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Wednesday, March 25, 2009
You saw this coming a mile away, but now it's official:
It was barely a year ago when I launched FiveThirtyEight.com, a political number-crunching website that I expected to receive a few hundred hits a day and occupy perhaps five hours of my time per week. Since then, thanks to a combination of being in the right place at the right time and making a few lucky predictions, the site is accumulating both many degrees of magnitude more traffic than that, and occupying a much larger fraction of my time than I could have ever anticipated. I feel very, very fortunate about all of this; indeed, there have been many moments, such as upon appearing on Stephen Colbert's show, when I felt as though I'd won the nerd lottery. However, as you've undoubtedly noticed, these other opportunities have meant that I've been able to devote less of my time to Baseball Prospectus.
Here's wishing Nate the best as he devotes himself more fully to what is obviously the sexier, better-paying of his two gigs. Of course, since baseball is about a gajillion times more enjoyable than politics, here's hoping that he still finds the time to show up at BP on a regular basis in order to clear the mind, spirit, and soul.
This is interesting:
Arlington police are investigating the discovery of a man's body Tuesday morning near a pond at the Ballpark at Arlington. Few details are available, but the body was found at about 8:30 a.m. by ballpark security officers on the west side of the facility near Randol Mill and Nolan Ryan Expressway.
Did the victim have a fork in his back? If so, has anyone seen Andruw Jones?
Jose Tabata is apparently married to a dingo:
A 2-month-old is back in the arms of her parents and the wife of a top Pittsburgh Pirates minor league prospect is suspected of taking the infant from a health clinic outside Tampa, authorities said Tuesday.
Given that she's 43 and Tabata is 20, this is not the first cradle she robbed.
Artists have been selected to gussy up the area around Target Field:
St. Paul muralist Craig David and Phoenix artist Al Price were selected from among 84 applicants by a Public Art Steering Committee formed by the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA) and project partners Hennepin County and Northstar Commuter Rail, the MBA announced Tuesday . . .
While I'm kind of an art idiot, I've long been a fan of public art projects. Old WPA murals especially, but also the weird sorts of things you find hanging around government buildings from the 60s and 70s. I can only guess that such beasts aren't considered good art -- well, maybe the WPA stuff has its supporters -- but my enjoyment of these works isn't necessarily an aesthetic thing. Rather, it's an appreciation that someone buried in a bureaucracy somewhere, however art-challenged they themselves might have been, thought it right and proper that a public building have some art in it.
I don't suppose Target Field will be getting a large mural setting forth the history of workers in America or some odd, unfortunately-colored geometric monstrosity like I walk past in my 1970s government office building each morning, but as long as it isn't a billboard for Audi or something, I'm cool with it.
Those of you concerned that Curt Schilling's retirement from baseball means that he'll be writing more may take some comfort in the fact that No. 38 has a day job now:
Following the announcement of his retirement from baseball yesterday, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Shilling spoke at the GamesBeat game conference in San Francisco about his next venture, 38 Studios. While he didn't reveal any new details about the massively multiplayer RPG he's been developing, currently code named Copernicus, he did chat a bit about the transition from playing on a sports team to running a game studio.
I had forgotten that Schilling was into RPGs, but now that I read this I recall him talking about that in the past. I spent a little time in my youth playing these things, offline of course. I'm glad that minor obsession ended, though, because I can't think of anything more unpleasant than embarking on a campaign with a group of strangers only to have it become apparent later that one of them was Schilling.
Audi today announced that the brand is now the official luxury vehicle of the New York Yankees. The new relationship also includes the naming of the Audi Yankees Club, an exclusive viewing location and membership restaurant, located on the H&R Block Suite Level in left field. The sponsorship begins with the opening of Yankee Stadium and extends through the 2011 season.
I guess this means all non-Audi luxury cars driven by Yankee players, employees, and fans are now deemed "unofficial" contraband and will thus be confiscated and destroyed.
Will Leitch has an excerpt from Jeff Pearlman's new Roger Clemens book, and it ain't about Roger Clemens:
"There was nothing more obvious than Mike on steroids," says another major league veteran who played against Piazza for years. "Everyone talked about it, everyone knew it. Guys on my team, guys on the Mets. A lot of us came up playing against Mike, so we knew what he looked like back in the day. Frankly, he sucked on the field. Just sucked. After his body changed, he was entirely different. 'Power from nowhere,' we called it."
According to another part of the excerpt, everyone knew it, including many reporters. Which should make the next round of the media's faux outrage and lamentations of lost innocence all the richer.
Beyond that, Piazza recently announced that he's writing his autobiography. When the news of that broke, I opined that there aren't many superstars blander than Piazza, and that guys like him don't really make for riveting reading. One has to wonder now whether the pitch to his publisher involved a promise to be the first megastar -- non-Canseco division -- to come completely clean on PEDs in print.
As you may have seen already, THT's John Brattain has died unexpectedly. I've known John, in that way you know people on the Internet, for seven or eight years, and he's one of the few guys who literally made me laugh out loud. His sense of humor was right up my alley: punny, a little sick, and indefatigable. No matter how dark the subject matter, you could always count on John to crack wise, and I have full confidence that if any of us had died, he'd have some inappropriate yet hilarious comment about it all.
Unfortunately, I don't have half the game John Brattain had, and my funny seems to have escaped me in light of this awful news. As a result, I have no wise cracks at the ready for today's links.
I don't know what happens after we die, but if we retain some existence somewhere, I know John is shaking his head in disappointment, and somehow arranging things so I bend over and split my pants or something later today. I'll accept that. Just know, John, that if that happens and if the THT editors go all Tupac on you and start publishing your unfinished drafts posthumously, I'm going to freaking brutalize them in this space.
Wait, that's no revenge. You'd like that. Crap.
A fantastic, impromptu tribute to and remembrance of John can be found on this BTF thread.