Thursday, July 26, 2007

Apex of Nerddom: SABR 37 Convention Log


Not much goes down on the Wednesday before the convention officially begins the following Thursday. The only reason I showed up so early was to attend the workshop. If you aren't already familiar with Retrosheet, it's the greatest baseball website of all time, with box scores and play-by-play data for thousands upon thousands of Major League games.

People came from as far away as Japan to talk databases with the Retrosheet crew (Clem Comly giving instruction at the front of the room).

David Vincent, the statistician often cited by ESPN, and Dave Smith, the founder of Retrosheet teach from the back of the room with the help of a projector (and painful Hawaiian shirts). They could have told the workshop that their favorite hobbies were strangling kittens and drowning puppies and I'd still rank them among the finest human beings ever to grace the planet.

Once I had had my fill of DOS based applications and Access databases, I met up with my friend Eric (a St. Louis native) so he could take us out for barbecue. Shortly thereafter we found ourselves at Smokin' Al's Barbecue.

The before. (That Texas toast, after soaking up all the extra grease and sauce from the ribs, is almost as good as the ribs.)

Eric during.

The after.

It was getting late and we were still sober for the most part, so off we went to the Morgan Street Brewery for $3.75 micro brews and pool.

I pose with the infamous Black Sox.

Kevin and Eric sample the goods.

Me blowing yet another game of pool (thankfully we weren't playing for money or I'd have had to sign my condo and car over to Eric).

It was getting late so we paid our $75.00 tab and stumbled back to our hotel where we bid Eric farewell. Things were going to begin in full at 9:00 AM the next morning so there was only time for...

Me to take a barbecue and beer fueled dump that melted porcelain.

I'm having some internet issues in my hotel room, so I don't know if I can keep writing updates while I'm still in St. Louis, but I am taking good notes and pictures and have plenty to write about when I get back. I'm typing this after midnight on Friday morning. It was hard to find the time before it began to take five minutes to upload each photo. Don't worry, though. I'm here living it up to the fullest extent I can (bearing in mind this is a giant sausage fest and I'm one of a dozen members without an AARP card).



John Sharkey, Esq. said...

That last picture has been seared into the back of my eyeballs. You look like you're ready to hop in the Bluesmobile.

Ryan Armbrust said...

I'm sorry I didn't see your blog eariler; I thought I was the only person younger than 50 here at SABR 37. While it's fun drinking with 65-year old men who know exactly why the Federal League only lasted three years, I would have liked to see a few guys my age here. If you're going to be at the convention next year in Cleveland, shoot me an email and I'll buy you a beer there, even if you are a Twinkies fan...

Kyle Eliason said...


If you look at your photo of Mike Marshall holding court in the hallway, you'll notice my friend Cary Smith wearing a New York Giants cap (baseball, of course) in the back of the shot to the left of the guy in the green tee-shirt. I was leaning up against the wall to Cary's right but I'm hidden by the guy in the Barry Bonds tee-shirt.

As of right now I fully plan on heading to Cleveland (and trying to start the Cuyahoga on fire again) next year.

Ryan Armbrust said...

My only real problem with the Twins lies not with the team, but one of its fans -- specifically, my ex-roommate, who was an ardent supporter of them. 99% of Twins fans are good people, in my experience, though.