January Blogapalooza is upon us, and it seems we have to write about a character in a book or a movie that affected us. I’m going to cheat a little bit here, because I CAN (don’t fire me Julie and Jimmy).
One of my favorite players of all time is Barry Bonds, who probably won’t be going into the Baseball Hall of Fame anytime soon because of silly reasons. In 2004, I learned about on-base percentage for the very first time when Bonds posted a ridiculous video game OBP of .609 for the season. I had no idea why but it seemed important to me that a baseball player gets on base over half the time. It wasn’t until many years later that I found myself in the company of a very awesome group of baseball minds, and one of them introduced me to “The Book” by Tom Tango. Tango, by the way, is a current analyst for the Cubs organization.
Barry Bonds’ ridiculous seasons were featured prominently as case studies in “The Book.” I learned about the wisdom of intentional walks and lineup protection/construction in this book with the central character (at least in a couple chapters) being one of my childhood baseball heroes. I learned that a lot of the things I thought I knew about baseball weren’t exactly correct. And I learned to appreciate the kinds of players that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are trying to bring into the organization so that the Cubs can be relevant again sometime in the future.
The knowledge I gained from “The Book” included some fundamentals of platooning, reliever usage, the idea that “clutch” doesn’t really exist in a quantifiable form, and I definitely found a greater dislike for the intentional walk and the sacrifice bunt. I think the fact that Barry Bonds was part of this book made it resonate with me a little more, because Barry Bonds, steroids or no, was one of the greatest baseball players ever and he epitomized the skillsets that you want to see in great ballplayers. I felt that the knowledge made me a better baseball analyst, though I am by no means an expert; at the least, I feel that I can hold an intelligent conversation on Baseball Twitter and amongst other Cubs and baseball bloggers.
I’d recommend this read to anyone, and I think I’m going to start another of 20247297 petitions to get Barry Bonds into the Hall of Fame. Feel free to join me!