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We've written about Baseball Withdrawal here before, a grim topic to be sure. The first week of March, however, represents the tantalizing near-end of the anticipation, the sun's teasing peak from behind the cloud, that here-comes-the-waiter-and-I-think-that's-my-Reuben-sandwich-he's-carrying feeling. This is the post-adjustment, pre-resolution stage of Baseball Withdrawal Syndrome. I freakin' love this part.

In addition to the more obvious signs (the turning calender, the fantasy drafts, the Spring Training games) of this stage, there are a couple that have become perennial for me:
  • Watching Ken Burns' Baseball on DVD. It's the fastest 1,140 minutes you'll ever experience. I've developed a Pavlovian contentment response to the voice of narrator John Chancellor. Every March, I watch it, and I never tire of the stories. It's playing on my TV as I type this.
  • Waiting for a baseball video game to be released. This year, I am waiting on a game that is being released tomorrow, whereupon I will take some flex-time in the afternoon to marvel at the modern technology and reluctantly acknowledge that my thumbs aren't as fast as they used to be. Over the weekend, I went to every store in the GFA (the Geater Fredericton Area; LOL) that could conceivably stock video games, just on the chance that some clerk either blatantly disrespected or willfully neglected the "do not sell before 3/4/08" stamp on his store's shipment. My fruitless efforts to prematurely game were restrained compared to some.

The most significant, however, seems to be the introspection. That is, the self-awareness that accompanies the sheer nerdiness of the early March experience. How did I get here? This year's bout of introspection hit while I was at a business lunch last week and some colleagues were discussing the books that they had been reading of late and I had to think fast and lie through my teeth, because the real answer to the question "what are you reading now?" would have been something like "well I've just polished off Shandler's Baseball Forecaster, I've been rereading Brunt's Diamond Dreams, Prospectus ships soon too, and I've been hitting refresh every five minutes on Rotoworld's player news page".

The unfailing annual reduction of this introspection are the questions: how did this happen? When did it all start? How did I become such a baseball nerd? I vividly remember that as an eight-year-old I would lay out all of my baseball cards on my bed and sort them by home runs, most to least, first for the most recent season and then for career. I remember the first time that I learned that some baseball statistics were context-dependent: at the age of seven or eight, I explained to my father how Vince Coleman was the best base-stealer because he stole over 100 bases every year, and he replied that Coleman must be a good hitter to have had enough opportunities to steal that many. I remember that at age twelve my parents bought me Strat-o-Matic, and when I explained to my friend who lived next-door (and with whom I had played countless hours of a baseball trivia board game that he had) that I got a new board game called Strat-o-Matic that we should try, he said, "great, how hard are the questions?" The rest is history.

Two questions, Bauxites: what are your signs of the post-adjustment, pre-resolution stage of Baseball Withdrawal Syndrome that hits us every year in early March? Also, when did you first realize that you were a baseball nerd?
The Pre-Resolution Stage, and First Encounters of the Nerd Kind | 27 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
HollywoodHartman - Monday, March 03 2008 @ 09:34 PM EST (#180574) #
I'm not sure when I became a nerd. Except that it happened VERY VERY quickly. I do know the game it happened though.

I was almost 13 and  hooked right away. It only took a few months for me to know the most of any of my friends. It took a couple of years to really know the game though. I now have the reputation of "the baseball guy" among my friends. Any questions about an obscure player or who plays second base for the Rockies? Come to Hollywood Hartman... or my alias, Eric.

Geoff - Monday, March 03 2008 @ 09:59 PM EST (#180579) #
So I can quiz HH on the whereabouts of the 2003 AL ROY who played in that fateful game, making the critical play in it, and he will be able to tell me a good story on the topic?

I know he was cut last year, but where has he gone? The way of Eric Hinske and the dodo bird? Reincarnated as a Ray?

