Author Archive

An Unexpected Development

In April of 2009, FanGraphs CEO David Appelman announced that his growing site would be adding two part-time writers effective immediately or something like immediately. Having produced some vaguely analytical work for my own weblog, I sent a collection of story ideas, a CV, and an overwrought cover letter to the email address provided in his announcement. In a turn of events that speaks both to Appelman’s discretion as a leader and his capacity for identifying talent, he made a decision that would benefit FanGraphs for some time — which is to say, he hired someone else.

As if to prove, however, that even the most towering intellects aren’t immune from errors in judgment, Appelman and his future managing editor Dave Cameron would undo their good work just a few months later. Acting on a recommendation from Jonah Keri, who’s culpability in this process can’t be overstated, Appelman and Cameron invited me, at the beginning of August 2009, to begin contributing twice a week to fangraphs dot com.

To suggest that my first posts at the site were met with a “mixed response” would be to make full use of the rhetorical device known as “euphemism.” While I received no actual threats of bodily harm to my person, that didn’t prevent my person from crawling into the fetal position and weeping like a child. And while the vigor with which some readers expressed their dissatisfaction was probably unnecessary, the basic gist of their comments — namely, that I was single-handedly ruining whatever goodwill FanGraphs had cultivated with the public — seemed, at times, to possess merit.

When I asked Appelman if I should stop, lest I topple his fledgling empire, he suggested I not do that. “Keep going,” in fact, was more or less the tenor of his message. And whether that was the soundest advice or not, it seems in retrospect to have worked out. I have kept going for over nine years, enjoying (like other FanGraphs writers) an editorial freedom and collaborative spirit that is rare for any publication. One of Appelman’s great strengths as this site’s guardian has been to trust his writers. It’s an ethic from which I’ve benefited as a contributor and which I’ve attempted to preserve as an editor.

Starting today, however, I will no longer serve as a writer or editor for this site. After a tenure that has lasted far beyond even my most optimistic projections, I’m leaving FanGraphs to become a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

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FanGraphs Audio: Dayn Perry Files a FOIA Request

Episode 843
Dayn Perry is a contributor to CBS Sports’ Eye on Baseball and the author of three books — one of them not very miserable. He’s also the safe pedestrian on this edition of FanGraphs Audio.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 1 hr 5 min play time.)

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FanGraphs Audio: Autograph Stories with Jay Jaffe

Episode 842
Jay Jaffe is progenitor of the very famous JAWS metric and author of the reasonably famous The Cooperstown Casebook. On this edition of the programs, he discusses Willie McCovey’s autograph and other people’s autographs. Also: important dates for Hall of Fame season. And: how there’s a shark tunnel at the Winter Meetings.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 44 min play time.)

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Which Managers Could Still Fake It as a Player?

At roughly the 10-minute mark of Dan Szymborski’s most recent appearance on FanGraphs Audio, that same guest proposes — partly in response to Game Three of the World Series and partly as an installment in the chronicles of the absurd — a rule change that, if adopted, could have some implications for how teams think of a coaching staff. Specifically, he suggests that, in those games where a team has exhausted its full complement of hitters — such as the Red Sox did during their 18-inning marathon against the Dodgers — that a manager should be allowed to take the field for his club. Although he doesn’t say it, the same could presumably be true on the pitching side, as well.

The sight of a manager actively involved in a game wouldn’t be unprecedented, of course. While utilized rarely over the past half-century — and not in any real way since Pete Rose served in that capacity for the Reds from 1984 through 1986 — player-manager was a pretty common job title in the earliest days of the game.

Recent seasons have provided managerial surrogates, of course. During the final years of his career, Jason Giambi played the part of friendly uncle just as much as he did pinch-hitter. One could say the same for Julio Franco and Matt Stairs and Jim Thome. Chase Utley was referred to as “dad” by teammates for the bulk of the 2018 season. Bartolo Colon is older than a number of actual managers.

While some players have persevered into their early 40s, Rose’s performance reveals why there’s probably little demand for a player-manager proper in the current version of the game. By his third year on Cincinnati’s roster, the 45-year-old Rose was able neither to hit nor run nor field at a major-league level. Those are, one notes, basically all the ways in which a ballplayer can create wins for his team. Nor does this even account for all the ways the manager’s role has evolved in 30 years. With the volume of data made available by front offices, coaches of all sorts have had to develop skills that would be foreign to many of their predecessors.

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Contract Crowdsourcing 2018-19: Kikuchi and Rosenthal

Free agency begins soon! As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2018-19 free-agent market.

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FanGraphs Audio: Dan Szymborski Introduces the Offseason

Episode 841
Dan Szymborski is the progenitor of the ZiPS projection system and a senior writer for FanGraphs dot com. He’s also the guest on this edition of the program, during which he reviews the lessons he did and also didn’t learn during the World Series. Also: the distinction but not the difference between luck and a skill that’s just undetectable. And: a status update on ZiPS projections.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 50 min play time.)

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Contract Crowdsourcing 2018-19: Ballot 8 of 7

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2018-19 free-agent market.

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Contract Crowdsourcing 2018-19: Ballot 7 of 7

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2018-19 free-agent market.

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Contract Crowdsourcing 2018-19: Ballot 6 of 7

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2018-19 free-agent market.

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2018 World Series Game Two Live Chat

7:52
Craig Edwards: Welcome everyone. We’ll get things going in a moment, so keep the questions coming, but first a poll.

7:52
Craig Edwards:

Who wins tonight?

Dodgers (46.1% | 36 votes)
 
Red Sox (53.8% | 42 votes)
 

Total Votes: 78
7:57
Dan Szymborski: GRAVY FRIES

7:57
Dan Szymborski: I like opening with a non sequitur.

7:58
Dan Szymborski: We are hear for the base ball match. Thank you all for joining us on your telematronic typescribers.

7:58
Bjorn from Swedish Sex Dungeon: How many “The Price is Wrong” headlines if Price scuffles?

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