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June 7, 2009

Prospectus Idol

Round Three - Below the Big Leagues

by Dave Pease

It's the third week of Prospectus Idol, and we're ready to rock. I'm Dave Pease, and I always enjoy our time together.

Let's pick up where we left off last week and answer some of the questions that have been showing up in the comment threads.

You've been asking for:

  • Last comment time displayed on the landing page, so you can go by that instead of overall comment count when you're trying to determine if there have been new comments left on an entry. We're working on this, and I don't have an ETA yet.

  • Previous week results, so you can browse from the landing page to any week of the contest. Same story here; it's a definite need, and we've got it on our to-do list.

  • Announcement of results. Up until now, these have been Unfiltered posts, and we're probably going to keep them that way. What we need to do is link the results from the landing page so you can see a week's intro article, all the contestant entries, and the results in one place. That's in process.

  • Entrants author pages don't work. This is fixed. For example, click on "More by [entrant name]" in the Prospectus Idol box on any contest entry page, and you should be able to get to all of that author's articles.

  • Voting directly from the landing page. We've had some requests for the thumbs-up to work from the landing page. Right now, the thumbs-up serves as an indicator of whether you've voted or not, but it doesn't allow you to change your voting status; instead, you'll have to click through to the article and then click the thumbs-up there.

    We could change this, but we want to be sure, short of pop quiz or some other active verification, that people are actually reading the articles they're voting on; that was our rationale for embedding the voting process directly in the article page in the first place. Also, I know there are a few people that want this because it's shown up in the comments a few times, but how many readers would be confused by changing this behavior at this point? If you've got interest in this particular change, please let us know what you think in the comments.

Now, let's get on with the main attraction. This week, we directed our contestants to cast their gazes downward from MLB and give us something about the lower levels of baseball. From Kevin Goldstein's contestant instructions:

This week's theme is . . . . . drum roll . . . .

BASEBALL BELOW THE BIG LEAGUES.

In other words, welcome to my world. Once again, this is a broad, broad subject. You can write about prospects, the minor leagues, the draft, high school baseball, North Dakota Little League playoffs, Japan, Honkball, you name it, you just can't write about the big leagues.

How'd the remaining eight finalists rise to the occasion? Let's have a look!

To read the articles and vote, click here to visit the Prospectus Idol page.

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

John Carter

So, the hitlist, Richard?

I felt Ken's blew away the competition this week - enough to put him in about a tie with Tim for the top spot. However, based on the comments, I see Tim riding a tidal wave back to the top of your list.

Although, there was an improvement in organization from Brittany over her mess from the previous week, it was so full of errors I don't see her continuing.

Everyone else had a good worthwhile submission. Assuming Brittany is out, the BP Idol standings beyond the top three should be very compact.

Jun 08, 2009 11:06 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

I've already come up with a theme for the list and come up with a ranking, I just don't know if it's kosher to post it really early since I was doing it more in fun and not to influence voting.

I do have a definite #1, #2 and #3.

And even beyond the top three, it is very compact but still identifiable, but "the pack" is definitely improving weekly. This was really a great week for solid, quality articles with some unique ideas and/or insight behind them. Each of them have their own strengths and though it is hard to rank them, I came up with an arrangement I was comfy with.

Next week's voting will be really tough but yes, it seems this week will not be that difficult. The rest of the pack got better and Brittany got left behind.

If people want me to post it late tonight (after 11pm MST), I can...

Jun 08, 2009 12:33 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Btw can we get clarification that there is no longer a word count requirement? Will was saying it was removed... (which I think is a good thing).

Jun 08, 2009 12:34 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

Succinctness is virtuous.

Jun 08, 2009 14:19 PM
rating: -1
 
BurrRutledge

Brevity is overrated.

Jun 08, 2009 20:59 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

The Week 3 BP Idol Hit List!

Since this is "Below the Big Leagues", the theme is obscure B-movie quotes... and yeah, maybe some of these aren't really B-movies, but then again, this isn't your list :)



#1 Tim Kniker (+ #2<-#1<-#3) - "Look, when a vastly superior alien culture comes all this way to take over your world, certain basic laws of planetary conquest apply." - Giggywig, "Spaced Invaders"

The cream of the crop of a lot of good articles this week, Tim stepped out of his world to attack an old question from some new angles.. and he brought some outside expertise to help in the conquest!


#2 Matt Swartz (- #1<-#2<-#4) - "That's it? One course in The 'Big Picture', twelve credits?" - Boris, "Creator"

A lot more questions than answers this week, but the questions themselves were interesting. Having a bit of backgroud information would've helped, but you can't ace a test every time you take it. Nowhere near danger, but next week might be very important for you.


#3 Ken Funck (= #3<-#3<-#1) - "And that's what I taught, but a talking snake made a lady eat an apple, so we're screwed." - John Oldman, "The Man From Earth"

I like Ken and I like what he says, but sometimes he gets in the way of what he is saying. Often entertaining, usually unique and quite solid... but as original and fun as The Good Face was, I hope it wasn't his peak.


#4 Brian Cartwright (+ #6<-#4<-#5) - "Most people never take the chance, either because they're too scared, or they don't recognize it when it spits on their shoes." - The Babe, "Sandlot"

We knew he can think and hopefully he quenched those who thought he couldn't write. Now it's time for him to put the two together and bring us up to his level. I look forward to being informed _and_ entertained.