HollywoodHartman - Monday, March 03 2008 @ 10:02 PM EST (#180580) #
I said among my friends. I must admit I don't hold a candle to most on this site, or the rest of the internet baseball community. Then again I'm only 17.  A quicky Wiki check says that Berroa is in camp with the Royals as a non-roster invite.
Geoff - Monday, March 03 2008 @ 10:08 PM EST (#180581) #
I realized I was a baseball nerd when I wanted to get a subscription to a baseball magazine to learn more about what was going on throughout the game. Of course, this was before the internet. An entirely different era, to say the least.

owen - Monday, March 03 2008 @ 11:34 PM EST (#180586) #
I got my first baseball cards in a McDonald's happy meal booster pack that included Fred McGriff.  I made my Dad teach me to read the stats.  Then I made him teach me to read the box scores and standings in The Star sports section.  Then I woke up at 6am every morning that summer waiting for the paper, which I read while simultaneously watching the first edition of SportsDesk, twice.  We had a garage sale and I sold all of my Lone Ranger and GI Joe toys and made $24, which I gave to my Dad in exchange for two boxes of Donruss Booster Packs.  He told me I was only allowed to open one pack each day, so my morning ritual changed.  I would read the paper while watching the sports highlights, then I would go to see if my parents were awake yet, which, at 730am, they were not. So I would silently crawl on my stomach across the floor of their room, in the dark, towards the closet where my Dad kept the cards he was rationing for me.  I could have waited until he woke up, but that would've been too much to bear.  I would smuggle the pack back to my room, open it, read the player bios, study the stats, then file them into binder.  Then I would have breakfast.

Sometime during one of those mornings, I realized that I was a baseball nerd.

CeeBee - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 08:14 AM EST (#180594) #
I realized I was a baseball nerd at summer bible camp. My Dad was the administrator and as such I usually spent most of the summer at camp. When my age group was not in session I spent a good part of my time reading baseball magazines, especially the season preview one with all the rosters and stats and playing a baseball board game with a spinner. Don't remember what it was called but I wore it out. I could have been fishing, swimming or doing other fun stuff but basbeall had suckered me in. I was probably 12 or so and I guess girls were  not so big an attraction yet. :)
hugo - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 09:15 AM EST (#180599) #
became a baseball nerd in college.  I played for my school but was pretty much crap, a good enough middle infielder but a line-drive hitter in high school who couldn't get around on a college-level fastball, and a stolen-base threat who couldn't get on base enough against good pitching to be useful.  Anyway, I didn't get a lot of playing time, but knew I wasn't very good, so I didn't mind or sulk like some of the other bench guys who felt like they deserved to play.  I started talking to my coaches nonstop about the game and realized that I had been playing it for almost 15 years without really knowing much abou it.  I realized that as much as I loved playing baseball, I loved talking and analyzing the game as much or more. 
Skills - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 09:51 AM EST (#180600) #
For me baseball nerdage has been a gradual. It has become patently obvious in the last 3 years though, as I sit in law school classes with my laptop and refresh the Rotoworld Player News page every 5 minutes....all year round.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 10:19 AM EST (#180601) #
Baseball nerd-dom arrived at the tender age of 9 for me, as I stared every Saturday at the long list of baseball statistics in the newspaper, but it was really just a twisted variant of the passion that I felt for the game earlier in the schoolyard. I arrived one morning in March with my glove, when the snow had finally left leaving just a few patches of thin ice and it was about 4-5 degrees C, and was shocked to find that I was the only one who thought that the conditions were just right for baseball.
electric carrot - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 10:52 AM EST (#180603) #
Nerd, NERD! I prefer to call my condition by its accepted medical terminology: Distorted Ordering of Relevant Knowledge Attachment Syndrome (DORKAS.) I had a time in my teens when this was a problem -- had DORKAS beat for a few years in my late teens, twenties and early thirties -- but the internet seems to have caused much regression. Seeking treatment advice.

alsiem - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 11:02 AM EST (#180604) #
I was around 11 or 12.  My family had moved from Britain when I was younger and I'd finally thrown off the shackles of my Dad's past and stopped playing soccer and was determined to focus on North American sports like baseball and hockey.

