Who’s your favorite player? And why?

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John Paschal of The Hardball Times interviewed several baseball writers — including me — about their favorite baseball players. Boyhood favorites and, if we have one, favorites as an adult.

It’s a good read less so for who the players are — mine were Alan Trammell as a kid, Greg Maddux from my late teens-on — but for how the concept of “favorite players” evolves. How the idea that ballplayers are heroes goes by the way side as we learn about human nature and human frailty. Or, in the case of some people, as they work around ballplayers each day, how favoritism turns more into an appreciation.

The idea of ballplayers as heroes seems anathema to me now, and if my kids started truly idolizing athletes I’d be worried. But I still have my own fanboy moments and still have that more mature-feeling appreciation thing going on with a lot of guys. It’s always changing, really.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on why your favorite player is your favorite player.

Manny Machado will visit the Phillies, Yankees next week

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Manny Machado will meet with the Phillies’ brass in Philadelphia next week. George King of the New York Post, meanwhile, says that he may very well meet with the Yankees next week as well, in what is apparently an east coast tour. Beyond those two teams, the White Sox have expressed an interest in Machado and are expected to meet with him as well.

The other big star free agent is Bryce Harper, or course. He reportedly held court in a hotel suite a bit father north up the Las Vegas Strip from the Winter Meetings with his agent, taking meetings from officials from various teams. Proof, I guess, that meetings are not an immediate precursor to a signing.

At this point one wonders if the top two talents on the market will sign before Christmas.