Tops among the things about which I spend a lot of time thinking: baseball, and ways that I suck as a human being.
I probably “know” more about baseball than almost every person that I encounter on a daily basis. (Not a lot of hardcore sports fans coming through the doors of Woodland Pattern Book Center, and my housemates are mostly hipsters.) For seconds at a time, even, that thought embues me with a sense of uniqueness — and uniqueness is justification for existence, isn’t it?
However, each day I also partake of the Realm of the Intertrodes (aka Interbert J. Internets), where I have another kind of life that’s filled with dozens of people who know all sorts of things about baseball, where there are entities like FanGraphs, or Joe Blog.
During my e-time, then, I remember that I don’t know shit about baseball. (And yet, I write for this awesome site.) I’ve been having this feeling for a long time. Consider this blogpost I made over three years ago, when writing for a site like this wasn’t even a glimmer in my eye. In the post, I admire one of Carson’s FanGraph posts about Mark Bellhorn. Over two years later, Carson saw enough in me to allow me to post here. Though I’ve thoroughly relished the opportunity, some days I am filled with dread at the idea of having to post something here, where many of the readers (it’s apparent through comments) are just as fit or much fitter for this task.
Today is one such day. And in my dread, for some reason, I googled “who knows the most about baseball”, and what I found was underwhelming, as you can see in the image above.
If we’re really trying to answer this question, we could go about it in different ways — narrow it down. Like, we could ask, Who’s the best at baseball trivia? That question is best answered, perhaps, at the yearly SABR conference. Currently, Mike Caragliano owns that title, though according to this New York Times article, a man named Al Blumkin dominated for years.
But I’ve never been especially interested in trivia like this, even if I am a fan of memorizing players’ career numbers. Personally, I’d want to start looking at baseball writers to determine “who knows most.” In that case, we could look at the list of recent J. G. Taylor Spink Award winners, which the BBWAA awards to a member every year. But that’s pretty underwhelming, too — I think it focuses more on the journalistic, and less on the analytical or logical elements.
As of right now, there’s no Bill James Award for Baseball Analysis and Kick-Ass Writing — what would undoubtedly be the ultimate measure of balance between challenging, insightful analysis and literary chops. Without something like that, where do we start? We start right here at FanGraphs, or at any number of similar sites, or even somewhere much more longevity like Baseball America. Arguments abound in favor of various writers, I’m sure.
And I’m interested in hearing those arguments.
So, if you’ve made it this far in this hellish, narcissistic post, reward yourself by unloading your argument in the comments. Help me abolish my ignorance and grow my self-loathing by telling me: Who do you think best combines readability with truly insightful analysis of the contemporary game of baseball?
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