down?

Well, it turns out that the media's got this one wrong.

A search through The Harvard Crimson's Archive for "Depodesta" (1990-2004) turns up only three articles. Each article points out his actual athletic experience at Harvard.

DePodesta's age may raise eyebrows, but another surprise is his high status in baseball having never played for a varsity team in college. He pitched on the JV squad for a season before [blowing out his shoulder] at the end of his freshman year... DePodesta did letter in football while at Harvard for three years before stress fractures in his legs shut down his football career as well. - "Oakland's 'A'-List"
The move makes the 31 year-old DePodesta—who lettered in varsity football for three years and played one year of JV baseball while at Harvard—the third youngest general manager hired in big league history. "Harvard Alum DePodesta Named New Dodgers GM"
[Peter] Woodfork, 26, becomes the latest young Ivy League alum to enter the executive ranks in the majors as he joins [Theo] Epstein, who graduated from Yale in 1995. The growing list of recent Harvard baseball players includes Paul DePodesta ’95, a former JV player who is now the assistant general manager of the Oakland A’s, former captain Mike Hill ’93, who is now director of Player Development for the Colorado Rockies and David Forst ’98, who played alongside Woodfork in the infield and now works with DePodesta as an assistant to Oakland General Manager Billy Beane. - "Former Harvard Infielder Hired by Sox"
To say that DePodesta played baseball at Harvard is to distort the facts. But does that mean he's going to be a bad General Manager? Absolutely not. Does it mean he's a nerd? Of course! He went to Harvard! (Having played football, however, makes him a little less nerdy.)

I think Paul will be successful with the Dodgers, but he did not play college baseball.

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