Last August, I hopped back onto the Twitter grid after a long absence. When I first signed up, I had no idea what I was doing and abandoned the effort after getting followed by a bunch of lingerie models. When I came back, there were still 43 people who had been following me during the three years that I was gone. Talk about exercising excruciating patience.
I've been tweeting on and off now for nearly five months and have recently passed the 1,000 mark in followers. If you are on Twitter, you can find me @RonShandler.
If you are not on Twitter, it provides a wealth of information though it is an exercise in discipline. The more people you follow, the longer your timeline will be. I'm following about 160 people right now and can get about 100 tweets per hour at peak times. But a little bit of discipline goes a long way to avoid having it overtake your attention.
I typically do not tweet about any real-time events (though that's typically where the real value lies). My tweets are mostly random brain flakes, opinions and occasional rants. To give you a sense of what you've been missing by not being one of my followers, here are some of my twittering highlights over the past few months...
SEPT 14: #BryanLaHair is batting .257 but that's .227 since May 1 and .204 since July 1. His .390 April is what made him look rosterable.
NOV 21: The release of Bryan LaHair is further proof that the selection process for a mid-season All Star Game is absurd.
...and why Bryan LaHair is now playing in Japan.
SEPT 27: Let's get Glen Waggoner, Alex Patton, John Hunt & John Benson into the FSWA Hall of Fame. Need letters of ref by 9/30.
NOV 21: Finally, Glen Waggoner and John Hunt get nominated for FSWA Hall of Fame. Alex Patton and John Benson still waiting.
DEC 13: Congratulations to the new @fswa Hall of Famers. Another year of waiting for the industry's founders from the baseball side.
DEC 13: How do pioneers like Glen Waggoner and John Hunt watch the @fswa Hall of Fame results from the sidelines for yet another year?
It's a head-scratcher, frankly. In the three years that the Hall of Fame has been in existence, the Fantasy Sports Writers Association continues to vote in the Albert Pujols-caliber writers while leaving the Babe Ruths on the outside. How can you adequately evaluate today's writers if the industry's pioneers are not given their due?
I've been grumbling about the voting process since Year #1's results and even after I was inducted in Year #2. It doesn't change anything. I suppose they got tired of listening to me and invited me to be a board member this year. I'll be sitting in on my first board meeting next week and hope to have my voice heard.
OCT 1: http://BaseballHQ.com poll: 30% of owners of Mike Trout are in 1st place. 55% no lower than 3rd. 75% no lower than 5th.
This is a survey we run every year and the results are always the same. Each year's big surprise performer has a disproportionate impact on league standings.
OCT 3: Why can't this down-to-the wire excitement happen more than once a year? Don't today's short attention spans beg for split season play?
This is one of last season's new bandwagons that I will continue to write about. It is nearly impossible to accurately project playing time over six months. I played in several one-month leagues last year and they provide a different, yet fascinating, type of challenge. A slight loss in skills projectability is easily offset by the greater accuracy in projecting at-bats and innings. Standings are more fun to follow each day, and as the tweet noted, you get to experience that down-to-the-wire excitement SIX TIMES.
OCT 3: Next March - PLEASE - let's not project 2013 using 2012 as a baseline. Teams CAN improve and decline by dozens of games.
You are going to be reading more and more about this over the coming weeks, not only about teams but about players as well. 2012 is not a point of reference for 2013. 2013 starts as a blank slate.
OCT 3: Despite all the arguments, Cabrera's triple crown probably seals the MVP award, given the composition of the voter pool.
NOV 15: My opinion - If the parochial BBWA voters make Miggy MVP, so what. Until we have firm, objective criteria, all awards voting is flawed.
NOV 15: Miggy wins MVP... Makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. Lately it seems like people in power just want to return us to the 1950s.
NOV 16: All these #ALMVP debates provide nice column fodder and mega-ad impressions, but I'd still much prefer firm, objective voting criteria.
An easy call on October 3, in retrospect. In talking about awards voting in general, it is becoming more and more evident that the composition of the voter pool means everything. That applies to the FSWA above, and more below...
OCT 24: Had to set my keeper list today and opted not to protect Panda and Lincecum. They are doing this just to make me look stupid.
If you forgot... On October 24, Pablo Sandoval went 4-for-4 with three home runs and Tim Lincecum struck out five in 2 1/3 hitless relief innings. At the time, it was aggravating, but with the benefit of time, I remind myself that good decisions are not made from knee-jerk responses to a single game's performance.
OCT 29: For those who post NSFW items, don't forget about all of us who work from home. For us, they are DNFW (Desperately Necessary for Work).
Just so you know that not all my tweets are baseball-related.
NOV 1: Excerpts from my interview on Sirius/XM last week and my comments about Mike Trout... …
This tightly edited audio clip generated a bunch of response from various sources. I stand behind it and will be talking more about it all spring.
