Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beginning In the Middle

So this isn't exactly the beginning. This is more of a reset.*

So what's being reset? Gritty&Clutch is starting over, but only in theory. When we first started this thing last year, it was supposed to be a joke--some way we could get our rocks off by making fun of stupid things around sports while hopefully offering some intelligent stat-based commentary along the way.

"Let's just have fun and see who we can piss off." And thus it began. We had some good stuff, and some pretty bad stuff too. After a few silly articles, our original idea of Stats with Snark morphed into some Onion-y type sports satire site. Needless to say there's not a huge market for that. Nor was it very fun. How many different ways can one take some current sports headline, make fun of it, and keep it interesting?

* Am I the only one so obsessive compulsive that the [RESET] button on his NES was his best and worst enemy? How many games of Mario did I play, whereupon the first accidental death, I shot my finger to the reset button before the next life? I always knew I would need every life I could get if I ever wanted to beat it. I never did.

I had that awful habit when playing on my Grandma's piano too. I only knew the beginning of Axel Foley (really just the first six or seven notes) and would attempt to play for my sister --who I might say was never impressed with my piano playing OR my Nintendo-resetting habits-- and all the while I would get a few notes in, mess up, and start over. Over and over again. I didn't have much of an audience for very long.

Worse, I still do this. I have a game for the PC called Age of Empires III (quite fun), but it always feels like the first ten minutes are the most important. So, when things don't quite go my way after the first ten, rather than play it out and feel failure, I just hit [RESTART] and try again. I rarely finish a game that I won't win.

Is there something wrong with that? I can't be the only 80s generation kid so pleased with himself, so afraid of failure, so arrogant and anal and obsessive that I refuse to observe the Game Over screen?

Some time later we got bored, worked on different projects, and Gritty&Clutch fell by the wayside. I started a website about video game sales of all things*, and I really polished up my chart making skills.

That was a year ago.

*I don't want to get off on too far of a tangent, but I really have fully embraced my inner dork. As if the previous passage didn't tip you off, I'm quite the dork. Video games, fantasy books, Dungeons & Dragons, tabletop war games, Quantum Leap, dinosaurs, Star Trek, computers; all of them have embarrassed me at some point.

And video game sales. I found this little subset of dorkery and started making charts. Crazy charts, like "Which Nintendo game sold the most ever?" ."Will increased sales in Japan mean increased sales world wide?". "How do Konami and EA financials compare?", etc. Enough people liked them that I started a little site for my dorky hobby, and now I think I can apply this dorkeriffic habit to baseball.

Which brings me to today. Some time ago, I met this cool dude at work who mentions that he likes baseball and we were best buds instantly. Me and my love of all things dorkeriffic, Walter opened the doors to a secret society. Something about "sabermetrics" and "baseball math." It sounded hilarious.

I learned about the hidden world of baseball, and I learned that sabermetrics really isn't scary at all. It's just a statistical approach to America's Pastime. I discovered the beauty of OPS+. JoePo. Rany. FireJoeMorgan. While it was tremendously fun to learn about and have my eyes opened to all the possibilities, it wasn't hilarious at all, nor was it hidden. It was right there in front of everybody.

I slowly came to understand that the reason my favorite team, my most-loved childhood team, my sad-sack, constantly losing, pathetic Kansas City Royals baseball team didn't lose because the evil Yankees had all the money. They didn't lose because they couldn't keep their best players. They didn't lose because of Evil Boras and those big meanies in Beantown.

Bad decisions and a rejection of analysis are why the Royals continue to lose. Over and over and over again. Not money. Not Boras. Not a curse. Just bad management and bad decisions.

This is now. Here I am, with a new perspective. Gritty&Clutch will be several things and none combined. It will be a place for stat-based commentary and analysis, baseball charts, conversational exchanges between Walter and I, and sometimes a little snark.

So we're starting over, but not really. We're continuing with a renewed focus on fun and real insight. This time I'm taking my finger off the reset button.


No comments:

Post a Comment