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April 1, 2011

Purpose Pitches

A New Delivery

by Christina Kahrl

Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough. —George Bernard Shaw

---

The last couple of weeks have had me on my seat's edge. The season has arrived, and for all sorts of reasons I've been stoked with anticipation. Admittedly, I already got to enjoy a long trip to the Cactus League, which left me even more interested in the Cubs and Sox in a year that already figures to provide exciting races in every division.

But the other thing that I've been waiting on has been the latest development in my career. The last couple of weeks have been a pregnant pause, at a time when I'm usually busy trying to write up every move I can lay my hands on. But that time has now come to an end.

When ESPN chose David Schoenfield to step into Rob Neyer's shoes at the Sweet Spot, I was genuinely pleased, for what that meant for sabermetrics in general, but also because this was a great guy to put out there, up front—David was johnny-on-the-spot at the foundation of online sports coverage at ESPN.com, back during the wild, wide-open internet of the '90s. He's a canny stathead who understands the challenge of trying to communicate sabermetrics' most useful lessons to a mainstream audience. He was also an early patron of Baseball Prospectus back in the day, and the person those of us on the BP team at the time got to work with on our initial ESPN columns, like writing up the expansion drafts for the Rays and Snakes. It's a case of a good guy, a good job, and a good fit.

However, what followed was even more surprising. Shortly after ESPN selected David, they asked me if I'd be interested in joining ESPN.com's baseball team, working on the editorial side of things as well as playing second fiddle to David on the Sweet Spot. I immediately said yes. However, I also made sure that I would nevertheless be in a position to continue to contribute to BaseballProspectus.com, albeit on a reduced schedule.

I've always been something of the “accidental sportswriter.” Even after helping found Baseball Prospectus, I have considered eventually returning to school for a PhD in history, perhaps in some appropriately obscure field. But the fates seem to find a way of conspiring to keep me from it, as I've moved from an opportunity in sports publishing to the privilege of becoming a BBWAA member—a development I thank John Perrotto above all others for—to this new, latest development. However accidental this chain of events might seem in the broad strokes, I have to confess to a bit of ambition for myself in the face of it, to take advantage of this opportunity and recognize that maybe, just maybe, after 15 years this sports thing really is who and what I am about.

In saying as much, I also recognize how it might come across as ingratitude in the face of an immense debt, both professional and personal. I owe Baseball Prospectus everything I am, and everything I have achieved thus far—far beyond my own good fortune as a result, it is the finest thing I have ever been a part of. “It” is my group of guys, past and present, from the four other members of the original founding five to "sixth Beatle" Dave Pease; to the current crew, most especially Steven Goldman and Kevin Goldstein, and Jay Jaffe and David Laurila but also to my compadres on the editorial crew, old and new, with favorite former intern Steph Bee foremost among them. Confronted with the possibilities of the present, it comes home to me how much it has been my honor to be numbered among the dozens of people who have been here since that first conference call back in December of 1995.

That goes beyond just baseball, of course. My own narrative has not been especially mysterious, and in the early days back in 2003, we didn't have all the answers for how my career would work out, or even if it could work out. But in the face of that unknown, my guys and gals stood up for a teammate, and then as now, it has been a collective act of everyday civic courage that I have never taken for granted. That has come with the occasional sacrifice, such as when one television station invited us to promote the print edition of BP2K10, stating that they'd love to have any of BP's primary contributors “except Christina Kahrl,” to which my guys said thanks, but no thanks. I may have never asked for that kind of support, but it speaks volumes about my immense good fortune that, among my folks here, there was apparently never any other choice.

So I'm going to be moving along to ESPN, contributing to the Sweet Spot, and editing elements of the site, while also still traveling to the ballpark as a member of the BBWAA, developing a few feature articles, and generally joining David Schoenfield, providing sabermetrically informed perspective for the benefit of a wider audience. This action reflects my conviction that the victories of sabermetrics get won to the right side of the proverbial decimal point, but risk losing sight of the actual imperative: the need to focus on everything to the left of that point. Sabermetrics will only become rooted in mainstream baseball coverage through personal action and direct engagement with the mainstream audience. That means that the conversation needs to be expanded to include millions of people, some of whom might need some convincing. ESPN.com wants that element of the game in their wider conversation, and they honor me with the privilege of contributing to it.

That said, I'll also be making continued contributions to BaseballProspectus.com and to the annual. Since I will only be writing here every two weeks, that necessarily means I need to walk away from writing about transactions. After 15 years of moves big and—much more often—small, and trying to use that churn as a vehicle for talking about baseball in general, and the odd archduke now and again, it is time for a change. Happily, with people like Ben Lindbergh and Jay Jaffe and R.J. Anderson, I don't think transactions coverage will suffer in my absence. It will be different than it has been in the last 15 years, but should still be excellent, because it will reflect the quality of the guys already on board. Instead, you can look forward to my writing more generally about sabermetrics and big-picture questions, perhaps the odd historical essay, and whatever else Steven Goldman—or you, the audience—may want of me.

