The Great Experiment, Week Four: Beware the Blog-O's-phere's Zombie Statisticians

Our favorite neophyte helps feed the beast with the insatiable appetite

By Aaron Koos

You might remember that I felt goaded into blogging. (“Aaron, are you blogging? Dude, you’ve got to get a blog. Everybody’s blogging.”) Well, I’ve looked into this phenomenon now, and it turns out that it’s not some hip Gen-X activity like snowboarding while slurping Mountain Dew and text messaging your “American Idol” vote. No, blogging just means a lot of writing and meeting persistent deadlines. For free.

For baseball fans, however, blogging is apparently a chance to turn a pastime into a sickness. I realized this as I took a tour of the “Blog-O’s-phere,” as one online O’s fan has cleverly dubbed the collection of sites devoted to the Orioles.

Friends, what I found is bone-chillingly unsettling.

This realm is not populated by gentle fans that want to express their love of a sport and share fond memories of great wins and seasons long since past. No, this is a place inhabited by zombie statisticians who tear each game apart inning-by-inning with pitbull-like tenacity. No player is too obscure to be analyzed. No statistic is too meaningless to track.

Just look at the baseball-related outlets already available to bloggers. In addition to each of the 162 games a year played by 30 major league teams, baseball fans can enjoy: pre-game warm up shows; post-game wrap-ups; all-day sports talk radio; “Baseball Tonight”; ESPN News; ESPN2; “ESPN the Magazine”; “Sports Illustrated”; entire teams of baseball reporters and columnists at hundreds of daily papers throughout the country; local television sports news coverage; team-sponsored Web sites;;; fantasy baseball; fantasy baseball magazines and Web sites; baseball video games on every gaming console; live feeds of games on the Internet; baseball cards and memorabilia; baseball podcasts; stats, scores and video on your mobile phone; Sagarin Ratings and power rankings; at least a couple of baseball-themed movies and best-selling books a year; batting practice; stadium tours; Cooperstown; The World Baseball Classic; spring training; the minor leagues; softball, little league, and tee-ball.

The baseball blogger looks at these options and says: “This is not enough. I need more. I need to know how Corey Patterson hits southpaws under the lights, on the road with one day’s rest.”

Now, I was very impressed by the quality of workmanship and dedication exhibited in the Blog-O’s-phere, but from now on I am not venturing beyond the friendly confines of “Roar from 34.” I may even stop reading the other bloggers on this site.

Roar’s Chris Heun recently chronicled the noteworthy, but still scarily obscure connection between the Orioles and the Rangers Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City. It’s a fascinating, well-written, well-researched piece that even correctly predicted the call-up of reliever Julio Manon mere hours before it was publicly announced. But, as Heun proceeded to connect the dots between the Oklahoma Redhawks and Triple-A Columbus, catcher Ken Huckaby, and Triple-A Ottawa, it left me no choice but to curl up in the fetal position and rock myself gently to and fro. (The same place, no doubt, Leo Mazzone will find himself after a few more weeks of exposure to Orioles pitching.)

The Blog-O’s-phere is no place for the novice.

From now on I should just pretend that places like Camden Chat, Orioles Hangout, and…shiver… Orioles Think Tank don’t exist. Just as the average weekend duffer can’t compare himself to Tiger Woods, I really shouldn’t try to achieve the stratospheric level of fandom exhibited in the baseball blogging world.

The best that I can hope to do is contribute little nuggets of naiveté that real baseball bloggers can mock and tear apart. Like, for instance, pointing out that perhaps neither Melvin Mora nor the Orioles should let a no-trade clause stand in the way of signing a new contract. My rationale? If track record is any indication, a trade involving a player of Mora’s caliber will NEVER happen.

Since 2001, this is who the Orioles have dealt away: Jorge Julio; John Maine; Larry Bigbie; Steve Kline; Nate Spears; Carlos Perez; Jerry Hairston, Jr.; Mike Fontenot; Dave Crouthers; Mike DeJean; Sidney Ponson; John Bale; Willie Harris; and John Wasdin.

None of these players even deserve to shine Mora’s Silver Slugger award. You can talk about upside all day long, but these are the type of players dealt by the Warehouse. The Orioles don’t trade away talent. They let it walk away in free agency. Mora should feel secure in signing on the dotted line. And if either Millar or Conine become Cubs, as is the most recent rumor, well, that just proves my point. Mora doesn’t need to worry.

With the O’s posting a 2-4 record since my last blog, my CAP rating—the ultra-scientific system with the uber-clever acronym that rates my fan activity in the categories of Current knowledge, Ardor, and Participation—tanked, not surprisingly:

Current knowledge: .140 (became aware that Tejada is smoking hot, but who is this Williams guy?)

Ardor: .197 (Touring the BlogO’sphere tour actually discouraged me as a fan)

Participation: .127 (definitely caught the recaps, but not the actual games)

From here on out, I can only hope to continue to meet these blog deadlines until baseball folds and the blogging stat zombies take to the streets in search of a new life source.

About Matthew Taylor

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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