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Jim Baker 

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03-29

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1

The BP Wayback Machine: Opening Day Goodbyes
by
Jim Baker

02-21

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2

The BP Wayback Machine: Your Guide to Spring Training
by
Jim Baker

07-21

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The BP Wayback Machine: The Dos and Don'ts of Trade Rumor Mongering
by
Jim Baker

06-02

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4

The BP Wayback Machine: Baseball's Exciting Plays
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Jim Baker

08-01

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Prospectus Matchups: The Knee-Jerk All-Stars Revisited
by
Jim Baker

07-25

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Prospectus Matchups: I'll Get 'Em Next Time
by
Jim Baker

07-18

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Prospectus Matchups: Braking and Breaking at the Break
by
Jim Baker

07-11

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Prospectus Matchups: Exiting Stage Left
by
Jim Baker

06-27

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Prospectus Matchups: Learning to Cheer Correctly
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Jim Baker

06-20

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Prospectus Matchups: Late Standing Starts
by
Jim Baker

06-13

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Prospectus Matchups: The American League Rumsfeld Numbers
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Jim Baker

06-10

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Prospectus Matchups: Four In a Row
by
Jim Baker

06-06

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Prospectus Matchups: Hall Jones
by
Jim Baker

05-30

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Prospectus Matchups: Sacrificial Lions
by
Jim Baker

05-16

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Prospectus Matchups: The 2008 Baseball Psychological Workout
by
Jim Baker

05-09

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Prospectus Matchups: Outlier Outpost
by
Jim Baker

05-02

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Prospectus Matchups: Fun with Playoff Odds
by
Jim Baker

04-25

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Prospectus Matchups: Here's What I Think
by
Jim Baker

04-18

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Prospectus Matchups: The Multi-Stretch
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Jim Baker

04-11

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Prospectus Matchups: The Second Annual Knee-Jerk All Stars
by
Jim Baker

04-04

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Prospectus Matchups: Early-Season Miscellany
by
Jim Baker

03-28

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Prospectus Matchups: Opening Day Goodbyes
by
Jim Baker

03-21

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Prospectus Matchups: The One-Man Affair
by
Jim Baker

03-14

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Prospectus Matchups: The 2008 Prospectus Matchups Contest
by
Jim Baker

03-07

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Prospectus Matchups: Stocks, Cactus, Grapefruit & Jones
by
Jim Baker

02-29

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Prospectus Matchups: The 2008 Transient All-Star Team
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Jim Baker

02-22

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Prospectus Matchups: The Best of the Newest, 2008 edition
by
Jim Baker

02-15

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Prospectus Matchups: The Dawn of the Rays
by
Jim Baker

02-08

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Prospectus Matchups: The All-Time Matchup Record Book
by
Jim Baker

02-01

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Prospectus Matchups: Putting Cys in Motion
by
Jim Baker

01-25

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Prospectus Matchups: Baseball on the Bookshelf
by
Jim Baker

01-18

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Prospectus Matchups: The Random Baedeker
by
Jim Baker

01-11

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Prospectus Matchups: Here's a Thought: Stop Thinking
by
Jim Baker

01-04

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Prospectus Matchups: Dead Horses and Fifth Starters
by
Jim Baker

12-28

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Prospectus Matchups: The Worst Seasons On Record
by
Jim Baker

12-21

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Prospectus Matchups: The Mismatches
by
Jim Baker

12-14

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Prospectus Matchups: Inside the Mitchell Report
by
Jim Baker

12-07

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Prospectus Matchups: Topic Hopping
by
Jim Baker

11-30

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Prospectus Matchups: The Freshmen
by
Jim Baker

11-16

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Prospectus Matchups: Rookie Spoilers
by
Jim Baker

11-09

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Prospectus Matchups: A First for the Ages
by
Jim Baker

11-02

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Prospectus Matchups: Offseason's Bidding
by
Jim Baker

10-30

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Prospectus Matchups: Fighting the Impossible Battle
by
Jim Baker

10-26

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Prospectus Matchups: Fight the Powers That Be!
by
Jim Baker

10-23

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Prospectus Matchups: Series Firsts
by
Jim Baker

10-19

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Prospectus Matchups: The (Elimination) Gamers
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Jim Baker

10-16

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Prospectus Matchups: Starting Well is Two-Thirds of Half the Battle
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Jim Baker

10-12

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Prospectus Matchups: Lets Get Loaded and See What Happens
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Jim Baker

10-09

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Prospectus Matchups: Me So Worthy, or Unworthy
by
Jim Baker

10-05

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Prospectus Matchups: Getting Right Back on the Horse
by
Jim Baker

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March 7, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Stocks, Cactus, Grapefruit & Jones

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Jim Baker

Onward, ever onward with the pursuit of random knowledge!

Doesn't "Stocks, Cactus, Grapefruit & Jones" sound like the name of a band that released one semi-well-received album in 1968 and then faded into the vast desert of obscurity? It's not, though; it's just a roundup of the various topics I'll be covering today.

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February 29, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The 2008 Transient All-Star Team

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Jim Baker

The best at every position of those that switched squads prior to this season.

Americans are a transient lot. On average, we move 13 times in a lifetime (note: number exaggerated to enhance premise). Our ballplayers are no different; they are often found switching teams. Because of this, it became necessary for me to create the Transient All-Star Team back in 2005. In order to be eligible for this esteemed body, a player must simply be with a different franchise in 2008 than he was at the conclusion of the 2007 season. In the past, I named a player at each position for each league. This year, I'm doing something a little different: presenting the best candidates at each position, discussing their qualifications, and naming just one player overall. As we shall see, the word "best" is relative at some of the positions, while at others, the field is so crowded it is quite difficult to pick a top contender.

