April 2005

Collect all 22!

We did the MLB.com employees fantasy draft last night.  Yeah, we’re a little late… Greg Klayman was apparently busy getting YOUR fantasy league ready, you impatient fan, you…

The league we “play” in is also simplified a little this year, because a lot of the participants are reporters, broadcasters and the like, and have ended up letting their teams atrophy in the later part of the season, when they’re caught up following (and reporting) real baseball, and things like interviewing the players and stuff.

(I’ve heard that the players themselves also play fantasy, which would be weird, I think… “I just traded myself to David Ortiz for Johan Santana”)

Our league is a Draft-and-Ignore setup… the guys we picked, are the guys we have, for the whole season, no trades, no subs, with the exception of injuries, and once your starter comes off the DL, he’s back in the lineup. 

As a geek, I just wish we had RSS feeds for this (and hey, maybe we actually, do, or will… hm… I’ll look into that.)


Baseball knowledge credit goes to “Z”, who’s not totally happy with our draft, but our top picks in several rounds were poached by the guy ahead of us (next year, we’ll remember to sit next to less savvy co-workers).

Presenting your 2005 MLB.com Systems Group “Squids”:


Joe Mauer

Shawn Green

Alfonso Soriano

Orlando Cabrera

Scott Rolen

Gary Sheffield

Cliff Floyd

Larry Walker

Raul Ibanez


Dontrelle Willis

Adam Eaton

Jake Westbook

Mark Redman

Scott Kazmir

Mariano Rivera

Jose Mesa


Edgardo Alfonzo

Eric Hinske

Erubiel Durazo

Mark Kotsay

Ugueth Urbina

Bernie Williams


Learning DB skills with baseball

I mentioned earlier that a perk of the job here at MLB is that we can argue baseball at work, and (sort of) justify it as still being professional (sort of.)

Of course, for THE OFFICIAL DATABASE OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, we use a very big professional database on very big professional hardware… but I, myself, am actually fairly bush-league with respect to running a database.  Database machines, I can make purr, but I’m a rookie at creating SQL queries and stuff.

Baseball, though, makes for really fun test data for learning this stuff. If you’re brushing up on your SQL, I heartily recommend getting the baseball table dumps from http://www.baseball-databank.org… they’ll import into MySQL (which I have running here on my workstation), and are a deep well of interesting stuff to dig through and practice with.

Here in the office, based on a request from a mailing list I occasionally browse, we were discussing the heaviest (weighing, not hitting) players from MLB history.

According to my data (unofficial!), congratulations to “Jumbo Brown”, who played from 1925 to 1941 at 295 lbs. (that’s 18 pounds per year.)

mysql> select playerID, nameFirst, nameLast, weight, height from Master where weight > 260 order by weight;


| playerID  | nameFirst | nameLast  | weight | height |


| judenje01 | Jeff      | Juden     |    265 |   80.0 |

| pickeca01 | Calvin    | Pickering |    275 |   77.0 |

| brownju01 | Jumbo     | Brown     |    295 |   76.0 |


3 rows in set (0.27 sec)

One of my guesses, Mo Vaughn, doesn’t even come close to Jumbo, although he does appear to be the heaviest “Vaughn” in the database, at 230 lbs… even beating out “Hippo” Vaughn at 215. 


mysql> select playerID, nameFirst, nameLast, weight, height from Master where playerID like “%vaugh%”;


| playerID  | nameFirst | nameLast | weight | height |


| vaughar01 | Arky      | Vaughan  |    175 |   NULL |

| vaughch01 | Charlie   | Vaughan  |    185 |   NULL |

| vaughgl01 | Glenn     | Vaughan  |    170 |   71.0 |

| vaughpo01 | Porter    | Vaughan  |    178 |   73.0 |

| vaughbo01 | Bobby     | Vaughn   |    150 |   69.0 |

| vaughde01 | De Wayne  | Vaughn   |    180 |   71.0 |

| vaughfa01 | Farmer    | Vaughn   |    177 |   75.0 |

| vaughfr01 | Fred      | Vaughn   |    185 |   70.0 |

| vaughgr01 | Greg      | Vaughn   |    193 |   72.0 |

| vaughhi01 | Hippo     | Vaughn   |    215 |   76.0 |

| vaughmo01 | Mo        | Vaughn   |    230 |   73.0 |

| vaughro01 | Roy       | Vaughn   |    178 |   72.0 |


12 rows in set (0.09 sec)


Gadget Preview and Photo test

My last post, I started to discuss my increasingly rediculous collection of gadgets, specifically the strange and antiquated server stack under my stairs…

Later on (and this post is my way of forcing myself to address it later on…) I’ll cover a greater number of my “stuff” collection, including the Newtons, the SparcBooks, the NextStation, and Audrey.

(Incidentally, I’m also an on-again, off-again follower of the cult of 43 Folders and GTD… the previous paragraph, making it impossible, or at the very least rude, to not finish that thought and therefore requiring myself to complete another entry tomorrow, is a little trick “the cult” has taught me… Transition from absent-minded-professor to semi-effective-manager has depended on mind tricks like this. I’ll blog more about those, too… there, see how I did it again?)

Anyway, between now and next post, here’s the real reason I logged in at quarter-to-midnight on a Monday, to test the results of my cameraphone and the new MLBlogs setup. This comes from my daily trainride home, past Yankees Stadium (hopefully soon I’ll get a new Metro North stop next to the soon-to-be-built New House that Ruth Didn’t Build)…

This comes from my favorite gadget of the moment, my Treo 650 camera/PalmPilot/internet-browser phone. Every doctor, lawyer, and captain of industry on the train in the morning has a BlackBerry or a Treo, and most of them have a tallboy in a bag on the way home. Tonight, I just had the treo, but did manage to be on the train before sunset, and was just able to get this shot between the concrete barriers of the Bronx:



Bring on the Geeks of Summer

So… next blog post… hmmmm…

If you happen to be a friend of mine, and are at all familiar with my “other blog”, you know that it’s really only updated in short bursts, separated by long pauses. As with videogames and book-shopping, I’m far more interested in the idea and implementation of the thing, and less so with the actual end product… I spend far more hours tinkering with the “shiny objects” in the blog sidebars, or the wi-fi connection on my PlayStation, or with implementing (and re-implementing) some pseudo-intelligent system to defeat spam, using spare computing cycles from various computers around my house. The tinkering is what drives me.

I guess that makes my job pretty satisfying… if I still worked in broadcasting, I’d probably still be coming home at night, watching baseball on the TV in my home office, with the boxscore growing in a corner window of one of my workstations’ monitors, and noodling around with the server stack under the stairs. Now, I also get to spend 10am-6pm (or… maybe 11pm) noodling around with a MUCH niftier server stack, watching the day games in a window on the laptop, and watching the online All-Star ballots process themselves.

…AND THEN go home and watch SportsCenter while tinkering with the server stack under the stairs.

Don’t worry about me, though, I work with a great (GREAT) group of people who’re all like me… meaning we do this stuff because it’s our hobby, and we feel lucky to get paid for it. The silver lining for me, as their manager, is that this type of geek does it better than anyone. We also argue baseball (we have an iron-willed Mets fan, and a misguided RedSox fan onboard) and we go to games (hopefully to more Minor League games this year, too), and generally put off good nights’ sleeps until November.

I’ll try to make this blog about some of the neat stuff we (as a team) get to do because we get the double-play of doing what we really like doing, and for baseball. I guess it’s not unlike when players talk about getting to play a game for a living… well, I can’t hit a curveball, but Jeter probably can’t compile ngrep. But hopefully, he can run a blog here with the rest of us 🙂