Full disclosure: Howard Megdal and I go back a fair piece. I did a story on him when he published The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball’s Chosen Players and we’ve kept in touch over the years. In a sense, I consider him my “rabbi,” the consigliere type as opposed to than something more religious. Megdal was instrumental in my appearance on PBS for the fundraising screening of Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story. He also had a hand in Skyhorse reaching out to me to write The Jewish Olympics. And since Skyhorse is also publishing my forthcoming Hank Greenberg project, well, that’s on him, too, by extension.
From a very personal point of view, dayenu, as my people say at this time of year: it would have been enough. But Megdal — whom I consider the hardest working man in sports journalism — is also a prolific author. In addition to Talmud, he wrote two books about the ineffectiveness of the Mets ownership. So when he turned to his newest book, The Cardinals Way: How One Team Embraced Tradition and Moneyball at the Same Time, I wanted to know why he would devote so much of his precious little time to that organization. (My review of Cardinals Way was recently published on Bookreporter.com.)
Here’s the result of our recent conversation, conducted over the phone during his hour-and-forty-minute commute to his new job as editorial director at Excelle, a website devoted to women’s sports. While we did talk about his baseball work, there’s a lot more to him than that, so our conversation did consider non-baseball stuff as well. Deal with it.