Business - Written by Denis Hancock on Friday, March 7, 2008 15:49 - 1 Comment
One for the birds – opening up the scouting process
“We don’t have a monopoly on baseball knowledge,” says Sig Mejdal, the Cardinals’ senior quantitative analyst who helped create the contest. “Just looking at the fan sites and posting boards, you see an amazing amount of energy. Why not harness it?”
Why not indeed! So what this senior quantitative analyst has done (as reported in the WSJ) is create a “One for the Birds” contest, where fans are invited to file 300-word recommendations for players at small, non Division 1 schools. The fan who sends in the most compelling recommendation, whether the player ends up being drafted or not, gets a tip to St.Louis and a couple of sets of ball tickets.
I have to thank Joseph P. at River Ave Blues for pointing this story out, and catching me up on a couple of other wikinomics-related stories tied to baseball that I had missed or forgotten. One was the open letter to Rafeal Chavez (Seattle’s pitching coach) that blogger David Cameron posted online, which provided a detailed review of star pitchers Felix Hernandez’s early inning pitch selection – and why it should be altered. The pitching coach not only saw it, he printed it out and read it to Felix, and the report was credited with assisting in a turn-around. Another was a reminder of how many top baseball officials report to love reading the top fan blogs. If you are interested in seeing how good some of these blogs are getting, check out those listed on the sidebar of the WSJ article, and look around the River Ave. site itself – great stuff if you’re even a mildly interested baseball fan. Note that the WSJ article mentions one blogger that earned a consulting job with the Red Sox thanks to his analytical posts, and another now getting 100,000 daily readers (enabling the blog to be a full-time job).
In the last paragraph of his post, Joseph mentions that he’s reading Wikinomics right now, and ties what his group is doing on the blog back to it. I really like his summary:
… I’m in the middle of reading currently. It’s about harnessing the awesome power of mass collaboration. Which is really what we do here on baseball blogs. We talk, you comment, and we’re all a bit more knowledgeable as a result. While some baseball front offices tend to shun blogs, some are embracing them as source of collective knowledge. We at RAB — Mike, Ben, myself, the commenters, hell, even the lurkers — might not have more knowledge than Damon Oppenheimer and Brian Cashman. But because we’re all working together, we might think of something that the two of them couldn’t. And that, my friends, is how we’re all doing part to help our beloved Yankees.
And do you know what else I like? Well, certainly not the Yankees… so I must end this post with the greatest picture in baseball history, as well as a link to the greatest coke commercial ever.
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