Fearless "Baseball Prospectus" predictions for 2006
February 28: "Baseball Prospectus 2006" hits the bookshelves. Readers discover that, given the acrimony and distaste surrounding last year’s Congressional steroid hearings, VORP has been redefined as "Value over Rafael Palmeiro.”
March 1: One day after “Baseball Prospectus 2006” hits the shelves, the first review to include the phrase “outrageous, preposterous, self-important analyses” shows up on Amazon.com. On that same day, five days before “Baseball Between the Numbers” even ships, the first review to include the phrase “self-important, outrageous, preposterous analysis” also shows up on Amazon.
March 7: BP headquarters is put on the defensive by religious ultra-conservatives who object to the use of the word "Mass" in BP’s "Hacking Mass" contest. BP responds by renaming the contest “Hocking Maas.”
March 9: During the inaugural World Baseball Classic, Albert Pujols’ chronic foot issues crop up again. Will Carroll receives calls from baseball writers representing many of the WBC countries, most regarding “planter fascination”, “plant our fascists” and other malaprop maladies.
March 14: The Commissioner’s Office contacts BP headquarters, issuing a “cease and desist” on BP’s awarding of a framed picture of Bud Selig as a contest prize. BP responds by changing the prize to an artist’s rendering of Mr. Selig, if he were a single-cell organism.
March 27: Groundskeepers at Shea Stadium find a groundhog camped out in short left
field. They notice that it sees its shadow, which means that it will be six more weeks until Jose Reyes draws a walk.
March 30: More BP contest wackiness, as the 2006 version of "Predicatron" apparently shows readers believing every team will finish 81-81. BP’s MIS/data wranglers, disbelieving any possible notion of total parity throughout the majors, spend 36 consecutive hours trying to figure out the mess.
April 1: During the Cubs final Spring Training game, Jacque Jones and Juan Pierre collide in the outfield. After the game, Dusty Baker mentions to the press of his interest in signing Rickey Henderson as a replacement.
April 2: Will Carroll is stumped as to what color might be redder than red, to be used for Henderson on the Cubs’ “Team Health Report”. He finally settles on a shade he names after a famous Bugs Bunny catchphrase, “What-a-Maroon.”
April 3: The Reds home opener. Their lineup includes Tony Womack. Watching this on ESPN, Joe Sheehan suffers a sprained elbow ligament throwing the remote at the sight of Jerry Narron holding the lineup card at home plate.
April 27: The Royals’ Mark Grudzielanek and Doug Mientkiewicz go deep on consecutive pitches, sending BP analysts scurrying off to analyze the relationship of VORP to last name length. All references to Ott (both Mel and Ed) mysteriously disappear from the BP website.
May 12: Initial sales figures for “Baseball Between the Numbers” are so good that BP starts to brainstorm ideas for the sequel, “Baseball Between the Spreadsheets.”
May 24: Derek Jeter slips on some hair clippings while waiting for Johnny Damon to finish getting his haircut in a posh New York salon, and ruptures his right Achilles. Alex Rodriguez takes over at shortstop.
June 16: With A-Rod at short, the Yankees’ “Defensive Efficiency” zooms to the best in the American League within 3 weeks.
June 23: BP announces an alliance with cartoonist Scott Adams. Adams will produce a new comic strip for the BP site, called “Hilbert.” It will detail the life of a sabermetrician at a major baseball website, along with his nemesis “Statbert.” James Click and Keith Woolner will have their likenesses presented in the strip.
July 10: During the All-Star Break, the Mets, Red Sox, Rangers and Braves complete a record 14-player deal involving Manny Ramirez and roughly $60 million. Christina Kahrl spends the next five days trying to analyze the deal from all the angles, and then ends up in Georgetown University Hospital for exhaustion and carpal tunnel surgery.
July 30: In Cooperstown, BP’s Jay Jaffe, holding a sign that reads “Bruce who? Gossage has a better WXRL!” gets arrested for trying to disrupt the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
August 19: BP offers a one-day, 6-hour course on sabermetrics at Xavier University, entitled “WARP in Cincinnati.” BP invites Loni Anderson to sign copies of “BP 2006” at the seminar, but she politely declines. BP settles for a much different Anderson (2005 Spring Training NRI Anderson Machado).
August 30: BP announces the introduction of its own line of licensed apparel. There will be t-shirts, hats and jackets emblazoned with the BP logo. Within a week, e-mail from BP’s female readers (all six of them) leads to the addition of a BP-embossed thong.
September 22: The Cubs are officially eliminated from playoff contention. Will Carroll begins sitting Shiv’ah.
September 25: Dusty Baker is fired, and Carroll decides to end his period of mourning.
September 26: The Yankees are officially eliminated from post-season contention for the first time since 1994. Steven Goldman begins his observance of Shiv’ah.
October 2: On the eve of the playoffs, Nate Silver holds an on-line chat. Three hours into the chat, he starts to field questions on topics other than baseball, including cooking, stock options and global warming. He specifically ends the chat four hours and six minutes after it begins. When asked about it later, Nate responds that he did it to honor Ted Williams.
October 27: The 2006 baseball season ends, as the upstart Detroit Tigers sweep the equally surprising Milwaukee Brewers in a series watched by practically no one. E-mails to BP customer service get an auto-reply mentioning the staff’s “need to decompress for a while after the long season.”
October 28: Work begins on “Baseball Prospectus 2007.”
Now dear readers, visit Baseball Prospectus at the link provided down the left column, and find out how much you don’t know about the game.