2014 Season Wrap

Congratulations to David Jacobs of Manhattan, NYC and Oxford, UK for winning our 2014 Baseball Predictions, finishing four points ahead of Randy Nichols of Los Angeles and six points ahead of John Costello of Rochester, NY and Sean McAdam of Comcast.net. David was 11th at the All-Star Break and 8th on Labor Day. This is David's 2nd year in the game. He was 61st last year. Ironically David was not among the nearly 100 players that got at least one division correct. In fact he was only among the leaders in one division but it was a very important one as his AL West score beat the average by 47 points. David is a friend of and was invited into the game by last year's winner, Jamie Gehrke (119).

We had nine different leaders this year. Bill Heyne (170) was the leader when the spreadsheet was completed in late-April. Bill dominated the scoring for the next six weeks, leading by as many as 20 points. Noah Campuzano (8) became our 2nd leader in early June. Other leaders during the early Summer period included Jon Heyman (31), Cameron Hisel (36), Michael Sciarretta (20), Adam Jude (32), the MLB Annual Magazine (5) and Bill Chuck (19). The MLB Annual became our seventh leader in early July and led most of the rest of the way, until Noah Campuzano regained the lead after Labor Day. Noah continued to lead as Baltimore widened it's lead in the AL East but Baltimore (and Boston) were Noah's only keys and his lead faded as the O's eased up near the end of the season. David Jacobs waited until the final weekend to step up and he brought Randy and John along with him.

The player standings were run 71 times this season. There were nine different leaders and fifteen lead changes. The MLB Annual magazine was the leader 25 times while Noah Campuzano led 16 times and Bill Heyne led 15 times. David led the last four days.

Division Leaders: There were 110 perfect division level predictions this year, far more than the ten recorded last year. The easiest division to call was the AL Central where eighty players got it right and about 70% beat the average score. The balance of perfect picks were in the NL East (21), NL Central (6) and the NL West (3). No one got the AL East or AL West where Boston. Tampa Bay and Texas disappointed nearly everyone. Sean McAdam (4, W01), and Bill Chuck (19) each got three divisions right, but it wasn't enough while eight others including Randy Nichols (2) predicted two divisions correctly. Here is the listing of this year's top ten predictors including the most common and average scores for each division:

Top 10 Players by Division

AL East Pts AL Central Pts AL West Pts
Noah Campuzano 14 Randy Nichols 0 MLB YB'14 6
Michael Sciarretta 24 Sean McAdam 0 David Jacobs 8
Justin Kehr 24 Gene Yarrobino 0 Andrew Coates 8
Cory Dawson 24 Matt Snyder 0 Adam Jude 26
Amer Melic 26 Mike Axisa 0 Cameron Hisel 26
Dirk Soeterik 26 Ron Northey 0 Lucy Hay 26
Peter Holt 26 Jill Hollingsworth 0 Alexis Hauck 26
2014 Sprg Trng Res 26 Nelson Slagle 0 Randy Nichols 28
Jon Heyman 38 Bill Chuck 0 Ron Northey 28
Eron Campuzano 40 Jonah Keri 0 Bob McMeen 28
& 70 others @ 0
110 players @ 64 32 players @ 8 118 players @ 62
Average Score 60.7 Average Score 8.9 Average Score 55.4
NL East Pts NL Central Pts NL West Pts
Randy Nichols 0 Sean McAdam 0 David Steinberg 0
John Costello 0 Bill Chuck 0 David Schoenfield 0
Sean McAdam 0 Anthony Fasulo 0 Dayn Perry 0
Mike Axisa 0 Brock Hauck 0 Sean McAdam 4
Jill Hollingsworth 0 Nolie Carman 0 MLB YB'14 4
Rick Weiner 0 Charles Thomas 0 Gene Yarrobino 4
Seth J. Thompson 0 John Costello 4 Matt Snyder 4
Bill Chuck 0 Dave Sauerheber 4 Mike Axisa 4
Joe Russell 0 Bruce Brown 4 Jill Hollingsworth 4
Larry Waters 0 David Steinberg 12 Rick Weiner 4
& 11 others @ 0 & 55 others @ 12 & 31 others @ 4
79 players @ 10 70 players @ 24 95 players @ 26
Average Score 16.9 Average Score 20.2 Average Score 26.6

Tiebreaker: The tiebreaker represents the points accumulated by each player's projected division winners. Noah Campuzano (8) recorded the best tiebreaker with a score of 6.0, missing only on the Giants. Michael Sciarretta (20)and Jon Heyman (31) were next best with scores of 10.0 points, missing on Oakland.

World Serious Projections: Seven players have projected San Francisco to reach the series including four that have the Giants winning it all. And those four players are: Ked Kaser (127), Martin Kaynan (150), Audrey West (168) and Ray Manka (188). There were 122 players that picked Kansas City 1st or 2nd but no one projected them reach the series. (edit: Oct 31-GO GIANTS!!)

