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While we at Razzball are content toiling within the modest confines of fantasy baseball blogdom, we occasionally like to flex our journalistic muscles and take on a challenging interview.

matthew berry

Our interview subject is Matthew Berry –  the Director of Fantasy Sports at ESPN.  His career has taken him from stand-up comedy to Hollywood where he paid his dues with writing gigs like Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles which was up for a 2001 Razzie (unaffiliated to Razzball) as Worst Remake or Sequel but lost to Planet of the Apes.  He followed his passion of fantasy baseball and wrote for Rotoworld before starting his own fantasy blog TalentedMrRoto.com that was purchased by ESPN in 2007.

Last note – unlike our interviews to date (see Spike Lee, Sarah Palin, and Rickey Henderson), this interview was real.  ESPN is pimping their Fantasy Baseball folks on a PR junket and asked us to conduct this interview….the site that brought you Hater Bell….. When we asked Matthew Berry towards the end of the interview why us?  He seemed as puzzled as anyone….go figure.

GREY: First off, thanks for A’ing our Q’s, mucho appreciado Senor Fruitazi.  You’re a good sport since a lot of the time, like a blogger Luke Skywalker would say, You Are My Fodder.  I started Razzball when I was laid off during the WGA strike and I know you’re also a screenwriter or were or whatever, so I just want to say thanks for paving the way for me to go from an underappreciated, society misfit to an underpaid, society misfit.  You’re the wind beneath my wings!

Okay, brownnosing aside, I know how hard it is to do fantasy baseball rankings.  You really can’t please everybody all the time.  With that said, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, MAN?!  I put Dustin Pedroia, Josh Hamilton and Cliff Lee in our 2009 Fantasy overrated category.   But your rankings have a vibe of “What was good last year is a tasty nugget to covet this year.”  Defend these three or quit your post at ESPN and move to Cape Horn.

MATTHEW BERRY: Cliff Lee developed a new pitch last year so I don’t think he’s necessarily in for a regression to ‘before last year.’  Hamilton stayed healthy and…he’s in Texas.  This makes Hamilton valuable.  Pedroia’s my biggest question mark.  Is his power for real?  If it is, then he could be very valuable.

GREY: When anyone mentions closers on Razzball, I point them to our Fantasy Baseball Glossary entry for SAGNOF — Saves Ain’t Got No Face.  Double negative aside, you know you want to agree with me.  So… Go ahead.

MATTHEW BERRY: I’ve said forever that you don’t pay for saves.  So… Um… Yes, I agree with that.  There’s very few closers out that I think are rock solid this year.  I count 8 coming into the season where you’re like, “Okay, that’s clearly the guy” and there’s no risk.  And that was before questions about Brad Lidge showed up.  So I think you’re down to seven.

GREY: What top 20 pick are you most excited about?  Least excited about?

MATTHEW BERRY: Most excited about Miguel Cabrera. He’s do for a monster, monster year.  Most people look at last year as a disappointment, but he actually had a huge 2nd half.  Once he adjusted to the new position and to the new league.  He’s still going towards the end of the 1st round, but I think he’s a guy you can look up at the end of the year and be the number one fantasy player overall.

GREY: Agreed.

MATTHEW BERRY: Certainly top three.   So that’s the guy I’m most excited about and least excited about A-Rod.  There’s so many variables.  He’s so crazy.  I believe we have not heard the end of the A-Rod story.  This is based on nothing more than my gut.  I don’t want anyone thinking I have insider information from ESPN.  This is based on nothing more than my gut.  I think there’s more to the story.  I think it’s going to come out that he used more than what he’s said.  I think the story is going to continue throughout the summer.  I think if the Yankees don’t have an amazing year he’s going to be left holding the bag.  I mean… I just don’t like him.  I’ve been very open about that.

GREY: A fantasy baseballer’s (<– my Mom’s term) job is to unearth late round bargains.  Who is this year’s Ryan Ludwick?  Tell my readers now.  They thank you.

MATTHEW BERRY: Shin-Soo Choo.

GREY: I like him too. Our 20 risky pitcher for 2009 post points out a few candidates to avoid at your draft.  You probably disagree with Ricky Nolasco’s inclusion there like I disagree with MILF’s nickname on VH-1’s I Love Money 2.  Go ahead, make a case for Nolasco.

