Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Baseball Bloggers Alliance" is "Chartered" by SABR and Slammed by the Great Murray Chass

(This is my first post under the Banner of the "Baseball Bloggers Alliance" which you can see to your right - in the side bar --->.)

Last year during the MLB playoffs, which I LiveBlogged, I came across Daniel Shoptaw s' Baseball Bloggers Alliance, (BBA). I'm not new to blog alliances, my other self, Michael Holloways' FilterBlogs has been a member of The Blogging Alliance of Non Partisan Canadians since 2006, so I applied for membership to BBA. It's a good site, with 7 snippets on the front page with links back to the blogs from wence they were first published. Alliances are a good way to meet people like yourself, and it brings more readers to your site.

The end of the baseball season is well, it's a wee bit of a let down really f#cking depressing! It's a quiet, lonely time in the world (of baseball writing). It's when everyone gathers themselves after witnessing yet another chance to see the damn Yankees lose - slip away in their victory. I think there's even a baseball bereavement day for it, outside of the Bronx.

So, I sign up for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA). About six weeks later - on or near the shortest most depressing day of the year - someone gets back to me,
"Ya, here's your pin - for the submissions page; and here's the banner - display it prominently in your blog."
I could hear the mouse-click that imploded the window at the other end of the internet - and there I sat - staring at my empty Inbox alone in front of my computer.

Since then, things have really picked up.

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) - those to whom all we bloggers aspire, sent the BBA a letter in October when it became public that the Alliance was holding a members only, first time ever year end honours vote - much like the BBWAA has done for sixty years. A friendly note from the Treasurer reminding the bloggers of the BBWAA s' long history and association with the honorary awards: The Baseball Writers Association of America s' MVP selection, BBWAA Rookie of the Year Award, BBWAA CY Young Award, and the BBWAA Manager of the Year Award. The baseball bloggers agreed through internal discussion, to change the titles of the honours they will vote on next year.

Shortly after the BBWAA letter the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) contacted members of the baseball bloggers. SABR is reaching out to the internet with a new concept called "Chartered Communities" which it is listing along side it's regional chapters. The Baseball Bloggers Alliance became just the third Chartered Community in SABR - the most esteemed cannon in the world of baseball. (With several less Congressional collusion investigations than Major League Baseball - zero.)

Then, Murray Chass the retired, thirty-nine-year veteran baseball reporter for The New York Times did the Baseball Bloggers Alliance the great service, slamming it's press release about Baseball Bloggers first ever Hall of Fame vote. In an email to the BBA he corrected all the spelling mistakes in the hastily produced release, and even took the time to fix the math, offering at the same time, a suggestion about what the alliance could do with it.

But the fun never stops at The Baseball Bloggers Alliance as today Mr. Chass published his tet a tet with the BBA in his blog (excuse me) er, Website, Murray Chass on Baseball.

He doesn't produce a URL for each piece he publishes and that makes it confusing when someone sends you a link about a piece and the headline is nowhere to be seen; so I'll republish the whole thing here, with attribution and a link:


When you were in school, did you ever flunk both English and math in the same year? If you did, did you do it publicly, not just for your teacher and your parents to see?

I have come upon a whole organization that gets a failing grade in English and math. And I am not picking on it because it is an organization of bloggers. But if I didn’t already dislike blogs, this would do it.

I recently received a news release from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA), a recently formed organization that unabashedly acknowledges that it is copying the Baseball Writers Association (BBWAA). Except it’s for bloggers, not newspaper reporters.

Before the Hall of Fame announcement last week, the BBA surveyed its members in an “election” that copied the BBWAA election. It was meaningless, of course, but the group was just looking to get some publicity. It wasn’t the kind of publicity, however, that I would want for my organization.

On the English side of the ledger, the release mixed singular subjects with plural predicates and singular subjects with subsequent plural pronouns. We writers care about that sort of thing. The release said Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven, the leading votegetters, “both received 35 of the 47 votes.” But they each got 35 votes; if they both received 35 votes, they would not have been the leading votegetters because their combined total would have been 35.

But the BBA saved its worst for its math exploits. Noting that the percentages for Alomar and Blyleven were 74.468, the release said the two players would make the Hall of Fame because their percentages would be rounded to 75.

Wrong. If the BBA is trying to imitate the BBWAA, it should get the rules right. The BBWAA does not round up to 75. A player has to get a pure 75 percent or more to be elected. In this year’s election, 539 votes were cast, and 75 percent of that total is 404.25. But 404 votes would not have put a candidate in the Hall. He needed 405.

But the BBA also fails simple math, something that two of my grandchildren, Jake and Josh, said they learned in first grade. The fraction .468 is not rounded to the next number. A fraction has to be half (.5) or more to round to the next whole number.

If 74.468 is rounded, it becomes 74, not 75. So in the BBA survey, no one received enough votes to be elected. But that’s not what the release said.

The error-infested release only reinforces my feeling about blogs and bloggers. It becomes Exhibit A. If a person can’t write basic English correctly and doesn’t know basic math in a sport filled with numbers, what business does he have writing anything for public consumption?

Comments? Please send email to

Originally published in Murray Chass on Baseball Janurary 10, 2010

From my point of view it felt good to know that someone who is somebody in the real baseball world gave a hoot about the Tsunami of Baseball Blogging that's about to destroy Professional Baseball Writing as we know it (really).

Writers from all over the media are scared for their jobs as the recession hurts retail spending and subsequently ad rates, in an already struggling print and broadcast industry. The Washington Times for example closed their sports section this week, laying off twenty five writers.

I hope professional writers don't blame bloggers for the loss of their jobs, what is needed now is unity because whether you like the tag of not - we're all bloggers now brother.

With special thanks to: