Friday, January 16, 2009

Top Baseball Sites these days

1. Fangraphs. I slagged them last April after 3-4 weeks of fairly pointless, small-sample-sized-based writing to kick off their era of having regular articles. Since then they have improved the statistics available on the site (at the time, already arguably the best) as well as their accessibility in countless ways. David Appelman has built a juggernaut.
2. Hardball Times. This site started a few months after I discovered serious internet baseball writing, and over the course of its five years of operation it has, to my mind, been the best source for baseball writing and statistics. It has blown Baseball Prospectus out of the water without really trying to (whereas I sense that Fangraphs is *trying* to blow Prospectus out of the water now, and is wildly successful in doing so).
3. Inside THE BOOK. I will admit I have only read a few threads on here in recent months because my time devoted to following baseball has almost entirely been from behind my uncluttered desk at work. But that's because this is a blog that requires focus and careful thought, and is the only baseball blog I have ever spend days/weeks going back to catch up on after a non-baseball period in my life. While I've got it down here at #3, the threads at Tango/MGL/AED's site are the engine that drive each of the others in my top four.
4. Statistically Speaking. The cast has changed a lot, as this blog may not have the resources to keep its talent beyond its pre-arb years. But the new additions are always very good, and this is a very consistent site to get saber-heavy analysis and research that offers something I hadn't thought about in every post.
5. Baseball Toaster. All-Baseball is a distant memory to many and simply unknown to most, but it once housed the best collection of baseball blogging talent ever seen. In the 2004-5 offseason, (aka the period when I was a bona fide baseball blogger and not a mere jotter of occasional anti-Collettisms) Wait til Next Year and Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat took off to become The Baseball Analysts (which continues going on strong, but the WTNY side has been taken up by others as Bryan Smith has gone on to gigs with Baseballs America and Prospectus). Bronx Banter, the Will Carroll Weblog, Dodger Thoughts, 2/3 of the Cub Reporter, Mike's Baseball Rants, and whatever the A's blog was called at the time moved to the Baseball Toaster. The fall-out for A-B was that it was sold to MVN a week before the Toaster debuted, and Ruzich's Cub Reporter and Transaction Guy were joined by the final month of the original Fourth Outfielder (some replacements were taken on after the proprieter left) and for a while housed Ducksnorts and some other good team blogs, including MVN owner Evan Brunell's Firebrand of the AL blog. The Baseball Toaster landscape has been altered pretty radically since then, with Ciepley out, Smart and Carminati rarely posting, Will Carroll and Scott Long at various times quitting and starting other blogs, and Bronx Banter seceding. However, Dodger Thoughts and Catfish Stew have soldiered on, and still remain essential baseball reading for me because of their amazing ability to capture the psychological, emotional side of being a fan at the same time that they offer objective baseball analysis that rarely suffers any significant flaws. I always find myself only slightly disagreeing with Jon or Ken, whereas most baseball blogs are full of analysis that is either merely obvious or obviously flawed/lacking. Catfish Stew is rarely updated, but that's part of the argument it makes about the organization it follows. Dodger Thoughts is always updated, without any doubt whatsoever, and always brings that edge of what it feels like to have this ridiculous organization in our lives, written in modestly outstanding prose. With totally different gross outputs, these blogs are both masters of economy. They are buttressed by three surprisingly similar blogs: the Catfish Stew-esque Bad Altitude; the very well-written Cardboard Gods, which mirrors the clear and resonant writing of Jon Weisman and always reminds me a bit of the great Repoz of Baseball Primer; and The Griddle, which combines the quirky pop culture touches, hyper-literate wordplay, and historical baseball whimsy leanings of the Toaster with the stupendously-researched touch of a librarian. The Toaster is, I suppose, more of a niche site now, but it is the perfect site for a devotee to keep going back to.

Honorable mention: Baseball Analysts, Walk Like a Sabermetrician, ESPN Blogs (Neyer and Law), Beyond the Box Score, MLB Trade Rumors (it has reached the critical mass where it seemingly covers everything, and it is more a comparative study of the rumors than a site for spreading them; just a solid place to keep track of transactions), On Baseball and the Reds.

UPDATE: Inexplicably omitted from the HM was Sean Smith (aka Rally aka Chone)'s and his blog, which are great!

Sorry y'all, I can't take your outlook anymore: Baseball Prospectus, Sabernomics. I read 538, though.


At 1:15 AM, Blogger sarah said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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