Which brings me to the truly important point as far as my writing about baseball: I am not gone, but I am moving into another incarnation. As Shaw stated, “Progress is impossible without change.” This is not just the shape of things to come, it is quite simply progress: progress for me, progress for Baseball Prospectus, and, if I do not flatter myself overmuch by saying so, hopefully a small part of progress at ESPN.com as well. Glory to us all, that we might make it so.

Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

Related Content:  Writing

105 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

dianagram

This BETTER be an April Fools joke, CK.

Apr 01, 2011 07:29 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

T'ain't. It's all on the up and up.

Apr 01, 2011 07:31 AM
 
One Flap Down

So unfortunately this isn't an April Fools' joke. But in the spirit of the day, it should have been coupled with an announcement that BP was hiring Joe Morgan (or worse yet, Murray Chass) as a new columnist.

Apr 01, 2011 08:08 AM
rating: 10
 
BP staff member Dave Pease
BP staff
(2)

dang, we missed a great opportunity here...

Apr 02, 2011 12:24 PM
 
dianagram

OK .... I've been informed that it is NOT an April Fools joke .... and since you'll still be sort of "here" .... I'll congratulate you instead!

(hugs and handshakes)

Apr 01, 2011 07:32 AM
rating: 3
 
nelliefox

Assuming this is not a cruel April fool's joke, let me say congratualtions Christina on obtaining wider exposure perhaps at ESPN. You have always been my favorite BP writer and I look forward to your whip smart analysis and snarkiness gracing the pages (er, screen views perhaps) of ESPN. Also glad it is not totally good bye to BP at the same time. As one who has bought more than history book from your time-to-time endorsements, I hope that side of your personality will continued to be shown on both sites. Good luck on your future ventures -- you're the best.

Apr 01, 2011 07:31 AM
rating: 3
 
Agent007

Geez, just when I thought I'd found a writer with a little bit of depth. Good luck Christina. I have really enjoyed your writings.

Apr 01, 2011 07:33 AM
rating: 0
 
Sharky

Congratulations and best of luck? Or April Fool's?

Apr 01, 2011 07:34 AM
rating: 0
 
gooblar

Many congratulations to a tremendously deserving talent.

Apr 01, 2011 07:36 AM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Bill Baer
BP staff

As a current member of the Sweet Spot blog network, I am extremely happy and excited to see that Christina was recruited to join David Schoenfield.

Congratulations, Christina!

Apr 01, 2011 07:37 AM
 
dianagram

To Ms. Kahrl, who turns a phrase like Trammell and Whitaker turned the DP .... I salute you.

Thanks for everything CK.

Apr 01, 2011 07:39 AM
rating: 3
 
Joel Dinda
(424)

Hey, congrats! We'll miss you around here.

Apr 01, 2011 07:39 AM
rating: 1
 
jhardman

I've read this site from the beginning and have all of the annuals. As a "reader" from rec.sport.baseball who never commented a lot but read religiously each diatribe, argument, discussion, etc., I recognize that you are essentially the last and most consistent constant from those days. I'm glad you'll still be contributing, but am ticked I'll have to subscribe to the evil empire to see your contributions. Thanks, Christina, not only for the baseball writing, but allowing your readers to see who you are and how it contributes to the great writing. Now go get the PhD in history, too - after all, you're already a writer of history and should be academically recognized for it. Good luck!

Apr 01, 2011 07:40 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

You and many others might want to actually visit ESPN, where you'll see that the Sweet Spot isn't behind a paywall. Hasn't been, since 2007 according to Craig Calcaterra, who discussed that in the context of Rob Neyer's departure.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/01/deep-thought-internet-paywall-edition/

Apr 01, 2011 16:23 PM
 
jpjazzman

4 down (fine, maybe 3.5) , 1 (1.5) to go.... When will KG be leaving and taking the rest of BP with him?

Apr 01, 2011 07:41 AM
rating: 0
 
jpjazzman

But also congrats CK, very happy for you!

Apr 01, 2011 07:41 AM
rating: 1
 
mikebuetow

Good luck!

Apr 01, 2011 07:42 AM
rating: 0
 
iorg34

Congrats Christina. I'm crushed about transactional analysis - it will be sorely missed.

Apr 01, 2011 07:46 AM
rating: 1
 
kddean

Congrats.
But on a selfish level, the one constant on this site, for me, has been you. In particular, the Transaction Analysis. It has been the major reason that I subscribe to BP, along with the coverage of the minor leagues.
As my subscription to BP is up in 2 days, this news gives me pause. I've handled, or at least justified, the leaving of some of my other favorite writers on this site (Carroll, Sheehan, et al.), but I'm not sure this news I can justify.

