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Thursday, January 02, 2014

WSJ: Bill James’s Kansas Home

I’d rather Bill James talk about Heidnik’s house of horrors...but what can you do.

In February I’ll start watching baseball again on TV at my house in Lawrence, Kan. As a baseball historian and statistician, it’s part of what I do. I measure and analyze all aspects of player and pitcher performance, which occasionally provides insights into the game. Fortunately, my wife, Susan McCarthy, doesn’t mind. She’s a huge baseball fan.

We have two TVs with satellite packages that let me watch any game live. But we don’t sit around watching games. I’m a workaholic. I have games on while I’m working and we always turn off the TV during dinner. I try to catch all of the Red Sox games, but for some reason the really big moments—like Clay Buchholz’s no-hitter in 2007—happen when I’m not watching. I can’t predict those moments—nor can I figure out why life happens that way.

...Our house is spacious and just blocks from downtown—perfect for our three kids when they were young. The first thing you see when you enter the front door is a large statue of a baseball player. It stands about 8-feet tall and was carved out of redwood with a chain saw. My wife bought Baseball Man for me in the ‘90s during one of our drives through Monterey, Calif. She surprised me with it for my 45th birthday.

When kids come by on Halloween, the sculpture frightens them because it looks like a giant. We had our five-year-old nephew stay with us recently and when we asked him to get something from the car, he wouldn’t go. We finally realized he was afraid to walk past Baseball Man.

...I often watch games on TV when I’m on the treadmill in the basement. The games distract me from thinking about how much longer I have to walk. I tend to obsessively calculate the percentage of time left until the end of any event. It’s an unconscious compulsion. My wife knows I have this ability but has trained me to keep such fascinating observations to myself. My wife knows I have this ability but has trained me to keep such fascinating observations to myself. For instance, I’m enjoying our conversation now, but it’s driving me nuts that I don’t know how much longer it’s going to last. But I’m not going to ask.

 

Repoz Posted: January 02, 2014 at 07:57 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. AndrewJ Posted: January 02, 2014 at 08:42 PM (#4628727)
I tend to obsessively calculate the percentage of time left until the end of any event. It’s an unconscious compulsion. My wife knows I have this ability but has trained me to keep such fascinating observations to myself. My wife knows I have this ability but has trained me to keep such fascinating observations to myself.


I'm receiving enigmatic signals here. Just to clarify:

1) Does Bill's wife know he has this ability; and if so

2) Has she trained him to keep such fascinating observations to himself?
   2. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 02, 2014 at 10:02 PM (#4628791)
Repeating that sentence is why he didn't know how long the conversation was going to last. But he's not going to ask. But he's not going to ask.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 02, 2014 at 10:26 PM (#4628811)
I want baseball man in my house.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 03, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4628869)
...Our house is spacious and just blocks from downtown


Cool. I've probably puked a mere hundred feet from Bill's front yard from my days at KU.
   5. Publius Publicola Posted: January 03, 2014 at 12:16 AM (#4628881)
That last paragraph appears to be Bill trying to explain his autism.
   6. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 03, 2014 at 04:22 AM (#4628954)
Bill James is a weird person.

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for weird people. The world would suck sans weird people.
   7. AndrewJ Posted: January 03, 2014 at 06:49 AM (#4628971)
I want baseball man in my house.

Me too.
   8. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 03, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4629001)
Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for weird people.

And we have weird people to thank for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Thus the circle of life.

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