Saturday, August 9, 2008

Baseball Blog Birthday Bash Bonanza of Babblery!

One year ago today, I made my first Recondite Baseball post. It's such a big deal to me that I would've completely forgotten if Brew Crew Ball user roguejim didn't dedicate an entire FanPost to the topic a couple weeks ago. When I started this blog, I figured it'd be a good place to post interesting records and other things I had found out about baseball. I didn't know if many people would end up both hearing of my blog and decide to read it but thanks to links from other websites and on Brew Crew Ball after nearly every new post here, I've wound up with a small but steady readership. If you are one of the regular readers or are here for the very first time, feel free to drop me a line either in the comments or via e-mail if you've got an idea for a future post, are curious about a possible record, or just want to air grievances or maybe even compliments. I might not always have the answer, but I can try to point you in the right direction. Even if you don't feel like commenting or e-mailing, that's okay, too. I hope I can continue to make my blog an interesting stop on your travels around the internet.

When I started this blog, I only had a few links on the right side. As you can see, there are now 21 baseball links and six non-baseball links. I won't bore you by going through every single link, but I will point out some of the more interesting ones that you may have missed.
  • Baseball in the Netherlands is written by Amsterdam journalist Marco Stoovelaar. It contains pretty much anything you'd ever want to know about baseball and softball in the Netherlands. Updated daily with news about the Dutch major leagues and/or Dutch national team information, it's fun to read up on baseball being played somewhere perhaps off the beaten track.
  • Elias Says is a daily column available on The Worldwide Leader in Sports gets a bad rap for a lot of good reasons, but this is one of the better things they offer. Every day , the Elias Sports Bureau, official statisticians of Major League Baseball, offers up interesting nuggets of information related to the previous day's games. From the column up as I write this:
    Mike Mussina has now won 15-or-more games 11 times in his career. Moose is one of 22 pitchers with at least 11 seasons of 15-or-more wins, but he's the only one of those pitchers who has never won 20 games in a season.
  • The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers is pretty self-explanatory. It's a great resource for information about any catcher in MLB history.
  • Excruciating Baseball Lists defines itself as "Baseball questions that will make your head hurt, with painless answers." That's the sort of thing I can get behind. After all, where else can you quickly learn that the only pitcher to win a MLB game in both the original Comiskey Park and the Tokyo Dome was Kevin Brown?
  • From Small Ball to the Long Ball is the internet home of PitchF/X expert Josh Kalk.
  • Hardball Mysteries is an interesting piece of the internet written by Nashville Sounds media assistant Johnathan Gantt. It delves into the stories behind baseball phrases, nicknames, walk-up music, and arcane rules. If you know you're going to be in Nashville and want to win free Nashville Sounds tickets, there are ample opportunities for that, too.
  • Midwest Diamond Report is written by author and journalist Gregg Hoffmann. It focuses on the Brewers, Cubs, Twins, and White Sox, but also on lower-level midwestern baseball. If you're curious about baseball in the Midwest, this is one place to start.
  • MLB Tiebreaker Procedures is really just a press release from 2003. Every year about this time, pennant races start to heat up and people start wondering about how tiebreakers in baseball. This press release describes the procedures used in almost any possible scenario (no information on six-way ties, unfortunately).
  • Among the non-baseball links, check out GK Castle. The personal website of a friend of mine, it's a repository of jokes (both clean and dirty), drawings, photography, and gaming goodies. Personally, I like the sea turtle. The rest of the site is definitely worth a gander.
  • Also check out Strange Maps. There are all sorts of bizarre maps, ranging from whacked-out conspiracy theories to intriguing, "hey-I-never-thought-of-that" stuff.
  • Finally, are you "annoyed" by quotation marks used for "emphasis" on signs? Then The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks is for you. Here's a picture I sent in.
The links I didn't go over are also interesting, but you'll just have to investigate those yourself. Finally, since it's my baseball blog birthday, allow me one more recommendation.

Are you sick of seeing your team's front office give guys who have no business being a starter on a major league team all the playing time they can waste? Do you think you can rebuild or improve your favorite team far more efficiently than the current general manager? Want to take on the challenge of putting together a perennial contender on a shoestring budget? Tired of baseball games that have franchise modes continually prompting you to fix four different lineups because your AA catcher stubbed his toe and then screwing up your lineups anyway? Sick of questions?

If you answered any of those in the affirmative, take a look at Baseball Mogul. In addition to the typical franchise mode basics (trading blocks, controlling prices, etc.), you can pick any team in any year from 1901 to the present day (which is pretty darn cool) and take over as owner and general manager. Not only can you start with accurate rosters for a certain season, you also have the opportunity to draft actual, historical players as they reach draft age.

Another thing I like about Baseball Mogul is that it's easy to sim days, weeks, months, or even seasons quickly. You can set the program to only notify you in case of major injuries and sim an entire season in a matter of minutes. You can watch your best-laid plans succeed or fail right before your eyes. I've spent more than one night following the entire careers of some top prospects. Of course, sometimes you might want to take a more involved approach. The game seamlessly lets you switch from a hands-off, owner perspective to an on-the-field manager role in which you can call every single pitch from the dugout or opt to just handle strategy and pitching staff usage on a batter-by-batter, game-by-game basis.

All in all, the combination of ease of use, quick, solid, and realistic gameplay, and the accommodation of whatever amount of involvement you want in to put in it make Baseball Mogul one of my favorite baseball games. There are other baseball games out there that have flashier graphics, but I've been hooked on this one for years for the reasons listed above. Visit the Baseball Mogul website for more information and to download a demo.

Now that I've got the explanation of new links and a game recommendation out of the way, I hope you'll continue to come back and read what I hope is continually interesting baseball material. This blog has grown more than I ever would have expected in the first year, so I'm excited about what the second year will bring.


Bopperland said...

Congrats on reaching this anniversary! Although I have been a relatively new reader here, I try to make it a regular visit. Recondite is well written, and you've covered some interesting and obscure topics.

I still would like to see a study on the impacts of trades done at the deadline, comparing pre and post-trade performance to see how much difference they really make. ManRam is a classic example, where he did OK with the Sawx but has really taken off as a Dodger. You have my email on the criteria I'd suggest.

Another area that might be of interest to readers is the lower-profile "junior" stats that baseball generates. Examples (which have may already been covered) include Holds, Balks, Wild Pitches, Passed Ball, Caught Stealing, Pickoff, Blown Saves, and the like.

Given that I am local to an MLB team with a dome, it would be interesting to see some stats on how teams and pitchers perform in dome vs non-dome games. This would parallel the day vs night game stats that some broadcasters like to trot out from time to time for teams and players.

Keep up the great blogging!

Theron Schultz said...

My dad also suggested the balks thing and I've just posted the resulting lengthy post.