Will there be transaction analysis on a consistent basis? Or will it be sporadic? This just leaves me with many questions that I apparently can't even put into words. I guess I must be looking for assurances. I've not loved the direction the site has taken. For me, it's been the narrative of baseball combined with statistical analysis that I've enjoyed, not statistical analysis with some narrative included that's engaged me. With your departure, this seems to have tipped the scales far more to pure statistical analysis, a minus for this subscriber.

Apr 01, 2011 07:49 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Neil deMause
BP staff

Transaction Analysis will absolutely, positively continue on a regular basis. It won't be exactly the same TA as when Christina wrote it - because nobody writes quite like Christina - but if all goes according to plan, it will be great in new and different ways. And rest assured that TA 2.0 will remain focused on stories, not dry data dumps.

I'm sure Steve will have more to say once he's done appearing on a live Japanese middle-of-the-night TV quiz show (also not an April Fools joke), but consider this your first official "Don't Panic!" notice.

Apr 01, 2011 08:30 AM
 
Jamey
(208)

While I'll miss your daily writing, I recognize that when opportunity knocks, you should open the door. Best of luck, and I hope to keep reading your writing either here or elsewhere.

Apr 01, 2011 07:50 AM
rating: 1
 
Greg Pizzo

I too am despondent about the TAs. I have been a subscriber for many years and was thinking of dropping it, but just re-upped yesterday convincing myself that Christina's TAs were worth the investment. I might be having a bit of buyer's remorse today, though. Congratulations, CK.

Apr 01, 2011 07:51 AM
rating: 4
 
Christopher Miller
(88)

you and me both, Greg. I've been handwringing for the last two years as the originals all departed. i think this renewal is the last.

Apr 01, 2011 12:01 PM
rating: 6
 
adecker31

If I may respectfully disagree that all the replacements aren't worth reading and supporting - I believe some of the new writers are excellent and developing niches and approaches that in the end create compelling thoughts about baseball. Steven Goldman has been my favorite, but following Emma Span on Twitter, I can tell you she's really excellent. I also have really enjoyed some of John Perotto's work and think Jay Jaffe is excellent.

I loved Joe Sheehan, put up with Will Carroll because occasionally he wrote well and originally, and occasionally was just an ass in an entertaining way however, what these writers seem to have done is create a collective around an idea of baseball that we all subscribe to: that we can understand the game of baseball better by understanding what it is players do that actually contributes to victory and what just looks cool or is a cliche of the sport, often one of laziness and too often one of self-aggrandizement. It seems that a natural evolution of this community is to grow beyond an original core of amazingly talented writers and nurture new writers who want to extend the vision and go in new directions.

I was down on BP to be honest, a couple years ago, but I actually think it's been really good reading as of late. I guess I'm just trying to convince you that something that reinvigorated my own interest in the game a bit more than a decade ago still deserves a chance.

Apr 01, 2011 18:44 PM
rating: 11
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

You're right to say so adecker31--BP is really good reading of late. I like to say that BP is a lot like Saturday Night Live, in terms of continuity through cast changes. Believe you me, this is a good cast.

Apr 01, 2011 21:37 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

BP has better continuity through cast changes than SNL. Don't sell yourself short :)

Apr 02, 2011 00:31 AM
rating: 7
 
amazin_mess

Great job Christina...it was a move you had to make. You earned it and congrats!

Apr 01, 2011 07:56 AM
rating: 1
 
Todd S.

Congratulations, Christina, you deserve it!

Apr 01, 2011 07:59 AM
rating: 1
 
RedsManRick

Congratulations Christina. After watching the Dodgers-Giants game last night and not being inundated with inane, uninformed comments, I couldn't help but think that maybe we've turned the corner. ESPN seems to have recognized that the sabermetric approach will find itself on the right side of baseball history and has slowly, thoughtfully turned the ship in that direction. Your addition is a great next step in that direction for them and a great opportunity for baseball fandom to become familiar with your work.

Apr 01, 2011 07:59 AM
rating: 4
 
sliver

If this is what's best for you, Christina, and constitutes an advancement professionally, I wish you much joy of it. But I can not imagine this being nearly so interesting a place for me, and coming hard on the point where I need to renew my subscription, I am sorely torn. I've been subscribed since well before this was a paid-for kind of deal, and still, I dunno. And besides, ESPN? I never look at their site, and their network became irrelevant for me as a viewer ages ago (actual game broadcasts aside).
All the best, Christina. Damn.

Apr 01, 2011 08:03 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

It was great to see Christina at the Equality Illinois opening day event last night. Working with her has always been both a pleasure and an honor, and I'm glad she'll still be involved at BP. I couldn't be happier for her.

Apr 01, 2011 08:07 AM
 
randolph3030

Oh come on! Is everybody going to leave? Where is the Liberal Arts department at BP now? Where are the [i] writers [/i]? It can't all be numbers...ugh.

best of luck, go teach those bozos a thing or two. About baseball and the Revolutions of the 1840s.

Apr 01, 2011 08:10 AM
rating: 5
 
Dave Scott

Damn, this might wind up costing me money! Good luck be sure to write as much as possible in your reporting/editing jobs. Editing is honorable work, but there's less fun in it.

