This post will double as an updated About page.
I don’t think there are any other websites that cover a particular division in a professional sports league. Of course here not one but two divisions are covered, ten teams out of thirty total in Major League Baseball, but that makes little matter, for the facts remains that an overwhelming majority of sports news or sports opinion websites fall into one of two categories. There is either dedicated focus on a single team or broader coverage of the entire league. Both have obvious value and I don’t mean to compete with those models.
There are benefits to the close study of ten teams, as opposed to thirty or one; like Goldilocks, I find it just right. Follow one team and the rooting interest takes hold. There are enough places like that on the internet, and some are deservedly popular. They have a tendency to become echo chambers for fan enthusiasm and anxiety–some are by nature communities, and therefore cliquish. In zooming out to two divisions, the West divisions, I hope to gain some equanimity. And with ten teams as opposed to thirty, two division races instead of six, the scope is narrow enough that it is possible to understand all the teams in detail. And they are a fair enough representative sample of the league as a whole. (The reason I picked the West and not the Central or East is simple homesickness.)
Trends throughout the league–increasing strikeouts, for instance–will be reflected here. Ten roster-building strategies are in effect, and are being tested everyday during the season. Ten bullpens offer ten levels of performance to be scrutinized. Ten starters at shortstop (or catcher or second base, take your pick) demonstrate the range of talent and abilities present at the major league level. Ten stadiums provide ten unique run-scoring environments, and strategies adapt along those lines. In a series on recent history, a database of players who played on one or more of these teams in the years 2000-2013 models the difference between regulars and replacement players, position by position. The series tracks swells and ebbs in talent using the top performer in the division as an indicator. As a bonus, players who may have suffered from the much-maligned east coast bias in mainstream sports media get some recognition, even though they’ll never know this place. These are the players I was familiar with growing up; rather conveniently, the 2000 season is the first I can really remember. When the list of the 20 best players from this recent era of play is finalized, these pages will serve as a repository of a small part of baseball history. Perhaps I’ll call myself a volunteer for the Hall of Very Good.
In so many words I think I have committed to maintaining this ten-team perspective for the rest of the 2014 season. Take a look at the Salaries, I dolled them up real nice. The Standings are updated after each game and will be given more attention than that intermittently. They include my preseason predictions, and formulas that incorporate those predictions with up-to-date results spit out modified projections. (So far my evaluations have held up pretty well.) The History pages, as I mentioned, have updates on the best players at each position forthcoming. And the button on the menu that says Archive goes to the old blog.