Towards a Saber-Friendly Game Report

Note: This article is hella interactive. If you have a sec, please do answer the questions at the bottom.

Though it seems hard to imagine, reports suggest that actual, real-live baseball games will commence this Sunday. Starting that day and proceeding through September — with only a brief, kinda lame interlude in July — there will be games every frigging day.

One project that I’d like to undertake this season — very likely in conjunction with other members of Team FanGraphs — is the provision of a semi-regular, nerd-approved game report that is both (a) satisfying to a readership more or less comfortable with the metrics we host here at the site and (b) entertaining to such a degree that, were one to have already seen the game in question, the report would still be worth a damn.

What might constitute the ideal game report is something I’ve considered a little bit. I’ll get to that in a second.

First, let’s consider the flaws of the traditional game report. I’m quoting myself when I say that

As of now, mostly what’s available is the pyramid style of game recap, such as the AP and other news outlets provide, which is a document composed in such a way as to (1) create a more or less fictional narrative for a baseball game, (2) give undue emphasis to emotional factors and less to a combination of skill and chance, (3) become continually less important (and less interesting) as it grows in length and (4) create the impression that baseball is the most boring thing that has ever happened to the world (including the supposedly fun Playmobil-brand toys I was given occasionally as a child).

We don’t have to go very far to find an example of game recaps behaving badly. In fact, if one were to just — I don’t know — look at the very first game listed at Yahoo!’s MLB page yesterday, that’d probably be good enough. Were one to do that, one would find a recap of the Boston/Baltimore game written by David Ginsburg of the Associated Press that begins like so:

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP)—The Boston Red Sox have had enough of spring training.

They figure that if Victor Martinez is going to hit two homers and drive in six runs, and if Jon Lester is going to throw seven innings of three-hit ball, it might as well happen in a regular-season game.

With Boston’s powerful battery leading the way, the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-6 Wednesday.

Let’s be clear: this is by no means the worst case scenario of the genre. There’s no discussion of a player willing his team to victory by means of sheer Want To. And, at the very least, Ginsburg makes an attempt at playfulness, which, as a sentient being, is something I appreciate.

Even so, the narrative is strained and rests on a premise (i.e. the Red Sox should “save up” runs) that is both tired and impossible. Having played baseball even once, I recognize that a batter is not able to defer his home runs to such a base/out/score state as when it might have greater impact.

I will happily concede that, when content must be produced, then the quality of that content will suffer predictably. Nor do I intend to suggest that David Ginsburg is a bad writer or anything less than an A1 Guy. But the odds are stacked against him from the beginning. For, when the author must repeat, in prose, events that are just as easily apprehended by reading a play log — and when said author must then shoehorn those events into something like a “story” — the project is doomed from the start.

The advantage of writing for FanGraphs is that we’re constrained by nothing except the ominous presence of Dark Overlord David Appelman. Provided we don’t incur his wrath deliberately, he’s pretty flexible on what content we choose to provide. Also fortunate is that our readership is generally sharp and unafraid of change. As such, we authors needn’t adhere to outdated forms. If a game is booooooring, there’s no need on the part of any author here to pretend differently. If a game really knocks our black, over-the-calf work socks off, that’s totally legit. Finally, if the author wants to shout to the world that Colby Lewis is the Cy Young of his heart, he can do that, too.

So what might make for an ideal game report? I’m not positive I know, but I’m willing to learn. Here are some qualities that seem important:

1. Quantitative Analysis
Instead of saying “Victor Martinez helped his team a whole bunch,” we’re able to say, “Victor Martinez was worth about 15% of a win today.” We can also insert game graphs and (yes!) Pitchf/x info into our reports.

2. Observational Analysis
Last playoffs, during one of the Angel playoff games for which I was going to write a report, Marc Hulet emailed the following:

Not sure if you’re watching the Angels game today or not… but I think Kazmir was tipping his pitches with runners on second base. If you can go back and watch it, his glove is open to the second-base runner when he’s in the stretch… I could clearly see his grip on every pitch. It also looked like both Pedroia and especially Victor Martinez knew what was coming in the third inning. Martinez took two very big rips on fastballs and then tailored his swing for the off-speed pitch that he drove at the wall.

If I were a smarter person, I’d have copied and pasted that email and put it into my recap of the game.

