Our very own JD Sussman -- also founder of Bullpen Banter -- and I sat down for yet another edition of the BtB talkshow. JD has been contributing to Beyond the Box Score since February. Here's his story.
1) Talk about your love of the game, and how you initially became a baseball fan
Well, I played ball pretty much everyday of the week growing up but was forced to stop and focus on tennis. However, my passion for the game never dissapated and began following the minor leagues closely about nine years ago.
2) Regarding writing, what's your favorite subject, team, or topic to discuss?
Honestly, I like it all. If one were to read my work here or at Bullpen Banter I don't think a trend is discernable.
3) who are some of your biggest inspirations in baseball?
Yikes, I don't think I can point to one or even a handful. I read a TON, and try to read objectively. When one stops reading analysis critically it becomes time to consider if it is an efficient use of one's time. So, no matter who I'm reading or how well respected they are, I try and take the opposing view point and flesh out the underlying arguments or information. With that said, I really respect the work of authors whose abilities far exceed my own, especially in the math, graphicing and pitch f/x areas. I tend to gravitate to those writers and read less narriatives.
4) How has Beyond the Box Score changed you as a writer?
I would like to think the more I write, the more I develop as a writer and BtB has given me an excellent forum to perfect the craft. The commenters and other writers here aren't afraid to challenge my positions and it leads to great discourse. My time at BtB has been really enjoyable and I hope to increase my output over the next year.
5) Can you talk about your personal life? What do you do and what are your goals?
Right now, I'm in law school and I really have no long term aspirations to be sports writer of any sort. Hopefully, I'll have a long and successful law career that will allow me to continue to write about the game I love. There is nothing more that I like to do than read and learn. I love admitting my mistakes because it typically means I've read a piece that has taught me something or presented something from an angle I had not considered
6) What's your opinion on the growth and rise of sabermetrics?
Well, I'll try to be brief because I was considering a post on this very subject. In the right hands sabrmetrics are fantastic. There are many writers today who are able to articulate a concept while understanding it's limitions. However, there are far to many writers and fans who either not taken the time to thoroughly investigate a topic. I'm not talking about being wrong, but rather conciously uninformed and/or lazy. The proliferation of bad sabrmetrics really bothers me.
7) Favorite advanced statistic?
Something simple like wRC, probably. There are more complex stats that help put things in context, but sometimes simple is better.