The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

 

The Madness Continues

Remember me? I used to blog here once in awhile. But it's been a crazy month, the maddest March I've ever experienced. Since we last spoke I've done the following:

• delivered roughly 16,000 words of content for Fantasy Baseball Index's weekly mailings, not to mention two sets of updated depth charts and projections. Clicked on several hundred links to stay on top of about 20 fifth-starter battles and hundreds of hamstring, quad, elbow, shoudler, and back injury prognoses. Yes, after a while, it DOES start to feel like work, not that I'm complaining.

• trekked to Philly for a Barnes and Noble bookstore appearance with Steve Goldman, Christina Kahrl, Cliff Corcoran and Clay Davenport, whom I'd never met before. We got a solid turnout of 25-30 people and spoke for about 90 minutes on a variety of topics, including Barry Bonds, the World Baseball Classic, the Red Sox, the Pirates, the Yankees and of course, the Phillies. Ryan Franklin (my pick for the Eric Milton Award this year), Ryan Howard, Aaron Rowand and Bobby Abreu were particularly hot items, as was the competition in the NL East. Clay provided some nice tech/stat balance to what Steve and Chris call "the liberal arts wing of BP." The rest of us, who shared a car ride from Joisey, reprised arguments we'd had while en route to produce the maximum amount of drama when debating, say, the WBC. We were tight, like some road-tested soul band: "Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the BeePees!"

• caught a drink with Mike Carminati, who just happened to show up outside of B&N when we were contemplating whetting our whistles aabout an hour before showtime. During the bookstore event I had a chance to laud Mike's lamentably long-gone Joe Morgan Chat Day deconstructions when the topic turned to everybody's favorite sabermetric nonbeliever. Fond memories...

• celebrated International Cheesesteak Day at Jim's Steaks on South Street in Philly (mushrooms and Provolone, not Cheez Whiz on mine, thanks). Cliff was the man with the day circled on his calendar, and we are richer for it.

• appeared on a panel -- in fact the largest gathering of Baseball Prospectus authors ever -- at the Yogi Berra Museum at Montclair State University along with Steve, Cliff and fellow BP colleagues Neil deMause, John Erhardt, Jonah Keri, and Nate Silver, plus special guests Will Weiss (Steve's editor at YES), Allen St. John (Wall Street Journal) and Allen Barra. My favorite moment came when I looked over and found that all ten of us were wearing glasses (all we lacked were the slide rules). Even among nine other writers, I got my yaks in, as the audio and video recordings of the event, should they ever be made public, will show (nobody ever called me a wallflower). Great panel, great audience of about 60 people (thank you all for coming out) and a hell of a fun time. Travis Nelson of Boy of Summer turned up and we spent a bit of time talking about how the phrase he coined -- League Average Innings Muncher, or LAIM -- has penetrated BP's lexicon and appears in this year's book. My research assistant (now the new BP intern), Peter Quadrino, showed up as well and had a chance to get aquainted with some of the folks who will torment him in the coming months.

• that appearance at the Yogi was preceded by some rather dubious navigation that caused Nate, Jonah, Derek Jacques and myself to a) miss deMause because we were too busy administering savage sabermetric beatdowns in the New Jersey Transit terminal of Penn Station:
"You didn't set the replacement level high enough, bitch!" (SMACK!)

"Do I need to kick your ass again before you stop reaching for the sacrifice bunt, tough guy?" (POW!)

"And that's for failing to adjust for park effects!" (THUD!)
and b) miss our changeover in Secaucus Junction and wind up on the Newark Airport AirTrain because we were too busy listening (or burying our faces in the newspaper to avoid same) to Nate and Jonah's fantasy draft blow-by-blows. Suffice it to say it's a loooooooong cabride from the airport to the Yogi, but it's even longer if you have to hear about the rationale for another man's draft.

• cranked out a quick Prospectus piece on Jeff Bagwell and a few other recently retired ballplayers in light of their Hall of Fame chances (JAWS). Some of the Sammy Sosa content will be familiar to readers of this space.

• did 15 minutes of radio for WQXI in Atlanta to promote BP 06, answering questions in a lightning-round format, where I was practically being asked the next question before I'd finished my answer. No complaints; the last thing I needed was for somebody on the radio to start asking me what I liked the most about Chipper's swing or something.

• suffered a maddening back spasm during my physical therapy regimen that nearly blew my Fantasy Index deadline. Thank the good Lord for ice packs, ibuprofen, and my Herman Miller chair. Seriously.

• failed to keep an NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket for the first time since the year they had the Final Four in my hometown. That hurts, it really does.

• groaned at the E-6 I scored when I listed B.J Upton (who had 176 at-bats in 2004) as third place on my AL Rookie of the Year staff prediction ballot, when I was thinking Delmon Young. D'oh!

• found space for a little QT with the little cutie who puts up with all of this craziness and even encourages it, my wife Andra.

As tired as I am, it's been a great couple of weeks, and for better or worse, the madness continues for another week as I head towards my last deadline for the FBI (no, not the guys who are tapping your phone). My Baseball Prospectus chat, originally scheduled for Thursday, has been rescheduled for 1 PM on Friday, March 30. I'll be taking calls on Saturday morning (10:30-10:45 AM is my window in the 9-11 AM lineup) as part of a special episode of BP Radio (800-825-5290 is the number). I'm also slated to do a roundtable on BP with a few other writers during Monday night's Yankees-A's game; check back for details. Not coincidentally, the "Opening Day" version of the Prospectus Hit List will be published that same day.

Opening Day! How great do those two words sound? They're music to my ears, and they promise a return to a bit of normalcy around here and in the rest of my life. I can hardly wait.

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