Sunday, January 21, 2018

George Vecsey: Outstanding Author

George Vecsey is an author and former columnist for the New York Times. We talk about his experience covering soccer detailed in his book Eight World Cups.  Visit George online at, and follow him on twitter @georgevecsey

Total run time: 55:13

  2:29 - The state of soccer coverage in America in 1982
  6:41 - Turning his experiences into a book
10:07 - The great fans from Trinidad and Tobago
12:53 - US vs. Brazil: July 4, 1994
14:49 - The joy of traveling
20:12 - Best player, team, and national anthem
28:11 - Alternatives (or lack thereof) to penalty kick shootouts
31:39 - The state of American soccer
38:35 - Baseball talk, including best players and Hall of Fame voting
46:01 - The future of American football
48:14 - Crossing paths with Donald Trump

The embedded player works best in Google Chrome.  You can download the mp3 by clicking here, and the podcast is available in iTunes.

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  1. I listened to the baseball portion of this. Interesting to hear from someone who saw all those great players in their prime. I suspect that yesterday's legends would quickly adjust to the changes in the contemporary game and quickly outshine most of today's stars. In the stamina department, yesterday's players were head and shoulders above today's lightweights. The state of pitching in today's game (must take starters out of the game after 100 pitches even if he's pitching a no-hitter!) is souring me on the game. Never again will there be a pitcher with career-breaking 300-game winners....none who get 3, entire league full of pitchers who combined don't have as many complete game shutouts as Bert Blylven got by himself. It takes the fun out of the game...and positions us for downwardly shifting Hall of Fame metrics. There are pitchers alive today with more than 280 career wins who never made the HOF....but a generation from now we're gonna be admitting pitchers who have fewer than 150 career wins? It's annoying to me...and sadly inevitable with the economics of the game being what they are with these players being such a heavy investment for the teams that sign them that they're treated more like business transactions than players of a game.

    I have more complex views on the steroids boys and Pete Rose. There are many men of intensely sleazy character from generations back who were put into the Hall of Fame. Cap Anson was in the KKK. Ty Cobb went into the stands to beat a mentally challenged man. I view Rose in the same grouping. If it can confirmed without a doubt that Rose bet against the team he played for WHILE PLAYING and not just as a manager, then I would say denying him entry is fair game. If not, the guy with the most hits in the history of the game should be in the Hall of Fame.

    The case by case basis for the steroids boys is reasonable. The metric I would use is....would their numbers have been good enough to make the HOF if they hadn't juiced. In the case of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmiero, the answer is yes. In the case of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, it's a no. Alex Rodriguez is a tougher case because it's unclear at what stage of his career he started juicing. But whitewashing an entire generation of players because of a sin that most of the best players were engaging strikes me as a worse sin to the legacy of the game than steroids itself. And what about the guys now getting into the HOF who are widely suspected of being juiced? Like Mike Piazza and Pudge Rodriguez? And the Teflon Man himself David Ortiz who has somehow dodged the bullet despite very credible accounts of usage? Is there a clear metric why these guys are getting a pass? Because there's no scenario where Barry Bonds should not be in the Hall while Piazza is unless the disparity of doubt between the two is overwhelming.

    1. I think Cy Young's 511 wins is the most unbreakable record in all of sports -- you'd have to win 20 games for 25 years in a row! As you said, it gets tricky with the steroid guys when there's all these different degrees of suspicion and circumstantial evidence and then some guys get in and some don't.