I’ve written a lot about baseball and math during the last (yikes!) 12 years, with nine-plus years of it here at Baseball Prospectus. When you do something for more than a decade, you eventually fall into a rhythm with it. There have always been three parts to my writing process: cool idea, run the numbers, write the article. But even in writing the article, there was an order of things.
As a culture, we begin our stories and articles and blog posts with a title, and there was a part of me that always felt the need to have a snappy one before I started writing the body of the piece. Sometimes, I had 1,500 words ready to spring forth, but would hold them up in service of the first seven.
Then I learned this one weird trick. When I was ready to write, I would open up Word, and type:
Title Goes Here
by Russell A. Carleton
It was enough to where I felt like I could begin my work. Everyone edits and re-writes. Eventually, the snappy title version of the title would come to me and I would simply go back up and swap it in. If something snappy never appeared in my head, I’d ask Christina Kahrl or John Perrotto or Ben Lindbergh or Sam Miller or Aaron Gleeman to make something up.
If you can’t tell by the fact that I’m being all sentimentally reflective and already seem to be thanking people, this is my last “Title Goes Here” for Baseball Prospectus.
I am joining the New York Mets as a (title goes here). Just like one of my articles, they haven’t told me what they’re going to call me yet, but my new job will involve me doing the same sort of #GoryMath that I’ve done in my time here at BP, just with a smaller audience. And a blue and orange hat.
But I have to admit, I want to type it one more time …
Warning! Gory Mathematical Details Ahead!
Over the past decade-plus, I’ve had the chance to live moments the 10-year-old version of myself wouldn’t have believed. I’ve gotten to be a part of a website that has literally changed the game of baseball. I’ve written a book (which you can still buy!), been on television (and got to set foot on an actual MLB field!), and had “friends” whom I respect and admire tap me on the shoulder every now and again to say they liked my work.
In one of the strangest moments of my life, in July 2013, when I was doing a BP ballpark event (with Jason Parks!) at Turner Field in Atlanta, someone actually approached me and asked for my autograph on the 2013 BP Annual that I’d helped to write along with 30 other people.
I’ve gotten to share the BP masthead with a bunch of brilliant people, some of whom will now technically be my adversaries in other MLB front offices. Also, Colin Wyers worked here. I owe a debt of gratitude to my editors (Christina, John, Ben, Sam, and Aaron), to Kevin Goldstein who initially hired me in 2009, and to Eric Seidman who recommended me for the gig.
I’ve gotten to write things that were silly and things that were serious, but the readers of BP have embraced me over the years (or at least read my stuff enough that I didn’t get fired) and for that I am profoundly humbled.
Then there’s my wife, Tanya, who has abided this strange hobby of mine through most of our marriage and listened so many times as I breathlessly told her about the regressions that I ran about baseball.
I write this with a lump in my throat. I often call Baseball Prospectus my “spiritual baseball home.” Eventually, everyone grows up and leaves mom’s basement and I guess this is my time. But readers, if you will, allow me one last, longing look back at a place that has meant the world to me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of it.
Let’s Go Mets!
Thank you for reading
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