NEW YORK, NY – What the hell is BAPIP? Or VORP? Who can tell me what UZR or Defensive WARP might be? How ‘bout PECOTA or CERA? My best guesses on the last two involved my invoking the name of “Bill” Pecota, an erstwhile journeyman utility player-of whom former GM Al Harazin once famously remarked, “Met fans are going to fall in love with Bill Pecota.” (Still waiting on that one). And Cera? Best I could come up with was Michael Cera, the nerdy kid who knocked up Juno, and more recently was “seen” in This is the End.
These are terms found in the glossary of the Society for American Baseball Research. A “society” – really? There is a glossary for the SABR freaks. There is also a “God” of SABR and his name is Bill James. Until the Red Sox hired a 12-yearold named Theo Epstein to be their GM back in 2002, Bill James was a Records Room Administrator (I’ll have the Beatles White Album and Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia) who would produce monthly newsletters for other socially inept guys who couldn’t play baseball or make eye contact or be in the same room as a woman without wetting themselves.
There are conventions and rallies for SABR devotees. Even support groups who talk members down when unthinkable and unspeakable things happen – like Miguel Cabrera winning the MVP over Mike Trout – who apparently trounced Miggy in Defensive WARP. All Miggy did was win the TRIPLE CROWN! I tried explaining to a SABR freak that hitting a baseball was the single most difficult thing to do in all of sports. He debunked my theory by giving me calculations on everything from the size of a bat’s barrel to the diameter of Doug “Eye Chart” Gwosdz’s head… I vomited on his shoes.
So what is the profile of the typical SABR follower? Well, there are distinctions that first need to be drawn. The Original SABR (OS) lives in his mom’s basement, studied differential equations in engineering school and would still be picked last in 4th grade stoop ball. But there is a certain difference between OS and the new wave of SABR freaks. The OS are committed to their theories and numbers and don’t much what society thinks of them. They’re content to eat mom’s mac & cheese downstairs and crunch numbers until they fall asleep to Babylon5.
The more revolting SABR followers fit a much different profile. In fact they’re not really SABR followers at all. More like SABR douche bags, and the profile of these folks is distinctly different. They caught Baseball Fever around one of two seminal (for them) events; both within the last 9 years. The 2004 Red Sox Championship or the 2010 release of Moneyball. The SABR Douche (SD) started paying attention to baseball in either ’04 or ’10 and is now an absolute authority on the game and all that surrounds it.
They live in Brooklyn. Somewhere between the late ’80s when I was recently out of college and the turn of the century (this one), Brooklyn became a far different place. My Brooklyn of Tawanna Brawley and Meade Esposito gave way to a sophisticated influx of immigrants from far-flung places like Boston, San Francisco, and Ann Arbor, who were convinced that part of being a hipster douche bag meant adopting some of the leisure activities and interests of the locals.
They moved to once disenfranchised sections of the Borough that they believed somehow belonged to them – admiring architecture and “cityscapes” as they rode their bikes and picked up fair-trade coffee they learned to enjoy while spending $68,000 a year at Bennington on daddy’s dime. They have job titles like “Manager of People Resources” or “Creative Enablement Assistant.” They rarely attend games, preferring instead to watch SportsCenter highlights for 9 minutes.
You can spot the SABR Douche rather easily. Ask him what Cano did last night and he’ll tell you he had 2 hits and 3 RBI. Not 3 RBIs or Ribbies or Riblets or Rib Eye Steaks (Keith) RBI-as in singular. “He has 84 RBI on the year!” That’s a SABR Douche.
With the All-Star Game rapidly approaching, I call on all of my fellow hardcore baseball fans to boycott the sham that is a Wilpon-hosted event. For 4 years, the Wilpons have given the middle finger to New Yorkers, to Met fans, to people everywhere with a modicum of decency. Bud Selig continues to enable the Wilpon farce to continue and the sight of him standing with Fred and Jeffy should make all of us sick. Boycott the game. Come out to Citi-talk to an out of town reporter and let them know how Fred Wilpon has raped this city and this game for the past 4 years.
And one last note, as I heard of David Wright’s selection for his HR Derby team, I was puzzled by the choice to include 2 members of the Colorado Rockies. However, given that the Rockies are to real hitters what noveau Brooklynites are to real New Yorkers, I was pleased. Let’s see how Cargo does at sea level – In a Big Boy ballpark. Enjoy!
Angry Ward, tomorrow.