Bill James on Reading About Oneself

Bill James [via the aforementioned Tim O'Reilly]: “I tried to skip over the parts about myself [in Moneyball by Michael Lewis]. I established a policy many years ago of trying not to read anything written about myself. Mr. Lewis was very kind to me, and I appreciate his kind words, but ... it is unhealthy to base one's self-image on what other people say about you, even if they are generous.”

The more I read about Bill James, the more I like.

Bill James on Writing

Bill James as quoted by Tim O'Reilly: “Every form of strength is also a form of weakness. Pretty girls tend to become insufferable because, being pretty, their faults are too much tolerated. Possessions entrap men, and wealth paralyzes them. I learned to write because I am one of those people who somehow cannot manage the common communications of smiles and gestures, but must use words to get across things that other people would never need to say.”

Under a Lowering Cloud of Cynicism About the Authenticity of Their Achievements

George F. Will: “[B]aseball produces -- inning by inning, game by game, season upon season -- a rich sediment of statistics that sustain the arguments that nourish interest in the game with the longest history. If Sosa's slugging -- he is the only player to hit 60 or more home runs in three seasons -- was assisted by cheating, he will be diminished, as will the game's ongoing narrative.



What a great mid-play photo of the pick-off move in baseball, something I always had to be aware of as a first-baseman in my baseball playing days. It was pretty exhilirating when a pick-off succeeded, one of which was when the runner decided to ignore the inconvenient fact that I had the ball in my glove.

A Jerk Like the Rest of Them

Yankees' Clemens stands on a mound of his own: “'He has a profound respect for the game's history, and it is a big part of his drive,' says Jeff Idelson of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.” Gimme a break. He's a jerk like the rest of 'em—and, apparently, a bit of a kook—but he's still one of the best ever. (Only Randy Johnson is more scary a guy to have staring down at you when you're in the batter's box.) The stat that neither-linked article mention is that he holds the record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game: 20, and he did it twice! That's just unreal, especially against the caliber of hitters in today's game.


Tim Bray: “"furthermore I think that mixing baseball and sexual metaphors is just fine."” Agreed.

Per diem of a baseball player

Bruce Arthur: “For every day on the road, whether you are superstar Jason Giambi or his lesser-paid brother, Jeremy, you get a US$73.50 per diem. So, for a 10-day road trip, in addition to the standard two meals per day, each player gets US$730. It is enough for breakfast.”

Wow. That is some per diem.

Remarkable Conflict of Interest

George F. Will: <q cite=""">Unlike the NFL and the NBA, both of which adopted their basic economic arrangements after (and because of) the advent of television, baseball's economic model predates radio. And flight. And the internal combustion engine. Today, as when the National League was founded in 1879, locally generated revenues stay with the local owner.