Welcome to ShysterBall

Hi. I’m Craig, and this is ShysterBall.

For those of you who have no idea what this blog is all about, know this: I’m a 35 year-old lawyer from Ohio with a wife and a couple of kids. I’m not a stats guy, but I am a fellow-traveler of sabermetricians and I generally groove to their tunes. Despite that, I am an unapologetic traditionalist who misses Whiteyball , enjoys pitchers’ duels, and desperately wishes the DH would just go away, even if I understand that reasonable people disagree about those sorts of things.

I was born and lived in Michigan until I was 11 at which time I moved to West Virginia for the rest of my upbringing. The net result is that I have a fierce love and devotion to the pre-1985 Detroit Tigers, but thanks to subsequent geographic isolation and WTBS , I have been a Braves fan since Zane Smith broke into the rotation. Not surprisingly, my two favorite players of all time are Greg Maddux and Alan Trammell . Despite all of that, this blog is ecumenical in nature, and I don’t generally root, hate, favor, or complain of biases of any stripe. Smart and enjoyable baseball shall be praised. Dumb and poor baseball shall be mocked. That goes for everyone, Bobby Cox and Sparky Anderson included.

As for subject matter, it’s all fair game. My only rule is to post about stuff that (a) interests me; and (b) inspires in me some sort of an opinion. This often means that I’m not jumping on breaking news with both feet because, let’s face it, there aren’t a hell of a lot of interesting things to say in the 15 minutes after a trade goes down or a manager gets fired, and those few interesting things will be said by smarter people than me before I can get to them. On the other hand, I’ve been known to spew 1500 words about off-Broadway plays, the Israel Baseball League, or the Mitchell Report. The point is that I don’t subscribe to the “hey look at this” theory of blogging, and I try to add some level of editorial value to every post. Sometimes it’s just a lame joke, sometimes a strongly-held opinion, but under no circumstances will this blog ever be just an assemblage of links to AP wire reports and YouTube videos. I’d sooner die than become a cut-rate Deadspin knockoff.

You’ll note that comments are enabled. This is a new thing for The Hardball Times, and I am grateful as all get-out to Dave Studeman and the rest of the THT brass for letting me have them. Comments are an essential part of ShysterBall for one simple reason: I don’t know everything, and I fully expect you to tell me what I don’t know. Indeed, you’ll find that ShysterBall comment threads are often far more interesting than the half-baked post that inspired them, and I encourage everyone to participate. All I ask is that you play nice and, no matter how vehemently you disagree with me or your fellow commenters, be respectful. Personal attacks, racism , homophobia, misogyny, or other similar nastiness will not be tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly and severely. In other words, if you wouldn’t want your mama to hear you say it, don’t say it here.

To those of you who have been reading this blog for a while: thanks for jumping over with me to The Hardball Times. I’m really excited about setting up shop here, and I think you will find that everything you liked about Classic ShysterBall will remain pretty much the same with ShysterBall 2.0. Here are a list of the changes you can expect:

(a) I will no longer be ripping off pictures from other people’s websites. Many of you probably noticed that I have cut way down on that sort of thing recently anyway. Basically, I didn’t feel like getting sued, and the THT folks feel much the same way. The way I see it, there was only one or two posts a month where the picture was essential to the post to begin with, so it’s not that big a loss;

(b) The fonts here will not have serifs. I hadn’t thought about this at all until a friend of mine pointed it out the other day, saying that I “speak in serifs” and that I should lobby THT to give me a nice serifed font as soon as possible. I’ll admit that I still don’t quite get what my friend meant by that, but (1) he’s really smart; and (2) he felt very strongly about the whole serif thing, so maybe it’s important. I’ll leave that for you to decide. In the meantime, if something seems off as we get going here at THT, let’s blame sans-serif fonts.

I think that’s enough meta-content for a while. So without further ado, let’s get on with the baseball.

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  1. The Common Man said...

    Hey Craig, congratulations on the big move and good luck with it.  And thanks for reminding me I need to check out THT every day too.

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    TLA:  My firm insists on Times New-Roman.  I lose a lot of cases, actually, so maybe I should tell them to switch.  I mean, it MUST be the font.

    I have the junior associates doing my Christmas shopping today, so they won’t be able to get to the font thing until at least this evening.

  3. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Zach—I’ve known many of the THT people for many years in that virtual way that people in the online world know one another (i.e. via comments, emails, and hanging around on the same message boards).  Dave Studeman and I have discussed this sort of thing for many months and we’d already been working on my contribution to the 2009 annual, so the “who called who” of it all is rather nebulous.

    Not to be too politicky about it, but I think it’s most accurate to say that the interest was both mutual and simultaneous.

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Thanks Maury.

    I think old ShysterBall is going to stay in suspended animation.  I tried to redirect it over there this evening and I just don’t have the brainpower to do it and none of the quickie online tips for doing it seem to be working.

  5. themarksmith said...

    Hey Craig,

    Good to see that you haven’t become all uppity since you left the Blogger sites into the big realm of THT. smile I had to fix my bookmark just for you. I hope you know I much I care.

  6. matt said...

    I’m not much for change—I still hate the wild card and interleague play even though MLB has had both for just over half of my lifetime—but I’ll try to roll with the punches make this here a daily read.

    So now that Thanksgiving is over and Shysterball has a new home, can we crank up the hot stove league in earnest?  I feel like usually at least one or two big names have signed with new teams by now…

    And although I agree with your wise friend on the fonts, if I can get used to reading your blog at a new web site, I suppose I can try getting used to reading it in a new font.  Congrats and good luck on the move.

  7. Bill Baer said...


    Congrats on the THT gig. I wasn’t a commenter but a daily reader of your blog and I find your addition to THT to be a great venture.

    (Raises up Solo cup of iced tea in front of monitor in mom’s basement)

    Here’s to your continued success.

  8. Daniel said...

    Well, I’m late, but I made it over here.  This is what you get when you don’t ask directions.  Congrats on the move, Craig, and I’ll be seeing you in the comment threads.

  9. Richie said...

    General consensus is that fonts with serifs are better for printed paper, and sans-serif is better for electronic reading.

  10. Chris Kash said...

    Glad to see you here, but now my wife knows I’m reading another baseball blog whereas before at the old site, it didn’t betray (most of) the subject matter.

  11. TLA said...

    Craig: Good to see that you’re up and running.  I was expecting the lack of hijacked pictures, but not the font.  Good luck adjusting to that and good luck with the move in general.

    Incidentally, I’m a fellow barrister and my colleagues and I have wasted many-a-billable-hour debating what font is the “most persuasive”.  Although there are some dissenters, the general agreement is Book Antiqua.  Might I suggest commissioning a few young associates to debate what font is the most “entertaining”, “expressive,” etc.  You pick what you’re shooting for. 

    Sorry about the tangent.  I’ll get back to billing now.

  12. John Henning said...

    congrats again on the move, here’s to a successful transition. maybe you should go for a cabinet of frenemies…

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