Round Five of Prospectus Idol was a bit of a departure. Rather than giving our contestants a specific topic, we had them cast their gaze upon the history of baseball and write about a topic of their choosing. Selected comments from our judges:
“Informative and an interesting starting point, the sort of essay that invites further work.” — Christina Kahrl, on Brian Cartwright
“Points for concept for sure, but the execution just kind of failed me.” — Kevin Goldstein, on Matt Swartz
“I really like how easily Brian broke down some really heavy statistical concepts into chunks.” — Will Carroll, on Brian Oakchunas
“Choosing to use Win Shares is a problem, not because the utility of Win Shares is debatable, but because Tim felt obligated to spend over 400 words of what was supposed to be a 2000-word piece defending that choice.” — Steven Goldman, on Tim Kniker
“Very few (and probably zero BP readers) think W-L records are indicative of anything, so why do the research to prove it?” — Goldstein, on Matthew Knight
“This seems really, really long and again, I think it’s the structure. Going decade by decade really lost me.” — Carroll, on Ken Funck
Overall, our judges left the impression that this was a disappointing week given the control the contestants had over the direction of their pieces, and there were a few commenters that echoed that sentiment. According to our voters, though, the weak link in the History Week chain was clear, and Matthew Knight leaves the competition this week. Matthew, it’s been a pleasure, and we hope we haven’t seen the last of your writing.