Monday, October 05, 2009

The Society for American Baseball Research

I thought I'd take a moment, especially since the regular season has wrapped up and my hands need a break from all the wringing they've endured the last 7-10 days, to talk about the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). You may have noticed the SABR logo in the right-hand margin. It's not there just because I dabble in statistical analysis here. I'm also a member of the organization, and have been since 2005.

I was introduced to SABR by a co-worker of mine, who was also a big baseball fan. My interest in the game predates this blog by a long way, and although I had heard of 'sabermetrics', I hadn't had much exposure to it. Turns out, the local chapter (Ted Williams) has its share of stat heads, but mostly it's made up of people who truly love the game. The Padres don't have the storied history a ball club like the Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, or Cardinals has, but there are lots of baseball fans here, and they know the game and like to talk about the game, even if its not always about the local nine.

Our chapter typically runs two meetings a year, and we get somewhere between 30-50 folks for those meetings. Those meetings aren't limited to just the membership, but more advanced notice is given to members so they can plan their schedules accordingly. For us, they are on a Saturday morning from say 0900-1300. Our meeting locations move throughout the greater San Diego area; we've met in the Hospitality room in Balboa Park, in one of the auxiliary rooms at Petco Park (courtesy of the San Diego Padres), and our most recent meeting was at the Public Library in Carlsbad. The agenda typically includes members who have been published or are working on a book project, whether it be print books (ex: Bill Nowlin, who's written several books on Ted Williams - here's one), or photo journalists (which seems to attract Cubs fans, as we've had a couple of photo montages presented on the Cubs). We've also heard from San Diego Padres front office personnel (including Paul DePodesta, whose remarks I discussed in some detail), as well as former ML players.

At our last meeting, Irv Noren, John Green, and Andy McCue spoke to the chapter. Irv played in 3 World Series (1952, 1953, 1955) for the Yankees, and shared some great stories about those teams. John is a local author working on the SABR bio project, which is an effort to get the personal story of baseball players of years past, so they don't just turn into a page at Baseball Reference. Andy is the current SABR National President, and he gave a very interesting brief on the personalities and events leading up to Major League Baseball's expansion in 1961/62.

Additionally, SABR puts out periodic newsletters, The National Pastime, a collection of articles with a little less statistical bent, and The Baseball Research Journal, an annual that is also the organization's flagship publication. Published since 1972, it contains all sorts of research findings, articles, statistical analysis, and the like - something for virtually every baseball fan's interest.

So as you can probably tell, I've very much enjoyed my time and association with SABR. I've gotten a lot out of it, and it's enhanced my understanding of both the game as it is played today, and the history of the game leading up to the present. It may do the same for you.

Interested in joining? You can find more information about SABR at their official website. I've also bookmarked the membership page on the SABR site, because I'm all about customer service. You join the national organization, but you become a part of your local chapter, and will receive as much or as little information from them as you want.

Hopefully I've piqued your interest. Check SABR out. You'll like what you find.

1 comment:

Janney said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing experience in this sport. Keep up the good work here. May our favorites win! By the way, being a great sports fan is rewarding too! Here's one from Premio Foods, the producer of delicious and quality sausage products in the U.S. They're giving away free buy one get one coupon whenever your favorite team wins. Be a Premio Facebook Fan and check out the details. Thanks and have a great day!