It really happened fast.  I played ball one year and the next year I had a subscription to the Sporting News and was examining box scores.  I also really enjoyed doing the scoring for my team.  I remember really getting into it with my coach and learning all of the notations.  He was pretty awesome too and produced a stats breakdown for each player at the end of the year.  I spent too much time emulating Steve Balboni and flied out to left a lot.  It got so extreme that I used to be able to instantly identify batters while flipping through channels simply by their batting stance and appearance.

I can also remember telling a friend that I was going to work for the Elias Sports Bureau when I grew up.  I could barely work out the average of my university grades (English major) so that was a bit of a pipe dream.

One thing I regret was I never knew statomatic (sp?) existed.  With a friend, I developed my own dice based game.  D&D was big, so we add all of these multi-sided dice.  I know that you had to roll 00 for Ozzie Smith to hit a home run.   I can still remember gritting my teeth each time my friend announced Vince Young was stealing and I had to roll dice to see if Ernie Witt had thrown him out.  Not too often.

Quwyetr - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 11:39 AM EST (#180607) #
Woodward's 3 homerun game was just something really neat at the time, too bad the season was over almost. But before I knew it, 2003 came :) Lucky I didn't start watching the Jays faithfully in 2004...might have turned me, probably not...
Chuck - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 11:55 AM EST (#180609) #

Baseball nerd-dom arrived at the tender age of 9 for me, as I stared every Saturday at the long list of baseball statistics in the newspaper

I'm around Mike's age so I can relate to this. There was a time when the only player stats you had access to were in the Saturday paper where all the players in a given league were presented in a "dump" format, ranked from highest average to lowest, all in one great big honking table. I would pore over those like nobody's business. And the only access I had to boxscores were in the following evening's paper, and then only as many as there was room for.

The bar was raised in my university days when I stumbled onto the Bill James Abstract. Holy crap, what an awakening! I drove the local bookstores crazy with my spring pilgrimages in search of the latest release (once the Abstracts became best sellers, they didn't need me harping to get them to uncrate the books post haste). And then the Hidden Game of Baseball. And then add to that brew the Elias Analysts which were chock full of raw data to which no one else had access. Sadly, the Elias folks were analysts much like Jessica Simpson is a thespian. Still, sticking with the analogy, their books were nice to look at.

While Don Malcolm's now defunct Big Bad Baseball Annuals and Baseball Prospectus' yearly books all line my shelves, their incremental contribution to my knowledge and enthusiasm is nowhere near close to that of what Bill James and Pete Palmer delivered in the 1980's. Not that the new wave hasn't carried the torch well (though, frankly, no one can carry Bill James' torch, at least with respect to his engaging writing), their insights are simply not as jarring. The last big exciting insight was Voros McCracken's DiPS analysis which got Bill James angry for not having though of himself.

dan gordon - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 01:13 PM EST (#180612) #
I was about 9 when I started following baseball.  When I was a kid, we used to drive to Florida during the spring break every year.  One of the things I liked the most about the trips was the abundance of baseball magazines in the various newstands, and I would always buy several of them.  There wasn't a lot of baseball info available back then, so those magazines were a treasure for me.  I also remember the Saturday newspapers with the list of players' stats and I would read through every player.  The only boxscores we used to get were for the afternoon games - the evening games were reported only as linescores.  The Monday paper was always special because there were so many games on Sunday afternoon.  I was a SF Giants fan, and was heartbroken when Toronto almost got the team, but then the deal was scuttled.  Turned out OK in the end, of course.  The Bill James Abstract was a real revelation when it came out.  Really changed the way I looked at the game.  I had thought that Garth Iorg was a good player because he hit .280 and James showed why I was wrong.
timsevs - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 01:44 PM EST (#180617) #
I think I am a baseball nerd. I first saw a baseball game when I was about 14 on a holiday to Toronto... growing up in England hadn't given me much exposure to it before. I don't know why but I completely fell in love with the game. I remember them trading for Mookie Wilson (Still a favourite player) whilst I was there and I think it was that August 1989 that they went on a fantastic run. In the 18-19 years since then I have followed the Jays through midnight TV shows in the UK, newspapers and in the last few years, wonders of wonders, the internet. A joyous invention! I think in total I have attended a grand total 7 Jays games in that time on varoius holidays, though through streaming coverage on the net means I have watched a fair few more now. Sadly (In my wife's opinion!) my interest shows no sign of decreasing! I have a bad feeling that the next time that they make the World Series that I might be booking some flights...
John Northey - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 01:57 PM EST (#180618) #
Well, I fell in love with baseball the game that ended Alfredo Griffen's consecutive games streak. That game ended with Griffen scoring the winning run. Huh you say, how is that possible? Easy, pinch running doesn't count for a streak like that. That game I was listening on the radio to with my dad in the car and it drew me in completely with the drama of the moment as Griffen ran around and sounded like he'd be out but instead he scores the winner. Go figure that his replacement, Tony Fernandez, would be my favorite all-time Blue Jay.

