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May 15, 2010

Joe's Blog

Framework

by Joe Sheehan

It's taken a while, but I think I finally have the structure of the book laid out. I played around with writing it chronologically, which would have enhanced the biographical aspects, but instead, it will be organized by topic. The following list isn't final, but you can expect sections to include:

  • Strategy and Tactics
  • The Baseball Industry
  • Research Pieces
  • Postseason Coverage
  • The Media
  • My Favorites

As mentioned, there will be an entire chapter devoted to the 20-inning Mets/Cardinals game played last month. There may be additional expository material in the back of the book as well-it may depend on whether I have room within the space provided. (I don't think it's telling tales out of school to say that the contract specifies 256 pages all-in.) I imagine that if Christina limits me to one Aaron Sorkin reference per chapter, I'll have the space for at least one additional essay.

Each section will include original material, although whether that's commentary on each piece individually or an overall introductory essay will vary depending on the topic. I'd like to have room for a chapter that includes snippets, not full pieces, from my writings, and I have a particular yen to get a section on"Stupid Predictions" into the book. Christina Kahrl has some really cool ideas about additional material we can string throughout the book as well. My vision has been, perhaps, too linear, and she sees potential for The Baseball Book-style drops.

With a structure in place, I'm getting more excited. My inability to settle this issue-and it was entirely my inability-was a block for everything else. Now, I can finalize the pieces that will be included and work on the original material with them. I find myself mentally composing fragments of text throughout my day, and I need to start getting those down, if not on paper, onto a hard drive. I expect to do the bulk of the writing in the summer months, with an eye towards the September 1 deadline and having the book serve as a companion to the postseason. A structure also allows us to start talking about design, by which I mean "allows people more talented than myself to talk about design."

Someone asked me the other day if I'd thought of a title for it, and I replied that I was thinking about Arrogance: The Joe Sheehan Collection. I meant it tongue-in-cheek, but got a reply that indicated that the joke was missed in transit, which probably doesn't speak well for me. I'm exceptionally poor at titling things, my default position as Managing Editor of Prospectus was to use the word "Prospectus" as often as possible: "The Daily Prospectus," "Prospectus Q&A," "Prospectus Hit List," "Prospectus Matchups,"…all the products of my fevered brain. The cool names, such as "Schrodinger's Bat" and "Doctoring the Numbers," came from the writers themselves.

Back in prehistory, when the five of us were working on the first book, my contribution to the naming was A New Look at Baseball, which is just stunningly bad. Nevertheless, this ended up as the name of the four-chapter sample book we put together while we were looking for publishers that first winter. Suffice to say that I don't know what the name of my book will be, but I am certain that it will be the product of someone else's inspiration.

I have endeavored to keep this blog focused on the book process, save for the exposition on the Ryan Howard contract. That's why there hasn't been much to write about lately. Now past the block of structure, I'm looking forward to more frequent contributions here as I get into the nuts and bolts of the process, as Christina begins to shape the product, as this book meanders from an idea to words on a page. If you're looking to read me on baseball, I'm in a lot of places, such as Sports Illustrated, SI.com, The Wall Street Journal and Rotowire. You can also follow me 140 characters at a time on Twitter (@joe_sheehan), where I remember to post radio and TV appearances and links to new content about half the time.
 

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

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