Congratulations to Todd Colegrove of Churchville, New York for winning the 49th running of the Annual Baseball Predictions, by just two points over Jerry Slagle of Fallbrook, CA and three points over Gene Yarrobino of Rancho Cucamunga, CA. This is Todd's fifth year in the game. He was 154th in last year's game and has never finished higher than 151st. As the winner of this year's game, Todd has been awarded a copy of the book, "Walkoffs, Last Licks, and Final Outs" by Bill Chuck and Jim Kaplan, complements of Bill Chuck of Brookline, MA and <Billy-Ball.com>.

Early leaders included Cory Dawson (153), AJ Julian (38) and Isaiah Hauck (77), three second or third generation players. Other leaders included Patty Elmore (146) who was the only player to pick the Indians and Twins correctly. Another early leader was Mark Martinelli (22) who won the game in 1998. For much of the season, through mid-August, two players dominated the scoring and they were AJ Julian and first time player, Dominick Castagnola (12), Dominick held a 24 points at the All-Star Break, the biggest lead of the entire season. But July was followed by August and the game quickly changed.

This year's game was perhaps the most competitive game that we have ever had. There were sixteen different leaders, the most that we have ever had, and 28 lead changes, but it was closer than that. From early August through the end of the season there were seventeen lead changes and eleven different leaders. There were eight different leaders in the final month of the season. When there were back-to-back three way ties for the lead in mid-September, I realized that it was time to take a closer look and began to run the standings on a daily basis. The top of the leader board quickly settled down as Jerry Slagle took the lead on September 21st and held the lead for five days. Then Todd Colegrove stepped up on September 26th. While Todd never led by more than two points, he never gave up the lead either. That was fun!!

Division Leaders: There were only fifteen perfect division level predictions this year, eleven of them in the very tough NL Central. Dave Kuehn had two them, picking both the AL East and AL West correctly. In 2007 there were 58 perfect sets of division level picks and five different players had a pair of them. Here is the listing of the top five predictors in each division for this year, including the most common score in each division:

AL East Pts AL Central Pts AL West Pts
Dave Kuehn 0 Patty Elmore 14 Dave Kuehn 0
Danny Ford 0 Pat Morris 17 Dave Sauerheber 0
Rob McMeen 4 Ralph Slocum 27 Dominick Castagnola 7
Jerry Slagle 16 Dr. Ben Silverman 27 Brit Harvey 7
Andrew Hazlewood

16
Bruce Brown 29 Sharon Clark 7

& 15 others @

16

& 13 others @

29

138 players @

22

166 players @

42

140 players @

36
NL East Pts NL Central Pts NL West Pts
Dominick Castagnola 6 Gene Yarrobino 0 James Rover 4
Greg Cimilluga 25 James Rover 0 Jerry Slagle 18
Dave Lipman 25 Jeff Sellers 0 BoDog SportsBook 18
Bruce Bostwick 25 Neal Sigda 0 Atticus Ryan 18
David Dial 25 Jim W. Slagle 0 Weston Wamp 18

& 6 others @

0 & 14 others @ 18

12 players @

1

64 players @

64

49 players @

25

65 players @

65

??

that's curious, did I make a mistake here?

Tie-Breaker: The tie-breaker represents the points accumulated by each player's project division winners. Rick Mize (94) of Lakewood, CA had the best TB with 9.5 points, missing on only the RedSox and Indians. Four other players had TBs of 11.5 points.

Consensus: This year's consensus favored Boston or Detroit over the New York Mets or the Chicago Cubs. Twenty-seven players picked the Philadelphia first in the NL East. Twelve players had the Phillies in the World Serious and three of them, Dave Lipman (39), Steve Turner (42t) and Chris Kelly (51), picked the Phils to win it all. Two players, Dave Kuehn (5) and Danny Ford (162), picked Tampa Bay to win the AL East but no one put them in the series.

CumStats: Josh Sinnett (10), of Bellingham, WA, continues to be our CumStats leader with a five year average of 12.15% and now holds a three point lead over a new three year player, John Salizzoni (30), of Manchester, NH. Gerry Hamilton (42t), of Trinidad, CA remains the top veteran player with a 31 year average of 27.29% and a narrow lead over USA Today (131). Below is a list of the top five players in each category: You may review the details of the top four players at the hi-lited link.

CumStat Leaders

Top Five Players - 3 Years or more

Top Five Veteran Players - 10 Years or more
Rank Name Yrs CumAvg Rank Name Yrs CumAvg
1 Josh Sinnett 5 12.15 5 Gerry Hamilton 31 27.29
2 John Salizzoni 3 15.16 6 USA Today BB Wkly 11 27.53
3 Atticus Ryan 8 26.24 11 Player Consensus 44 30.99
4 Mark Martinelli 8 27.00 15 David Dial 11 31.64
5 Gerry Hamilton 31 27.29 19 Tedd Thomey 14 33.28

The Book: For the first time ever we were able to actually offer something more than just a congratulatory message. Thanks to Bill Chuck of Billy-Ball.com we were able to provide a copy of the book Walk0ffs, Last Licks, and Final Outs by Bill Chuck and Jim Kaplan. An autographed copy went out to Todd Colegrove shortly after the end of the regular season. Thanks Bill!!

The Challenge: In July of 2008, Bob Schaffer (165) submitted a suggestion for a revised scoring method. Bob's method was analyzed and discussed via e-mail among a few veteran players and ultimately rejected. A separate section has been added to the game's history, including the e-mail exchange, an overview of the suggested method and a spreadsheet that compares the scoring of the suggested method to the current method for the 2008 season.

Early Years:
In late June I finally got a chance to do something that I have wanted to do since the web site was activated in 2000 and Nelson Slagle and I began to look at the data from the very early years when the game was first created in 1955. Soon after that we began to post the player standings for the first five years of the game. By mid-September, when I turned my attention back to the current game, thirty of the forty early years had been added to the site and with a little luck and some continued interest, I expect to add the last ten early years- 1990 thru 1999- to the site during the off-season.

Automation: I might be jumping the gun here but it has been suggested that we might be able to more completely mechanize the game starting with the automatic entry of player predictions submitted from the United Leagues submittal form. Atticus Ryan (14) thinks that it can be done and has offered to take a look at it. This all comes from the acknowledgement that the current facilitator of the game can't go on with it forever. I have told Atticus that there is no urgency as I am committed to staying with it for a couple more years but that will make 30 years at the helm and the tank will be about empty by then. In any event, Atticus has a copy of my spreadsheet and brief write-up of my methods and some of the potential problems.

Correspondence:
Now we come to my favorite part of the game- messages from out there- from you actually. This year I heard from over 50 players- up about 20% to 25% from prior years and several players wrote regularly. A few wrote to express problems in accessing the data. I can only hope that I have addressed each of your needs. The increase in correspondence might have been due to a suggestion made at start of the season by John Slagle (88t). John thought that I might make the game more interesting if I could include some newsworthy baseball item as it relates to our game with each week's game status message. John didn't want me to do any more work than I was already doing. On the other hand, he didn't want me to do any less either, more or less. Thanks John.

That is all for know, so until next March...

Gerry Hamilton
October 16, 2008

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