Geoff has part one of a three part interview with Sandy Alderson. I think I like Sandy Alderson. I definitely want to like Sandy Alderson, but part of me can't shake the feeling that he's using the Padres gig as a stepping stone to something else. What, exactly. I don't know.
One exchange that I thought was especially interesting:
Ducksnorts: You were involved with creating the Urban Youth Academy in Compton. What is that, and what was your involvement?
Alderson: Well, when I got to Major League Baseball — this was 1998 — I felt, as did the commissioner, that we needed to do something to promote greater minority and urban involvement in baseball, and not just professional baseball. My thought was that we could take the model that had been so successfully used by clubs in places like the Dominican Republic and use it at the national level with Major League Baseball in areas where we thought we needed to have a greater presence.
The concept is very similar in the Dominican [Republic] with the Padres’ new complex. The idea is, "we’re here" and we now have a presence, we have a profile. The question is, how do you best do that? You can approach it a number of different ways, but this was one way that we thought had some permanence to it.
The big thing that jumps out to me about this is the fact that the thing that makes the DR successful isn't just that there is a fancy academy there, but primarily that the talent is cheap and isn't subject to any of the rules that are in place for talent developed inside the United States. I don't doubt that they used a lot of the DR concepts in developing the Urban Youth Academy, but it seems a little disingenuous to me to imply that there will be similar effects from it when such a key ingredient is inherently missing.
Great interview so far! I'm looking forward to the rest.