Baseball's Back -- Almost
Washington baseball fans have been anticipating this day for a long time. Our very own major league franchise (or, at the very least, something that closely resembles one) takes the field today for the first time since 1971. The schedule makers felt like it would be a good idea to dampen our enthusiasm a bit, though, as the Nationals begin the season with a nine-game road trip. The first home game isn't until next Thursday, but baseball fans have a couple of options to tide them over until then.
The first of those is tomorrow night at Politics and Prose where Chris Kahrl, Steve Goldman and Clay Davenport -- three authors of "Baseball Prospectus" -- stop by to talk some baseball. "Baseball Prospectus" has become synonymous with the statistical revolution that's slowly starting to change how people look at the game. The BP group takes a very academic, statistics-based approach to the national pastime. Those baseball card stats that you grew up with -- batting average, RBI, stolen bases, wins and losses -- that helped decide which players were the best? BP renders them basically meaningless in favor of stats such as EqMLVr, WARP-3 and, my personal favorite, VORP. If you can stomach the sheer quantity of numbers, it's rather fascinating stuff.
The National Archives hosts a more traditional evening of baseball discussion on Thursday when "Sons of the Senators" gather to talk about the history of baseball in Washington. Panelists include Henry W. Thomas and Mark Judge, grandsons of former Senators Walter Johnson and Joe Judge, and both authors of books about the team. Former Senators batboy Bill Gilbert will also be on hand to share tales of Washington baseball past. Compared with the BP event, expect many more "people" stories and much less talk about the merits of a high strikeout rate for a young pitcher.
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