Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 Predictions

  1. Toronto Blue Jays (90-72)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays* (87-75)
  3. New York Yankees (83-79)
  4. Boston Red Sox (80-82)
  5. Baltimore Orioles (77-85)
  1. Detroit Tigers (93-69)
  2. Cleveland Indians (82-80)
  3. Kansas City Royals (79-83)
  4. Chicago White Sox (77-85)
  5. Minnesota Twins (66-96)
  1. Los Angeles Angels (93-69) 
  2. Texas Rangers* (91-71) 
  3. Oakland Athletics (83-79)
  4. Seattle Mariners (76-86)
  5. Houston Astros (56-106)
  1. Washington Nationals (95-67)
  2. Atlanta Braves* (91-71)
  3. Philadelphia Phillies (79-83)
  4. New York Mets (72-90)
  5. Miami Marlins (65-97)
  1. Cincinnati Reds (92-70)
  2. St. Louis Cardinals* (89-73)
  3. Milwaukee Brewers (80-82)
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates (76-86)
  5. Chicago Cubs (68-94)
  1. San Francisco Giants (90-72)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (88-74)
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks (86-76)
  4. San Diego Padres (79-83)
  5. Colorado Rockies (68-94)

Monday, March 11, 2013

1995 World Baseball Classic

While watching the World Baseball Classic, I couldn’t help but consider what this would have looked like in the past. Two hours later, I had come up with a provisional roster for the WBC if it had taken place in 1995.

I chose the year basically at random. The first WBC was in 2006, so I started out just going back a decade. But then I thought that it would make sense to have the first WBC in ‘95 (in the summer, say) as a way for the industry to apologize for the player’s strike.

I did the best I could to determine nationality for each roster, but it was difficult, as I was just going through Baseball Reference and clicking on players to find out their nationality. After I was nearly done, I found this tremendously helpful page at Baseball Almanac which shows a list of players’ nationality by year. It almost saved me a lot of trouble.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Responding to Rosenthal

After no one was elected to the Hall of Fame today, baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal said, on the MLB Network, that the sabermetric community was similar to the Tea Party, presumably in its reckless zeal and narrow-mindedness.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 Prospectus: NL East


2012 W-L: 94-68

2012 Runs Per Game: 4.32 (7th in NL)

2012 Runs Allowed Per Game: 3.70 (4th in NL)

Key Losses:  Chipper Jones, Michael Bourn, David Ross

Writing Again

Every once in a while, an opportunity comes up to write for another website. I’ll prepare an email introduction about myself, which I hope will communicate the following:

  1. I know things about baseball – and not just stat things, but bits of wisdom.
  2. I have a strong grasp of grammar and vocabulary.
  3. I am a funny person – but my humor enhances rather than detracts from my analysis.
  4. I would be a perfect fit for your website.

Number four is a problem. I will inevitably offer links to some of the best stuff I’ve written over the years … which is a problem, because I haven’t written with any regularity for well over three years.

… but other than that, dear editor, don’t you want to hire me?

Why don’t I write as much as I used to? I’m tempted to resort to bullet form, but lest any unsuspecting editor happens to read this entry, I will make a go of it with prose.

I’ve been honest in the past about my struggle with serious depression and anxiety. For a while there – not surprisingly, about the time I stopped writing – it became a crippling struggle. Getting out of bed, taking meds, finding a job, going to that job … well, that felt like it took up all the energy I had in my very soul, and I didn’t much enjoy it at that. Who has time for writing, anyhow?

But that’s too pat an answer, and I’m afraid there are a few less noble reasons that I’ve stopped writing regularly. I came out of my depressive haze about two years ago, so that’s not longer an excuse. Although, like any habit, it’s hard to get started again once you’ve stopped for a while.

My attention span has gotten shorter and shorter over the past few years, to the extent that I actually looked at the symptoms for ADD to see if I qualify (I don’t). That means less patience with long baseball games (and they are long, aren’t they?) and a preference for highlights, that bane of comprehensive analysis. I followed the Reds, who are on local cable, but damned if I knew much about other teams. I realized there were top-notch All-Star players that I wouldn’t recognize even if I saw them in uniform.

It’s also possible that I just wrote so damn much from 2005-2008 that I had a whole lot less to say. When I started writing about baseball (back in 2003, in the privacy of my own Word file), it was because my thoughts could no longer be confined to my brain. And, like solving a math problem, I had to be able to work out the problem before me. I had to be able to see what was going on with these players, so I could learn analysis by doing it (and by reading others … I still do that, thank God).

Recently, though? Well, last semester I started a Master’s program in History, taking two classes with enough reading and writing to make Tolstoy blush. I was also working a full-time job and playing the lead role in a production of The Rivals at the community theatre. I do have friends and no longer live in my mother’s basement, so I did watch movies and talk to other human beings and stuff.

It’s no wonder that I didn’t want to write after reading pages upon pages of Kenneth Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence, a book so dry that flipping through the pages is a fire hazard.

So … that’s my alibi. But an alibi is all it is. After all, I do still want to be a writer (unless grad school kills it for me), and what kind of writer doesn’t write? Can I allow the Pomeranzes of the world to deny me a chance to mock Tim McCarver’s announcing? My God, man, I went the whole postseason without making fun of Delmon Young! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

I don’t go in for New Year’s resolution and all that nonsense. I won’t make a resolution to start writing in the blog again, because I’ve made those before. I will replace resolutions with action, as well as a determination to do whatever is necessary to take back the things I enjoy and make them my own again.

Because you never know – an editor may be watching.