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SABR 41: Intro Post! Long Beach Here I Come!

I’m writing this on an airplane on my way to the forty-first SABR convention. It’s a long flight, since I’m coming from Boston and the event is in Long Beach, California this year. Fortunately for me, I am being kept well occupied by the fact that I’m on Jetblue, which has DirecTV at every seat, and it so happens to be Wednesday. This all works out to mean I’ve been watching the Yankees at the Indians on ESPN for pretty much the entire flight so far. Unfortunately for me, seeing as I’m a Yankees fan, Justin Masterson was masterful, and has so far pitched eight shut-out innings. I think he has given up maybe three hits at most.

One of those hits was to Derek Jeter, though, one more on Jeter’s recently resumed march to 3,000 hits. (It was #2,997.) Philip Hughes also returned to the mound for the Yankees. He had to knock off some rust in the first inning, when he gave up two runs, but otherwise was pretty good until the fifth, when he started to get wild again. Sergio Mitre just gave up two more runs, though, so it’s not looking very good for the Yankees, who are down to three outs left and down 5-0 at this point.

Still, even if they lose, there’s little better way I can imagine to start a four day weekend of intense baseball geekery. Assuming there’s wireless Internet at the hotel, I’ll be reporting from the SABR convention all weekend. I’ll recap various presentations and events as I’ve done for the past few years here at Why I Like Baseball.

SABR, in case you don’t know, is the Society for American Baseball Research. I joined SABR in 2001, my first convention was in 2002, which means this will be my tenth one. I haven’t missed one yet since joining. I was actually considering skipping this year, given how far it is and that I’ve already been to both ballparks that we’ll be visiting (see previous entries from Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium, which was called Edison Field back when I was there. However, one of the golden rules of baseball is don’t mess with a streak, so I decided I oughtta go. Plus, in January I took on the role of Publications Director for SABR. (Stu Shea and I share the position and responsibilities and I acted as managing editor on the convention’s research publication.) So I really have to be there.

Oh hey, the Yankees just scored a run, have two in scoring position and no one out, and now the Indians’ closer has to come in the game. Chris Perez–this is the first time I’m getting a look at him. Wild motion, no? He really hucks it. I consider this scouting for a potential postseason matchup. The Indians got off to a hot start and despite some injuries are still in first place in the AL Central. (In case you didn’t know, the Yankees are in first place in the East.)

Two more runs are in, but two outs now. 5-3 Indians, Brett Gardner at the plate. He needs to get on to bring the tying run to the plate, in the person of Derek Jeter. Can it happen? Baseball seems to have this way of creating the possibilities for important moments in every game.

Not this time. Brett Gardner stares at a tricky breaking ball for called strike three. Jeter will try to get #3000 at home in the Bronx before the All-Star break hits next week.

Stay tuned.

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