Tag Archives: yogi berra

Thank You

With the first year as a solopreneur under my belt, I wanted to take a moment to look back and to thank everyone, as the dear departed Yogi Berra would have said, who made this day necessary.

While year one involved some tough sledding, I got to do some amazing things and work with some amazing people.  I’ll brag about my accomplishments another time, perhaps.  Today I want to focus on the people who helped me along the way: you.

Maybe you helped me in a very material way, by hiring Plannerben|Anecdata to undertake a project.  Maybe you helped me make a contact somewhere.  Maybe you saw one of a hundred variations of my sales materials and website and maybe you gave me some advice about them.

Maybe you said or wrote some words of encouragement.  Maybe you said them directly to me.  Maybe that encouragement came in a conversation we had years ago or in a blog post you wrote about something else.

Maybe you read, commented on or shared one of my blog posts.  Google Analytics said that someone read it, so it must have been one of you.

Maybe you bought me a coffee, lunch or a drink.  Maybe you heard me sound off about the frustrations of launching a business.  Maybe you nodded your head or slapped me upside mine when I said “this is all bullshit.”  Maybe you sent some good vibrations my way, somehow.

Whatever you did, whether you did it specifically for me or not, I offer my humble thanks.

I wish you success in 2016 as you helped me achieve success in 2015.

And, in return, let me ask: what can I do to return the favor?

Yogi Berra, my Personal Ancient Greek Tutor

I’m going off-topic today (well, not very off-topic considering how frequently I write about baseball).  I couldn’t let the passing of Yogi Berra go by without discussing how he helped me make it through my ancient Greek minor in college.

The scene begins 2500 years ago, when Herodotus wrote his history of the wars between Persia and the Greeks.

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My 28-year-old copy of a 2500-year-old book

 As the first widely-published Western writer of history, Herodotus earned himself the honorific “Father of History.”  However, his approach to truth did not always stop at the credible.  For instance, he claimed that Ukraine was full of werewolves and that Egyptian women pee standing up.  Of course, he wasn’t an idiot, either.  He often used language to indicate that he had heard a particular tale but that he neither endorsed nor gainsaid it.

In a Greek class I took as part of my minor, I wrote a paper about one of his his most famous apocryphal tales, a dinner between Croesus (the “rich as Croesus” Croesus) and Solon, the author of Athens’s first legal code.  Croesus, you may recall, held the world record for most poorly-interpreted military intelligence until George Bush came along.  An oracle told Croesus that if he crossed the River Halys, a great empire would be destroyed.  Unfortunately, the oracle meant Croesus’s Lydia, not the Persian Empire across the river.

Before the disastrous invasion, the emperor and lawgiver enjoyed a chatty meal.  Croesus asked Solon what made people happy.  Solon famously answered “call no man happy until he be dead.”  At first, this reply sounds incredibly gloomy.  However, Solon went on to explain that people who had ordinary lives but who somehow sacrificed themselves for a higher purpose achieved the highest level of happiness.

In my paper, I made sure to note this nuanced meaning of Solon’s assertion.  To hammer the point home, I employed the greatest footnote of my academic career:

c.f. Berra, Lawrence Peter (Yogi): “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Thank you, Yogi, for helping me achieve what modest academic success that I did.  Should you meet Herodotus in the afterlife, I hope Red Smith is on hand to record the conversation.

Metaball: Can Baseball Data Help Market Baseball?

Michael Lewis’s 2004 book Moneyball documented a revolution in how baseball teams evaluate players.  More than a decade after the book, all Major League teams use statistics like WAR, Fielding Independent Pitching and Range Factor per Game.  Now, Major League Baseball wants fans to get in on the act with Statcast,  Using both radar and special cameras, Statcast gives incredibly detailed information on nearly every movement on the field.

 

Not pictured: Explanation of how a Major League infielder flubs a cutoff throw

I’ve written extensively on how sports and data combine to make sports themselves more marketable.  So I thought I’d discuss what impact Statcast might have on baseball’s challenged popularity in the US.

In, short, I think that the data won’t hurt, but they might not help.

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