3. An Actual, Human Voice
The game report, as it exists in your morning newspaper, is written so as to appear authorless. In fact, it might someday actually be authorless. But why is that good? I watch baseball games to make my life better. I’d like to read a report by someone who does the same.

__ __ __

So that’s my two cents (or — for the Italian people visiting from the year 1997 — 7,234,398 Lira). Now here are some questions for you guys:

1. What are the necessary components of an ideal game report? What might make a game report eminently readable?

2. Are there people (bloggers, for example) writing game reports of which you already approve? Where on the interweb could an enterprising young man find these?

3. Do you like the idea of a standard game report (i.e. a template used by multiple authors) here at FanGraphs? Or would you prefer for the individual author to use his discretion when reporting on a game?

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

45 Responses to “Towards a Saber-Friendly Game Report”

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  1. Kevin S. says:

    1. Use WPA as a guideline for the key players, indicate how much they added (or not), but then talk about the actual things they did in a more narrative sense (i.e. not “that Mauer home run in the bottom of the ninth added .75 to the Twin’s win probability,” but rather “that Mauer home run in the bottom of the ninth allowed Minnesota to grasp victory from the jaws of defeat” (lame cliches not necessary). Also, mock Joe Morgan, whether he called the game or not.

    2. Pass

    3. Individual voices, please.

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  2. Mike K says:

    1 pass.
    2 I like the recaps at Bronx Banter
    3 “Great is our admiration of the orator who speaks with fluency and discretion.” -Marcus Tullius Cicero … er, I mean, Option B.

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    • Eriz says:

      1. I suggest skipping trying to force WPA into a story. I don’t mind narrative during a recap, especially if something interested, unusual, or exciting happens. Furthermore, while I have a problem with classifying a player as “clutch” (as I’m sure most FG readers agree), I have no problem highlighting a so-called clutch event, such as a walk off home run… because let’s be honest here, we watch baseball for the excitement and there’s no problem pointing out a super timely hit or defensive play. After all, a proper SABR friendly box score tells us what we need to know from a statistical standpoint. Also, remember that a game recap is a time capsule that could bring back memories years down the line. If we use a recap just highlight the statistical importance of the game, or to scout out a player’s at bats or a pitcher’s pitching location, it seems just like every other of the thousands of MLB games that happen every year. Feel free to make the story human, just stay away from the aforementioned cliches. Accompany stories with a fan graph, WPA chart and traditional box score and Allow the author to do a bit of scouting on players.

      2. Many SBN blogs actually do a pretty darn good job

      3. Screw standard templates.

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  3. Mike C says:

    Wait. You didn’t think Playmobil toys were fun?

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  4. Joe Pawlikowski says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    After an afternoon of working around server moves, this brought a bit of joy to my day. Since I agreed with most of what was written in the top section, I’ll cut to the chase.

    1. With DVR, late-night replays, (including the super-awesome condensed games), and highlight segments, we can assume that most people have seen an acceptable amount of the game. There need be no “this happened” narrative.

    As for what is necessary, I think observations regarding key moments in the game are warranted. In your above example, if a Victor Martinez home run added .150 WPA, the author should probably dig into that at-bat, examining pitch sequences, whether the pitcher hit his spot, the pitch-type of the ultimate pitch, what Victor swung at and what happened. Basically, what led to the big result.

    Any type of author observation should fit in here. Even if it was relatively obvious and others noticed it, there’s that feeling of confirmation and of identification with the writer. If others didn’t particularly notice it, then perhaps it can spur discussion.

    2. Not that I can think of particularly, and that includes my own site. We’ve been talking about something along the lines of this for most of the winter, though.

    3. No, I don’t think it needs to be uniform. Everyone sees the game differently to a degree, and I think there’s value in reading how the author observes it. This works even better with a robust comments section.

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  5. MikeS says:

    There has to be some verbiage, it can’t be all numbers.

    Last year I “watched” Mark Buerhle’s perfect game at work on gameday. I knew that Gabe Kapler flew out to center field on a 2-2 pitch to lead off the ninth but I didn’t know any more about that till hours later when I saw the replay.

    Wise’s defensive WPA (if there is such a thing) would be exactly the same as if he caught a routine fly dead in his tracks. I don’t think you can report UZR for a single play and putting a star on it doesn’t really do it justice.

