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February 28th: An Early Start-
Last year was a bit of a struggle as our old reliable AppleWorks spreadsheet app slowed to a crawl and it became clear that it was time to move on and find another way forward. I gave some consideration to attempting to reduce the player participation to perhaps 150 players, maybe less this season, though I had no idea how to do that, or perhaps even discontinuing the game all together. I didn't want to do that either.
The first thing that we did was get another iMac, something that I had never intended to do, but it's done and now we can move on. The next thing that we learned was that the apps that came with the iMac were not highly rated so we opted to add Office for the Mac. This gave us access to both Excel and Word and allowed me to finally use the AW spreadsheet that had been translated to Excel years ago passed around to several players without any apparent problem.
The old spreadsheet has been recreated on Excel in three sheets and works fine. As anticipated, I had a little problem finding and understanding some of Excel's many functions, so I sought some help and Dick Hammerstrom stepped up. It turns out that Dick knows some stuff. Soon Dick had offered a completely new spreadsheet that, when complete will be much bigger, more automated, faster, easier to use and with a little luck, I'll be able to generate error free reports. Hopefully the spreadsheet should be ready before the 2016 season starts.
With all of the problems encountered last season I would eventually lose interest in the game and by the post-season all that I was interested in was the post-season. Why not? That when the game is at it's best. As a result I failed to finish the 2015 Archive data and only recently got back to it and updated and posted the site. It's all there now and we can move on.
And now with the new spreadsheet and the prospect of an even better one my interest had been rekindled and looking forward to the new season and an even numbered season at that. You know what that means. You may have already noticed that the 2016 entry forms are now active and we can start to work on our picks. This time we'll it get right.
The formal invitations will go out on Monday, March 14th and the predictions will be due on Monday, April 4th.
Invitations went out to about 175 players on Monday, March 14th. As I write this, we have 20 player picks submitted, down a bit from where we were at this time last season.
We now have two functional Player Standings spreadsheets which I plan to run side-by-side at least through the first couple months of the new season.
As I write this on a Sunday evening, we have 133 sets of predictions, well below where we were at this point last season. This will make for either a very big Monday or a very low turn out, likely some of both. The data processing to this point has gone reasonably well so far but is complicated by several factors. First of all the e-mail app that I use makes very hard to keep track of the data submittals. Hopefully I've found my way through the problem and recorded all of the entries, but I can't be sure. I try to reply to each entry so if you have sent something in and haven't gotten a reply from me, you had best try again. That same app has misplaced a few entries but I have figured out how to find them. I hope that I have them all.
More importantly, I am learning a new spreadsheet application while building two parallel spreadsheets. As I mentioned in February, Dick Hammerstrom has provided us with a brand new SS that, while bigger and more complex, figures to run error free once we gets going. While the data entry should support both of those SS's and it should go quickly as well, neither spreadsheet has been run to completion, so we won't know how things are going until the very end. If they work I will run both SS each week, first to sort and correct errors and finally to prove that Dick's SS is the way to go.
Finally I will have a conflict over the next two weeks that will take me away from the game for a considerable time. The conflict has priority and can not be helped. During that period I will fall behind and may not get to your recently submitted predictions. Please be patient. I still hope to have the game up and running by the first week of May.
To date we have 174 sets of predictions including eleven new first time players, and that appears to be it. In any event we are down from 195 players last year, which is good as I am running way behind and it will take a few days to catch up. By the weekend I should be ready to start on the consensus which I hope to have in about a week. I'll give you a new status when the consensus is ready. The two game forms, including the e-mail form, are closed as of this date.
Sorry to report no progress on either the consensus or the rest if the game. Expect some long delays as we get underway with this year's edition.
It has been a while since anything has been posted and I should let you know what the status of the game is. I am about 80% through the the consensus and should have it complete and posted in the next couple of days. After that loading the math data into my spreadsheet as well as the one that Dick Hammerstrom wrote and than after some comparative analysis will follow, then I'll be ready to post the first player standings. I'm finding a lot of errors as I go through the data, mostly my own, so I'm moving slowly. I'm also struggling with a health issue that limits the amount of time that I can spend at the computer and that is slowing me down as well. Look for the first player standings by by the All-Star Break.
