Yes, we’re still here…

Dang… it’s been awhile, huh?
Ryan here, and yeah, I and the systems team here at MLB are still here… this blog tends to be the one upon which we (well, I) write about baseball and work stuff, and there’s been no baseball, and a lot of the work-stuff is SUPER MEGA SECRET-SQUIRREL HUSHYHUSH.

Not really, of course, but most of it’s not that interesting to the blogosphere, and what may be interesting isn’t cool to talk about until the plans are firm. I can say, however, that we are *not* just sitting around an actual hot stove trading Topps cards and arguing about the weighting coefficient of the on-base+slugging stat.

We’re building stuff, which is what we do here in Operations at MLB. In-season, we run stuff. And also build it. And log into it in the afternoons and watch baseball on it. Which is a nice little perk.

This offseason, I also found time to get married, go on a honeymoon, and buy a house, so that’s another good excuse for my having blogged a lot more elsewhere (“the houseblog”, if you will).

So why get back on the blog horse today? Well, mostly ’cause I just signed up to go to the O’Reilly Emerging Tech Conference, and put my name and contact info in their wiki. I can only afford to schedule one workday there, though, so I’ll be there Sunday night, Monday, and flying back to NYC tuesday morning. If you’re going, and want to talk baseball, unix, Sun servers, or whatever, find me early!

I really hope to run into Joeseph Adler and let him know that his book and the example programs in it are going to be obsolete in a few weeks… I wish he’d done us the courtesy of telling us what he was doing, so we could’ve said “hey, neat… but could you have people hit our Akamai caching network instead of the servers directly? …and hey, that file stucture you’re using’s gonna change, so save yourself some effort there”.

…but stuff like this: (from page 144)

“This script will pull down approximately 250 MB of data from the MLB.com website if you run it as is. … I could have done something less hack-like, … but the title of this book isn’t Elegant Software Engineering for Baseball

…I guess it’s not Courteous Network Client Software for Baseball either. Neither shall it be Functional software for baseball for very long.

Don’t mistake my tone for anger or annoyance, though. I love this stuff, and might have blogged about it before if I considered the data terribly usable for anyone but our web-based GameDay client. I would *love* to publish (and champion) an official, well-spec’d baseball API and WebService, put out for the community by MLB.com…kind of like Amazon, Google, and Flickr did, before their Hacks books came out. That would really be neat.

I’m just sayin’… you might want to wait for the 2nd edition.

Hope to see some of you in San Diego!

–ryan

1 Comment

Not sure if you guys monitor these comments but I thought it was worth a shot, especially since you mentioned the hacks book above.

I was looking for and easy way to find a teams record and/or games back in the standings. I was hoping an RSS feed was available with that sort of info, but after surfing around MLB.com and Yahoo I cannot seem to find that information in RSS format.

The reason I ask is I am looking to write a PHP script that computes the magic number to clinch a playoff spot. I can write something that datamines the HTML on a website, but I was hoping to do something a little cleaner with RSS. By any chance does an XML alternative exist anywhere that may not have been obvious to me? Thanks!

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