MATTHEW BERRY: The case for Nolasco is (to) look at what he did last year.  Right?  I mean, over the 2nd half of last year after the All-Star Break, Nolasco 4th in MLB in strikeouts.  Had a ridiculous 98 to 12 K/BB ratio… I’m doing this off the top of my head so it’s 96 to 12 or 98 to 12. (It’s 98.)  He hasn’t shown any sign of being injury-prone or…um… He’s still young.  So, I mean, I think overuse at this point is a bit premature.

GREY: You are admirably outspoken on your fantasy strategies – e.g., don’t pay for saves, draft speed…  Do you get a lot of hate mail–

MATTHEW BERRY: (jumps in) It’s more than just that.  Those are just two of them.

GREY: Okay, those are two.  Do you get a lot of hate mail from people bemoaning their crappy closers and their Carl Crawford-led offense?

MATTHEW BERRY: I would say my hate mail is pretty evenly spread out among all subjects.

GREY: Let’s say we’re close friends –

MATTHEW BERRY: I find this hard to believe already.  But go ahead…

GREY: What, no rapport?  Is it my breath?  Should I return to the brownnosing?

MATTHEW BERRY: It’s quite all right.  Just go ahead.

GREY: Okay, so I’m about to join a random ESPN league.  Given that your core strategies are read by many of the participants on the site, would you suggest I follow your strategy or move closer to the opposite since there will be more bargains (i.e., top closers go later)?

MATTHEW BERRY: Well, I appreciate, as my pretend close friend, that everyone is going along with my strategy.  I don’t think that’s the case.   Fantasy sports more than anything else is a place where everyone thinks they know more than everyone else.  That’s one of the points of it.  You want to prove you know more than everyone else.  So I think my strategies work, I think every league is different, obviously every rule is different, every fantasy player has different tendencies. My recommendation would be, in a vacuum, that you don’t abandon a strategy just because everyone else is doing it.

With that said, there’s definitely something to zigging where everyone else is zagging.  Where I wouldn’t pay for closers maybe I would go for starting pitching more, because I tend to say wait on starting pitching.  I might try to lock up a scarce position like I might draft three 2nd basemen.  Give myself depth somewhere to trade if there was suddenly a run on something.  As opposed to chasing a lower end guy at one position.  Suddenly, a bunch of 3rd basemen are going off the board, so instead of going early on a so-so third baseman just to have someone, I might load up on another position.  “Okay, I’m going to make sure I have a bunch of good 2nd basemen and trade them.”

GREY: The amount of league data you have at ESPN must be staggering.  Have you given thought to summarizing this data and publishing it?  For example, what players were on the highest percentage of teams that lost?  Do teams that have invest in say a 2B/SS combination in the first two rounds or pick a starter in the 1st round fare better/average/worse than the average team?  That type of information would really add some credence.

MATTHEW BERRY: It’s been suggested.  It’s a matter of resources.  It’s actually not that easy to pull that data as you might think.  So… It’s been suggested.  It’s up to the people that run our technology group and the people who run our fantasy content and I do neither.  So I’m not the right guy to answer that question.  I am ESPN’s lead fantasy analyst.

[Rudy's Editor Note:  C'mon Worldwide Leader!  You have a treasure trove of data to actually validate (or invalidate) fantasy baseball theories.  Allow us at the data and we'll reduce our ESPN-razzing by 40%!]

GREY: If Baseball Tonight anchors and alumni participated in a fantasy baseball league, who do you think would win?  Who will finish 2nd to last in front of Eric Young?

MATTHEW BERRY: Steve Phillips would win.  Steve Phillips plays fantasy.  He knows it really well.  In fact, Steve Phillips won an internal Baseball Tonight league last year against a bunch of researchers and producers and people that really play.  So Steve Phillips is the guy who I think would win. The guy that I think would lose is…um… The guy I would say would lose…. Um… The guy who would finish last is Kruk. (He’s) been very open about his disdain.  He’s never played fantasy so like anything I think it takes a learning curve.  John Kruk has publicly said that if he played he wouldn’t do a lot of the moves.  So I could see him getting bored with it.

GREY: Has anyone mentioned to you that your on-screen presence is reminiscent of Crazy Eddie – the 80’s electronics store where the prices were innnnnnnnsane?  Note, you do publish manifestos, a crazy man’s journal…

MATTHEW BERRY: No, I’ve never heard that one.  I’ve heard the gamut.  But I’ve never heard that one.

