May be just a bit of bias in the five star rating, but if you're a Bronco fan, this is the book you want to tide you over as we savor the Super Bowl a
May be just a bit of bias in the five star rating, but if you're a Bronco fan, this is the book you want to tide you over as we savor the Super Bowl and await the beginning of the Mark Sanchez era. I was present for 3 of the 25 moments: Peyton's debut; his 7-TD opener against the Ravens; and the game where Elway threw his 300th and TD went over 2000 yards. (Somehow the game where we let Steve O'Neill of the Jets get off a 98 yard punt against us didn't make the cut.)
Addition: Actually, make it four; I was also there for Champ's 100-yard interception return against the Pats.
Curious to see where the revised version will put Von's dismemberment of the Panthers, and Peyton's win over Brady and the evil empire....more
Liked it better than the 2015 edition. This one focused more on the synergy between front office strategies and what happens on the field. As always,Liked it better than the 2015 edition. This one focused more on the synergy between front office strategies and what happens on the field. As always, part of the pleasure and utility is in the individual player projections, which is mostly/entirely for fantasy baseball players....more
Kicking this year's edition up a star from last year to encourage the movement back towards the diamond and away from the analytics department of theKicking this year's edition up a star from last year to encourage the movement back towards the diamond and away from the analytics department of the front office. Of course, anyone reading the Prospectus wants the geek part of it, but the reason that matters boils down to what happens on the field. One amusing note: Latroy Hawkins, who somehow or another maintains the closer role with my Colorado Rockies, is now the only player who's been profiled in every edition since it began twenty years ago....more
Nobody reads the Prospectus because of a review--either it's on your list or it isn't--but I wanted to chip in with a brief complaint about this year'Nobody reads the Prospectus because of a review--either it's on your list or it isn't--but I wanted to chip in with a brief complaint about this year's version. I'm pretty sure this is the first time the Prospectus has gone to by-lined team essays. On the one hand, why not? On the other, the change appears to have contributed to a slightly egotistical style in a fair number of the essays--writers writing cutesy instead of smart. (I'm a Pirate fan and the Pirate essay is a prime offender.) Noticing that made me think a bit more about a shift that's crept in over the past few years. When I first started reading the Prospectus, I encountered quite a bit of writing that changed my perception of players in interesting and (from a fantasy baseball perspective) useful ways. Increasingly, the center of gravity of the essays has shifted from the field to the front office; I'd guess that at least half of this year's essays focus on how general managers go about building winning teams. That's interesting and relevant, but, for me and I'd guess a majority of baseball fans, it's secondary. I'm sure that part of this has to do with the fact that the numbers guys have made a real impact on baseball and that they're focusing on the parts of the story which advertise them best to potential employers in front offices.
The individual player notes and the stats are still what they were, so it's not like this year's Prospectus was a bust, but I'm docking it a star in hopes that future editions will shift their attention back to the field....more
Fun little book, published in the former of the old Chip Hilton sports novels I read as a kid. King tells the story from the perspective of a retiredFun little book, published in the former of the old Chip Hilton sports novels I read as a kid. King tells the story from the perspective of a retired third base coach remembering a month of games excised from the major league record. The story's not one of King's best, but the voice carries it and for anyone who remembers the major league players of 1958, it's fun to imagine Walt Dropo, Gus Triandos and Ike Dermott coming back to life....more
For Sabremetric aficionados only. The collaborators are statisticians in the Bill James mold and they do their work well. Usually, that makes for deadFor Sabremetric aficionados only. The collaborators are statisticians in the Bill James mold and they do their work well. Usually, that makes for deadening reading--I'll admit to glazing over the tables increasingly in the second half of the book. Most of the take-home messages are predictable for those who follow the field. 1) Most of the sportscaster wisdom about the relationship between hot streaks and past match-ups and future performance is simply illusion. The only real indicator of future performance is the player's ability level. 2) "Conventional sabremetric wisdom" about the counter productivity of sac bunts and steals is right on a general level, but needs to be put in very specific contexts, some of which justify the strategies.
The one chapter I really learned something new from was the one on how to put together a batting order. You do want the high OBP guy leading off, but forget the standard approach to the number two slot--that's where you want one of your two best remaining hitters (the other one goes in the clean-up slot). It was a slight surprise to see that you probably want a stronger hitter at 5 than at 3. Once you pass 5, just place the hitters in descending order of quality, no matter the rest of their profile.
Got a laugh out of the way they handled Earl Weaver's bizarre decision to put Mark Belanger--who you'd basically bat 12th if you could--in the number two slot. Terrible strategy (although Belanger did hit better at 2 than at 8 or 9, he was till awful). But, as they say, Weaver's response is that he can't hear the criticism because he's holding the World Series rings over his ears....more
Coming back to Boswell, who I read when he began publishing his collections, was a quiet pleasure. Published in 1985, Why Time Begins on Opening Day wComing back to Boswell, who I read when he began publishing his collections, was a quiet pleasure. Published in 1985, Why Time Begins on Opening Day was written amidst the fairly ugly era of the early 1980s--the 1981 split season remains one of the lowest low points of major league history. Through it all, Boswell maintained a firm sense that baseball would survive itself, a lesson that's been repeated with the steroid era. The keys are his appreciation for the ways in which the continuity of the game is always being reshaped by new thinkers who appreciate the continuity--Whitey Herzog's the exemplar here--and his ability craft portraits of the players and managers that capture their complexity--Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver, the Ripkens.
Loved the essay on "The Greatest of All Time," which suggests that Mike Schmidt and Robin Yount (then just a shortstop) might wind up as the greatest ever to play their positions and thinking through the criteria. (I'd say Schmidt made it, Yount didn't quite.) Other favorite essays include his reflections on managerial "types"--he sees four (the Fearless Leader, the Little Napoleon, the Tall Tactician, and the Eccentric Uncle)--on catchers, pinch hitters, and defense.