    Granted, those plays don’t happen every game and even when they do they don’t happen in the ninth inning of a perfect game but the reason we watch baseball games between teams we don’t care about is to see plays like that happen and somehow the event must be conveyed in the game recap.

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  6. rotofan says:

    You wrote: “For, when the author must repeat, in prose, events that are just as easily apprehended by reading a play log — and when said author must then shoehorn those events into something like a “story” — the project is doomed from the start.”

    Have you read Don Delillo’s Underworld, or, more specifically, the opening chapter? While I might get a bit of a thrill reading the play log that leads up to Bobby Thomson walk-off home run in 1951, I found it more engaging to see that game through the imagined eye of varied people, from a young black child escaping a neglectful home to J. Egdar Hoover.

    I’m not debating that most game reports are poorly written when, in fact, they are, no more so than in Spring Training. My point is this: While most people who write about baseball in story-form do it badly, I’m no more willing to condemn the use of stories in game reports than I would condemn all food because of the existence of Taco Bell.

    As to what makes an ideal game report, that depends on the reader. Some care most about a team, others about players who form part of their fantasy leagues and still more about managerial decisions. I would suggest examining each game through all three prisms and allow each writer to draw on his strengths, be they narratives, statistical analysis or illustrating key elements through graphs.

    off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds to win the National League pennant at 3:58 p.m. EST on October 3, 1951

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  7. Dan Lewis says:

    Play by play is fine. Add WPA if you want to be sufficiently data friendly.

    Embellish interesting plays as needed, including notes about defensive issues. .

    Link to video as needed, but sparingly.

    I’ve “watched” a completed game this way many times over. It’s fine.

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  8. Michael says:

    I’ll be reading this with interest. I’m trying to improve the saber-friendly game reports on my own site, but after Pitch f/x looks at starting pitchers, it gets a little murky. WPA and leverage will be things I’ll be using more often this year, but I still feel like I’m missing things in these reports. Looking forward to the other suggestions.

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  9. John says:

    I’d love to see some kind of repetition of the dashboard format you folks use with the player pages. Start with a rundown of key statistics, then below perhaps a summation of the most important plays based on run expectancy. A third section could be “notes” of some kind that provide the kind of specific details of random occurrences that make the game what we all know and love, for instance your example of Kazmir above, or “Randall Simon hit a sausage in the face with a bat in the bottom of the 4th”. I believe it’s essential that individual voices are presented in some format or another. It certainly doesn’t need to be a narrative format, as one can find that anywhere, but most of the Fangraphs audience will be looking at the numbers first ,and what comes after that could use some individual discretion.

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  10. RedsManRick says:

    1. What are the necessary components of an ideal game report? What might make a game report eminently readable?

    For me, the written/verbal game report should tell the story of the game. If I want the stats, I’ll look at the box score, or better yet, a leverage index graph like B-R just launched. The key information I want in the game report?
    – who played (SP and major changes to the standard lineups)
    – what happened in the high leverage moments (even if it was a non-event)
    – who won and by what score
    – anything that happened of long term consequence (e.g. injuries)
    – explanations of controversial decisions/occurrences
    – general summary of where each team is in the standings and who each team is playing tomorrow

    2. Are there people (bloggers, for example) writing game reports of which you already approve? Where on the interweb could an enterprising young man find these?

    C Trent Rosencrans has always done a good job. Currently at

    3. Do you like the idea of a standard game report (i.e. a template used by multiple authors) here at FanGraphs? Or would you prefer for the individual author to use his discretion when reporting on a game?

    Love the idea of a standard game report, but don’t think it needs to be a narrative. In fact, I think the narrative is usually just fluff surrounding the interesting facts. On a day to day basis, the game just isn’t dramatic/significant enough to merit a full story telling.

    Provide an expanded line score which incorporates LI paired with a better box score and some basic info as outlined above and I’d be happy.

    That said, I’d love to see a weekly article with a somewhat standardized format (outline) written by a human being who has some creative license that recaps the week and ties the events in to the larger story arcs of the season.

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  11. danny woytek says:

    What about the King/Woytek combo chat style.
    Exemplified here

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  12. philkid3 says:

    Playmobil definitely sucks.

    Why didn’t you have legos?

