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Friday, March 26, 2010

Shameless Plug:  ZiPS in ESPN Magazine

Hey, I’ve got to occasionally let you guys know what’s I’m doing behind the pay wall.

Anyway, the latest issue of ESPN Magazine is out (I believe, a few people have reported receiving theirs - I haven’t yet, just the digital edition) and it has their MLB Preview.

Most importantly, from my point of view (naturally), is the heart of the preview is a 7-page feature on how ZiPS projects the 2010 season to play out, with Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian sharing their opinions on how the results will play out.

So, even if the prospects of fancy new sabermetric content on Insider hasn’t convinced you yet to subscribe to ESPN Insider, I would greatly appreciate you picking up a copy (or 50), to help speed along my plans for world domination and the anarcho-libertarian society I plan to implement, with me as the feared and loved autarch.

Dan Szymborski Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:06 AM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: zips

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   1. Fresh Prince of Belisle Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:21 AM (#3486240)
Fair enough, that's worth an ad. Don't be such a Casper Milquetoast, you and Jim and Darren and Chris are perfectly entitled to use to site to promote your work!
   2. Fresh Prince of Belisle Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:21 AM (#3486241)
Oh, and congrats.
   3. Damon Rutherford Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:47 AM (#3486249)
Does the "i" in ZiPS come from the last letter of Szymborski? I'm very pleased you did not go with "ZyPS".
   4. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:50 AM (#3486250)
Yes.

The story is that I wanted it to rhyme with DIPS and I wrote it like CHiPs because I'm weird. But I spelled it ZiPS the first time instead of ZiPs and everyone knew it as that, so I left it. I only figured out what the letters (except the Z) stood for later.
   5. Damon Rutherford Posted: March 26, 2010 at 03:11 AM (#3486254)
PS screams "Projection System", so that worked out well.

I thought perhaps the "i" might stand for "inferior" or "incomplete" or "incredulous" or "infinitesimally-better-than-PECOTA" or "inconceivable".
   6. The Ghost fouled out, but stays in the game Posted: March 26, 2010 at 03:16 AM (#3486256)
Congratulations, Dan! I concur that you are entitled to promote it and brag here.

But don't let it go to your head, now...
   7. Damon Rutherford Posted: March 26, 2010 at 03:18 AM (#3486257)
OK, sure. Congrats, Szym!
   8. Tripon Posted: March 26, 2010 at 03:20 AM (#3486258)
ESPN Had David Appleman try to explain WAR and WPA today. (Not the most successful operation, Appleman seemed nervous throughout the interview, and couldn't articulate his analysis as concise as he needed for television. ESPN should have probably put somebody experienced at talking on TV and knows the material such as Keith Law).

The funnier thing is that they had Nomar Garciaparra, Aaron Boone, and Buster Olney then give commentry on the stats.

Nomar says it misses the heart of the players and rather have the traditional stats such as OPB, Average, OPS, and ERA. Boone said they're(the stats) here to stay and they need to be taking in context and not ignore the scouting side, and Olney agreed with Boone.
   9. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 26, 2010 at 03:26 AM (#3486260)
The funny thing is that what it stands for sometimes makes me have to describe it in an annoying way for more mainstream audience. Since they won't instantly know what ZiPS stands for, I'll refer to it frequently as the ZiPS Projection System, or essentially, the Szymborski Projection System Projection System.
   10. Damon Rutherford Posted: March 26, 2010 at 03:33 AM (#3486263)
It projects so nice, I say it twice.
   11. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: March 26, 2010 at 04:49 AM (#3486311)
Congratulations, Dan.
   12. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: March 26, 2010 at 05:14 AM (#3486326)
Yeah, this is great, Dan. I'm glad you're getting the credit you deserve.
   13. ckash Posted: March 26, 2010 at 12:20 PM (#3486392)
I would never buy ESPN the Magazine but I will make an exception for Dan. Congratulations.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 26, 2010 at 12:27 PM (#3486397)
Is there a way to subscribe to Insider w/o getting the magazine?
   15. bunyon Posted: March 26, 2010 at 12:33 PM (#3486402)
Hmm, does appearing in Insider decrease your credibility? ;)


Seriously, congrats and well done.
   16. Fresh Prince of Belisle Posted: March 26, 2010 at 01:11 PM (#3486419)
If you guys haven't checked out ESPN Mag in the last 6 months or so you really should. They've had a lot more saber-type of content, like Football Outsiders stuff over the winter. They also seem to have a page of pitch/fx stuff dissecting a single at-bat in this issue.
   17. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 26, 2010 at 01:18 PM (#3486424)
Apologies to Dayn Perry, but FOXsports.com once reran one of my pieces from here and I'm still credible. They never paid me for it, but I think the statute of limitations ran out on that a long time ago. This was during the '01 World Series.

