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Esquire
Wednesday, November 16th, 2005


 

Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age

by The Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts

Baseball Book of the Year

A review by Scott Raab

As a boy in Cleveland, I loved pro football. It was a loud, stupid, and obvious sport -- it is more so today -- and the Browns were good. Baseball I liked, but the Indians sucked, and understanding the nuances of the game was beyond a child's mind. Yet somehow baseball's mystery and the Tribe's perennial ineptitude made the game more attractive to my inner dork.

My adult pursuit of baseball knowledge began when Bill James, a lonesome Kansan, started publishing his annual Baseball Abstract. James ended the Abstract in 1988, but a new wave of stat-head cranks at baseballprospectus.com -- armed with faster computers and nastier attitudes than James ever had -- publishes its fearless heir. Baseball Prospectus 2005 is 568 pages of vitriol, passion, and distilled formulas. But it's also full of evaluations like "fell out of the glove tree and hit every branch on the way down." The stats may not illuminate the greatest game, but this book swings so hard for the fences that even its whiffs are interesting. If the Abstract was Babe Ruth, the Prospectus is Adam Dunn. Except a lot dorkier.


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