GREY: Ever thought of being known as Wild Berry?

MATTHEW BERRY: No, I have not.  I try to avoid obvious puns on my own last name.

GREY: Your lack of canoodle time with the ladies is worldwide leader renown.  Can anyone have a meaningful relationship and be good in fantasy sports?

MATTHEW BERRY: It’s good fodder.  Although it’s changing recently… Since being at ESPN, it hasn’t been a priority.  I date women that are wrong for me.  And I’m probably wrong for women that date me.  I don’t blame any of it on fantasy sports.  Nate, who I do the podcast with, he’s very happily married.

GREY: Could you say our tagline for us? Razzball — Something to read between masturbation sessions.

MATTHEW BERRY: No. I have no problem with the phrase itself, but I’m not sure I agree with it.

  1. Bob says:
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    @Grey – I feel like I needed to acknowledge the interview but I just don’t know what to say.

  2. Eric W says:
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    Then what does he want us to read between masturbation sessions? I am more interested in that then his fantasy baseball advice. but i cant talk much after that disgrace of a team i put together in the rc mock

  3. big o says:
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    nice interview .
    and you even got to squeeze in the word “canoodle” … ha . (must be a new-age thing … still , the word amuses me ) .

    also , what’s going on , in the picture , below his tie ? is he wearing some sort of hollywood-style chaps ??

    i hope that you’ve wiped the stain off (nose) and properly disposed the hanky .
    or was it autographed and framed ?

    again , that photo is creepy .

  4. Adam says:
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    You need your own talk show!

  5. Freak says:
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    This was so…….awkward.

  6. Steve says:
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    This interview does nothing to convince me that those others weren’t real.

  7. Josh says:
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    classic

  8. big o says:
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    anyone watching the japan-china game ?
    it looks like this kid yu darvish puts the ball back into his glove , during his wind-up , and takes it out again , as he comes towards home . while he may not be actually letting go of the ball with his pitching hand , it does look a little funky .
    it’s only the bottom of the 2nd , so i haven’t seen him throw from the stretch , yet .

  9. Lou says:
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    I agree with Steve. Almost rendered me speechless.

  10. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    A few thoughts:

    1) Whaaa?

    2) Very nice interview. You should have a talk show! Razzchat!

    3) The Spike Lee interview was fake?!?!?!

    3.5) Was this interview in person or over the phone? Razznation wants to know!!

    4) Why do you tease us with little biographical details like getting laid off during the WGA strike!?? You’re Joss Whedon, aren’t you!

    4.5) (Is that what y’all spent the offseason chattering about? Passing the bar and buying houses and screenwriting and such? Whilst the Baron was in an opium haze in northern Alberta after a prospecting deal went sour?)

    5) Draft speed? What does that even mean? (I don’t read/follow ESPN. They used to, years ago, have a useful and graphically pleasing Fantasy preview in the magazine. They don’t now.)

    6) Matthew Berry was in Crocodile Dundee?

    7) To reiterate: Whaa???

    8) More real interviews! On Razzchat!

    8.5) Shin-Soo Choo? Really?

    9) Kruk has to be next.

    10) I’ve now started constructing my draft strategy last to first. And my final picks are: Shin-Soo Choo; Felipe Lopez; Pablo Sandoval!

  11. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Apparently numeral-8 followed by a bracket ) turns into a SMILEY EMOTICON.

    My apologies. 8)

  12. Tony says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: I love how BaronVon replies to himself often, LOL

    I was thinking the same thing when he said Shin Soo Choo, he could be a sleeper but he asked “who’s the next ludwick” not “who’s the next 20-20 threat” If Choo hits 30+ dongers this year I’m loving it because I’m a tribe fan, but wow…..

    Razzball should defl’y have a talk show/podcast?

  13. No references to your pal Eric Klarabell? Amazing yet unfortunate restraint Grey. Would have loved to read his defense of that clown.
    His original TMR site was a pretty good one though. Perhaps ESPN will overwhelm you as well! Not sure that you’d fit in over there.

  14. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @zombie: Are you kidding? Mustaches are very telegenic. I can see Grey and Mr. Gamble up there alongside Kruk and Fernando Vina very soon.