CumStats: Larry Waters, of New Fairfield, CT is our new CumStat leader with an four year average of 23.46% and a 1.3 point lead over Josh Sinnett of Bellingham, WA and a 4.1 point lead over John Salizzone of Manchester, NH. Josh Sinnett remains top veteran player with a 11 year average of 24.73% and a 5.1 point lead over some other guy and a 6.2 point over Atticus Ryan. Detailed, year-by-year listings for the top four can be found at the Top4Player/Detail link. In a side note, Warren Morris has put together a CumStat of 16.23% over the last five years. If Warren can maintain his current level for ...., never mind. Below is a list of the top ten players in each group:

CumStat Leaders

Top Ten Players

Top Ten Veteran Players

3 years or more

10 yrs or more
Rank Name Yrs Stats   Rank Name Yrs Stats
1 Larry Waters 5 23.46   2 Josh Sinnett 11 24.73
2 Josh Sinnett 11 24.73   5 Gerry Hamilton 37 29.83
3 John Salizzoni 9 27.59   7 Atticus Ryan 14 30.97
4 Caleb Whitaker 4 29.48   7 Consensus 50 31.27
5 Gerry Hamilton 37 29.83   11 Jonathan Margrave 11 33.66
6 Joe Russell 9 30.19   14 Nelson Slagle 55 34.23
7 Atticus Ryan 14 30.97   15 Sean McAdam 10 34.50
8 Consensus 50 31.27   17 Gerry Bilek 11 35.12
9 Jamie Gehrke 4 33.31   19 David Steinberg 12 37.16
10 Brian Wood 4 33.39   21 Lindy's Annual 11 37.19

Closing Comments: This is going to take some time as I have a lot on my mind. It has been there for a while and it is time that I shared it with you.

First a little background, some of which you may have already read in the history page. I first started playing softball with Nelson Slagle and some of his office team during the early 70s. We were pretty good back then and won a lot of games together but that's another story. After a while I began to hear some of my new teammates talking about what I thought at the time was their favorite baseball teams, things like: "Did you pick the Dodgers this time?" or "Where did you pick the Yankees?". I considered myself a knowledgable baseball fan at the time. In fact I had been I Dodger fan for over 30 years, before I even knew where Brooklyn was, and long before they had moved west. Somehow these questions didn't make much sense to me but I was never part of the conversation so I just listened.

As it turned out what they were talking about was Nelson's annual baseball predictions. I didn't have a clue at the time and would not be invited to join until 1978. Nelson's brother, Jim, was running the game from Columbus, OH where he was studying pre-law at Ohio State at the time. It was a modest little game back then. Jim, while still in high school, had restarted the game in 1976 after a five year absence. The following year the player count was at 46 and then they brought me into the mix- big mistake. Well, this seemed like a pretty good idea and I had friends of my own. Most of them were into baseball so I passed the invitation around and brought along another thirteen players into the game. In 1978 the game experienced 23% growth and I had been responsible for every bit of it. That was just the beginning. By 1980 I had introduced 26 new players to the game and I had been responsible for 28% of the total participation in the three year period. I shouldn't have been surprised when Nelson asked me to help out with the year end scoring. As it turned out, I wasn't much help, but I got the message.

The two months later I was transferred to Shuttle Launch Operations at Vandenberg AFB on the Central Coast and it was agreed that I would take the game along with me. Then it really took off as we experienced 50% growth in 1981 and this time I had some outside help. Bob Scholl and Bob Stanley collected fourteen newspaper and magazine predictions while my son, Steve, added a couple of classmates at Humboldt State Uni in Arcata and Pat Morris brought in four classmates at Villa Park HS in Orange while I introduced another nine new players from VAFB.

I was never satisfied with the way that I managed my first season at the helm. You may recall that 1981 was the "split season" when MLB decided to take the Summer off and shut down the leagues for two months. Then they opted to let the division winners of each half play a best 3 of 5 series prior to the LCS. That's the way MLB played it but not us. The principles of our game were polled and I agreed to go along with their decision. So we played the season like business as usual, adding the league standings for both halves together and computed the game like nothing happened. It gave us some rather bazaar results. In the AL Kansas City managed a narrow win over Oakland in the second half of the ALW and the Royals were in the playoffs despite playing under .500 for the season. It got really strange in the NL where Cincinnati and St Louis had the two best records overall but neither the Reds or Cards managed to win either half of their respective divisions and both teams had to watch from the sidelines while Fernandomania swept the Dodgers to a Series championship. I would like to have redone the 1981 results and would have if I hadn't lost part of the detailed player predictions for that year and they still haven't turned up. In the end, surprise, surprise: I had become the top cum predictor with a four year average of 21.14% (note: this year's leader has a 4 yr avg of 23.46%). This was serious stuff and I was hooked.