#5 Matthew Knight (= #5<-#8<-#6) - "Functioning 100%. Perfectly ko Derf." - Johnny Five, "Short Circuit 2"

Natthew has some really unique ideas but still stumbles on the execution at times. If he polishes it up so that everything's in working order, he can go far... or flame out in a blaze of glory... Right now there are others in the competition who have great ideas _and_ execute them well.


#6 Tyler Hissey (+ #7<-#10<-#8) - "Then you're not average. People who are average don't mind being average. They don't freak." - Marlon Brown, "How I Got Into College"

Overall he has been very solid in this competition and has included a fair amount of analysis. Time to freak out and choose a topic that no one's looked at before. Just remember that the analysis is supposed to frame and enhance the stats and quotes, not reiterate them.


#7 Brian Oakchunas (- #7<-#5<-#10) - "Welcome to foot...ball!" - Lucy Draper, "Necessary Roughness"

The pack is very tight, so this is more of a reflection that someone has to be #7 than some major flaw on Brian's part. While the topic choice was good and the writing was solid, it could've been treated much more thoroughly. This appears to be another week where more people are talking about what could've been instead of what actually was. I'd suggest writing your article, reading it and asking yourself questions for future research, then rewriting it. Still it was a good effort and he can easily vault back to the topic of the pack.


#8 Brittany Ghiroldi (= #8<-#9<-#9) - "Ok, a simple 'wrong' would've done just fine." - Billy Madison, "Billy Madison"

You were given the benefit of the doubt on The Basics and Fantasy. Below the Big Leagues was your best chance for you to play to your strengths in reporting and writing. Instead, you left us with doubt.



Overall, a lot of very good articles this week and there have been many improvements in the brief time we've read their work. The "pack" has definitely made strides to scratch their way towards (and into?) the top and everyone should be commended for producing quality articles under such stringent deadlines and topic choices.

However, though raw comment counts are not a perfect gauge, Tim and Matt have generated a lot of discussion in the comment sections of their articles over the last few weeks compared to the other finalists. That ability to generate a discussion (and no, not the raw comment count) might become a key indicator in the weeks to come.

Jun 09, 2009 01:26 AM
rating: -1
 
BurrRutledge

Agree with the general list, but one exception. While I like Ken's humor, and appreciate his writing as much as you do, I get the feeling that he's not been running in the top 3 in the voting.

Jun 09, 2009 06:55 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Perhaps that's understandable... I'll admit the list is my own personal ranking and not a guess on who is getting how many votes. Though I really would have no good idea who is #3 in voting.. perhaps Brian Cartwright?

Jun 09, 2009 07:07 AM
rating: 0
 
Tim Kniker

Actually that was one of my questions for you. Were you trying to give a hit list based on your perceptions from comments blended slightly with your own thoughts, or was it strictly your own personal rankings.

Jun 09, 2009 10:10 AM
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Richard Bergstrom

Strictly my own personal rankings, with a heavier weight towards potential/uniqueness/creativity.

If it was just about my perceptions of comments, there might be some shuffling in the middle since. For example, I liked what Matthew Knight tried to do with his initial entry but a lot of people were poking holes at his methodology. I also had Byron ranked highly after his initial entry, and still pretty solid for Week 1...

I had put a line in about that during the first list...

"Time to stir the pot with a...

Idol Hit List! (Pardon the pun)

These reflect my cumulative personal rankings/impressions so far. Numbers in parenthesis indicate what I thought of their initial entries. Feel free to flame away!"

Jun 09, 2009 10:57 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

At this stage in the game, it'd take more than just one "wow" week for someone on the bottom part of the pack to get into the top two or three. Brian Cartwright's close but not quite there, Matthew could possibly do it but he'd have to really nail it next week. Tyler and Brian Oakchunas would need two great weeks.

The problem is that everyone is "good", but it's the "greats" that will win this thing. I like reading Tyler's analysis and he's always been solid, and I've enjoyed reading him but I haven't seen an original topic yet. Oakchunas's had more originality but hasn't had Tyler's depth and sometimes misses me completely. Both are good, neither have been great for me yet.

Jun 09, 2009 11:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

Barring a surprise vote this week, I see three tiers setting up right now, and it's pretty tight from #3 to #5. I have no problem with Ken being ranked #3, as I like Ken's submissions quite a bit, and I'd love for BP to publish his articles whether or not he wins this competition.

Nevertheless, I'd guess that he's coming in at #5 in the voting this week, behind both Brian C. and Matthew. If Tyler and Brian O. can take it to another level next week, Ken could be in danger of getting voted off.

Jun 09, 2009 20:40 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

I can agree with that analysis, especially with the #3-#5 getting tighter. In the end, it probably will come down to who appeals to the most people's personal taste. Either way, as I and others said at the beginning of the competition, you could make a real good website with all the finalists.

Jun 09, 2009 21:05 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Btw Dave, thanks for the updates regarding our feedback to the Idol system/engine. BP provides great customer service as always :)

Jun 09, 2009 19:24 PM
rating: 1
 
BurrRutledge

couldn't agree more.

Jun 09, 2009 20:33 PM
rating: 0
 
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Premium Article On the Beat: Sunday Su... (06/07)
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Prospectus Idol: Round... (05/31)
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The Week in Quotes: Ju... (06/08)

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