Schwarz to Speak at Learning Annex

Tuesday, May 31 2005 @ 11:20 AM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty


Note: recent media reports indicate that Vernon Wells will be with his wife during childbirth this weekend, significantly decreasing the likelihood he will appear as originally scheduled with Schwarz. And who can blame him? That's a man with his priorities in order!

Original story:
The following information is adapted from a press release by the Toronto Learning Annex.

TORONTO -- The Toronto Learning Annex Presents sports journalist Alan Schwarz, joined by Toronto fan favourite Vernon Wells, in a lecture related to Schwarz's book, The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics at the Rogers Centre, June 18 beginning at 12:00 noon ET.

The Numbers Game is far more than "just some baseball stat book." The New York Times has written, "This is an Information Age story . . . In Schwarz's lively telling, The Numbers Game is a history of eccentrics whose unslakable thirst for baseball numbers is shared by millions of Americans."

For instance, find out about the Canadian who changed the way the game was coached when he became the right-hand man to the Brooklyn Dodgers' lgendary Branch Rickey in the late 1940s. Montreal's Allan Roth created a grand unifying theory of baseball, a mathematical equation that could fill a black board, and determine game results. Roth became known as the "Human UNIVAC" (Universal Automatic Computer, one of the earliest mainframes) for the way he churned out stats that helped make broadcaster Vin Scully a legend, and helped make baseball even more of an American phenomenon.

Today's most ardent stat scientists, known as "sabrmetricians" develop new ways to capture numbers and argue which is best. Some are even hired by big league clubs to get a "numbers edge." Schwarz has captured the soul of the sport in his book and in this amazing lecture. Schwarz will be joined by Blue Jay All-Star OF Wells to talk about statistics and how they affect the player. It all gets underway leading up to that day's 5:07 first pitch between the Jays and the Milwaukee Brewers, who Toronto will be hosting in interleague play, and concluding at game's end. (Wells will presumably leave the shindig early in order to actually play in the game.)

Batter's Box is working to schedule a live chat with Schwarz in advance of this presentation; if you have questions about the event or early questions for Schwarz, Liz Walker of The Learning Annex is around to field those questions as best she can. Details on the live chat will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.

The Details:
When? Saturday, June 18 2005 12:00 noon through Game Conclusion
Where? Presentation Room, Rogers Centre
Okay, How Much? The listed price on the Web is CAD$93.46 (includes a copy of the book and game ticket)
For tickets call 416-964-0011 or save by by making reservations online.

Alan Schwarz is a Senior Writer for Baseball America, a weekly columnist for, and a frequent contributor to The New York Times. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and more than a dozen other national publications. He lives in Manhattan.

The Learning Annex is famous throughout North America for its speaking events presenting today's most profound thinkers, inspiring citizens, and hottest celebrities to the public at affordable prices. The Learning Annex Toronto has played host to Deepak Chopra, Dr. Brian Green, David Suzuki and Trump VP George Ross in recent months. Visit for more info on this and other great events.

Batter's Box Interactive Magazine is a not-for-profit Web site founded in October 2002 by Kent "Coach" Williams. Though its primary focus has been Toronto Blue Jays baseball, Batter's Box has two dozen contributing authors from both Canada and the United States, from Toronto and New York to Texas and Washington state, and hundreds of regular contributors. Visit Batter's Box free on the Web at