Lets fast forward a bit. The game was mechanized in 1986 on my little Apple //c and I was soon publishing and mailing (USPS) monthly player standings. I was even posting weekly standings outside my office (back in Downey now) for the local players. I retired from what was then Rockwell International in 1992 and returned to the Central Coast. In 2000 an Apple iMac was added to the staff and we were finally online. That August the site went up and now the game entered a new dimension. How could we have done without it for so long?

Let's take a look at the game since we went online. I have a data supporting file that is used to keep player listings and performance records. It was created shortly after we went online and now includes 733 player records. The file has sixteen years of data and includes 1999 so that taken with 2000, we have a transition period. What we learn from this file is that 63% of the total players have entered the game since we went on line. Also 73% of this year's 201 players did not play before 2000. The file also tells us that there have been 240, nearly a third of the total, one time players, and not counting this year's first timers, 23% of our total never played again, but that's another story.

For the most part this has been a labor of love for many reasons. First of all I'm a life long baseball fan and can't recall ever not being a fan. Second, I'm a "stat freak" and enjoy doing this kinda stuff. Finally it is always great to hear from those that have taken the opportunity to correspond. I usually hear from quite a few players when when the predictions come in the Spring. Their messages are always positive and encouraging and I always try to answer. I feel like I've made a lot of really good internet friends through our little enterprise, but those friendships will only last as long as the game lasts.

Sadly this has not been the case once the game gets underway. The weekly players standings messages start around the 1st of May and are routinely distributed to over 150 players every Monday and very few players respond. I heard from just 26 players this year, usually the same guys that I hear from every year. I would like to take this opportunity say "Thanks!" to Fred for keeping me honest, and the Cap'n and his Crew for keeping it interesting and to Atticus, Randy, Phil, Jim and Nelson for checking in, and finally to David and Jamie when the final standings came out. I wish that it could be more but never is. There are in fact weeks when I feel like I'm playing the game all by myself. What's the point? What it amounts to is ROI, that's Return on Investment for those of you that are not financially aware. In simple terms, I put a lot of time and energy into this and don't get much in return. Yes, I realize that I have over valued the game and have for many years. It's a good thing that I still enjoy it.

About three years ago I realized that I would not be able to continue to manage the game much longer. I had been having hardware and software problems and I wasn't ready for a new computer. About that time I started looking for someone else to take over. There were three candidates that stepped up and at one time I believed, for a few minutes at least, that we were actually going to get it done. In the end all three pleaded other commitments or heavy workloads and opted out. As it turned out, I had put quite a bit of work into the handover and we hadn't gotten very far along. If these guys weren't willing to take on the easy and fun stuff, they sure weren't going to sign up for all the detail record keeping. It wasn't going to work so I soon abandoned any other attempt of find someone to run the game. I was in it for the duration.

This past season I decided to create a mini-spreadsheet (24 players) and make it available to anyone that wanted to play along and track their own friends or anyone that they might be interested in following. I was in hopes that someone will get a look at the game from the inside and decide that could create a game of their own, a "spin-off" if you will. There have been a couple of spin-offs in the past. Randy Lang started one in 1989 while in Seal Beach and Dennis Davis had a game of his own in 1991 while working in Dallas. Neither game lasted long but at least they had the idea. There were some requests for copies of the mini.ss as well as the instructions that went with the mini.ss and I was glad to send them along. However I have no idea how the recipients made out as I never heard from any of them again- no questions, no comments, nothing.

This has gone on much too long now and it's time to get to the point. Where does all of this leave us? and what does the game look like going forward? In all honesty, the game is hanging by a thread as I continue to experience both hardware and software problems. Add to that browser problems as I do not have access to modern web sites like ESPN and CBSSports. However I still have the ability to develop workarounds that, with a little more effort, allow me to get the job done and so the game goes on. There is a new computer in the near future (even had an offer to share expenses, but no...) but I doubt that it will be used for our game as I would need all new apps and I'm not ready for that- just too old to learn new things. A new computer will allow me to dedicate the old iMac to our baseball predictions and I expect that things will run a lot smoother.

None of this, however, addresses the real problem which is the old and tired management. I will try to keep the game going but I'm not willing to make any long term commitment so we'll just have to play it one year at a time. I will make one promise though. Should the game return next Spring it will be smaller as I will not work as hard trying to bring players into the game. I will continue to make the mini.ss available in hopes that someone will take the ball and run with it, but I will discontinue some of the supporting pages on the site.

If you've made it this far, thank you for your patience. Now one last thing. Since you have come this far would you please take a moment or two to drop me a line and share your thoughts about the game and the site. Do you ever look past the players standings page? If so, what pages are important to you? What would you change about the game if you could make a change? No, I can't flip the MLB standings over and recompute, but if there is something that you would like see done differently, please let me know. I look forward to reading your comments.

Thanks again,
Gerry Hamilton
Trinidad, CA
October 17th (ed. 10/25)
e-mail: ggh1@suddenlink.net