For years I have thought about joining the Society for American Baseball Research or SABR. But in the end I always talked myself out of it because I don’t consider myself a “stats guy”. I, like many people, had a misconception about what SABR was about.
Sure there are the Sabermetrics guys out there or “stats guys” if you will, but SABR is much more than that. I only wish it didn’t take me this long to find that out.
I am more interested in the history of the game, and that was just what I found when I went to my first SABR meeting on SABR Day last Saturday. Since I live near Nashville, I met up with the Grantland Rice-Fred Russell Chapter for breakfast, and I was glad I did.
What I found was a group of baseball fans that were interested in different aspects of the game which made for an interesting breakfast. Some members were interested in minor leagues while others were interested in how geography affected the game. That was something I never really thought about, but it was interesting to hear someone knowledgeable talk about.
Members of the chapter came from all over the area. There were folks from Birmingham, Chattanooga, Nashville, and even Bowling Green, KY. But we all had one thing in common and that is a love for the game.
I heard a lot of interesting stories. We even got the story on how the Nashville Sounds came to town from their first general manager Farrell Owens. I found that interesting, and it was nice to hear the story from someone who had a great deal in baseball returning to Nashville after a 14-year absence. It’s the behind the scenes history of teams like that which make this game so interesting off the field, and SABR is just the place to find that and much more.
I wasn’t sure how I would be accepted at the meeting having not known anyone prior, but everyone was more than welcoming. They were even interested in hearing about baseball in Korea, which I found a little relieving since I wasn’t sure what else I would talk about. It really couldn’t have been a better first meeting for me, and I owe all of that to the group that was there.
I met some amazing people, who I hope to be in contact with in the future even though I am moving half way around the world. I know I can learn a lot from them about the game I love, and in the end that is why I joined SABR.
All in all it was a great time. To top it off I got to briefly meet Dwight Gooden. The Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association had its yearly banquet the night before at the hotel where we met for breakfast. Their speaker that night was Gooden, and the next morning he was eating breakfast with some of the members of the Association. He was kind enough to take a picture with our small SABR group giving me a memory I will long remember.
So thanks to Skip, Joe, Clarence, Gerald, Peggy, Dan, and Dwight (I hope I am not forgetting anyone) for making my first SABR meeting one to remember. If you aren’t a member and have a love of the game whether it is for stats or the history, I would highly suggest joining and participating in events to meet fellow lovers of the game.
Photo courtesy of Skip Nipper