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Catching up on Baseball
April 10, 2009 11:31 AM   Subscribe

For the first time in more than 20 years, I've taken an interest in baseball. As it's been so long, I don't have a solid understanding of the current state of the game and its players. Is there a good (preferably online) resource for catching up on team rosters and player biographies? Most blogs and sports related websites I've found are heavy on the statistics and short on background narrative.

I'm looking for something that will give me a sense of MLB as a whole - from pennant prospects right down to a biography of some relatively unknown, workaday bench warmer. While this info might not live in a single place, I'm hoping to find a few websites or books that will help me get situated.
posted by aladfar to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Actually, Wikipedia is really good for this. Start with a team and click-through each member on the roster. They will give you stats, but also provide some personal narrative when it's interesting enough to belong on Wikipedia.
posted by nitsuj at 11:36 AM on April 10, 2009


Start with your favorite or hometown team, and work out from there. Paying close attention to the daily coverage will clue you in on this team and division rivals, and to a lesser extent league and interleague matchups. The SI annual baseball spring training issue is a good overview, and Baseball Weekly will also help get you up to speed.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:39 AM on April 10, 2009




Sorry, quick trigger finger and lack of attention span today. I have a case of the Fridays.

Anyway, what I intended to elaborate with was that Baseball Reference is probably going to give you much more by way of statistics than you want, but it has a lot of supplementary details that Wikipedia probably won't have.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:47 AM on April 10, 2009


Baseball Prospectus covers everything about the game. They do interviews, strategies, injuries, transactions, stats, and more. However, you'll have to pay to get access to all their content. They also put out a huge book each spring, filled with stats and stories for all the players in the game, from the stars down to the guys in A ball.
posted by baho at 11:59 AM on April 10, 2009


baseballmusings.com is good for just checking in across MLB on a daily basis.
posted by RajahKing at 12:08 PM on April 10, 2009


I've really started liking the Baseball Today podcast from ESPN. Only a half hour long and it gives lots of info on the games from the day before and what to look for in tonight<as games.
posted by hobgadling at 12:12 PM on April 10, 2009


I can definitely second Baseball Prospectus 2009 (the big fat book). It includes insightful essays about each team in the majors, but the main attraction is the stats and 2009 projections for every player (including many prospects). There's also a paragraph of analysis for every player, and it's all extremely well written and interesting. The day that the new BP shows up from Amazon is one of the highlights of the year.
posted by subclub at 12:14 PM on April 10, 2009


fangraphs.com recently ranked and did a nice "state of the franchise" wrap-up on all 30 major league teams. It'd be a good place to get an idea of what each team is facing and their current position once you're up to date on rosters, etc.
posted by PFL at 12:23 PM on April 10, 2009


Check out Baseball Think Factory, a pretty dang decent community weblog for all things baseball. Start with the Baseball Primer Newsblog as the equivalent of the MeFi front page. There are a couple of team-specific blogs (Yanks, Mets, Red Sox, Cubs) but the news posts are tagged by team (e.g. all the Brewers stuff on their site). Some pretty good (and often hilarious) discussions to be found.
posted by hangashore at 12:25 PM on April 10, 2009


And don't forget the baseball section of Sportsfilter.
posted by hangashore at 12:28 PM on April 10, 2009


If you are/become a yankees fan, the Yankees LoHud blog written by Peter Abraham is the place to be.
posted by Mach5 at 12:35 PM on April 10, 2009


If you have cable or can find it online try and catch Baseball Tonight its and ESPN/ESPN2 show that basically gives updates on all the games of the day but also has some interesting and random items like how certain pitches are thrown and how hitters hit things like that. Last night they had a little special on how the home team can shape the field to their advantage, for example cutting the grass short for fast ground balls or having the opposing teams bullpen mound so when you throw your throwing with the wind and the regular mound your throwing into the wind. Also check out Baseball Refelctions for some decent writing about whats happening in baseball and off the feild. Also check out the glossary on Baseball Prospectus because baseball is also a game of abbreviations.
posted by lilkeith07 at 1:06 PM on April 10, 2009


If you have the time, each major league team has a website with a veritable treasure trove of information. Each team's website will have a drop down menu to navigate to all the other team's sites. They all appear to follow the same design, so drilling down for info should be fairly straightforward (Roster, Active Roster (or 40 Man Roster), click a name & VOILA! - Stats, Biography & Career Highlights (by year available also), Fantasy Comparison, etc. Much more information than you could possibly want in an easily available and consistent format. Start at MLB.com, look for the 'MLB Sites' box on the upper left & navigate to your heart's content. Enjoy!
posted by torquemaniac at 1:11 PM on April 10, 2009


Most major sports leagues are to big these days, so I second the suggestion to start with the home team and work out from there. Before every series against your guys, you can read a few interesting articles on the opponents and that way you'll get familiar fast with who is doing what.

One thing I love to do is to read in before a series and think about a story YOU'D like to follow. For me, in my chosen sport of hockey, I decided early on to follow the way the Toronot Maple Leafs were rebuilding this year, and to learn about all the young guys that were joining the team. I knew we had no hope of the making the playoffs, but my own curiosity drove the search for information, and I rarely got caught up in stats.

I like to have a season-long story I am following, and then one for each rivalry too. This is so much easier in baseball, as the games are played in series so you can listen to what the series means for the teams involved.

Anyway, that's how I brought a much more story-based approach to following sports. Makes what happens in the game such a deeper experience.
posted by salishsea at 2:04 PM on April 10, 2009


I agree with learning more about your favorite team and going from there. If your local paper has a good writer, you'll get a wider perspective too, which is what you're seeking.

Just be careful who you choose as a favorite team, as I've been following the Pirates, which is surely the most painful experience in baseball.
posted by elder18 at 3:56 PM on April 10, 2009


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