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Pitch Talks panels talked Mets, Yankees, Hall of Fame at B.B. King's

A big group of baseball writers covered a host of topics for a packed house in the first Pitch Talks event outside of Toronto.

Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, Pete Abrham, and Jay Jaffe at Pitch Talks NYC.
Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, Pete Abrham, and Jay Jaffe at Pitch Talks NYC.

With the faint sound of a blues band playing on the other side of B.B. King’s in the background, a packed house watched three panels of baseball writers at Pitch Talks, a speaker series that originated in Toronto and made its stateside debut last night.

After a short introduction by Pitch Talks staff, Pete Abraham took over and moderated three separate panels: general baseball, the Mets, and the Yankees. National writers Buster Olney of ESPN, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated joined Abraham for the first one and talked plenty about the Hall of Fame while touching on a few other subjects. Of particular interest to Mets fans, the whole panel agreed that Mike Piazza would finally be voted into the Hall in 2016. Once the panel had wrapped up the topics introduced by Abraham, Pitch Talks staff took mics into the audience for some questions and answers.

That format repeated itself with the team-specific panels. The Mets panel, which started after a brief intermission, included Olney, Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog, and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. They touched on the topics you’d expect them to: young pitching, shortstop, and ownership. The Wilpons came up plenty in the Mets panel and the national panel, but no one on stage thought anything was going to happen to make the Mets’ current owners sell the team.

The Yankees panel featured Jaffe, Tyler Kepner of the Times, and Sweeny Murti of WFAN, and covered the mediocrity of the American League East as currently constituted and the Yankees’ potentially dominant bullpen, among other things.

On the whole, the event went well and made for an enjoyable evening for baseball fans during some of the quietest time of the offseason. Considering the crowd, the venue seemed appropriately sized, but if there’s another event in the future, it would be great to see it in a smaller, less expensive place. B.B. King’s is notorious for expensive drinks—a bottle of beer costs nine bucks there—and has a ten dollar minimum per person for seated events like this one. None of that took away from the discussion, but a different venue would probably make for an even better audience experience in the future.

Having been to a few of these sorts of things over the last few years, Pitch Talks was one of the better ones. It’s always a good thing to see folks in person, particularly when the group of writers was as strong as this one.