Apr 01, 2011 08:12 AM
rating: 1
 
duck4169

Your announcement said so much about your good fortune, and rightfully so - but every bit of your good fortune has turned out to be the same for all of your readers. I'll be following you and Dave at the Sweet Spot and looking forward to your appearances here, however rare. Thanks for all of it (especially LaRochefoucald, whose Maxims I bought after reading them in a recent transactions column - wonderful stuff) and continued good fortune.

Apr 01, 2011 08:15 AM
rating: 0
 
ofMontreal

This many comments this early means bad news. Sort of bad news. But since ESPN is in dire need of help, particularly since Neyer left, this is good news. I noticed Sweet Spot had taken on some improvements and this has restored my faith. The best part is that millions of people will now be reading one of the great voices in baseball.

Plus the RJ guy isn't too bad either. ;-)

Apr 01, 2011 08:21 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Amen re: R.J., and good of you to say so!

Apr 03, 2011 20:51 PM
 
formersd

Good luck in your new ventures Christina! I'll echo many of the others and say that your transactions columns were one of the highlights of the site for many years now.

Apr 01, 2011 08:27 AM
rating: 1
 
drawbb

I've nothing new to add other than to echo the sentiments of others above that: 1) CK always has been my favorite writer at BP; 2) that Transactions Analysis is truly irreplaceable for the baseball, historical, and pop culture lessons it taught in every column; and 3) that the timing of this announcement couldn't have been worse given that I also extended my subscription yesterday.

Our organization has lost multiple coaching staff members who graduated to managerial positions elsewhere and in each case I had the same sentiment which applies to Christina today--I'm ecstatic for the professional advancement, but woefully sorry the person won't be "here" anymore.

And now, despite it being not quite 9AM on the West Coast, I shall mix myself a rum-and-soda and drink lamentingly to the death of the late, great Transactions Analysis. I've always said if I could read just one thing on the entire Internet it would be that column as written by CK. Alas, poor Yorick is dead. Truly a gray day, regardless of the beautiful weather here.

Apr 01, 2011 08:51 AM
rating: 4
 
Scott D. Simon

Congrats, Christina.

Apr 01, 2011 09:05 AM
rating: 1
 
ddufourlogger

Echoing many, you've been one of my favorites all along as well, CK. Best of luck with ESPN, and I will STILL look forward your BP contributions, more sporadic as they may be!

In your honor, a pair of possibly eclectic and/or obscure and/or amusing quotes:

"There are but two things worth living for: To do what is worthy of being written, and to write what is worthy of being read; and the greater of these is the doing." From "Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry" by Albert Pike.

"Excelsior!"
The sign-off tag on every letter Stan Lee would write, in the earlier days of Marvel Comics.

We salute you!

Apr 01, 2011 09:14 AM
rating: 1
 
Mike Cuccaro

Congratulations, Christina! Thank you so much for all your work over the years. I've always felt a lot smarter after reading your columns.

Apr 01, 2011 09:45 AM
rating: 0
 
jrmayne

A story that perhaps doesn't belong here, but certainly belongs nowhere else:

Some years ago, I got into a friendly e-mail discussion with Christina about diacritical marks. She likes accents, umlauts, tildes and other markings from other languages. I hate them.

She accused me (in all good humor) of being her arch-enemy, a comic-book style villain opposing all that is good, or at least all that is Christina.

(An umlaut looks a horizontal semi-colon, and a tilde is ~.
So, we're talking about a package involving marks that look like :~.)

Christina argued (approximately) that we have a long-standing tradition involving this package, and that since this is what we started with, we should keep it no matter what changes in typefaces, use of computers, or other societal issues occur.

I averred that we had moved past 1955 into a new and different era, and that those who wanted to shed this unnecessary junk should be saluted. At the very least, the disapprobation of those who choose to embrace the new culture was deeply misguided.

There is no longer a credible argument to hold onto the old ways when such a hold makes life harder for so many. I don't want to type Alt-0223; I just want to get rid of things that look wrong and feel wrong and replace them with an appropriately cleaner look.

I did not convince her.

Still, Christina, from your arch-enemy: Congratulations and good luck. Your writing has been a joy these many years at BP.

--JRM, who concedes that some of the exact language in this comment was not present in our actual conversation, though the punctuation content is accurate to my recollection.

Apr 01, 2011 09:47 AM
rating: 4
 
CRP13

Congrats, you've worked for it.

For the record, I won't be canceling my subscription.

Apr 01, 2011 09:51 AM
rating: 7
 
Rick Lopez

Onward and Upward! Good show.

Apr 01, 2011 09:55 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Thanks Rick, I appreciate it.

Apr 01, 2011 10:23 AM
 
dianagram

Does anyone feel a little sad and melancholy right now? Cause no matter who replaces CK as the "TA maven", it won't be the same.

Sigh ...

