The Baseball Desert

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

A mere amateur

Although the offseason is only a few days old, I'm already beginning to realise my analytical shortcomings. During the regular season and the postseason, there are always 'things' to talk about - games, box-scores, tactics, managerial moves, individual records etc. - but the offseason has none of these things. Instead, the focus is both larger and more intense - check out almost any baseball blog, and you'll see fans dissecting the past season and analysing teams' chances for next year.

I have to say that I never fail to be impressed by this kind of analysis. Of course, it's just individuals' opinions, but the opinions are almost always backed up with a bunch of relevant stats (relevant to the author of the opinions, at least). It's at times like these that I realise that I'm still 'just' a fan of the game, rather than any kind of analyst (even in the most amateur sense of the word). There's a simple reason for this - I think I just haven't been exposed to enough baseball (despite the late nights and the broadcasts and the websites and the weblogs) to have a good, comprehensive picture of how it really all fits together. I can see, for example, that Soriano has a problem with discipline at the plate, but I couldn't for the life of me give an opinion as to whether a possible Soriano-for-Carlos-Beltran trade would be a good move or not. I guess it will come with time and increased exposure to the game (welcome to "YouHaveNoLifeVille"...).

In the meantime, I'm happy to claim my status as an "amateur" (in the true French sense of the word): in English, it is often set in opposition to "professional", with the inherent criticism that occasionally brings, but in French it simply means somebody who loves something (wine, baseball, music, ...). I'll never be Thomas Boswell or Jayson Stark or Peter Gammons, but I'm quite happy plodding along here at The Baseball Desert, doing this 'for love of the game'...