I have definitely attended SABR meetings before — and even made the acquaintance of a certain National Baseball Editor at one such event — but, owing to a lethal cocktail of poverty and sloth, have never found myself making the commitment to join this most peculiar of fraternities until just recently.
While I’ll share my own experiences with the Society momentarily, here are the official benefits of membership per the SABR website:
• SABR publications, including Baseball Research Journal, The National Pastime, and the SABR Bulletin
• An online membership directory to help you find other members with your interests
• Eligibility to participate in SABR research committees
• SABR lending library
• Eligibility to participate in SABR-L, called by some the “most intelligent general baseball list on the web
• Access SABR Research Exchange
• Access to SABR’s online encyclopedia
• Member discount on annual convention registration
• Regional chapter meetings
• The fun of being part of an international community of baseball fans of all types
As I’m sure is not particularly shocking, some of these things will be more relevant/interesting to one’s experience of the game than others.
What I can say is that, in my week or so of membership, I’ve already used the directory to good effect, having contacted — and been replied to almost immediately — by the co-chairs of the Scouts committee, James Sandoval (who also works as a scout for the Twins) and Rod Nelson. Those connections have already proved quite valuable.
As Justin Bopp of Beyond the Boxscore noted quite recently, the SABR experience is certainly not one saturated in advanced statistics — quite to the contrary, in fact, as most of the presentations I’ve observed have concerned the history of the game more than anything else.
One issue with membership, certainly, is the cost. It’s $65.00 annually for American adults and $45.00 for seniors and people under 30 (a benefit of which I’m no longer qualified to take advantage), which might be expensive for those with only a casual interest in the sport. Whether as a result of the cost or not, meetings are mostly populated by a slightly older crowd — say, 45 and above. I’ll add immediately, however, that I was always treated warmly, and perhaps even benefited from my relative youth.
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