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Excerpts from “The Complete History of SABRland”
Posted By Eric Augenbraun On August 2, 2011 @ 1:30 pm In Big Idea | 8 Comments
…and in February of 2020, delegates to the provisional government of the SABRland Autonomous Region voted unanimously to establish an independent nation. By opening day, a full constitution had been drafted to delineate new borders, institute a permanent system of government, and lay out clearly the foundational principles of the fledgling country. The most notable principle was of course the 3-to-1 Law, which required every citizen to spend a total of one week every month doing whatever work was deemed necessary by local labor councils and the remaining three weeks watching, thinking about, discussing, and writing about baseball (and doing whatever else made them happy, within reason).
In the new capital city of Jamestown — named for the revered sabermetric forefather, Bill James — the constitution was ratified as the season’s first pitch was thrown. And thus the Republic of SABRland was born without so much as a drop of blood being spilled.
The early days of the Republic of SABRland remain a shining example of this experiment’s great potential. Stat nerds from around the country, persecuted for decades, sought and found refuge within its borders–the only qualification for citizenship being the acceptance of the 3-to-1 Law. In the first months of its nationhood, SABRland saw an influx of hundreds of thousands beleaguered nerds desperate for a homeland. The result were promising. No longer needing to justify their love for spreadsheets or their basement-dwelling ways to bigots and with many more hours of free time at their disposal, the nerds flourished and SABRland witnessed an unprecedented flowering of advanced metrics. Never before (and not since) had our species’ understanding of the game of baseball been so deep. Some would even invoke the word “utopia”…
…internal fissures from the days before independence started to reemerge. Heated internal disagreements concerning the always contentious issue of ERA estimators were tabled in the interest of unity as the possibility of nationhood became more tangible. But the tensions could not be ignored forever. A series of increasingly acrimonious debates between elected representatives in the halls of the SABR Congress in Jamestown about which ERA estimator would be adopted as the official ERA estimator of the state prompted the formation of factions — the pro-SIERA Fangraphs Party on one side and the anti-SIERA, pro-FIP Baseball Prospectus Party on the other. Moreover, as resources were proving to be scarce and men outnumbered women in SABRland seven to one, a large population of disgruntled — but impressionable — nerds was available to be manipulated for destructive purposes. The appearance of paramilitary organizations loosely affiliated with each party were portents of a violent turn looming on the horizon.
…the two year long war had left thousands dead and reduced the once beautiful city of Jamestown to a smoldering rubble. The worst of the fighting was over, and a young nation weary of war and the devastation it had wrought struggled to regroup. Still, sporadic clashes between guerilla units in the mountains dragged on for months. Attempts to rebuild after the war ultimately proved fruitless. The scorched earth policy employed by both sides rendered much of SABRland uninhabitable, leaving many survivors with no choice but to return, dejected, to their old homes in the United States. In a cruel irony, perhaps, they returned to a world of fans just as hostile to their concerns as their “enemies” in the Great ERA Estimator War had been.
Whereas they had flocked to SABRland hopeful for a harmonious future in a country that respected and nurtured their curiosities (and for a brief while they had just that), they now left SABRland with only the vague memory of something that could have been great — blurred by years of bitter fighting — as if it had been a dream.
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