The past few weeks has seen my world confined to an armchair, a ThinkPad, and a Blackberry. Blogging has not been a priority when most of the news is personal, medical, and tedious. However, I have tried to keep up my reading, albeit slowly. Television has been banned, so I listen to the Red Sox via the MLB.com radio stream and keep score on my laptop using a new application called PC Scorebook. Anyway – a limited what-I-am-reading
The other day I did the pathetically maudlin move of walking up to the Elizabeth Lowell ballpark to stare out at the vacant diamond and feel sad that the Kettleers are gone until June. The Cape Cod Baseball League was a highlight of this past summer and with it gone I fill the hole with the end of the Red Sox’s regular season the nailbiting wonder of the post-season to come.
I ordered a couple actual books — as opposed to Kindle texts — on the CCBL. The first was The Last Best League by Yankee Magazine editor and former college ball player Jim Collins. (there is a Kindle version). Collins spends the season of 2002 with the Chatham A’s — the team featured in the so-so movie about the Cape League: Summer Catch, and gives an amazing look at the transition of a handful of talented college ball players from sophmore prospects to top professional draft picks.
The second book is a lot less polished but more detailed in the overall history of the league — I am picking my way through it now — Beach Chairs and Baseball Bats, by Steve Weissman.
Getting into the college baseball and world of scouts has driven me to actually pay for a subscription to Baseball America, the bible of amateur ball and prospects. With a nephew down in Florida lighting up the high school circuit with his pitching, I find myself more and more interested in the system that identifies and tracks talent at a young age. Moneyball and Prophet of the Sandlot got me very interested in the scouting and statistical systems that identifies and tracks talent at an early age. Some of the insights from The Last Best League includes the discovery that some professional teams rely on a personality test called the “Caliper” that was developed to predict success in sales people. It sounds somewhat Myers-Brigg’s like, but to see the degree to which professional baseball discovers, measures, and analyzes talent — from MRIs to personality to box-score statistics is interesting, particularly as I just came off of a rigorous internal human resources process at Lenovo that tracks and identifies up and coming talent.
But I digress …
More to come as my vision improves. Big strides since the weekend as the bubble of inert gas has been absorbed and I am now adapting to my “field” of vision. The left eye is similar to looking through an antique pane of glass — distorted, some fun-house mirror effects — and mid to long distance sight is crossed and hard to bring together with the “good” right eye. I am semi-active — no jump-jacks or back-squats — mowing the lawn and walking, and today see the surgeon for the week-three post-op exam and perhaps an indication of when I can fly again and return to Morrisville and Beijing.