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  13. Sky Kalkman says:

    2. Why would someone want to read a game recap? I can think of a few reasons, all necessitating different style recaps, and there are probably more:

    – You didn’t see the game and want to catch up. Need more play-by-play, summarizing of important situations, and a status update on where the team stands (injuries, relievers used, streaks, etc.)

    – You just want to share in commiserating/celebrating with other fans. This can be a recap you bond with, or just a tease of a few points motivating discussion in the comments section (ooooh, interaction!)

    – They want to learn something. Maybe one game can serve as a case study for something larger. It’s one piece of a larger puzzle, or it’s an example of a larger point.

    What else? How does the population split between wanting different things? How does it vary by medium?

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    • philkid3 says:

      All three of those are reasons I read recaps, but the second is the biggest. When I’m on a high over my team winning a big game, I want to consume every bit of media that has something to do with it, and game recaps are the first — and perhaps most important — stop.

      The Rangers sweep the Angels to move in to first place? I’m all over that recap because it makes me even more happy about being a Rangers fan.

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  14. pft says:

    I like WPA, but it does not really translate well to actual runs scored and depend on things the player can not control, like the score. This of course is it’s purpose, but I am looking for something to supplement this.

    An example with WPA, is that a walk and reaching 2nd on a pass ball earns WPA, even if it did not actually translate into a run scored, and more WPA for the run not scored is earned if the score is closer than when it was not close at the time, even if at the end of the game the score was close.

    We know R and RBI mean actual runs scored, the scoreboard changes. We also know that BB, base hits, and productive outs may contribute to an actual run scored, even if no RBI or run was scored by those who walked or got a hit, and that the only thing that counted toward a win is if more runs were scored than the other team at the end of the game. Key word, end. The score at the end of the 5th does not count. Theoretical runs do not count either.

    This is not to argue that WPA is not valuable in doing what it is meant to do .

    Whats missing is a stat that allows one to determine a players contribution to runs that ACTUALLY score. WE have R and RBI, but that is not enough. Leading me wonder if it is possible to create a stat like in hockey or basketball called an assist.

    As an example, with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd, a batter walks. The next batter singles and drives the runner in from 2nd. The batter who walked earns an assist. His contribution is not making an out and ending the inning.

    Last example. With 1 out, and a runner on 1B, a batter singles, and the runner goes to 3B. Next play is a SF followed by a HR and then a K. The single earns the batter an assist for moving the runner along and allowing him to score from 3B on the SF, he also gets credit for his run scored on the HR.

    At the end of the day, the game summary, in addition to WPA, LI, etc., can indicate runs scored, RBI and assists. His total points (actual run contribution) would be R+RBI+assists-HR. Thats a counting stat based on observable events requiring no estimation or statistical manipulations and uncertainties.
    Assists are the missing link to non-theoretical run production.

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  15. huskyskins says:

    1. What are the necessary components of an ideal game report? What might make a game report eminently readable?

    What I would be looking for is the who won and why. The stuff you can’t immediately pick out of the graph. Did Bedard shut himself down after the fifth forcing Wakamatsu to tap into an overworked bullpen? Did Gutierrez run down a sure 2-run double in the gap to preserve the 1-run lead in the 8th? If you’re looking to be the one-stop shop for game reports, then this kind of info. required above and beyond a box score, win expectancy graph and leverage index.

    Many times after seeing your game of the week graph, I’d head over to or some other site to get a game report to find out what really happened. I wanted to know what the turning point was when a team with a 90% win expectancy ended up losing. Fill in the blanks, so I wouldn’t have to go somewhere else.

    2. Are there people (bloggers, for example) writing game reports of which you already approve? Where on the interweb could an enterprising young man find these?


    3. Do you like the idea of a standard game report (i.e. a template used by multiple authors) here at FanGraphs? Or would you prefer for the individual author to use his discretion when reporting on a game?

    Both have their positive and negatives. Standards are nice, because you know exactly what you’re getting. Without standards, you could end up wishing the guy covering your team was the guy that was covering some other team. However, that terribly limits the author from possibly writing gems.

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  16. philkid3 says:

    Also, I love it here at FanGraphs, but I never want game reviews to be inhuman. The fun of baseball to me is the stories, even if the prose written is often based in tenuous assumption.

