Monday, February 28, 2005

Hog Heaven....

I'm in baseball overload, before a single exhibition game is played, I'm in so much baseball it's coming outta my pores.

The reason? This morning, on my way to work, I had enough time to stop at the bookstore in Penn Station, and there it was: Baseball Prospectus 2005.

Now, in this day and age, I think most hardcore BP folks buy through the Internet. The Amazon link at the BP website gets you 32% off the cover price. My Internet book shop of choice, Barnes and Noble, has the advantage of featuring same day shipping of certain items in Manhattan, and a deep discount also. For a fellow that's pretty into instant gratification, like me, that's a powerful feature.

But there's nothing that appeases instant gratification like purchasing a book in the store. Sure, you're paying full price. But there's no waiting for UPS or USPS to bring you your book. You get it in your greedy little hands immediately.

In the morning, I resisted. I knew I'd have a frustrating morning of waiting around the courthouse for a five minute conference--and I figured my employers would rather I spent that time working on my cases than puzzling in awe over the John Vander Wal player comment.

In the evening, with a snowstorm in full effect, my willpower was non-existent. When I took the book up to the register, I asked for a bag, because of the elements. She looked at the book as she bagged it, and said "Let the obsessing begin."

I was too pleased with my purchase to ask her if she was referring to the book or to the weather.
Now, while the arrival of BP 2005 is reason enough for baseball overload, when I got home things kicked into a whole new gear. Waiting in my mailbox was a copy of Lee Sinins's Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia. I'd ordered it last week, for the first time, and quite frankly I expected it to take a lot longer to get here.

So I got home, "in single digits," as La Chiquita says (i.e., before 10:00 pm) and after all the hows-your-days and whatnot, I was at my computer, BP 2005 propped up on one side, a list of lefthanded youngsters compiling on the screen for one of my projects. Heaven.


On a mildly disconnected topic, there's more to the baseball overload than BP's book and Lee's CD. There's also been a good bit of baseball content put out on the Internet, and a changing scene in the blogosphere to match it.

It struck me as I went to Baseball, to look up an official definition of "sabermetric" for La Chiquita, who was asking about it both in terms of the SBE and the foreword to BP 2005 (you've gotta love a girl who's at least willing to read the foreword of your dorky baseball book). I remembered that I'd seen the definition on the BB Analysts site--by Bill James and quoted to Bill James by his interviewer, Rich Lederer.

BB Analysts is one of the more celebrated new baseball sites on the 'net, a collaboration between Lederer of Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT fame (you might remember me going on and on about Rich's terrific "Abstracts from the Abstracts" book review series) and Bryan Smith, prospect maven and proprietor of the Wait Til Next Year blog. They're really doing a great job, and the site has hit the ground running with a three part story in which they asked baseball writers, bloggers, and a few others about their favorite players.

This kind of talent consolidation has been creeping over the baseball blogging scene. The trend setter here was Fabian McNally, who shut down his prospect-oriented Yankees blog (Minor Yankee Blog), to join Larry Mahnken's crew at Replacement Level Yankee. Last week, Cliff Corcoran, of Cliff's Big Red Blog, announced that he's joining Alex Belth at Bronx Banter.

In non-consolidated news, two skilled hands have also hung out their blog banners in the past few weeks. Steven Goldman, of Pinstriped Bible and Baseball Prospectus fame, has now gone dily on the YES Network site with the Pinstriped Blog, and John Sickels, who once wrote the Down on the Farm column for, is now online with the Minor League Ball weblog.

What does it all mean? Other than "Derek's gotta update his links," nothing much...for now.


Chaz said...

My BP 2005 arrived this morning (at work - heaven), and inspired by your post, I immediately looked up the Vander Wal comment. I imagine you figured it out, but it's a play on the Oasis tune "Wonderwall," and a witty one at that. So now I've got that song echoing through my head as I try to work. Thanks, Derek.

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