    Of course, once you’re on ESPN, you’ll probably have to limit your references to, you know, donkey balls and taco diarrhea.

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Bob: The word you’re looking for is awkward. Or uncomfortable. You should hear the audio of it.

    @Eric W: Keep your chin up!

    @Adam: Five days a week… Grey’s Awkward Interview! With your host, Grey. And today’s guest, Alyssa Milano. “So… Alyssa… Wanna make out?!”

    @Freak: You should hear the snippets that hit the cutting room floor.

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: 3.5) Over the phone.

    10) That’s not bad, but Shin-Soo is basically The Big FraGu with average. He’s not this year’s Ludwick.

    @Tony: Yeah, see reply to BVV.

    @zombie: I asked him if he ever goes to work and hears a screaming girl only later to realize it’s Tim Kurkjian watching highlights and the phone went dead. I keed, yeah, I should’ve just let Hater Bell interview him.

  16. Adam says:
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    HAHHAHAHHAHAHAH Crazy Eddie, thats exactly what he’s like AHAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAAH

  17. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    Follow-up question: Wasn’t Matthew Berry on ‘Friends’? No? That’s a different guy?

    This explains why I keep drafting the wrong Ryan Braun.

  18. Kevin says:
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    Miguel Cabrera the number one fantasy producer this year? That got my attention.

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Kevin: I think it could also be Braun.

  20. Eric W says:
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    @Grey: The audio must be released for the good of the nation. And I new taylormade had something cooking on ILM2 now it will be interesting to see if he can hold that group together.

  21. Tony says:
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    Grey or Rudy you guys think about doing a post on Spring Training? I don’t look to much into it, but I love it when a player I’m targetting is hot during the spring. Its a mental thing. Good things in the Spring lead into the season and = more goodness. Maybe just some compilations of stats or something? I check boxscores all the time, but seeing it all together would be sweet, or do you know a site that has this info?

    Miggy Or Braun could easily be #1 at the end of the year, I say its a toss up between Hanley, Wright, Braun and AROD. Miggy is gonna mash but the SB’s just aren’t there, who knows though….

  22. Tony says:
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    plus whats the dodgers batting order now with manny for sure in it? maybe i should ask where does KEMP bat? 2 hole?

  23. GasTheObese says:
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    Listened to Berry on Bill Simmons’ podcast earlier this week. He thought Dejesus, Crisp, Guillen, Teahen, and Gathright were all still fighting for jobs in the Royals outfield this spring.

  24. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eric W: The audio’s in a strong box buried deep in Death Valley. re: ILM2 — I still think that if Taylor Made’s alliance loses because Becky Buckwild throws a challenge then The Entertainer’s alliance can even the score.

    @Tony: I pretty much ignore Spring Training games and just pay attention to major injuries and playing time battles. Maybe next week I’ll do an update on some PT battles.

    @Tony: That’s why I think Braun has an edge. He can swipe 15.

    @Tony: re: Kemp — This afternoon’s post.

  25. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @GasTheObese: He went on for 5 minutes defending Jeter because he plays every day, but I had to cut it, went too long.

  26. Better two season Keeper—Manny or Kemp? Looking forward to the Kemp post…thanks.

  27. Emporers Monkey says:
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    Speaking of spring training games. Sandoval needs to quit hitting HRs. He keeps going earlier and earlier in my mocks.

  28. I would’ve asked The Talented Mr. Whatshisnuts how he felt about suggested team names, using only the nastiest and crudest phrases and words.

  29. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Emporers Monkey: Zoinks! Sandoval is now up to the 15th round on average in Yahoo! league drafts* — ahead of Napoli, Salty, Shoppach, and, Grey, (as they say on PTI) “ya boi” Dioner Navarro.

    Do I have to waste a 15th or (gasp!) 14th round pick on him? That’s when I’m supposed to be drafting crappy closers! Don’t make me choose between Sandoval and Heath Bell!

    *I kind of love that there’s always some dimbulb who drafts David Ross or David Eckstein in the 2nd round, thus thwarting Yahoo!’s ADPs. I assume said dimbulb’s doing it on purpose.

  30. Junker23 says:
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    MAKE IT STOP. JUST MAKE IT GO AWAY.

  31. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    I don’t believe you for one second that this interview was real. PROVE IT!

