It is a gray, cloudy, rainy, dreary day in the suburbs of Chicago. Outside a wall-sized window, the rain falls lightly. Yet, on this most unremarkable of days in my life, there is a new beginning.
Every year, I have a routine which signals to me that a new baseball season has truly begun. Every year, about ten days before opening day, I purchase two books which I consider essential to any baseball fan’s library – the yearly update of the Official Rules of Baseball, and the yearly release of the Baseball Prospectus.
Why do I purchase these things? I buy the rulebook of baseball so that I can keep up to date on the latest rule changes. As a part-time amateur baseball umpire, I always need to have a volume handy anyway for any game I umpire that uses the ORB as its rule set.
But why the Baseball Prospectus? I know there are plenty of publications detailing statistics for the previous year and predictions for the coming year, but I have relied on the BP for my reference since it premiered in 1996. It’s statistical set is easy to approach and understand, and it is a high-end reference for any player who might even sniff action in the coming year. Is it always right in its predictions? No. And even for someone who generally shuns SABR-like manufactured statistics (despite my predilection for numbers and figures), the numbers crunched in the book are, at the very least, marginally useful.
I don’t play fantasy baseball, but I enjoy being able to look up numbers that might be useful to me during the course of a game. That’s why this publication is, in many ways, indispensable to me as a baseball fan.
Now if it only would stop raining…