The nerdom was probably from the 1983 Baseball Abstract (I think that is the one) that the library had. I started digging into baseball and wanted to understand it and that clinched it. Being a numbers freak and seeing all that info was just too amazing. For years I could name every last guy (all 40) who played on the 1985 team from memory and have a memory of him playing. Hrm...could I do it now?
CA:Whitt, Martinez, Nicotia, Allenson(?)
1B: Upshawn, Fielder
2B: Garcia
3B: Mulliniks, Iorg, Gruber
SS: Fernandez, Lee
LF: Bell
CF: Moseby
RF: Barfield
OF: Thornton, Leach, Shepard, Webster
DH: Aikens/Burroughs, Oliver/Johnson, Matuziek
That's 24 guys...
SP: Stieb, Key, Alexander, Clancy, Filer, Leal, Steve Davis (won 20 that year between minors & majors), Cerutti
Up to 32...
RP: Henke, Caudill, Lamp, Lavelle, Musselman, ... this is where I get really stuck... Maddux or Mahler, a left hander who's name escapes me.

37 for sure with a 38th that I am close but stuck with.

Dang. Guess I'm not the addict I once was. 5 were September call ups (Nicotia who also played with the Expos that season, Shepard, Leach, Gruber, and Cerutti) as I recall. Lee/Thornton were rule 5 guys. Webster was sold to the Expos. Matuziek was traded for Oliver. Poor Jeff Burroughs final ML AB was striking out vs Phil Niekro in the final regular season game of the year where Niekro won his 300th.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 02:02 PM EST (#180619) #
Oy was my spelling bad.
Nicotia should be Nicosia
Matuziek should be Matuszek

I forgot Jeff Hearron, who got into 4 games, and Stan Clarke who was a left hander who got into 4 games as well.

I feel like a total dope for forgetting Jim Acker who I loved to watch play at the time. Knew I'd forget someone obvious. No Maddux or Mahler. Mahler would play in 2 games in '86 so that is who I must have been thinking of.
ChicagoJaysFan - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 02:07 PM EST (#180621) #
The first real memory of baseball I have was seeing the last out in the pennant clincher in 1985 at the Ex.  Time may have clouded my memory, but I believe it was a shallow fly to George Bell.

From that moment on, I started to follow the Jays and my knowledge gradually grew.

actionjackson - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 03:04 PM EST (#180624) #
Just like just about any other Canadian lad my first sports interest was hockey, hockey, hockey. Then, my uncle Peter took me to a Jays game in 1977. Peter had spent his childhood summers hanging out with a favourite Aunt beside one of those monster radios of old (circa early 1950's) listening to his Aunt's favourite team the Brooklyn Dodgers. I'm not sure whether it's Jays-Dodgers or Dodgers-Jays these days, but those days obviously had a strong pull on him (and they were partially pre-Vin Scully I believe *shudder*). Whatever the reason(s) I became hooked, and the "condition" has worsened (or gotten deeper) ever since.