  32. Bob says:
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    It’s been reported on Rotoworld that Jimmie Rollins is continuing to experience pain somewhere or other from last year. Does anybody know how serious this is. I’m thinking about him as a late first round draft choice, but no way if we get ’08 Rollins as opposed to ’07.

  33. Bob says:
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    Just double-checked Rotoworld and now they’re posting A Rod will be out until “May” recovering from hip surgery. Didn’t say until beginning or end of that month, but my first round draft list seems to be changing by the minute. I wonder if he drops out of the top 5 as a result of this.

  34. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @IowaCubs: Trust me, if it wasn’t real, I would’ve made his answers funnier.

    @Bob: He was saying he *was* dealing with something but it’s gone now. He’s a 2nd rounder though. Not a 1st rounder. He’s a 15/40 shortstop with downside, not up.

  35. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Bob: Arod out to May is a serious concern though.

  36. @Grey: Just for that, you just got hyped.

  37. sean says:
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    How should we play this A-Rod thing?

  38. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: It’ll need to be a post too, but he’s dropping to the 2nd round. In short, he just became a very good late 2nd round steal.

  39. Tony says:
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    Kemp Or Markakis? I have Wright and Holliday in my Keeper. I’m gonna grab a big stick in that first round of the redraft (which is actually the 3rd rd) and i pick in the 10 spot of a 12 teamer. They SHOULD/WILL come back to me for my 4th round pick. WHO DO YOU TAKE?

    I’d then have:

    Wright
    holliday
    3rd Either Beltran, carlos lee, Bphillips, or Agon
    4th Kemp/Markakis

    I love my 5 cat contributors

  40. 101 M.P.H. says:
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    In terms of its sheer awkwardness, this interview was reminiscent of David Letterman’s first interview with Cher in 1986.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBgDHhmSrAo&feature=related

    I don’t mean to cause offense (well, okay, I do) but Matthew Berry presents himself as a humorless dullard. His projections seem to be based primarily on first half vs. second half splits from the previous season, and other assorted nuggets of wisdom that the average fantasy baseball enthusiast couldn’t possibly surmise through their own research (see: “Hamilton stayed healthy and…he’s in Texas. This makes Hamilton valuable.”).

    And yes, I acknowledge that I too am a humorless dullard, but you expected no better of me. This man is the Director of ESPN Fantasy Sports.

  41. Emporers Monkey says:
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    Just finished a mock and a mouth breather took Sandoval with something like the 143 pick (10 team). He then tried to justify this by saying there was nobody else he wanted available at that time. Apparently I need to start selecting my “sleepers” with a top 3 pick to ensure that I get them.

  42. Freak says:
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    Wait, is he making the air quotes symbol in that picture? And it’s his thoughts that influence fantasy players? What is this world coming to?

  43. Tom says:
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    This interview is by far the most memorable thing I’ve read this week. I have to write a grad school paper this weekend, but all I’ll be able to think about is Crazy Eddie, Crocodile Dundee 2, the fact that Eric Young still has a job at ESPN, and Matthew Berry’s inability to say anything cool. Well done.

  44. Haverjus says:
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    Berry totally forgot the funny. He prides himself on being the funny man on his podcasts but in this interview he brought zero funny game. Plenty of material – no funny from his side.
    Grey, however, very funny. It is a comfort to know that whose who are reading this post are not currently masturbating…..or is that a mistaken assumption?

  45. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Freak: Ha!

    @Tom: Thanks!

    @Haverjus: Yeah, maybe he’s going by The Talented Mr. Roboto now.

  46. Steve says:
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    And all of the foregoing, friends, illustrates why we choose Razzball over ESPN. There are many reasons for doing so – the quality of the fantasy baseball content just one.

  47. Freak says:
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    The missing audio should be released to anyone who donates.

  48. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Aw, This Steve’s being sweet.

    @Freak: You might want to think long and hard about wanting to hear the audio… The uncomfortableness of the interview after I started it out with some sarcastic brownnosing. When he said we would never be friends, he wasn’t being funny. Also, the long lost question about Jeter being ranked at 66 at ESPN… Let’s just say he goes on for about five minutes about how much Jeter plays.

    EDIT: Typos. I’m eating lunch, boyz!

