Bring Your Questions for Baseball Sage Buster Olney

DESCRIPTIONPhoto: Lisa Olney Buster Olney

If you care about baseball, you should care about Buster Olney. He is the ESPN baseball reporter who seems to know everything about everything, on the field and in the general managers’ offices, and presents it with a calm authority.

I got to know Buster a bit when I was an editor at The Times Magazine and he was the paper’s Yankees beat writer. His articles never failed to include one detail, perhaps about a player’s preparation or an executive’s unorthodox thinking, that turned a daily game report into a memorable piece of reading. He says he fell in love with baseball and writing while growing up on his parents’ farm in Vermont. To escape “the tractors and twice-daily milkings,” he began what became an 18-year career writing for newspapers, including six years at The Times, where he also covered the Mets and the New York Football Giants.

He now writes for ESPN The Magazine,, provides baseball analysis on a variety of ESPN shows, and yes, he’s got a blog. He’s also the author of The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty.

Major League Baseball holds its All-Star Game tonight, so at this pause in the season, we thought it’d be a good time to ask Buster to field your baseball questions. Please leave them in the comments below and, as with all our Q&A’s, we’ll post the answers in short course. Living in New York, as I do, it is easy to become convinced there are only two teams in the league, the Yankees and the Mets. Oh yeah, there’s apparently a team in Boston too. It will be interesting to see how New York-centric your questions are, or aren’t.

Addendum: Olney answers your questions here.


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  1. Dan says:

    Your justification for voting Jack Morris toward the Hall and not Bert Blyleven is simple nonsense (see, e.g.,,_A_Nut). Care to take another shot at it?

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  2. Mike D. says:

    You and your colleagues often report on ongoing negotiations or trade talks between teams or a team and player. Why are the GM’s feeding you this information? Is it to be transparent, or is it a means of controlling the negotiation? Or because you’re such a nice guy?

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  3. David says:

    The NBA, NFL and NHL all have much stronger salary caps relative to MLB. What is the likelihood of MLB moving to a true salary cap in the near future? And, in your opinion, would this move be good for the game?

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  4. Jeff says:

    I understand that the East Coast has the largest population density but are you ever afraid that ESPN’s focus on the East Coast turns off the rest of the country?

    I have personally started to watch MLB Network instead of Baseball Tonight due to all the Yankee/Red Sox love.

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  5. Casey says:

    If you could own your own baseball team, would you rather own a large market or small market team?

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  6. James Timmer says:

    I am a Cubs fan. Life expectancy is roughly 75 years in the US. With this rubric, I have about 50 years left. My grandfather lived to 77 without seeing a Cubs World Series title.

    My question is this: Do you think I will see a Cubs World Series title in my lifetime? Or will I die hapless, unfulfilled, and angry?

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  7. ryan says:

    Buster, what are the chances the Phils go all out and snag Holliday? As a Phillies fan, I wouldn’t mind seeing Drabek and some prospects go, but giving up Happ in any deal will just create another whole in the lineup, even if Holliday is a top 3 in the league pitcher.

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  8. Kevin M says:

    As a fan of a small-market club (Cincinnati), the possibility of a salary cap intrigues me. What do you think are the odds this ever is put in place in some form, and if it is, would it help the sport’s popularity and quality?

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