Apr 01, 2011 10:00 AM
rating: 5
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Much as I appreciate the fandom, I cannot emphasize strongly enough how much I think you'll like the shape of TA in the future, and I would also assert that beyond reliably terrific writers like Steven Goldman, Jay Jaffe, Ken Funck, or Neil deMause, fresh faces like Ben Lindbergh, Jason Parks, and Emma Span should sate your sweet tooth for idiosyncrasy and insight. The great thing about the new BP is that it does not rest on a very few pillars, but on the strengths of so many different kinds of commentary--and it will still be covering the game in its full breadth. Along with David Schoenfield, I'll be commenting on a few transactions at the Sweet Spot of course; in my writing here, I'll want to write more big-picture, research-oriented long-form features.

Apr 01, 2011 10:58 AM
 
Clemente

Reader from the beginning: Thank you for years of interesting writing---the historical and cultural references maybe most of all. Good luck!!

Apr 01, 2011 10:02 AM
rating: 1
 
John Carter

Big Congratulations! Besides the wit, comprehensive analysis, and historical enlightenmenta, I will miss Christina's music tips.

From from me, because I can't stop playing it lately:
Regina Spektor's "The Genius Next Door".

Apr 01, 2011 10:28 AM
rating: 1
 
graignettles

I just +'d your comment because some idiot did a minus. Why minus? Why??? Because of the musical reference? I had a comment minused because I dared to say that BP is in decline due to the loss of writing talent over the last few years. God forbid we don't agree with the BP rump swabs. Go ahead, minus away you anonymous pansies.

Apr 02, 2011 12:47 PM
rating: 0
 
reznick

Christina -- Congratulations, and remember: if you had gone to grad school in history, you could only have done the "TA" thing for five or six years, tops. We got a lot more out of you this way.

Apr 01, 2011 10:36 AM
rating: 1
 
Yatchisin
(487)

Say it ain't so, CK! You will be missed, but congratulations, too, of course.

Damn contradictory emotions.

Apr 01, 2011 10:56 AM
rating: 1
 
Edwincnelson

The "mainstream" is about to be astonished by one of the most talented writers I have ever had the privilege of reading, and enjoying, on a day to day basis. Your contributions here have, and will always be, greatly appreciated and admired. For someone who writes for an internet audience I never got the feeling that any of your pieces were haphazardly or lazily approached and (having surveyed the current lay of the land for such things) that is a very rare thing.

Try to chip in here as much as you can. In the meantime, I think paying for the ESPN Insider subscription is becoming a more appealing idea than it was a few years ago.

Thank you. Congratulations.

Apr 01, 2011 11:00 AM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

First off, Christina, you know I've enjoyed our baseball and BP discussions. I also love your writing and respect the effort you've put into your career and this site. That ESPN offered you a position is a testament to that and I congratulate you for earning it. I wish you the best of luck and I know that working for a site like ESPN can really advance a career even further.

That being said, the Sweet Spot ruined Rob Neyer (some of which he has commented about on SB Nation). You might no longer have the liberty to bring in tangents from history as you so often do in your Transaction Analysis. The few Sweet Spot articles I've read since Neyer (apologies to Schoenfield) were also subpar and had little sabremetrics or any real analysis beyond Wins and batting average. On top of that, you'll have a readership base more interested in swearing at each other than actually commenting about your article. All of that, of course, assumes you'd write for the Sweet Spot.

I guess, in other words, I'm quite a bit heartbroken and would've preferred you stayed here full-time to make this site better than ESPN. Maybe it's a smaller pond, but at least you won't have anyone drowning out your voice.

Sorry if I sound a bit harsh (and I rarely am harsh). And for the record, I'm not cancelling my subscription either. Still, even though I might've seen it coming, it's still a bit of a shock... which shows how much I care about the work you've put into BP.

Apr 01, 2011 11:01 AM
rating: 15
 
CRP13

Dang. Good points, Richard. I hope you're wrong, and that ESPN is recognizing that there is a larger audience for just Christina's type of writing than they used to think there was. As an optimist, I am going to hope that hiring the sort of writers like CK will be the first effort at turning that battleship. Either way, BP's sort-of-loss is ESPN's gain, and their readers probably don't know what's about to hit them.

Apr 01, 2011 12:17 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

I'm kind of mixed about "ESPN's gain". BP's done quite a few collaborative articles with ESPN over the last few years, but sabremetrics is still treated by them as a bit of a niche market. And no, I don't think posting a bunch of links to sabremetrics articles to BP, THT and Joe Posanski in the Sweet Spot qualifies it as a sabremetrics column. In other words, ESPN's been exposed to sabremetrics, but they still don't seem to know what to do with it.

Let me put it another way. ESPN had Rob Neyer, who people say was the gateway to Bill James and sabremetrics. I know Neyer introduced me to BaseballProspectus and SABR. He'd written at ESPN for years yet, from what he has written at SB, apparently had constraints. His Sweet Spot blogs became more and more watered down from the original, insightful articles he used to write some 5-odd years ago.

