Joe Sheehan Gives a Free Peek

Get your mind out of the gutter: not that kind of peek.

Former Baseball Prospecticator Joe Sheehan struck out on his own in late 2009, and in early 2010, he started a email newsletter. What was newsworthy about that decision was that he asked $20 per year from his subscribers at a time when so much great baseball writing on the internet was free. it all stemmed from a twitter conversation he had in response to NBC killing Law & Order and yet keeping The Marriage Ref, with this as the highlight of his opening statement:

Content aggregators are killing content creators, but individuals will recognize and support quality if given that option.

After discussing how lowered barriers to entry – brought on by the internet and anyone’s ability to start a website – has allowed the field to be muddied persay, he adds another important quote:

There are collectives whose business model is built on generating traffic while not paying, or paying an absurdly small amount, for content. They can do this for two reasons: the sheer number of people who want to write for a living, and the conviction that the public won’t be able to tell the difference between what they’re getting and what they could be getting.

Well, there’s a leap there on the second point. It could just be mostly the first point – that there are many quality writers that want to enter the fray, and that the quality is kept fairly high by the sheer number of willing part-timers. Look around at excellent websites like Baseball Analysts and Beyond the Boxscore, and you see great work done for little or no money.

This is not to say I begrudge him his work. Sheehan is an excellent writer. Today he gives us a free sneak peek of the upcoming year of his newsletter, which allows him to write and react as he likes to the news of the moment. In a discussion of steroids, he drops a nice gem that reminds us that good writing is worth paying for:

These are the players we know used. They pissed in a cup and the bell went off. These players are data, and the data is 6’0″, 185 with an 88-mph fastball trying to get to 90. It’s 5’11”, 190 wishing it was six foot tall. It’s not Popeye, it’s Olive Oyl. That doesn’t fit the narrative, so no one writes about it, but this is the face of the needle.

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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

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Thanks, Eno.

God, I hate that screen cap.


I’ve missed Joe…good to see him again. I agree with Joe too, though I am not a subscriber.

Bad Bill
Bad Bill

That sample is vintage Sheehan in its excellent writing, contempt for the more sanctimonious of his sportswriter brethren, and so on, and it bodes well for the service. However, it is also vintage Sheehan in its willingness to sweep some things under the rug that probably shouldn’t be, along with a great deal of stuff where his analysis is right on the mark.

I have a particular beef with this statement:
“Bonds, Palmeiro, Roger Clemens…the faces of the “steroid era” weren’t taking anyone’s job, though they are taking the full force of the media’s self-righteous indignation.”
In terms of the muscling up, etc., Joe is right, as usual. However, it is incorrect to say these three “weren’t taking anyone’s job” unless it can be demonstrated that their DURABILITY was not enhanced by roids — and that is the one area, according to some other sources, where there is reasonable concern that PEDs really do affect performance. A “clean” 42-year-old Bonds or 44-year-old Clemens, so the argument goes, would have been much more likely to spend significant time on the DL, or be unable to perform altogether at that age, than the cream-and-clear-using versions were. Seen in that light, they were definitely “taking the jobs” of whoever would have been on the roster while they were on the DL, or retired earlier than they actually were.

There is abundant room for discussion on the effect of PEDs on player longevity, and I am not sure the evidence for a major effect is convincing. However, enough knowledgeable people (including some who generally pooh-pooh the PED furor) think there is such an effect that I consider Joe to have gone a bit out of bounds with this particular blanket dismissal — which is consistent with the way he wrote at BP and elsewhere.


Great post! I actually recently came across a few similar articles and have been intrigued with this subject very much so. Would love to see more.

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Not long after their plan failed they regrouped & got Carter to start the Community reinvestment act, which would force bad loans. That’s how long they have been plotting this crash, because their quick attempt while Carter was their puppet in power didn’t make it.