Our baseball lineup for this season features some new faces along
with the sage veterans. Senior editor Larry Burke directs our
coverage for the first time, though he's hardly new to the
national pastime. He's the author of three books on the sport,
including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baseball, which he
cowrote in 1999 with Johnny Bench. It's no surprise, then, that
for this week's preview issue Burke ordered up an explanatory
piece (page 60) that shows, in vivid detail, how six major league
aces make their best pitches. Photo editor Nate Gordon, who
coordinated the shoots for that story, initially thought it would
rely mostly on action photos, but the images of the contortionist
grips pitchers used on the ball were too compelling not to
emphasize. "The piece points up how amazing these guys are,"
Burke says, "and how difficult it is to be a hitter."
In his first season on the beat, Danny Habib has one goal: "To
eat a hot dog in every major league stadium." As a Harvard
undergrad, Habib would take a bus to Yankee Stadium for playoff
games, then get back on a bus to make it to campus for class the
Albert Chen, another rookie on the beat, graduated from Yale in
2000 and promptly embarked on a three-week road trip to 13 big
league parks. No surprise there. His Hastings, Neb., Little
League team used to take six-hour van rides to see the Kansas
Tom Verducci begins his 11th season covering baseball for SI on
an auspicious note: Last week he learned that his June 2002
expose on steroid use in the game and SI's 2002 baseball preview
had been selected as finalists for National Magazine Awards.
Associate Photo Editor
Massachusetts-born Nate Gordon, who oversees our baseball photo
coverage, remains a diehard Red Sox fan despite living in
Brooklyn. While cheering for Boston during the 1986 World Series,
he was pelted with peanuts by fans at Shea Stadium.
The task of assigning 400 pitchers and 425 position players a
Player Value Rating (PVR) is a prodigious one, and associate
editor David Sabino has been doing this for SI for seven seasons.
"Determining a player's PVR goes beyond mere number crunching,"
says Sabino, who factors in scouting reports in an effort to
predict which players will exceed last year's stats and who might
be headed for a slump. "It's more an art than a science. And it's
not saying who the best players are--it's saying who's going to
put up the best numbers."
COLOR PHOTO: PORTER BINKS (BURKE, SABINO) STEPPING UP Burke is our new baseball editor.
COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON (HABIB, VERDUCCI, GORDON) Habib
COLOR PHOTO: MEL LEVINE (CHEN) Chen
COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON (HABIB, VERDUCCI, GORDON) Verducci
COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON (HABIB, VERDUCCI, GORDON) Gordon
COLOR PHOTO: PORTER BINKS (BURKE, SABINO)