Ken Davidoff is a national baseball writer for Newsday, and he was kind enough to answer a couple of questions over email for Nick on Sports.
Nick: When did you get your start in journalism?
Ken Davidoff: 1993. I graduated the University of Michigan and, three months later, got a part-time job covering high school sports for The News Tribune in Woodbridge, NJ.
Nick: How did you know writing about baseball was what you wanted to do for a living?
Ken Davidoff: It was my childhood dream. Baseball was my favorite sport.
Nick on Sports: How did you end up at Newsday?
Ken Davidoff: I went from The News Tribune to The Bergen Record in 1994, and from The Record to Newsday in 2001.
Nick: Now to baseball: Is there anyway you can explain what is going on in Pittsburgh right now? In my (relatively short) lifetime, I don't think I've ever seen them finish above .500, but now it's looking very possible.
Ken Davidoff: Just a matter of good baseball operations paying off, and obviously the Clint Hurdle hiring looks very good.
Nick: Which player surprised you the most, whether it be in a good or bad way, in the first half?
Ken Davidoff: Bartolo Colon. In a good way.
Nick: Because I am a loyal Detroit Tigers fan...what are your thoughts on the way Justin Verlander has been pitching?
Ken Davidoff: My thoughts are he has been phenomenal.
Nick: I know he was roughed up in his last start, but is he your first half AL Cy Young winner?
Ken Davidoff: Yes.
Nick: In one of your recent columns, you listed Jim Leyland as one of the most intriguing people of the second half. Do you think the team's recent trend of not performing as well in the second half as they do in the first half will continue?
Ken Davidoff: No.
Nick: How important is Leyland in all of that?
Ken Davidoff: Not as important as GM Dave Dombrowski, who will try to make a big trade.
Nick: A general thought: Where do you stand on the way statistics are used in baseball? Are you a fan of the, I guess you can say, "newer" stats (such as EqA, VORP, WARP-3, etc)? We aren't quite in a statistical revolution, but I think that more and more fans and baseball writers are beginning to stop turning the shoulder and at least acknowledge these new evaluations.
Ken Davidoff: I use them regularly, as I regard them as important evaluation tools.
Nick: Last one: who's playing in the World Series this year?
Ken Davidoff: In the preseason. I went with Phillies-A's. I guess I gotta stay with those until they're no longer mathematically possible. I feel better about one team than the other. :)
*Thanks to Mr. Davidoff for chatting with me.