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Chat transcript: Paul DePodesta
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09/19/2002 10:58 pm ET 
Chat transcript: Paul DePodesta
 

Paul DePodesta, 29, is the assistant general manager of the Oakland A's. He's been in that position since November, 1998. Prior to joining the A's, DePodesta spent three years in the Cleveland Indians organization. He graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1995.

DePodesta sat down for an online chat with MLB.com during Thursday's Oakland-Anaheim game.

Paul DePodesta: Let's hope this chat is good karma for the A's! I'm ready for your questions, so keep them coming.

eastbay1: Where do you sit during the game? Do you run on a treadmill like Billy?
DePodesta: This is an appropriate one considering we're currently in the fifth inning. I normally watch the game from our video room in our clubhouse. That way I can watch multiple games at once as well as follow our minor league games online. It's probably better that Billy and I aren't always in the same place during the games.

Booniefan89: Hi! I was wondering how you guys took it in the clubhouse after the Twins broke your streak?
DePodesta: The guys remained very positive. In some respects it helped to rid ourselves of some of the attention that we were receiving. Sometimes it's easier to play when you're not the focus of SportsCenter every night.

eastbay1: Paul, I love the A's and what you and Mr. Beane have done. How did you get to be in the front office? How can I become a GM?
DePodesta: Thanks for the compliment! My career started by playing both football and baseball in college. After graduating, I took a job during the days in the Canadian Football League and at nights in the American Hockey League. From there I got my big break, which was an internship in Player Development for the Cleveland Indians.

eastbay1: Do you think it`s better for the A's to play the Yankees in the first round in the ALCS? I think they should get them out of the way!
DePodesta: We have to get there first! Seriously, our main focus is qualifying for the playoffs. Once you're in every team is outstanding, so it doesn't help to pick your poison.

Booniefan89: What position is your favorite?
DePodesta: If you're a fan of these Oakland A's with Zito, Mulder and Hudson, the answer has to be starting pitcher. The starting pitcher has the most impact of any individual during that one game.

oaktownno1: Hi Paul. Do the A's care if they win the AL West?
DePodesta: Absolutely. Home field advantage during the baseball playoffs the past few years hasn't meant a whole lot, but from a pride standpoint, I think everyone in our clubhouse or in Anaheim's would say that they want to be the Division Champs.

oaktownno1: How much influence does Art Howe have in putting the team together?
DePodesta: For the most part, Art leaves the personnel decisions to Billy and me, but we always consult with our coaching staff when we're contemplating a move. Once we acquire the players for the Major League team, however, Art has complete control.

oaktownno1: Obviously, you're biased, but do you think Miguel should, and will, win the MVP?
DePodesta: I think if you asked Miguel (or any of our players who in the past couple of years have been considered for major awards) they would tell you that they would trade every individual award for a World Series Championship. If we can accomplish our team goals, then individual awards will follow. I'd rather Miguel be the World Series MVP.

Booniefan89: Who was your favorite childhood player and team?
DePodesta: I was born in Philadelphia, so I was a Phillies fan. They had some great teams with Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, and Pete Rose. My favorite, though, was definitely Mike Schmidt - he did it all.

eastbay1: How much do you and Billy get involved with scouting and the draft?
DePodesta: Billy and I have become more involved in the past couple of years. This year we had seven picks in the first 39, so we were very involved. However, our two new scouting directors, Eric Kubota and Chris Pittaro, did an unbelievable job with this draft. The two of them run the department extremely well, so Billy and I are involved principally because we enjoy it.

oaktownno1: Do Art and Billy get along?
DePodesta: I think a lot of those rumors are misleading. We all get along here, because we're all working with the same goal in mind. However, we're all also very competitive and demand a lot from each other. On a personal level, though, we all get along very well.

iwant2marrybarryzito: You are so young and have such a wonderful job with the best team in the majors. What type of education or special training do you need for a job like yours?
DePodesta: I had to take this one just so that the username would appear in this chat! I have been incredibly fortunate in my career to learn from great people. When I started in Cleveland, John Hart, Dan O'Dowd, Mark Shapiro, and Josh Byrnes were all in the office teaching me. Of those four, three are currently GM's and Josh is the assistant GM in Colorado. Similarly, when I arrived here I had the opportunity to work for Billy who had been influenced greatly by Sandy Alderson. I honestly couldn't have scripted it any better.

eastbay1: What do you do during the offseason? Do you guys get to take a break?
DePodesta: At the conclusion of my first season in Cleveland, I was exhausted. I went to work the day after we had been eliminated by the Orioles in the playoffs expecting a relaxed atmosphere. Instead, John Hart told me, "Today starts our season." The offseason is definitely our busiest time of the year.

Rollie72: Should the A's go with a three-man rotation in the playoffs this season?
DePodesta: I'm going to say this each time so as not to jinx anything - we have to get there first. Fortunately, we're in a position of having three starting pitchers who have won 20 games and finished in the top two or three in Cy Young voting in each of the past three years. On the other hand, we have a pitcher in Cory Lidle, who was the most dominant pitcher on the planet during the month of August. I hope we have the opportunity to use them all!

eastbay1: Do you think the A's will get a new stadium?
DePodesta: That's a difficult one to answer, but I can say that we would love one. It would be great to see this young successful team stay together in a beautiful new baseball-only stadium.

Rollie72: What's the best way to get into baseball management?
DePodesta: Unfortunately, you have to get really lucky to be in the right place at the right time. First of all, there are very few jobs available. Secondly, once people get them, they don't leave very often, so turnover is low. Lastly, there are tons of people that want these jobs. I tried to prepare myself for any possible opening by getting as much experience in sports as possible.

piattpeeps: Who are some of the top prospects in the minors?
DePodesta: Fortunately, we feel that we have a lot of them. We had four starting pitchers in Double-A, Rich Harden, Jason Arnold, John Rheinecker, and Michael Wood, who were all in their first full season of pro ball, which is remarkable. Also, from this year's draft, nine players ended up in High-A, which is highly unusual.

piattpeeps: Do you expect any of the pitchers to come up by next year or do they still need time to develop?
DePodesta: We're lucky to have Mulder, Hudson, Zito, Lidle, Lilly and Harang right now, so we don't need to rush anybody. Ideally, all of these guys will continue to develop, and they will push their way onto the club. Also, by giving them more development time, they will be better prepared to enjoy success right away at the Major League level.

james.green: Hi Paul, How is a new stadium looking?
DePodesta: It's difficult to say. The city, stadium authority, and the club all have to work together to make it happen. Fortunately, we've enjoyed so much on field success that our attendance has topped 2 million for the second straight year. Our fans will only help the cause!

DePodesta: Thanks for chatting everybody! Since it's a tie game in the bottom of the sixth, that treadmill is sounding like a better idea! Terrence Long just saved me with a two-run homer! Thanks for the karma and Go A's!



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