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A (new) beginning

I have been toying with the idea of putting my thoughts out there for a while, and have done so, to some extent, using the many discussion forums and blogs out there. Flexibility, in terms of time, is at a premium, unfortunately, which means that I can only indulge myself in online conversations every so often, and no more. Ideally, I’d like to figure out the best way to lay this blog out, perhaps use a hosting service, and customize it. In this distinctly non-utopian world, let’s start here and figure things out as we go along.

Who am I and why am I here?

Just another fan, a sports-lover, as excited by the adrenaline rush as any of you. By a quirk of fate, my profession required me to learn a fair bit of statistics, and it changed my life. I learnt that statistics and sports can, occasionally, find a happy merger, and two aspects of my life, two extremely important aspects- my profession and my pastime- share a common ground. That common ground led me into explorations that the fan does not usually undertake, although by no means as detailed as a professional team would. I started doing some on my own, as well as following others who did the same. Occasionally, such explorations introduce startling possibilities into the sport. In many ways, that is what I hope this forum will be, one where people can discuss startling possibilities, not wild-eyed figments of imagination, but something that may be rooted in events around us, or pure speculation but reasonable speculation.

So is this going to be a geeky stat-heavy blog?

No. Statistics are for those who enjoy them. There are a lot of people who don’t. I believe in statistics, but I also know they can hide as much as they tell. This will be a blog, but also a discussion forum, one for discussing intelligent ideas. As long as the ideas can be backed up by something, be they stats, be they precedent, I am happy to have them here. If I post something stat-heavy, I will make sure I provide a way to interpret them. I will also link to relevant reading for the interested reader, and I hope any of you who end up here will do the same.

So what are we going to talk about here?

The last thing I want to lay out at the outset is a boundary. This is meant to be a sports blog. My passion, at this point, and for the last 2 years or so, has been baseball. I have learnt a lot from following a few teams, and reading up recommended reading for baseball geeks. Needless to say, at least to start off, this will be a blog about baseball, America’s favorite pastime. I spent the last 2 years following the Pittsburgh Pirates, and am most knowledgable about that team- their predicament, their followers and their system. I am also reading extensively about other teams, their farm systems, the direction they are headed in, etc. As this blog evolves, I hope I will write more about other teams, baseball from a global perspective. We will let things evolve as they will. At this point, there is no reason to constrain anything!

What to expect?

The Pirates are my favorite baseball team. As such, I will post mostly about them. I will try to make the posts discussion type posts rather than lengthy expositions that you can probably read on any of the other excellent Pirate blogs. I encourage speculation on possible moves by teams, and feel free to bring in issues that do not centrally involve the Pirates, as long as there is some relevance to the post at hand. Let’s not have idle speculation however- let’s face it, the Pirates are not going to trade away the farm for a Halladay or Lee.

There seems to be a strong opinion one way or the other about moves made by the present Pirates Front Office. Further, there exists significant tension between the camps of fans who support one the FO and those who do not. We will promote tolerance- if you do not agree with someone, please refute with facts, not by calling names. Let’s have open minds, and follow reason, rather than blindly holding on to a belief that’s not grounded in reality. Having a gut-feeling or instinctive opinion is fine, as long as you are willing to let someone else have their own opinion.

A bit more about me

I was very into writing, at one point of time, and this is good a way as any to simultaneously satisfy my interests in writing and baseball at the same time. Given the demands of my regular work, I will not post everyday, but I will try to bring up relevant goings-on frequently by providing links to other articles, that (in my opinion) could foster productive discussion.

Suggestions welcome

I will be glad to think about, and eventually write about anything that’s interesting to the readers. So feel free to write in with your suggestions. I can be reached via e-mail at john.e.sparrow@gmail.com.

Further, I am aesthetically challenged, and will greatly appreciate feedback on the site layout, other features you’d like to see, and so on.

In conclusion of this already-too-long post…

At the end of the day, I hope we will all be more enlightened, and who knows, perhaps the next great baseball idea will be born here. And before I sign off, here’s hoping the new year and new decade usher in a new era of Pirate baseball! Have a great 2010 everyone!

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