I suppose the beginning of Baseball Nerd-dom was walking into a toy store in 1981 and having this game jump off the shelf at me: Leigh's favourite: Strat-O-Matic. I had a friend who was as hooked on baseball as I was who lived in Oakville. Whenever we got together it was a Strat marathon. Our parents would have to kick us out of the house to get some fresh air. Where they really started to question our mental health was at the cottage. We had side-by-side cabins in a park of 11 cottages and we were there for 2 weeks every summer. In an effort to keep the mosquitoes away from the cabins, some wise guy had cut down all the surrounding trees. Yeah sure, kept the bugs away but turned the internal conditions sweat box-like as there was nothing to shade out the midday sun. We taught Tony's younger brother Peter to play around age 7 or 8 and he would happily pick up extra dice and cards we weren't using and get after it. To this day last I heard those two are in a Strat league in Oakville where they both still live.

It may sound snooty, but I've since moved on: first Diamond Mind and now Baseball Mogul. If I were ever to play in a league, I think it would be a Diamond Mind league, but Mogul's lots of fun for solo dynasties, a little lacking on the realism side (the AI is constantly being worked on though) but at least there are trades and free agency to keep ya going as well as the games themselves. With Mogul, you can venture into the past with historical players or far into the future with made-up players. The caveat is that the historical players may not be as you remember them. Star players might never make it at all and guys who barely played might become stars. Some people get their knickers in a twist about this, but I like it: takes away the name recognition factor. Anyone else come across any good baseball sims over the years? It is another way of getting through those bleak, dark winter months. I'll have to check out Ken Burns' Baseball someday. Thanks for the topic Leigh, they're few and far between from you, obviously work has something to do with it, but they're always thought-provoking and witty.

alsiem - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 04:15 PM EST (#180626) #
Speaking of great games we actual witnessed, I'd bet the people on this site have witnessed most of the highlights.

My favorites were the 1985 pennant (yes George did catch the shallow fly ball on his knees) - I remember having a horrible feeling that wasn't going to work out too well.

I also saw the game Gruber hit for the cycle which was exciting.

Not sure if this is a real memory but i think I seem to believe I was at the first game Delgado played in left field.  The experiment only lasted a few innings, though he did make a spectacular catch (which you tend to have to make once you recover from a terrible route to the ball).

Chuck - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 05:21 PM EST (#180628) #
The experiment only lasted a few innings

More than a few innings. BB-Ref shows Delgado playing a total of 58 games in LF in 1994 and 1995.
ChicagoJaysFan - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 05:28 PM EST (#180629) #
I followed that link - I'm stunned that Delgado's only played in two All-Star games.  I thought for sure he would have played in more than that.
Nick Holmes - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 08:30 PM EST (#180642) #

I think I realized I was a nerd when I started to explain to my then girlfriend just how graet the Yankees were looking against the Braves in the World Series (Pettite was mowing them down). Then I remember watching the postseason on tape (that she so generously loaned to me) in November after some crappy tour. She's got the bug now, has a bunch of fantasy teams, knows some of the scouts down in section 122.
...or paying some outrageous cover in a bar in eastern europe to watch the first game of the Yankees and the Fish (last game in London after slipping a few bob to the barman... he looked astonished as I lost my shit at the end).

...but I'm always reminded of it during spring training when I print out the forty-man roster and selected NRIs for my 90 year-old grandmother (and her slightly younger sister, who pitched in the women's league).
Geoff - Tuesday, March 04 2008 @ 11:17 PM EST (#180644) #
Ye-gads, that's highway robbery!

Ron Coomer made the all-star team in 1999, when Carlos had a monster season. Yet he didn't have such a great first half -- although 21 homers and 77 RBI with a .844 OPS in 90 games should be worth a nod over Ron, his 11 HR and .770 OPS. Methinks it had something to do with the necessity of having someone from the Twins on the team -- and the need for three DH's - Canseco, Baines and Jaha, the '99 comeback player of the year. Clearly with the DH's there couldn't be a bias against Carlos' defense?