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  17. Norm says:

    1. The observational analysis bit, I feel, is of critical importance, particularly with pitching. The ‘line’ for a pitcher simply doesn’t tell the story in the context of a single game. You can get lucky (very lucky) if you’re only throwing ~100 pitches. How many times does a pitcher serve up a pitch ‘the batter wants back’ and get away with it, stat-wise?

    2. If there’s somebody doing this well already, I’d love to know about it.

    3. I think whichever graphical stat representations should be standard. I’m not knowledgeable enough to make a call as to which graphs (and such) should be included, but I think a good format would be graphs X, Y, and Z every time, followed by the ‘human voice’ part – which would be absolutely at the author’s discretion.

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  18. Gary York says:

    Question one: pass.

    Question two: Jeff Sullivan at Lookout Landing does a recap that generally consists of things that impressed him, things that irritated him, and things he thought were funny. He also throws in things just for the hell of it, like imaginary dialogues. To me this is the perfect recap.

    That leads to question three: individual voices. A standardized format has the advantage of one’s always being able to find what one is particularly interested in, but its disadvantage, and for me it is a huge one, is that everything looks the same and eventually everything becomes equally unmemorable.

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  19. TJ says:

    Individualized reports please!!!!!! If you guys do it that is all I ask for. Well and quality integration of Fangraphs tools such as WPA and Pitchf/x

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  20. keithprime says:

    1. What are the necessary components of an ideal game report? What might make a game report eminently readable?

    As Sky alluded to above, I look at game recaps to find out information that I can’t get from a box score or play by play sheet. I want to know how a pitcher looked on the mound and how his stuff was. Did he have bad luck? Is his stuff consistent from start to start (or appearance to appearance?) How does a hitter look at the plate? Speaking as a Mets fan, I remember watching David Wright in spring training when he returned from the WBC and his swing looked all out of sorts. (Granted this sounds like 20/20 hindsight BS, but I swear it’s true and only fans that watch their team every day can pick up on.) This year? His swing looks more compact and he is taking a more direct path to the ball while using more top hand. Obviously, this sort of analysis would be in depth for a recap, but if the author has observations as to why a player may be struggling, or thriving, they would be welcomed. Also, sometimes a pitcher will throw a great pitch and a hitter will just smack it out of the park. In general, I agree with the person above who thinks a game narrative is still important so long as it is done well and without trying to make every game seem like it was a test of wills. Just explain what happened.

    2. Are there people (bloggers, for example) writing game reports of which you already approve? Where on the interweb could an enterprising young man find these?

    Yes, I think Amazin’ Avenue does a very solid job of giving the reader an idea of what happened if they missed the game. For example:

    3. Do you like the idea of a standard game report (i.e. a template used by multiple authors) here at FanGraphs? Or would you prefer for the individual author to use his discretion when reporting on a game?

    Yes, I like standard game reports. Over at Amazin’ Avenue they pretty much follow this general standard linked to above. Speaking for myself, I would love a site that has identified what information should be gleaned from an MLB game and gives it to me on a daily basis. If there is concern that this would be too constricting, then have a “miscellaneous” section, or something like that. However, I personally believe a game recap’s main purpose is to inform someone about the key happenings/takeaways from a game. In short, I think Sky and RedsManRick pretty much nailed it.

    Oh, it would also be awesome if you could somehow get all the boxscores on one, printable page. This way, when I wake up in the morning, my first visit is to fangraphs to print the boxscores so I can scan them on my commute. Then, I can check out the recaps while having my coffee at my desk or during my lunch hour. Even better would be an email with all of the recaps so I could read it on my smart phone (after checking the box scores, of course.)

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  21. Yakima says:

    Echoing some of the other comments.
    A. Focus on the big events.
    B. Focus on the managerial mistakes.
    C. Focus on the unique.
    D. Focus on the commentators – are they making intelligent points or are they missing the point?
    E. Focus on the mini-dramas that the camera picks up but the announcers miss – I’m surprised at how many there are.
    F. Focus on the umpires mistakes/tendencies.
    G. Focus on all of the interesting stuff about baseball that the beat writers routinely pass up.

    Use humor and a unique voice. Mix stats with journalism. Mock the establishment.

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  22. SF 55 for life says:

    “Nor do I intend to suggest that David Ginsburg is a bad writer or anything less than an A1 Guy.’

    I’m more of a Lea & Perrin’s fan myself.

