2017 Annual Disclosure Statement
An Op-Ed columnist in my local paper recently wrote a piece that she called her Annual Disclosure Statement. She said, “I have regular readers and new readers, but I can’t assume that everyone knows where I stand on the issues. Someone reading me for the first time might pass judgment on my work without knowing how I’ve formed my opinions over time. So once a year, I write a column that provides a summary of who I am so you can get to know what makes me tick.”
My first reaction was that her article would be a self-serving vanity piece, but I was wrong. As a new reader, I felt that it really helped provide perspective on her work.
It is important to me that you have similar perspective about my work, so I’ve decided to give this a shot. Here is some background on the events that have shaped me beyond what appears in my official bio. If this turns out to be a waste of time, let me know and I’ll put it to rest.
I was born
I can only confirm this by virtue of my current existence and the anecdotal evidence provided by old photos. They tell me it happened in Flushing, Queens, shortly after the Dodgers and Giants fled New York.
I was not a sports fan as a child; I was a math geek. The excitement of the 1969 Mets title run drew me in, but it was my kid brother, Marty, who turned me on to baseball statistics. During the 1970s, I was a sim game addict. Outside, I was a beer league softball spray-hitting second-baseman with a total inability to pivot on double-play balls.
I joined the college newspaper as a freshman and gained notoriety for writing blatant accounts of the baseball team’s horrible play. I ran for Editor-in-Chief in my senior year and lost, settling for the roles of managing editor and humor columnist.
I graduated from Hofstra University with a BBA in Marketing and an MBA in Management Science.
Becoming an adult
It did not take long after college to find out that I was not cut out to be an employee. In the 16 years after graduating, I’d go through nine jobs; I left only two of them willingly. I was not big on rules, structure, protocol, standard procedure and showing respect for incompetence.
But I did learn a lot while working in the publishing industry. I had a great stint with Doubleday & Company in the early 1980s when they owned the Mets. My longest gig was six years as a sales forecasting analyst for a business publisher. I learned a ton about direct marketing at several other stops and used that knowledge to launch the Baseball Forecaster in 1986. I left Corporate America for good in 1994.
I discovered the Bill James Baseball Abstract and the Rotisserie League Baseball book on the same visit to a B. Dalton Bookseller in Manchester, New Hampshire in July 1984. Both books were in the discount bin.
My first fantasy experience was a hockey league in 1984. It was a 6-team league with five local friends. The RonSue Knives finished fourth. A photo from one of the early drafts appears above.
My first fantasy baseball league started in 1985 and ran until 1994 when the strike took its toll on interest. The RonSue Perbs closed out the league by winning the last three years, confirming in my mind that I knew what the heck I was doing enough to write about it.
I have not had a “local league” experience since then and I miss it. I’ve been participating in national experts leagues since 1994. While I enjoy competing against industry colleagues, it’s not the same as having a local league.
I’ve been writing about fantasy baseball analysis now for over three decades. This is what you need to know:
I’ve taken more statistics courses than I can remember, but I don’t like to rely on quantitative analysis in evaluating baseball performance. The human element has too much impact on a player’s numbers. I prefer to try and find logical, more accessible means of analysis.
As such, my proclamation in the 1994 Baseball Forecaster – “Numbers are everything!” – has been pretty much disavowed. My mantra now is “Embrace imprecision!”
I am a fantasy baseball purist. To me, the game is primarily an intellectual challenge. I do not play for money. While that elevates the excitement level for many, I find it a distraction that takes away from the experience. I do not possess the gambling gene.
I believe that the purest method for building a roster is the salary cap game. Each player’s market value is pre-set and owners need only agree or disagree. Giving owners the power to set their own values (in auctions) or rank players (in snake drafts) provides skewed results.
That said, my favorite draft experience is the auction. I like having access to every player and adding the economic element to the process.
I believe that every method currently in use for in-season free agent acquisition is flawed. There is a solution. I will write about it – again – soon.
I think daily fantasy sports (DFS) are an excellent, exciting variant that requires a different skills set in order to excel. I think the manner in which cash winnings are tied to the core game completely bastardizes the experience.
Still, full season fantasy remains the greatest game. From my farewell column at BaseballHQ.com: “My carrot is the exhilaration that comes with creating a successful new strategy, nailing a breakout performer that nobody else saw coming and grinding out a tough victory. Winning should provide a massive sense of great accomplishment. Picking the right players on one night just doesn’t have the same pay-off for me.”
Despite moving to Florida last year, I am not retired and have no intention of retiring for a long time. As long as other companies continue to want to pay me, I will continue to free-lance. Building this site, the BABS concept and anything that comes next continues to energize me. I have three book projects in the hopper that I hope to get to in the coming years. I just turned 59 and am not going anywhere.