  49. Haverjus says:
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    Are you serious that he said you’d never be friends and meant it? Why did he agree to do the interview? Has he read any of the content at Razzball? He had to know what he was getting into.
    I’m guessing Sarah Palin told Charles Gibson that they would never be friends.

  50. Tom says:
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    Based on how awkward he seems, and how awkward you insist he was, I’m just guessing that he knew what he was getting into, and was nervous about getting ripped. He’s somewhat-kinda funny on his ESPN blogs, but he just looks like a scared little puppy in this interview.

  51. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Haverjus: ESPN’s publicity department reached out to us and, from what I gathered, he was roped into it.

  52. Freak says:
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    @Grey: The more you describe it, the more I want to hear it. These sounds like Michael Scott levels of awkward. Can’twatchbutohImustwatchit’ssodelicious or something like that.

  53. Haverjus says:
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    @Freak: sodelicious- ha ha!

  54. Eric W says:
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    This interview tape is now to fantasy baseball what the 18½ minute Nixon gap is to politics. It must be released unless you want some impeachment talk going on.

  55. Team Ram Rod says:
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    Here’s an idea. Set a donation goal to have the entire audio of the tape released. You could eat Taco Bell free for a week!

    “I don’t want a large Farva. I want a goddamn liter of cola.”

  56. Grey

    Grey says:
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    You guys are funny.

    I’ll give you this, at one point, he asks me why I’m so angry.

  57. Schlitzy says:
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    Did you ask him about what he was smoking when he made this list?

    List 3: Ten guys who are not sexy, will go very late in drafts but are not done yet

    Ken Griffey Jr.
    Paul Konerko
    Gary Sheffield
    Johnny Damon
    Magglio Ordonez
    Randy Johnson
    Jamie Moyer
    Ramon Hernandez
    Mike Cameron
    Randy Wolf

  58. VanHammersly says:
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    Listening to the Fantasy Focus podcast right now. TMR’s sidekick Nate just bragged about “stealing” Ichiro with the #14 pick in a mock. Also I think TMR just called J.A. Happ “Jay Hop.”

  59. hasenmensch says:
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    Let me join the growing chorus who demand that the audio of this groundbreaking interview be released. Don’t make us issue a FOIA request. (Freedom Of Information Act, yo.) Grey, don’t worry about appearing overly angry or that your sarcasm will be misinterpreted–I think Razzball Nation will fully understand the surreality (I just made that word up) and difficulty when being face-to-face with the ridiculity (I just made that word up, too, yo!) that is ESPN Nation on fantasy baseball. Just as I wanted to hear how Pacman “Adam” Jones explained his prediliction for strip bars to James Brown on the CBS Football pregame show (high comedy at its lowest) so I want to hear M. Berry explain his Jeterphilia based on playing time. And by the way, don’t worry about how your voice sounds on tape–if the “Sports Guy,” Bill Simmons, can actually make money by putting his nasally, whiny, unbelievably-annoying voice on podcasts (and I actually like that guy’s writing, so sue me, blah, blah), then no one will give second thought to your voice (unless you sound just like Peter Graves from Mission Impossible–then that would be weird).
    Anyway–Release The Tape!

  60. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Schlitzy: Well, at least he didn’t mention creepily some girl half his age.

    @VanHammersly: “Stealing?” Really? Wow. Yeah, I think the reality of the situation is they don’t actually do any real research. They sit around and say, “Jeter’s a solid pick cause he plays every game.”

    @hasenmensch: Maybe one day we’ll open the Razz-vault.

  61. The Dude says:
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    Without reading any comments…just the interview. I’m very amused with Grey and Berry both. Although Berry definitely held back like the ESPN sellout that he is forced to be now. I really do hate ESPN.

  62. Schlitzy says:
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    @ Grey: Or the position battle between Anne Hathaway and Megan Fox.

  63. Good stuff Grey. Congrats on getting ESPN’s attention.

  64. Donald says:
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    You ambushed him. Awful interview .

  65. Hahn says:
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    boring

  66. New Steve says:
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    This just in: Ambushing someone with bush league questions may lead to “funny” answers. What cutting edge tactics…

  67. Freak says:
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    @Steve: You aren’t the real Steve!

  68. Freak says:
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    I count 13 mentions of ESPN or one of their personalities. So much for not mentioning them at all.