So what about 1998, when Carlos had 17 homers, 57 RBI and a tidy 1.004 OPS. Thome, Palmeiro and Mo Vaughn were more popular. And the team already had Clemens. '99 team had Tony Fernandez and Shawn Green.

No All-star game was as painful to watch as 2001, when Paul Quantrill was the only Jays All-star while Olerud was the starter. Tony Clark, Giambi and Mike Sweeney were the backups.

How about 2005, his first year with the Marlins? He had a good first half, he had earned some respect in the league as a veteran who's produced a plenty. That team only needed two first baseman, apparently: Derrek Lee and Albert Pujols. And Pujols was the DH, never moving to the field. So Lee played the whole game at first? Sure he had a career year, with an OPS of 1.185 in the first half, flirting with .400 for some time -- but come on. So the manager brought in Ensberg, who had never played first base in the majors (and had not logged an inning until he joined the Padres last year).

You'll be glad to know that Ensberg was in the field for two innings and didn't need to work very hard. Lidge struck out the side in the 7th. In the eighth, Peavy and Cordero combined for 2 Ks and a flyball. The AL won, foregoing their ninth.

I'd say which NL manager was responsible for this game, but I think there could only be one guy who would have handled things this way.

mathesond - Wednesday, March 05 2008 @ 01:15 PM EST (#180656) #
My nerd-dom started early - I was 7 when the Jays started playing, and I would go to sleep each night listening to Tom and Early describing the game on 1430 CKFH. I do remember the 1978 game when the Jays edged the O's 24-10 - I got out of bed after every inning to tell my parents just how ridiculous the score was getting (if I recall correctly, the Jays scored all 24 runs over 4 consecutive innings). It probably bloomed when my dad brought home a Bill Mazeroski's Baseball Guide in the mid-80's - there was a time when that publication was good, and I read it to death each year. It peaked in the early '90's, when, after moving to the fringes of Dartmouth, N.S., I would buy 4 or 5 previews each season - Street and Smith, Sporting News, the newer (and horribly written) Mazeroski, etc. etc.

Now in my late-30's dotage, March is a time when I watch Casablanca on my birthday, Bull Durham halfway through spring training, and eagerly await the post announcing where the Batters Box readers will meet to watch the season opener. I am planning on taking the 31st off work, so I hope a meet and greet is in the works...

alsiem - Wednesday, March 05 2008 @ 03:29 PM EST (#180667) #
The experiment only lasted a few innings

More than a few innings. BB-Ref shows Delgado playing a total of 58 games in LF in 1994 and 1995.

That was a little vague.  Delgado switched positions during the game.  However, I'm shocked that he played 58 games in the OF, I'd have guessed around 17. That was fairly recently too, a sure sign that reality is pushing its way into my consciousness.
DiscoDave - Friday, March 07 2008 @ 12:38 PM EST (#180753) #
From the stories my folks have told me, my baseball nerdom started very early.  I grew up next to the ballpark in my hometown (fastball not hardball) and would organize sandlot games as our fathers played on the fields.  I apparently did not like it when the other kids would run the wrong way around the bases.

Since we lived in NWO we didn't get to see to many games, but I do fondly remember my dad and grandpa taking me to an Expos game in Montreal around 82-83.  I was only 5-6 years old but do remember that Tim Raines hit a HR after I had asked my dad to get me a soda. 

In 89 I saved up my nickels for my 1st baseball sim, Earl Weaver Baseball.  The game came with the complete 89 rosters and a bonus floppy that had the all time greats on it.  I spent the next few years using the game to create my own leagues based on the yearly analysis books.  It was a sad day when the Amiga finally bit the dust (around 96-97).

A few years ago I also stumbled upon Baseball Mogul and the online version.  It is a good product  and helps with winter baseball withdrawl. 

The Pre-Resolution Stage, and First Encounters of the Nerd Kind | 27 comments | Create New Account
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