I subscribed to The Mag a while back to help a friend of mine's kids in a magazine drive. The goal was to get Insider access, which I didn't use much anyways. The subscription lapsed, but I still get the magaizne. But I cannot sign into Insider. If his kids ask again, I'll get SI or the New Yorker.
   18. Zoppity Zoop Posted: March 26, 2010 at 01:23 PM (#3486430)
At discountmag.com, if you put in the discount code 3614 while you're making your order, you can get a year of ESPN Magazine with Insider for $4. Szymborski convinced me last month (though I had to pay $14 at the time) and I'm pretty happy as there is quite a lot of stathead stuff up. Tango's been contributing, too, and Fangraphs appears to have a syndication deal, counteracting the general informercial quality of the BP contributions.
   19. Damon Rutherford Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:16 PM (#3486488)
Only $4? Really really?
   20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:18 PM (#3486494)
Cool stuff, Dan.

ZiPS will crush them all! It will bury them!
   21. Randy Jones Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:19 PM (#3486496)
Hey Dan, I noticed you are also writing for the TMI blog on ESPN.com. Do you have any actual contact with the other people who write for that blog? I ask because while you, and Tango, and the Fangraphs and BPro guys generally do a decent job, they have a bunch of people listed as "ESPN Stats & Info" and they are, well, rather useless. Some of their posts are ok but most are just bad. That blog would be infinitely improved by just getting rid of all of them.

At discountmag.com, if you put in the discount code 3614 while you're making your order, you can get a year of ESPN Magazine with Insider for $4. Szymborski convinced me last month (though I had to pay $14 at the time) and I'm pretty happy as there is quite a lot of stathead stuff up. Tango's been contributing, too, and Fangraphs appears to have a syndication deal, counteracting the general informercial quality of the BP contributions.


If you go here. You can find a link to discountmags. There you can get 4 years of ESPN the Magazine for $13 (or less if you use the coupon code in the Slickdeals thread). The magazine is worthless, but you get access to ESPN Insider. The trick, and it is explained in the Slickdeals thread I linked to, is that after you get the magazine, go here and follow the instructions to get access to Insider. After you have Insider access, go to ESPN.com, go to your account page, and cancel the auto renewal. Then after a year, your Insider access will lapse. If you still have a Magazine sub, just go to the go.com page I linked and enter the info again and you will get Insider access for another year. Essentially, you can pay the $13 and get Insider access for 4 years. It's mostly crap, but I like Keith Law's stuff and a few of the other Insider only writers. It's certainly worth $13 for 4 years

Is there a way to subscribe to Insider w/o getting the magazine?


You can pay for Insider access directly, but it is like $30 or $40 a year. Just get the magazine, and set your delivery to digital only. It's 1 email a month that gets sent directly to my trash folder.
   22. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:36 PM (#3486523)
Hey Dan, I noticed you are also writing for the TMI blog on ESPN.com. Do you have any actual contact with the other people who write for that blog? I ask because while you, and Tango, and the Fangraphs and BPro guys generally do a decent job, they have a bunch of people listed as "ESPN Stats & Info" and they are, well, rather useless. Some of their posts are ok but most are just bad. That blog would be infinitely improved by just getting rid of all of them.


That's a bit harsh, no? They've done correlation of OPS with runs scored and some pitch-by-pitch stuff in just the last couple of days. It's not necessarily a sabermetrics-only blog and not geared solely at the hardcore sabermetrics reading base.

As for contact with the others, I already know most of them. The sabermetrics community isn't that big, so everyone that's involved generally knows everyone else. Dave Cameron, in particular, is one of the old Usenet Crü, so him I've known for nearly 15 years.

