For more than twenty years, Baseball Prospectus has offered subscribers baseball analysis, wit, and wisdom on a daily basis. A lot has changed since Gary Huckabay fired up his photocopier and published the 29-team Baseball Prospectus Annual in 1996: OPS is displayed on team jumbotrons (it’s a start), Brad Ausmus’s career WARP went up by 20, and we even redesigned the site once. More importantly, the names and ideas that came out of the wellspring that was early BP have flowed into baseball itself, into analytics and scouting departments. The world of baseball has transformed almost as much as the internet where it was born.
One thing that has not been altered in those twenty years is its crusade to continually develop how we think about the game. Though the masthead of the company has been graced by the likes of Davenport, Sheehan, Kahrl, Keri, Silver, Woolner, Wyers, Goldstein, Parks, Lindbergh, and Miller, the most indelible element to the company is its culture, how we’ve progressed from one era to another, sometimes changing in style or presentation, but always maintaining that same grassroots spirit of its early days. It’s ironic to think, given how many of our alumni are now inside the game (and it is, without a doubt, a source of great pride), but Baseball Prospectus has always been, at its heart, a collection of outsiders: writers and thinkers who examine the sport critically and externally. The stereotype of the blogger who doesn’t watch baseball has never been true, but is clearly evident now: we are people who love baseball, and love thinking about it.
In light of this introduction, it is our pleasure to announce that today marks the newest of the many eras of Baseball Prospectus. A group of the site’s senior staff has purchased Baseball Prospectus, effective immediately. For the first time in a long time, BP will be run by BP again. By the people who have worked to make the site what it is.
Over the coming months, we’ll be making general improvements to the site as we refocus our energies on making BP the best it can be. This is an exciting time for us, as we’ll be rolling out new projects that we’ve been working on for some time (hello, DRC!) and add some polish to make the tools we already provide more intuitive and user-friendly (goodbye, legacy stats pages!). But while we have our own shopping list of improvements, we also want to hear from you, the subscribers and lapsed or prospective subscribers, to hear what you’d like to see us prioritize in the coming months and beyond. For that, we’d like to ask you to take the following survey, and tell us what you want BP to be, in both the short and long term.
Along with everything that has changed in the game of baseball, a lot has changed about the game of baseball writing as well. Baseball Prospectus was one of the early examples of the subscription model of publication, and with sites like The Athletic, the rest of the sportswriting world is slowly coming around to our point of view. Quality baseball writing and analysis depends on an environment where consumers pay for their content, just as it always has. That’s why one of the most visible changes we want to make in the near future is to make it easier to access and enjoy the benefits of your subscription: from improving our glossary to make our statistics more intuitive, to improving the visualization of our statistics, to providing fun, easy-to-use tools to visualize BP’s vast repository of data. We want to make BP not only more valuable, but also easier than ever to use.
The other element of Baseball Prospectus that we have high hopes for is to revitalize the community of public sabermetrics. In the eighties, sabermetric thought was so scarce that reaching out to like-minded fans meant drawing half of a fish in the dirt; in the nineties, and during the early days of BP, it still felt like a secret clubhouse. It’s not the same now—as ESPN2’s broadcast of the NL Wild Card game proved, “advanced” stats are much more mainstream—but that sense of fellowship and participation isn’t only vital for us, it’s part of sports fandom in general. That’s why we want to re-envision the site as a way to get you, the readers, more involved and in touch with what we do. It’s not just lip service about new products, and it’s not just our writers and experts handing down information like a college lecture. It’s about reviving Hacking Mass, and the Internet Baseball Awards, and other participatory events. It’s about reviving the ProGUESTus series and inviting people to write for the site itself when they have good ideas. It’s about recapturing what truly made the sabermetric revolution exciting—not that it changed baseball, because baseball was and is always changing. It was the fun of figuring it out together. It’s also about recognizing that as teams and the leagues continue to bring outside baseball minds into the fold, the public sabermetric community needs to refresh both its personnel and its statistical tools, to ensure that full enjoyment of the intricacies of baseball is not limited to a privileged few.
So get ready for the next Baseball Prospectus, which should feel like the old Baseball Prospectus with a new cutter. We’re fortunate to exist alongside a sport that serves as such a capable metaphor for the next phase of the company, one of cyclical advancement, a shared team name seeing through continuous eras. We think this next era is going to be pretty great. We hope you’ll be there with us for it.
Thank you for reading
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