Go right now and do a flipthrough of the Sweet Spot's last 15 postings. Aside from the occasional post of links to another website, it's just one big opinion blog with little in the way of facts and almost no sabremetrics. There's more talk about statistics in one Transaction Analysis than there is in a day's worth of Sweet Spot posts going back to 3/31/11 3:29pm EST "Will Verlander finally have that big season?" Take a look. Maybe three instances of slash stats and two or three mentions of ERA.

I hope Christina fixes all that. But the way I see it, if ESPN was that serious about sabremetrics, they would've given Neyer more freedom and brought in Christina before he left.

Apr 01, 2011 12:29 PM
rating: 9
 
CRP13

Jesus, did somebody even read what I wrote before minusing me? I wrote a compliment? And apparently that's inappropriate/wrong? THAT'S the feature of BP that needs to be done away with.

Apr 03, 2011 07:34 AM
rating: 1
 
graignettles

See my (slight) rant about 7 posts above this one. Someone minus'd a congratulations - and my guess is because the poster dared to make a musical reference. So I +'d him or her just to get the - away. It's like ding-dong school around here.

Apr 03, 2011 10:12 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

I actually think you got a minus for the rant, not the congratulations.

That being said, the +/- system is silly and this isn't the first thread to say that. Also, every so often, every post by a particular commentator gets a bunch of minuses. It's happened to me and others. Don't take it personally.

Apr 03, 2011 22:22 PM
rating: 3
 
Matt

I am tired of the meta discussion of the +/- system. I didn't minus either of the original comments, but I minused the rants.

Apr 04, 2011 15:26 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

I generally stay out of this stuff, except to plus people getting picked on as a matter of course, because valid concerns or complaints should be aired, seen, and responded to, not simply neg'd out of love or loyalty for the author's work.

In this instance, though, I made a point of plussing everybody who commented, because I'm grateful to all of you for your well wishes and consideration in saying as much. I hope you all enjoy what I am and will be doing on the Sweet Spot, as well as get a kick out of Ben Lindbergh's work on TA. It's my conviction that you'll get plenty of reading value out both spots on the web as a result.

Apr 04, 2011 20:55 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

You definitely earned the well wishes Christina. I do like what you've posted there so far at ESPN and Ben's a good heir to the TAs. Wish it was easier to find your most recent post on ESPN though. I imagine that'll get updated in time.

Apr 05, 2011 14:03 PM
rating: 0
 
jhardman

Amen. I never use the +/- rating. This isn't a place where people bash each other, thank goodness. I like to hear the opinions of other true baseball fans, period.

Apr 03, 2011 14:56 PM
rating: 0
 
Rowen Bell

Congratulations, CK.

Apr 01, 2011 11:29 AM
rating: 2
 
bpars3

Christina -

Congratulations to you on your move to the "Evil Empire". I truly have enjoyed reading your writing on baseball, history, the dingo, and your observations. Losing Nate, Joe, and Will over the last few years has been a bit of a blow, losing you will hurt as much as the others. I just re-upped for another year with BP before you announced your departure. Had this been posted before I re-upped I may have thought twice before signing on again. I rarely look at the ESPN site and outside of the games they broadcast, I rarely watch the station. Your inclusion at ESPN may make me a bit more open to go to their sites.

Best of luck to you in your new position. You will be missed around these parts...

Take care, Brian

Apr 01, 2011 11:41 AM
rating: 1
 
SeanGCampbell

Go Maroons!

Apr 01, 2011 11:54 AM
rating: 3
 
Sean

Chi-ca-go! *clap-clap-clap*

Apr 01, 2011 15:27 PM
rating: 1
 
EricJ

Damn this hurts. I will continue to read you on ESPN. I can't help but feel BP has lost it's steady hand on the wheel

Apr 01, 2011 11:56 AM
rating: 3
 
devine

Great news for you, Christina. Thanks tons for everything you wrote here; I look forward to the of-necessity reduced volume.

Go make some waves over there.

Apr 01, 2011 12:04 PM
rating: 1
 
jtmlexis

Christina:

I have enjoyed your writing, I ma a big , big fan and I wish you the best of luck.

Jim Masteralexis

Apr 01, 2011 12:09 PM
rating: 1
 
JoeSky60

Congrats indeed, Christina. Just wanted to add mine to the pile. I lost interest in the ESPN site some years ago, as it had grown so large, and unwieldy, that it was like slogging through hip deep mud. The content was nothing to write home about, either. Looking forward to your contributions here, no matter how reduced. Thanks again, for some of the best stuff on BP, over the years.

Apr 01, 2011 12:56 PM
rating: 1
 
rweiler

Congrats. The TA and Kevin Goldstein's minor league reports have always been my favorite features of BP.

Apr 01, 2011 13:41 PM
rating: 3
 
Shaun P.
(676)

Many heartfelt congratulations, Christina! This is great news, though I hope ESPN allows you to reference some obscure 16th century duchy on occasion.