Any way, while I can't be expected to be completely objective here, I'm extremely happy with the interest that the ESPN guys have taken in sabermetrics and they've been very supportive.

One thing I've learned about media the last few years is that there are a lot more big writers that are interested in sabermetrics than you would think. There are of course, always Bill Plaschkes hanging around, but there are other writers that you wouldn't associate with sabermetrics that are very interested and respectful of the field and my work (Jerry Crasnick and Paul White are two good examples).

If anyone has any doubts, ESPN's increased use of sabermetrics isn't simply a token effort - I'm only an independent contractor that has been contributing regularly for a month, but they've made me feel like an integrated member of the team (I can't speak for Tango or the Fangraphs guys, just my own experience).

I know they value having ZiPS around. Not quite sure if I can say this story, but I'll leave out names (and this may be deleted at a future date). When asked my price for doing the ZiPS work for the magazine, I gave a fairly low, 3-digit answer. There was a quick moment of uncomfortable silence and I was encouraged to think it over and come back to them with a higher, more appropriate figure (which was about 4 times as much in the end). My face was a deep red from embarrassment at the time, but I greatly appreciated the courtesy.
   23. Randy Jones Posted: March 26, 2010 at 02:49 PM (#3486536)
(Jerry Crasnick and Paul White are two good examples).


Crasnick has, or at least had, weekly chats on ESPN.com. Having read most of them, I am not at all surprised that he is interested in sabermetrics. He's always seemed to have a pretty open mind about this stuff.

That's a bit harsh, no? They've done correlation of OPS with runs scored and some pitch-by-pitch stuff in just the last couple of days. It's not necessarily a sabermetrics-only blog and not geared solely at the hardcore sabermetrics reading base.


Probably, but I am kind of a dick. The blog hasn't been around long enough, but I have found that about 4 out of 5 of the ESPN Stats & Info posts are useless. You are right that some of them are very good. I will have to keep an eye on it and see if they just have a couple good writers and several bad ones.
   24. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 26, 2010 at 03:16 PM (#3486566)
If you don't mind my asking, did they recruit you guys or did you happen to contact someone there and offer your services? If I had to guess, I'd go with the former, but I am curious how bloggers wind up on mainstream sites.
   25. Fargo Posted: March 26, 2010 at 03:38 PM (#3486591)
Dan: that's a good story about your fee. Next time anybody asks, just remember that old saying: "Anything worth doing is worth getting paid to do."

I put that at the top of the list of classic versions of that line, such as:

"Anything worth doing is worth doing again."
   26. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: March 26, 2010 at 03:54 PM (#3486606)
Dan is serious when he talks about world domination; the 'i' in ZiPS stands for "illuminati."

Congrats on your success Dan.
   27. Damon Rutherford Posted: March 26, 2010 at 06:05 PM (#3486717)
Thanks, Randy! I'll give it a shot.
   28. base ball chick Posted: March 26, 2010 at 06:34 PM (#3486747)
grinning

here and i am picturing you in that king outfit complete with crown

why is it youse guys always wanna be king of the world? i mean, the villains in james bond always vant to rule ze VORLD!!!!!

you talk about a pain in the ass.

just think about trying to rule JUST all of us dorx right here on this here board. now you add in hundreds of millions more? heck just trying to rule sam h and DMN is migraine city right there
   29. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: March 27, 2010 at 05:24 AM (#3487058)
but when you rule the world you can make them fight to the death
   30. Repoz Posted: March 27, 2010 at 05:55 AM (#3487060)
After months of pulling teeth with ESPN over my being blocked out of Insider after paying for it...I called last month and told them told them to please drop me totally from their Insider/Mag and NOT to renew.

The dude on the other end said that I was now off our Insider list (HA!) and will not be receiving any further ESPN Magazines.

Naturally...the ESzymborskiPN Magazine arrived today.

(sigh)...but mega-congrats, Dan!
   31. 92-93 Posted: March 29, 2010 at 10:52 AM (#3487785)
All ESPN Insiders are "blocked" from it, it seems to happen to everyone I know...I find that when I click the link within the page that asks me for my registration, somehow my computer remembers it's logged in and takes me to the page.

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