The Player Consensus has been completed and uploaded (finally). The Royals are the most popular pick in the American League and overall, followed by the Blue Jays and Astros. In the National League the Cubs are the most popular pick followed by the Mets and Giants. There are close pennant races projected in both the NL East and NL West. The Cubbies are also projected to break a Century old draught and win it all with the Jays or Royals providing the competition.
I will take a look at what needs to be done on the two spreadsheets as well as completing the new mail list tomorrow and get started in early in the week. I'll try to keep you posted as to my progress right here.
Happy to report that both spreadsheets have been completed and checked out- one against the other. It went much more slowly than usual, due in part to the fact that I made a lot of errors, far more than ever despite a lower player turn out. Dick's spreadsheet was invaluable in finding and fixing those errors.
I have a few more tasks to complete including some tests and should have another status update by the end of next week. I now plan to post the first player standings on Monday, July 4th (fireworks please- not here, I live in a redwood forest). I can tell you that as of June 6th, the date that I started working in the spreadsheets, Charles Thomas of Dearborn, MI was our leader by a tie-breaker over Steve Mikkelson, an odds maker from Las Vegas and three points over two time winner, Rick Higgins of Columbus, OH and three guys from Virginia.
More next week.
Posted a couple of pages to the web site today and the game appears to be ready to go. Will spend the weekend updating the mail list and then upload the entire site on Monday.
This status report to let you know that we are nearing the end of our 57th and, as it turns out, our final Annual Baseball Predictions game. As many of you have already noticed and a few have even inquired about, I am no longer able to keep up with our game. To note, I was two months late in getting the game started in the Spring. More recently I have been skipping the midweek standings and I have been a day late in posting the weekly standings just as it is with this week. In fact I am no longer physically able to manage the game.
The game is currently supported by two Excel spreadsheets, the first in the older .xls format and the second in the newer .xlsx format. Each of the formats is capable of supporting up to 240 players. Both formats work. In fact I used the two spreadsheets to find and correct errors at the beginning of the season. For the past several weeks I have run the two sheets side-by-side and they are in complete agreement.
While this season brings an end to the game as we have come to know it, I am hopeful that the game can continue in a much different and simpler format.
At the beginning of every season and to some extent at the end of each season I receive a lot e-mail messages from fellow players expressing their thanks for keeping the game going. With this in mind I know that the interest level is there. Also, at least a half-dozen players have seen and used copies of one or both of the sheets and as any of them can tell you, "... there ain't that much to it." So I also know that the capability is also there.
All that you need is rudimentary understanding of Excel, or any spreadsheet for that matter, and you don't need a web site, just a love of the game. Since this is the last time around for the game with me at the helm, I am hopeful that a few players might be interested in picking up a piece of the action and keep it going with their family and friends.
In the coming weeks, as requests for information come in, I will share with those interested, the spreadsheet, operating instructions and whatever else that you might need to get started. I look forward to hearing from you.
Judging from last weeks response one might imagine that hardly anyone cares. More likely, hardly anyone noticed. So lets try again. This time I'll hi-lite the game status on the Homepage, and one more thing. When you have read the game status for September 6th would you please check in, even if you have no comment to make. This will hopefully give some idea of the interest in the game as it passes into the next phase, what ever that might be.
Given the results of the past two weeks one must consider that 90% of our currently active players, excluding sportswriters and other made-up predictions don't care if the game goes on. That means that only 10% of our current group responded to the messages on the Game Status page and care whether the game continues. Given those kind of numbers perhaps it's time that I told the two guys that stepped up and offered to help, not to bother. What do you think?
There is a chance the the game will continue after this season as two of our veteren players have agreed to take a look at the Spreadsheets. There will be additional news in this regard after the Worlad Series.