NOV 7: Yup - all roads lead to #BaseballHQ. MT @almelccbs Back in the day, I wrote a Scoresheet column for @RonShandler just like @fivethirtyeight
NOV 8: @kronzer I told my wife that just like @fivethirtyeight I used to write for @RonShandler and @BaseballHQ. Her resp: Where's your book?
NOV 21: He's come a long way since writing for us as a 19-year-old here #NateSilver
NOV 21: Forget 538 and best-selling books, #NateSilver REALLY made it by getting into yesterday's Doonesbury comic strip.
Not too many people know that Nate Silver's baseball writing career began as a Scoresheet Baseball columnist for us back in the late 1990s while he was a student at the University of Chicago. Al Melchior, currently at CBSSports, picked up that column shortly afterwards. Another former writer, Craig Kronzer, chimed in as well.
NOV 14: Great Sheehan quote... "The rule I apply to fantasy baseball applies here: any trade involving more than 4 players is a sign you're bored."
Joe Sheehan tweeted this right after the Blue-Jays-Marlins 12-player trade. It is so true. Though, if not bored, there is certainly a need to ferret down to reveal the real goals of any deal. I'd say that 95% of all fantasy trades can be equitable with just four players.
NOV 29: #AllStarStats is no more. End of an era for fantasy leaguers who've been playing since before the turn of the century.
It is always a sad day for me to see a long-time company close up shop. Before all the major media sites swallowed up the commissioner service business, All Star Stats, USA Stats and TQ Stats were the industry stalwarts. TQ was eventually bought out by Fanball, which then went under. USA was bought out by All Star, and now they're all gone.
Just like we are encouraged to patronize independent entrepreneurs in all industries, we should do likewise here. OnRoto.com is the reincarnation of TQ Stats and very worthy. Also many positive comments about Fantrax and Custom Stat.
DEC 7: First Pitch Forum sked - LA (Feb 16), SF (Feb 17), Chicago (Feb 23), DC (Mar 1), NY (Mar 2), Boston (Mar 3)
Just a reminder...
DEC 10: In defense of the #Royals.. Matt LaPorta, Andy Marte, Sean Burroughs, Brandon Wood, Jeremy Hermida, Justin Smoak... all top 10 prospects
DEC 10: In defense of the #Royals 2... Joe Borchard, Jesse Foppert, Dallas McPherson, Austin Kearns, Hee Seop Choi... all top 10 prospects
DEC 12: Are clubs learning that unproven prospects are tradeable chips? 3 of arguably the top 6 prospects just got dealt in the past week.
I was annoyed how quickly baseball writers were to pass judgment on the Will Myers trade and thrash Royals' management. We don't know who Myers is going to turn into.
DEC 13: Hate to say this, #Angels fans, but park effects potentially are going to do a number on #JoshHamilton.
DEC 13: Like I said. Park effects RT @JeffPassan Josh Hamilton career at Angel Stadium: .260/.325/.440 with five HR, 13 BB and 28 K in 150 at-bats.
There have been several analyses that have come out refuting this. Using the actual distances of Hamilton's home runs in Texas overlaid with Anaheim park dimensions, it appears that the fall-off might not be as severe. However, his actual performance at Angel Stadium - rather than speculating on what might be - seems the stronger argument.
DEC 12: Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN When I hear HOF voters say certain players 'did it clean,' I think: How could you possibly know? Speculating either way a slippery slope.
JAN 1: Why the HoF voting system is fatally flawed, Reason #312: Value of individual achievement should not depend upon strength of class.
JAN 4: Flawed HoF Reason #313: MT @sean_forman Three people at http://GolfersWest.com have a ballot & Bill James, John Thorn & Vin Scully don't.
JAN 7: I signed this. You need to as well so we can spark change in a highly flawed system.
JAN 9: Sick of all the #HoF talk. There has been an incredible amount of energy analyzing and speculating on the results of a highly flawed system.
JAN 9: I wish that we just admit that the system is flawed and redirect all that energy to rebuilding it. And NO BAND-AIDS. It requires a REBUILD.
JAN 9: #HoF FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL Arrrrrgh!
JAN 9: How many potential first ballot #HallofFame candidates lost votes just because of the anti-first ballot bias? #DoubleWhammy
I have been thinking about the Hall of Fame a lot lately. And while the topic is not specifically fantasy-relevant, I think there are potential solutions that can draw on the lessons of fantasy baseball. I need to organize my thoughts, but I think I am going to be writing more about this during the summer.
JAN 15: @BaseballGuys @rotoballs @Jeff_Erickson @Tim_Heaney There are enough more projectable players to push Trout out of the 1st rd. #RecencyBias
Oh, it's starting. Get ready....
If you are on Twitter, follow me @RonShandler. Let's see how my follower count soars after this note...