Jonah Keri introduces us to the participants in Baseball Prospectus' Celebrity Scoresheet League.
Even the most die-hard Rotisserie player would stop short of calling the game a perfect proxy for the real thing, though. Roto's focus on statistics such as RBI, stolen bases, saves and wins are enough to make any card-carrying stathead scurry for the soothing comfort of his VORP tables. Luckily there are games that do a better job of replicating real-life baseball. Strat-O-Matic incorporates such elements as defense and strategic decisions (taking the extra base, bunting, hit-and-run plays) into its game. Strat does fall short in one element though, as it relies on the previous season's stats to generate the action. "What, Derrek Lee hit another three-run homer? Shocking!"
Scoresheet Baseball, on the other hand, combines realistic game results with current-year statistics. If Eric Chavez goes 11-for-24 in a given week, you get the benefit of that offensive outburst and Chavez's Gold Glove defense during the corresponding week on the Scoresheet schedule. Scoresheet has a few flaws too. It doesn't account for park effects for one, making Rockies hitters and Nationals pitchers appear more valuable than they are in reality. Still, it's a challenging, fun-to-play game that's a departure from traditional rotoball.
Allen Barra has written for numerous publications since the late-1970s, including The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, and currently The New York Times. In 2002, Barra authored Clearing the Bases: The Greatest Baseball Debates of the Last Century, which took a refreshing look at some of baseball's most argued topics. Recently, BP correspondent Alex Belth caught up with Barra to discuss his early days as a writer, the influence of Bill James on his work, and Major League Baseball's marketing department.
Baseball Prospectus: So what team did you root for as a kid?
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Whether or not progress is inevitable is one of those things that
historians, cranks and the Census Bureau spend plenty of time kvetching
about, usually all at the same place and at the same time. If you're
someone who thinks things do get better, here are some reasons to believe
it, and some reasons to doubt it, all courtesy of the AL Central.
Lets start with the Twins, because I'm still chuckling about a couple of
news items involving them. First, my buddy Keith Scherer reports that the
Vegas over/under for the Twins is 64 1/2 wins. Now, I don't want to condone
gambling, because it has become a national problem. But I can't help
wanting to plunk down some money on that. I can't help but think Guido,
while he might be a distant cousin and a gourmand of no small repute, is
taking both Sports Illustrated and CBS Sportsline far too seriously
when they say the Twins will be the worst team in baseball. It's a trendy
pick, but in a world that's giving us the Marlins, the Angels, the Brewers
and the Cubs, none of us should believe it for a second.