  69. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Freak: Yeah, not sure where that comment came from. Guess I didn’t link to them properly. I gotta help them, ya know?

  70. HD says:
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    What a joke.

    Way to make yourself look like an amateur and a major prick. Sadly though, not an amateur prick.

    I never heard of this site, Razzball, and I read a ton of fantasy content. I’d have been interested (maybe?) if I’d heard about this site in some other way than this interview. Looking at the site’s stats via Quantcast, it looks like you’re lil’ site is doing ok with a worldwide audience of 35k. In case the Razzballerz were unaware, this actually places them between funnycatpix.com and charactercounts.org. Unfortunately it appears the Razzballerz are more concerned with the funny cat pix of the world as clearly character doesn’t count.

    I went to college, shit, I went to high school with guys who could conduct this style of interview. GROW. UP.

  71. Copying over my comment from a different post…for those who are coming to this post late:

    “ESPN contacted us on whether we wanted to interview Matthew Berry. They did not provide a briefing nor asked for questions in advance. We were expecting to submit the questions and get written answers (you can see our baseball previews where we pose questions to local blogs – http://razzball.com/category/2009-team-preview/ – as examples). ESPN requested we do it over the phone.

    Mr. Berry fully acknowledged that he’d never read our site before. Again, ESPN’s bad for not being prepared. PR 101. That probably would’ve helped set expectations but we’ll take responsibility for being inexperienced interviewers. We should’ve thrown some softball questions out there to start before anything more challenging. We may have gone too far in being acerbic or tongue-in-cheek. It obviously didn’t leave a positive impression with Mr. Berry.

    We asked some general fantasy baseball questions and also took the opportunity to ask what we thought were interesting questions – e.g., ‘Why doesn’t ESPN back up their ‘manifestos’ with real data given the amazing data set they have at their disposal?’ and ‘Given that ESPN FLB writers are quite vocal in their strategies, does it make sense for ESPN players (of which, we have many) to zag against their strategy vs zig?’ Were we supposed to just ask only Fantasy 101 questions that we already have set opinions on?

    The end result was verbatim (at least 1-2 questions/replies were not included b/c neither the question nor reply was that interesting). We did not edit his comments out of context as he said in the chat (there was some re-ordering for flow). If he wanted to pimp the ESPN fantasy baseball platform, we would’ve printed that. We’re fans of the new platform. We mention ESPN 11 times in the post!

    So it’s disappointing his experience was so unsatisfactory that he had to go Buzz Bissinger on us in the chat room but such is life. We don’t really have any ill-will or desire to propagate a flame war. And that’s that.”

  72. Cotton says:
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    This interview was brief but excellent. This is my first year enjoying Razzball and I find the content incisive, witty and very worthwhile. Please continue to rage against the machine while sharing your passionate take on fantasy baseball. (And, speaking of passion, the masturbation slogan made me blush. Too much info? Understood.)

    P.S. I’d like to nominate HD for the humorless dullard list. It’s clueless chumps like that whose money I spend in October.

  73. Cotton says:
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    I just got that HD might be the humorless dullard! Ha! I’ve noticed that he’s getting a little full of himself this year. Better be careful of an ARod-style crash.

    Oh, and I’d take Berry’s money too.

  74. Matthew Berry might be a little mainstream, but I subscribe to the THT level of fantasy baseball analysis. The real enemy is Brandon Funston; that guy deserves this. Berry is harmless and no one uses ESPN anyway.

  75. GREY: Could you say our tagline for us? Razzball — Something to read between masturbation sessions.

    MATTHEW BERRY: No. I have no problem with the phrase itself, but I’m not sure I agree with it.

    So – what is he saying? Is he ragging on Razzball as not something he reads between masturbation sessions?

  76. brilliant – the awkwardness leaps off the screen. if Frank from Blue Velvet were a blogger, this is what his interviews would read like.

  77. Doc says:
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    @ Grey — Hah and hah and hah! This is unbelievably awesome and painful and awesomely painful! I for one don’t want to hear the audio. I do like the British Office, but The British Office Berry style may make my cringe-o-meter snap in two.

    Keep up the good work!

  78. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BobsBlitz.com: I think he was going for snide. Not entirely sure.

    @bhouse: I conducted the interview through an oxygen mask.

    @Doc: Thanks!

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