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Sabermetrician in Exile

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Alma, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Some of y'all may remember this guy.


    A surprisingly, well, wise interviewee.

    <i>"At some point, if you're not mentally well, nothing else matters," McCracken says. "Nothing good happens. You're forced to make decisions. And because you're forced, there's no guarantee they're the right ones. But they're decisions you've got to make. I can either spend the rest of my life in an institution, or I can change the way I think about what I'm doing with the rest of my life. I can continue to ratchet up the stress levels and be the supergenius who makes millions of dollars, or I can calm down and be satisfied with my lot."</i>

    The story's is a bit wordy, but it gets the kicker right. Smart of the writer to end on a note of double meaning.
  2. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Did you catch the salary for being a baseball front-office beginning analyst?


    Apparently the climb to the GM's chair is every bit as steep as the one to ESPN.com or the New York Times. Probably even steeper.
  3. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Like anything - it's steep for the people who don't get a shortcut.

    What's funny is that ESPN.com usually wants its columnists to have paid a lot of dues...and they should travel in the opposite direction and develop their own voices. There's more boring, pedestrian work being churned out by many of ESPN's people than most places.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I think that there is more value in what someone like McCracken does for fantasy players and fans than there is for actual teams.

    Now, I understand that teams all employ quantitative analysts. As they must. But the value of objective quantitative analysis for us is that so much that comes out of the teams is white noise - either flat-out lies or just baseball pap. We don't get the good stuff about mechanics and injuries and so forth and so on. We don't get it straight.

    But we get the numbers straight. So sabermetrics are really valuable, because it helps fans cut through all that white noise. Whereas the teams themselves have all the other information at their disposal, as well, to make predictive judgments about players.

    "Moneyball" is already somewhat obsolete, because now all teams know that stuff - and take it seriously. My guess is that if you could allocate the competitive value of various aspects of team-building, the pendulum has shifted back to traditional scouting because everyone is now equally capable at the quantitative stuff. You just have to hold the line. The new trenches are the traditional scouts. Who'd have thought?
  5. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    The part where he's sure he has another million-dollar idea in his head really struck me. A lot of one-shot genius guys feel that way and spend their lives wondering why they can't get it back.
  6. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Interesting article. Read it this morning and thought it was way too long.

    I was surprised he was only making $30,000. I know pro sports teams pay shit for people starting out, but they specifically recruited this guy. He should have done a much better job negotiating starting salary -- or turned them down.

    It also sucks that he didn't get a ring.
  7. That was a long article but worth it. I am surprised that given the length that Passan didn't take the time to mention Mike Gimble who was basically the first incarnation of Voros McCracken for the Red Sox.

    Here's an old article by Rob Neyer on Gimble. Very, very similar stories.

  8. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I agree, it is too long. The front end isn't terribly compelling, and Yahoo needs to work on its layout. Break it up into multiple pages. Use file photos (Sox, Epstein, Greinke, whoever) to knock down some of the text.

    And I think Rick latched on to something that could have been used in the lede. The next great idea. Start with Varos watching soccer, working on something, married to the spreadsheets, whatever. Start now, right this second, and work back to then. Create some element of momentum. Make the reader want to see the second idea through, only to know, sorry, this time he won't tell it because of what happened the first time. And let them decide, in their own minds, whether he's got another one - or if he's taken too much of the edge off.
  9. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Is it just me or were there a bunch of sentences that had to be re-read because the had too many dashes or were just plain confusing? One of the sentences in the middle of the soccer part of the story references Beane, but he hadn't been referenced for like 8-10 paragraphs. The writer just starts talking about him mid-sentence as if I know we were changing the subject from McCracken to Beane then back to McCracken.
  10. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I can see why he didn't though. You'll start to get bogged down in the minutiae of sabermetrics - which quickly turns into a genealogy of Biblical nature - and not telling this one story.

    Wouldn't it be cool to one day see all of the definitive writings on sabermetrics - say 2,000 pages worth - all in massive anthology? Moneyball would be there - but so would a lot of other things.
  11. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    That was really good. If you have a perverse interest in the topic, not overlong.
  12. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    A quality read, even though I agree with a previous poster that the opening lacks immediacy.

    Maybe move the Red Sox watch anecdote and his mother's quote about him being a future HOF'er to the top of the opening?
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