Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Our Israel Baseball Good Guy Award goes to the anonymous Iblemetrician for his love of the game

“At some point, in some post, we should point out that not everyone who has written about the Israel Baseball League in the past ten months is misinformed or behind the curve,” says Our Man Elli in Israel from a table at the Café 1868 kosher restaurant on Beth Lechem Road in Baka, Jerusalem’s last real neighborhood. “One guy in particular has been honest in his writing, pure in his study of the sport, and straightforward about giving credit where it’s due.

“I salute the man behind bIBLmetrics. He’s a software engineer who took the game and the promise of the league so seriously that he applied sabermetrics (analysis of baseball through statistics) to try and make some baseball sense out of stats from a league that was defunct the day the season ended.

“He calls himself ‘iblemetrician,’ and he spent an unbelieveable amount of time doing this for the love of the game.

“The Iblemetrician, though, he alone gave credit to Tabloid Baby for every bit of information that he shared with his readers. I don’t think there's a website editor alive who can boast that— except maybe Luke Ford, but he did it in passing. And this guy devoted all this effort, in effect, to the players themselves. And they’re the real beneficiaries of all that work. Indeed, those inside-baseball numbers he produced just might REALLY be all that the IBL players walk away with from the summer of 2007 . Those stats and the memories of having played with some really great guys.

“Look, it’s your site, I realize you’re protecting the brand and the exclusives we’ve gathered, but there’s been a real negativity recently with all the anonymous sniping. And the apologists are clever, claiming we’re actually happy that the crooks and schnooks fouled out for 2008.”

Thanks, Elli. And in fact, we we did indeed salute the Iblemetrician back in October 2007, declaring that his work, combined with Elli’s landmark expose of the IBL’s 2007 season, creates a full picture of the experience. In response, he sent us this comment:

“Glad you like the site. Thanks for the link.

 (To make sure it's clear: I don't do this for a living! I'm a software engineer with a newly-rediscovered baseball addiction.)

 In case you're curious, I enjoyed the IBL and hope it survives and thrives, but that doesn't change the fact that Elli's article was an excellent piece of journalism. It was outrageous that no local journalist cared to cover the league seriously during the season. (Reprinting league press releases doesn't count.)

“The IBL has some work to do if it wants to make this last. Avoiding and ignoring media criticism doesn't solve anything.”

Sadly, bIBLemetrics last posted in January, writing,

“The fat lady has sung. Or at least, the IAB has. Looks like the IBL won't be back in '08. 

Let's hope the IPBL folks can get their act together in time for this summer.

 Baseball is still about dreams.”

We hope professional baseball comes back to Israel in some form soon, if only so bIBLEmetrics can work its magic. Hope, as always, springs eternal, and is, of course, the thing with feathers.

Do you have a Good Guy Award nominee? Send it
here and we'll give a shoutout!

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