May 14, 2012
A New Platform
It is with a mixture of 90 percent pure excitement, 10 percent sadness, and 10 percent butterflies in the stomach — because I give 110 percent all the time — that I bring you the following announcement: I have accepted a position with SI.com to launch a new baseball blog later this month. I will be writing on a more or less daily basis, offering a mixture of quick hits and substantial takes on news or issues of interest. At this writing, the blog is scheduled to be called Hit and Run, springboarding from my Prospectus Hit and Run column name but also providing a mantra for what we're aiming this new venture to be. Somehow, Ol' Mr. 3000 Words will have to rediscover how to write shorter where appropriate.
My new overlords at SI — about whom I have heard nothing but good things — are not demanding exclusivity from me, with certain obvious exceptions. Thus I will be able to retain some involvement with Baseball Prospectus, which means a great deal to me, both because of my relationships with the current staff, and my history with the organization. The current plan calls for me to contribute an article every two weeks while remaining in the chat rotation, and it is my intention to continue contributing to the annual and other book projects as time allows.
At the same time, this does mark something of the end of an era for me. After launching my own site, Futility Infielder, back in April 2001, and making a name for myself with my Hall of Fame analyses and other rants, I debuted at BP in January 2004, presenting the Hall of Fame evaluation system that would soon become known as JAWS. After I sporadically contributed a few other pieces — "The Claussen Pickle," analyzing the Yankees' penchant for trading prospects for veterans, and "Hank Aaron's Home Cooking," about the home/road home run breakdowns of the game's top sluggers — that were popular enough to revisit over the years, Joe Sheehan invited me to join the Prospectus Triple Play rotation (I followed the Dodgers, Giants, and Twins), and when my work there got so involved that I basically broke the series' bulleted list format, he asked me to create a power rankings column. With no instruction as to what that that would entail, I took our Adjusted Standings page of Pythagorean winning percentages and birthed the Prospectus Hit List, which like the PTP eventually began to crumple under its own weight until I finally split the damn thing in two. Before that happened, Christina Kahrl tried to save me from myself by suggesting I launch a second column, Prospectus Hit and Run. Last year, Steven Goldman suggested I turn over the Hit List to our junior staff — it's now in daily form, run by the great Matthew Kory — and focus the bulk of my energy on Prospectus Hit and Run multiple times per week. Somewhere along the way, I became a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, and even got my mug on television in the service of a first-of-its-kind show about sabermetics, Clubhouse Confidential.
It is within that tradition of evolution — throwing myself into my work until I had maxed out at a given level, and then tackling new challenges — that I am moving onto this new platform at SI.com. And it is with those great writers — Joe, Christina, and Steve as well as Jonah Keri, who edited much of my early work — in mind that I look for examples of the possibilities that lie beyond BP, and what it means to carry the lessons learned here into the mainstream. JAWS, in particular, is something that I am especially excited to put in front of more eyeballs, because helping to get Bert Blyleven and Ron Santo into the Hall of Fame isn't enough — we need Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell there, and many others. In one of the ironies of this move, it was actually a 2007 JAWS piece for SI.com on Raines and others that not only marked the first wide mainstream exposure for my system but one of my first opportunities to work with SI.com's Ted Keith, the editor with whom I'll be working most closely in this new venture. Ted's enthusiasm and understanding of where I've been and where I want to go are a huge reason that I feel as though I'm making the right move at the right time. The tradition of great sports writing that SI represents — I've been reading the magazine since 1979, and can fondly recall articles and covers from my youth — and the resources that it provides are unparalleled within this industry.
So this is most definitely not a goodbye. You will still see me around these parts, hanging among the Goldsteins and the Parkses and the Millers and the Lindberghs, and you will still see me calling upon BP's metrics and resources in my work further afield (as today's piece on Andy Pettitte's return shows, I am particularly excited to see the work of BrooksBaseball.net under our umbrella). I hope that you will also follow me to my new residence; I'll have further notes on the specifics of the launch in the near future. My deepest thanks to everyone at Baseball Prospectus, past and present, who helped make this day possible, including you, our great readers.
See you on the trail,