I'm also fascinated to see what you do with the more long-form pieces. BP will be an even better place for it.

Apr 01, 2011 15:13 PM
rating: 1
 
fgreenagel2

Christina,

I've read you since '98. You will be sorely missed. I always thought of you as a combination of Uatu, Cassandra and Dante's Virgil -- observant, possessing foresight and guiding us all through the inept (and competent) transactions of the baseball world.

I'm thrilled that you were able to dig up a Shaw quote as a way of saying goodbye. That was cool.

Hopefully you'll still do a few BP events. Your brilliance, wit and enthusiasm have always been a bright spot.

If you want to teach (even part-time), you should do the PhD. It sucks that it takes that to be recognized by other academics, but so it goes...

Despite our loss, I am happy for you. Thrilled. I think talent should be recognized, rewarded and given wider audience. This is a good thing for you, baseball and society.

All the best,
Frank Greenagel

Apr 01, 2011 16:05 PM
rating: 3
 
graignettles

Kudos and Cheers to you CK. Unfortunately, you were the last reason for paying to be on this site. All the best contributors are gone (sorry if any remaining contributors take offense, but that's the way it is). With Will leaving and now you being mostly out the door I can't see myself resubscribing when my term ends. I do wish you well - you deserve it - but unless BP turns it around in a hurry this move could be the death spiral...

Looking forward to your ESPN contributions.

Apr 01, 2011 17:20 PM
rating: 1
 
adecker31

Christina,

Congratulations on a big move, your writing deserves as wide an audience as it is about to get and your pragmatic and nuanced view of the roster construction and transactional analysis will be something I seek out wherever it is.

Your courage and directness deserve every respect, your willingness and seeming desire to share your success and accolades with your colleagues and collaborators says all that one needs to know about you. Happy trails.

On a personal note, I hope you get to work some with James Quintong at ESPN, a friend of mine from way back. He's great and knows more trivia than any 3 people I've ever known. You should get him a few times on the Austro-Hungarian Empire though...

Apr 01, 2011 18:55 PM
rating: 1
 
yekkel

Congratulations - a writer of your caliber deserves a larger audience. I can't help but agree with Richard, though, that ESPN is likely to place greater restraints on your writing, which would be a profound loss. And, selfishly, TA was not just my favorite baseball writing, but probably my favorite thing to read on the interwebs. I look forward to reading your new work, but I am deeply saddened by this loss.

Apr 01, 2011 19:31 PM
rating: 1
 
carpoon

Best of luck! Your writing will be sorely missed. I'm really holding out slim hope that this is an April Fool's joke, but that seems less and less likely.

Jeff Manto references forever!

Apr 01, 2011 20:10 PM
rating: 1
 
kcshankd

I always saved Christina's articles for last. Sigh. Guess I'll be going over see what is happening at espin besides klaw chats.

And a TV station rep actually said that in 2010? Shame them with continued greatness, and good luck...

Apr 01, 2011 21:43 PM
rating: 2
 
Richard Bergstrom

As an addendum, I liked Christina's first Sweet Spot post.

Apr 02, 2011 00:39 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Thanks Richard. I didn't mind your voicing your concerns in the least--this is an open forum, after all. I look forward to setting them to rest. ;)

Apr 03, 2011 20:47 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

Doing well so far :) I might have to start reading the Sweet Spot again just for you.

Apr 03, 2011 22:23 PM
rating: 0
 
Peter Benedict

Wow. I just re-upped my subscription for a year immediately before reading this article. I have a sense of melancholy (and I'd been critical of Christina's writing at one point in the past). I feel like I'm losing something treasured. No one's writing challenges like hers.

But I'm glad I re-upped. I do love what's been going on here.

Christina, fare thee well.

Apr 02, 2011 05:56 AM
rating: 2
 
Patrick M

Godspeed, Christina. I will miss your pieces here, but at least I will know where to find you. I hope that this new opportunity works out well for you.

Apr 02, 2011 06:48 AM
rating: 2
 
brucegilsen
(999)

Congrats and all the best Christina.

Apr 02, 2011 09:57 AM
rating: 1
 
Kyle E.

Christina, best of fortune in your new gig. Your take on transactions was my favorite feature at BP, and it will be missed. Looking forward to reading your output over at the Sweet Spot.

Apr 02, 2011 11:14 AM
rating: 1
 
6manfan

So much has been said that I can hardly add anything of value. However, I wish you the best; I will always be a fan.

Apr 02, 2011 11:32 AM
rating: 1
 
slideric

Good luck and good writing...I got a phd late when I didn't
need it, hope you get yours, too. You are however a pro and it shows.....thanks

Apr 03, 2011 03:51 AM
rating: 1
 
dcarroll

Christina, belated but sincere congratulations.

Apr 03, 2011 08:07 AM
rating: 1
 
jcjividen

Congratulations. You deserve it.

Apr 03, 2011 08:30 AM
rating: 1
 
FRL

Noooo!!! OK, deep breath...

