TAMPA, Fla. — The flight to Japan had just begun, but Billy Eppler could not wait. As soon as the plane reached its cruising altitude and he heard the overhead chime, Eppler asked the man beside him a pressing question.
He turned to Gene Michael and said, “How did you have the guts to trade Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill?”
For Eppler, the Yankees’ pro scouting director, the trip was more than a search for international talent last summer. It was another lesson in an education that never ends.