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Baseball: Not Just for Rotogeeks Anymore
on February 10, 1999
Purists allege that fantasy types have perverted the Grand Old Game. By obsessing over indivudual performances and "baseball numerology," roto players have stripped the game of the context that makes it so inherently rewarding: poetry, drama, teamsmanship and community. And to be sure, almost every baseball annual has as its focus the rotsisserie market. Invariably, players are analyzed in alphabetical order rather than in the context of their contribution to their team, with a focus on the bottom line and with no sense of what might lie behing the numbers. The result is that most annuals are devoid of analysis that would be truly helpful to the fantasy player, and are meaningless to the baseball purist. But Baseball Prospectus (BP) is a different breed. It is chock full of penetrating roto analysis, and it aims consciously toward helping its readers improve their own observational and critical skills. But BP does so in a team context. Players are analyzed according to their contributions to their team. There is a comprehensive essay for each team, covering manager, management, players, and ballpark. And whereas most annuals merely list their favorite prospects, BP anaylzes nearly every credible prospect for each organization, while providing a thorough critique of every team's organizational strength. BP's writing is exceptionally witty. Where else can you find out that Matt Stairs's nickname is "Wonder Hamster"? And these writers are no eunuchs; they are opinionated, which is a refrshing change from the mealymouthed analysis offered by most annuals. BP is a very enjoyable read, it is a great place for fantasy players to get truly helpful analysis, and it is the best book on the market for helping the avid take his own game to the next level. An essential component of any fanatic's baseball library. Order the book. These are very helpful people. Postscript: Simulation players, ignored by the industry, will find BP to be the most helpful of the annuals.