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  23. Matt Booher says:

    1. Tell me something I can’t get from the box score. And quotes. Need not be from journalist sources. In-game rants on messages boards are typically laugh-out-loud hilarious.

    2. Steve Buffum @ The Cleveland Fan typically has a nice dose of stats and humor in his game reports.

    3. Add more narrative components to the game graphs.

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    • geo says:

      I’ll endorse Steve Buffum too; I’m not even an Indians fan and I make a point of reading him every day. My problem with all of the names/websites suggested, though, is that they are all centered on a single team. For a quick read on all games, I do enjoy Craig Calcaterra, despite the fact that his recaps are too brief.

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  24. Brendan says:

    1. Something interesting… Frankly, incorporating WPA isn’t something that’s going to make me want to read it… If I want the WPA, I can look at the box score. Maybe a little game theory explanation.

    2. Lot of SB nation sites do this pretty well

    3. Absolutely not.

    Since I probably know what happened in the game in question, the report is sort of secondary, and should err on the side of entertaining as opposed to informative. Sure, the game itself should be the topic of discussion, but long tangents can be fun too.

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  25. jetsfansam says:

    1. Honestly, I read Fangraphs every day and am really uninterested in the WPA or Pitchf/x graphs. I would prefer to see game recaps tell me things that I may not have known without watching the game.

    2. Pass

    3. I would prefer the same basic format so I could get the same information out of each recap. But I would then leave room for each individual author to express himself.

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  26. Oscar says:

    Okay, I can’t take it anymore. What is the price for you to stop writing for Fangraphs? I’m not kidding.

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    • geo says:

      If you don’t like Carson, simply skip over his articles. Please don’t speak for the rest of us.

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  27. Chris says:

    #1. I like the idea of posting flaws like your anecdote about Kazmir pitching against Boston. Knowing things like that isn’t just interesting, but it could be important to fantasy owners. Also, the Pitch fx would be awesome!

    #2. Not really, I’ve read most recaps this spring only for the marginal fantasy and ‘gee whiz’ information that might be there. I haven’t read one where the writing made me interested as much as hearing about how my staff ace did in the game.

    #3. The individual author should have his own opinions and views allowed into the reports, but at the same time there needs to be a basic formula involved, preferably one similar enough to the industry standard that it doesn’t look foreign.

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  28. Bort says:

    The plural of “lira” is “lire.”

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  29. Preston says:

    Honestly, there are enough blogs out there (especially with SB nation) that pretty much each team has at least a solid game recap, I’d imagine. Personally, I don’t have the time or energy to read much more than the Dodgers recap, so I trust Craig Calcaterra’s “And That Happened” for an entertaining and quick recap of everything else. If Fangraphs recaps every game, I’ll skip them 95% of the time. However, I would be interested in a single daily recap that highlighted the underappreciated moments of a particular game (which means, I would hope, that the author actually watched the entire game). I am reminded of a scene from Sports Night in which Jeremy puts together an 8 and a half minute highlight reel for a game because he wants to show all the little bits from “the battle” ( – skip ahead to 5:08) – those are the details that I love about the game – the 10 pitch at bat with 2 outs in the 6th that keeps the starter from coming back out in the 7th, etc.

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    • DPF says:

      I can’t believe it took this long for someone to mention Calcaterra’s ATH, easily the most entertaining game recaps on the ol’ series of tubes.

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  30. Matt says:

    To me, box scores, play-by-play, game stats etc. tell 90-95% of the story of that particular game. A narrative recap should contextualize the story of that particular game. It should (a) tie the whole thing up in a short, to-the-point package, probably no more than a paragraph long, and not a Plaschke paragraph, an actual paragraph; and (b) place the game in context of the season, the pennant race, recent events, e.g. “the win moved the White Sox to within three games of first place Minnesota, which lead the Central by eight one month ago today,” and “Jake Peavy struck out nine while pitching into the 7th, and didn’t factor into the decision, but registered his fourth quallity start in a row after a rough July,” and “since acquiring Carl Crawford at the trade deadline and installing a reinvigorated Carlos Quentin as their full-time DH, the Sox have seen the combo produce more offensive Win Shares than the LF/DH slot did from Opening Day to July 31.”

