Tales from the Road

Whew! I’m slowly returning to normal from a hectic winter break. I spent a lot of time with family, had a relaxing vacation on Edisto Island, SC (very nice), attended a sports and mathematics sessions at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta, and interviewed economics candidates at the American Economic Association in Philadelphia. Here are some of the highlights:

— The look on my 16-month-old daughter’s face upon receiving The Wiggles “Big Red Car” scooter for Christmas made my year.

— I watched USC crush Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl with 2/3 of the Sports-Reference network at the math conference. Doug Drinen of Pro-Football-Reference and Sean Forman of Baseball-Reference were excellent company for the game. Doug wasn’t real specific about his plans for PFR, but he’s got more ideas in the works than the folks at Duff Beer. I won’t reveal exactly what Sean passed along, but I will say that I am very excited about the future of Baseball-Reference. Yes folks, it is possible for it to get even better. Sean seems to know every regular on Baseball Primer, yet still even he doesn’t know Tangotiger’s real name. Doug explained to me what Sooners were, cheaters. I think he enjoyed the game more than any of us.

— Though I didn’t attend the session, Doug presented our paper on protection at one of the sessions of the meeting, and he thought it went pretty well.

— I talked to Skip Sauer of The Sports Economist for about 10 seconds at the AEA meeting. We were both doing interviews, so we said hellos before returning to our respective interview chambers. Skip’s adding two new interesting bloggers to his site, so be sure to check it out. I also bumped into Brad Humphreys, the “pencil-necked geek” who tried to save DC citizens from that awful stadium deal.

— Here’s an interesting observation. I didn’t see a single Phillies cap for sale in the Philadelphia airport. In the Atlanta airport it’s hard to find a shop that doesn’t have Braves caps. What does this say about these teams?

— Brad from No Pepper and James Hall e-mailed me a link to this Baseball America roundtable debate on stathead versus old-school scouting. Near the end Gary Huckabay of Baseball Prospectus says, “we’ve been building something over the last three years something we call the Databeast. It’s going to include information on, basically, coaching effectiveness. How much is Leo Mazzone really worth? And the answer is, a hell of a lot.” Hey Gary, this is old news to the readers of Sabernomics. ;-)

So now that I’m back in front of a computer everyday, I hope to post a bit more regularly than I have been. I still have a lot of e-mail to catch up on, so if you are waiting on a response from me, I should get back with you shortly.

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