CK you will be missed, and I wish you the best wherever your professional career takes you. I am not sure now if I'm going to renew my BP subscription. I have loved BP for many years, but for whatever reason find myself reading it less and less despite the higher volume of content. The site's decision to focus on fantasy content may be a sound business decision, but that is not BP to me. There are plenty of outlets for users seeking that kind of content, this place used to offer great writers and great analysis of the real game on the field. Prospectus today, UTK, TA, and the chats (oh how i miss the good chats) were always required reading for me, but few of the newer columns have really captured my loyalty.

BP's differentiation from the rest of the available baseball web content made it a special place. It was bad enough that BP content was appearing on the ESPN site, but now they're poaching talent as well.

Apr 03, 2011 23:09 PM
rating: 2
 
PeterBNYC

At the same time as I am happy for Christina and wish her career well, I have to associate myself with FredL's position- everything changes, of course, all the time, but it is not necessarily a positive when some idea or institution one had come to trust and admire keeps changing so that each day it resembles a bit less what it was when one first encountered it. I know there is no stopping change, but that I have the right when- a point I have not yet reached- the course of the changes takes one to a point unrecognizable from the point one stated out. Too far away. Oh and yes, is everyone else happy watching while the ESPN crocodile devours our favorite baseball site, a chunk at a time? So that what we are left with is 50% a fantasy site? Which is not what I signed up for? Just wondering.

Apr 04, 2011 09:29 AM
rating: 0
 
evo34
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Sorry to rain on the lovefest, but I have always found Kahrl's writing to be labored, convoluted and oddly condescending. Her columns read as if they had been written by Warren Buffett chastising beginning traders for the smallest of supposed trading errors. The most obvious problem is that Kahrl has never had the credibility to cop such an attitude. What teams has she managed? What groundbreaking research has she contributed? It's fine to answer "none" to both questions, as long as one keeps the snideness in check. Instead, it is always an over-the-top, "what have these idiots kids [GMs] done now?" mentality that is tough to tolerate, much less enjoy.

The more fundamental issue is that the subject matter (largely insignificant transactions) does not warrant such a high level of attention/resources, whether in the form of run-on sentences or not. I happen to like Lindbergh's work thus far, but feel that his talents would be better used in generating new analysis. Let's allow TA to die a peaceful death, and focus resources on innovative work.

Apr 13, 2011 20:58 PM
rating: -4
 
SaberTJ

Christina, Congratulations on the career move. I've been reading Bpro since before it was a subscription based site. Have always enjoyed your contributions.

Apr 04, 2011 06:19 AM
rating: 0
 
MichavdB

Congrats Christina! Glad to read you will still be contributing to BP. In addition to your move showing an acceptance of saberheads in the baseball community it also signifies an acceptance of something much larger and more important. It is people like you who help our society overcome our prejudices one by one. Thanks!

Apr 04, 2011 07:14 AM
rating: 0
 
TGisriel

Congratulations Christina on your continued professional success.

I still miss going to games with you at Camden Yards, which stopped when you moved to Chicago. Personally, this feels like one more step away.

Now you're moving to ESPN. Certainly it is a more commercially accepted site than BP, and it is likely to expose your writing to a larger audience. It is very unlikely, however, that your ESPN writing will give full flower to your unusual and entertaining style. I assume you will continue to give your style full flower in your less frequent contributions to BP.

Of course I give you my best wishes, and confidence in your continued success

Apr 04, 2011 08:43 AM
rating: 0
 
bbienk01

Just wanted to add my congratulations. I enjoy the writers who are still here, and I'll continue to enjoy (and subscribe to) BP, but you will be missed. Guess I'll be reading ESPN for the first time in years now.

Apr 04, 2011 23:16 PM
rating: 0
 
Ameer

Congrats, Christina! Sounds like an awesome opportunity.

Apr 05, 2011 10:51 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

To everyone who has written: I cannot thank you all enough, but if I see you at the Seymour Medal Conference in May, at SABR in Long Beach in July, or at the All-Star Game in Phoenix in July, don't be a stranger. I mean it when I say that I owe everything to you.

Apr 05, 2011 20:51 PM
 
jnossal

Partir, c'est mourir un peu.

Thank you, Christina.

Apr 13, 2011 12:24 PM
rating: 0
 
aversteeg

Congrats, always liked your articles.

Apr 30, 2011 22:39 PM
rating: 0
 
Ben L

Congrats, but man they are dropping like flies around here

May 23, 2011 13:48 PM
rating: 0
 
escapingNihilism

so much for "continuing to contribute" :-/

Jun 20, 2011 10:58 AM
rating: 2
 
jpjazzman

Was just thinking that today myself... so much for every two weeks - been 10.

Jun 21, 2011 10:26 AM
rating: 1
 
sliver

I count 4? CK submissions to BP since this black day. So much for every two weeks.

Jun 14, 2012 09:26 AM
rating: 0
 
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