    What generally makes narrative game recaps unreadable is that they either tell you things you already know from watching the game or reading the box score/game stats, or tell you things you know aren’t entirely true after having watched the game or read the box score/game stats, or (in the case of credentialled print media) include player and manager quotes that satisfy editors that the writer has done due diligence but have absolutely no other value whatsoever.

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  31. Ewan says:

    Not sure if it’s been mentioned, but I’d like to see things like whether certain strikeouts or walks were merited or not or whether it was just poor umpiring.

    Say for example the ump calls strike 3 on a hitter when the pitch was clearly 6 inches off, then it’s not really the players fault but in the box score all you see is the K

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  32. matt w says:

    1. pass
    2. I really liked Anne Ursu’s Lego Twins recaps. (I also endorse her young adult trilogy, The Cronos Chronicles.) If I want to know that V-Mart was worth 15% of a win, I can look at the WPA column in the game log. (And I do. This isn’t an anti-stat thing, it’s just that there’s no point in duplicating the game graph and the stat logs.) For more statistically inclined game reports, though not baseball, I like Football Outsiders’ Quick Reads — they give players’ stats and contextualize them, telling you just how good or bad they are in a historical context.
    3. Discretion, please.

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  33. enjoy the site its brill

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  34. Zac says:

    I wonder what a summary that basically just detail the 5 highest WPA situations in the game in chronological order would look like.

    Let me try it. I randomly chose a Brewers game from last year. It came up with July 11, 2009.

    The Milwaukee Brewers pulled out a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers today. St Louis lost to Chicago, which puts the Brewers only two games down in the NL Central race.

    The Crew got things on track early, scoring two runs in the bottom of the 1st. The run was started by the speedy Craig Counsell, who hit a triple to right field. Counsell scored when Ryan Braun reached base on error on the next at bat. And Braun scored when Prince Fielder hit a single to right field.

    The Brewers scored a couple of runs in the bottom of the 4th, and they were looking to run away with things, but that wasn’t meant to be. In the top of the 5th, with starting pitcher Mike Burns facing the top of the order for the 3rd time, Rafael Furcal and Andre Either hit back to back home runs, making the score Brewers 4, Dodgers 3.

    The Dodgers looked to take that momentum into the 6th inning, when, with the tying run on 1st base with one out, catcher Russell Martin hit reliever Seth McClung’s pitch into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the inning.

    The final blow came in the bottom of the 8th, when J.J. Hardy hit a double, scoring Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron, giving the Crew the 6-3 score they’d take into the locker room.

    Player of the game was middle reliever Seth McClung, who pitched two scoreless innings at a time when there was no margin for error.

    (My notes here: since it was a low scoring game, the top 5 WPA plays included nearly all the scoring. Also interesting was that a double play was one of the 5 biggest plays in the game. Obviously I’m biased, but I think it came out pretty well.)

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  35. LibertyBoy says:

    Game recaps (ideally) are dramatic illustrations. You read and imagine, and relive. A boring recap is just a badly told story.

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  36. Jon Vedamuthu says:

    1) Necessity:
    WHY events are key, be that explanation a reference to WAR or an explanation of why/how something happened. As I wrote the previous sentence, the Oriels executed a perfect hit and run vs. the Yankees, the second baseman moving to cover the bag and the ball hit to his left, to the spot he just vacated; two things: the change of game state from a runner on first and x out to runners on first and third and still x out, but also the on the field reason for the second baseman to be covering the bag in the situation…statistics do not exist in vacuums.

    2) Uh, well, since the body of your article eviscerates my 32 years of evaluating game reports, I am left nonplussed. But inserting video of those key elements from 1, above, would surely be awesome…as long as the accompanying audio commentary isn’t mindless chatter (now, those would be tough criteria to meet!).

    3) Absolutely, positively a human voice. In fact, voicelessness is far worse than the pretense that stats have meaning in a narrative vacuum. Preferable is a voice is wry, informative, and earnest. Hmm, guess that’s a tough bill, too.

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  37. mcrawford620 says:

    1. The main thing I miss from any game recap article is video. Even with the commercials, a quick link to a video would be great, because it takes me forever to navigate’s videos.

    2. No idea

    3. I like the idea that any graphs and tables should be standardized, but the rest can be individualized.

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  38. Willingly I accept. In my opinion, it is actual, I will take part in discussion. Together we can come to a right answer. I am assured.

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