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February 22, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The Best of the Newest, 2008 edition

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Jim Baker

A tradition rolls into its third season, as Jim peeks at the projected VORP leaders among players without big-league experience.

Each year around this time, we take a look at the young players with no major league experience who have the highest PECOTA on a position-by-position basis. Some of these players are ready enough to pop, while others are still a few years away. Others still are non-prospects who just happen to be the most big-league friendly at their position, but who may never even see the majors owing to age and other factors. We're also going to look at how the players discussed in 2006 and 2007 fared. To be eligible for inclusion here, a player must have no major league experience, although I reserve the right to waive that restriction if a particular position runs thin. Even with that, it can be no more than a handful of plate appearances or batters faced.

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February 15, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The Dawn of the Rays

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Jim Baker

Tampa Bay's huge collection of impact talent, in both the minors and the majors, will soon lead to the razing of the club's individual VORP records at each position.

The Atlanta Braves in 1990the Kansas City A's in 1967the New York Mets in 1968these were all teams on the verge of breaking out. Was it known at the time? Were people cognizant that these teams were about to put aside their former losing ways and ascend to a new level? To some extent, yes, it was apparent that pieces were falling into place before the great leap forward came.

<> Can we now, on the brink of this new season, put the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays on that list? Was 2007 the last bit of calm before the Rays storm that is bound to come, or will it be 2008?

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February 8, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The All-Time Matchup Record Book

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Jim Baker

Tallies over time tell us which matchups have that extra bit of history in them.

I've been diligently checking the papers and, for some time now, have not been able to find any major league ballgames scheduled. When one does a column with "Matchups" in the title, this can be problematic. So, in order to stay thematically relevant, I've hit the record books and come up with some of the more extreme matchup results of all time. These records involve extant teams only, and all references to them encompass their entire history, including the time they were in other cities. So, for example, a reference to the Braves includes their time in Boston and Milwaukee.

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February 1, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Putting Cys in Motion

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Jim Baker

This week's Mets-Twins deal has historical precedents, but as Jim demonstrates, they're a bit of a mixed bag.

A two-time Cy Young Award winner traded before the age of 30-where have we seen that before? It's only happened twice prior to this week's Johan Santana trade to the New York Mets by the Minnesota Twins.

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January 25, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Baseball on the Bookshelf

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Jim Baker

The national pastime shows up on the printed page in books devoted to other subjects altogether.

A couple of years back, I devoted a column to randomly selecting baseball books from my collection and commenting on passages found therein. I have about as many non-baseball books as I have baseball books, so today I decided to do something different: I would go to non-baseball books and try to find baseball references in them. This proved to be a lot more difficult than I imagined. In fact, given the time constraint between coming up with the idea and my filing deadline and the fact that I have a finite number of books, I only came across four such references. Here they are:

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January 18, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The Random Baedeker

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Jim Baker

Surfing without leaving your seat can take you down somebody's memory lane.

What was life like before Baseball-Reference-com? Not quite as sweet. Of course, we didn't know any better. We thought the Baseball Encyclopedia was the pinnacle of human achievement. One thing that was cool about it, though, was how well it lent itself to flipping around. Knowledge could be come by in a patternless meander through the pages. B-R has the next-best thing: a random page finder. Click it and you never know what's going to come up. Today, because it's a cold day in January and it's the perfect time of year for this sort of thing, I'm going to use that device and write about whatever or whoever comes up on it. I guarantee you that I will not skip anybody or anything that the finder generates, no matter how obscure they may be. I will slavishly riff on whatever pops up on the screen. Here goes:

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January 11, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Here's a Thought: Stop Thinking

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Jim Baker

Baseball and life: better when you stop thinking about them.

I've decided to give up. Thinking, that is. Especially when it comes to baseball. I've given it a lot of a thought--and I promise you, it's the last I will generate in this direction once I commence the full thinking stoppage--and have decided it's much easier to live without thinking things through. From now on, I'm going to follow the Five Principles of Thought-Free Living:

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January 4, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Dead Horses and Fifth Starters

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Jim Baker

Revisiting the curious mental blocks of Hall of Fame voters, the A's cyclical success cycle, Jimmy Rollins' accumulation skills, and more.

Dead Horses Beaten While-U-Wait

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December 28, 2007 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The Worst Seasons On Record

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Jim Baker

We're not talking the '62 Mets, but are instead unearthing the dregs of the BP WARP3 database.

A year ago, I looked at the best seasons ever for position players according to WARP3. The time has come to swing the pendulum the other way and find the worst seasons ever. Actually, we're not going to include "ever" in this discussion. I'm going to focus mostly on the years since 1961. Also, I'm going to make a plate appearance minimum of 400 requirement so that we only discuss players who were present enough to do some real damage to their own teams.

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December 21, 2007 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The Mismatches

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Jim Baker

In the spirit of this Sunday's potential slaughter at Foxboro, a look at some of the most lopsided late-season meetings between baseball teams.

With the 14-0 New England Patriots hosting the 1-13 Miami Dolphins on Sunday in one of the greatest mismatchups in modern NFL history, I got to wondering about similarly lopsided late-season meetings in our own discipline, baseball. While baseball can never produce the disparity football can (a disparity albeit somewhat reduced from true polarized success after the Dolphins took out the Ravens last week), there have been some very large gaps between opponents. In order to qualify, the games had to take place in the final one-eighth of the season, just like the Miami-New England contest is. As you will see, most of these mismatchups are from the old days when there was often a stunning difference between the very best and very worst teams in each league.

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