BA's work heats up during offseason
by Will Lingo
November 22, 2005
lawyers, high-powered executives. Sure, those are great jobs. But they all fall
short in dinner-party conversation when put up against working at Baseball
We're almost guaranteed to be judged holders of the most interesting job in
any social group, and when people find out that, in addition to being able to
talk about baseball (and sports in general) all day, we also get to wear blue
jeans or shorts to work, well, they hate us.
After the talk about how cool our jobs are dies down, though, the next
question is almost inevitable: "What do you guys do when baseball season is
As you savvy baseball fans know, baseball season never really ends. On just
about any day of the year, you can find someone playing baseball somewhere. And
we certainly try to keep up with all those people.
But we get the point. Among the games most people care about--those in the
major and minor leagues in North America--you have game action for seven months
out of the year. What in the heck do we do for those other five months?
We crank out even more baseball information than we do the rest of the
We like to say we work even harder in the winter than we do during the season
because while games are being played a lot of the information generates itself,
for lack of a better description. Baseball produces new statistics every day, and
stories happen at the ballpark every day as well, whether it's a player on a hot
or cold streak or some bizarre happening that we have to share.
After the games end we have to go out and find the news ourselves, both for
our issues and the Website, but also for the four books we produce each
Buy The Book
Oh yeah, those darn books. They certainly make the winter more interesting,
and they're a huge part of keeping us busy during the offseason. We hope you know
them and love them--the Almanac, Directory, Prospect Handbook and Super
Register--because we put a lot of work into making them the best baseball
references of their kind.
The Almanac falls first in our work cycle because it's the book that
summarizes everything that has happened in baseball for the year that was. The
biggest part of the book is major and minor league statistics, but this being
Baseball America we cover every corner of the baseball landscape, from college
statistics to how things played out in the Dutch pro league this year.
That book has already gone to press and will be delivered to us at the
beginning of December. That means it should be in bookstores by early January,
and if you order from us you should have yours in plenty of time for Christmas
Now we're in the middle of the Prospect Handbook, which is going to press
about a month earlier this year. That means we should have it in our hands by the
end of January, and it will be in bookstores by the end of February. (Because it
takes about a month for books to work their way through the national distribution
network to individual bookstores, you'll always get your copy quicker by ordering
directly from us.)
We'll kick off work on the Directory soon, but the real work on that book
begins after the Winter Meetings and the holidays, when teams have hired for most
of their key positions. So that project occupies a lot of time in January, as we
try to get you the most up-to-date information on who works where in baseball and
how to get in touch with everyone. That book should be in our hands by the end of
February, and in bookstores by the end of March.
And finally there's the Super Register, which consumes news editor J.J.
Cooper's life for four to six weeks each year. As we hope you know, the book
lists vitals and career major and minor league statistics for every active player
in Organized Baseball in 2005. That book is scheduled to go to press in February
and get back to us in mid-March, and then we'll ship it to you. That's the one of
our four books that is not distributed to bookstores, so you can only order it
Prospects, Our Passion
The one area that stretches across the books, each issue of BA (especially in
the offseason) and the Website is prospect rating. It's the whole basis for the
Prospect Handbook and a huge part of our content throughout the winter.
That's why you can find prospect debates taking place in the halls of BA World
Headquarters on any day of the week. In this issue alone, we debated where
righthander Rafael Gonzalez fit into the Reds' top 10, whether lefthander Dana
Eveland should be ahead of righthander Jose Capellan in the Brewers' top 10, and
whether righthander Stuart Pomeranz rated ahead of outfielder Daryl Jones for the
last spot on the Cardinals' top 10 list.
We don't always agree with each other about these ratings, and sometimes the
people we talk to with different organizations let us know how and why they
disagree with our ratings. For instance, in most cases we rate recent draft picks
higher than teams would, and teams tend to rate players who are closer to the
majors higher than we would.
So we expect you to disagree with our ratings in many places as well. That's
what makes it so much fun to discuss. While Jim Callis and I can have strong
feelings about the relative value of Jones v. Pomeranz, we really have no idea
how it will all turn out. That's why you'll find a tattered piece of paper in our
office known simply as the "bet board." But that's a whole other column.
In the meantime, enjoy another round of prospect goodness. And we'll keep
cranking out more than enough baseball information to keep you going through the