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THE WRITE STUFF

My tenure at the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner began in July 1984 as a copy editor, six months before I bought my first computer program and began writing the software that powers the sports portion of this website. Bill James was just a few years into writing his Baseball Abstracts. Fans of the game, and of gaming, were taking an interest in the new statistics. Fantasy leagues similar to one I started that year at the HerEx were popping up in the workplace and the media was showing some interest in the phenomena.

The internet was still a decade away.

Three years later, I pitched an idea to the managing editor for a newspaper-sponsored baseball Rotisserie League. We could use a select group of celebrity fans to pick fantasy teams or we could invite the readership to join en masse. I would write the code to crunch the numbers and pen a weekly column for the newspaper that would be the centerpiece of a half-page blowout of sabremetrics.

But since I didn't know if I could even write the software, I asked for at least three months lead time. The managing editor waited until the week before the baseball season began to green light the project. I told him it was too late. So he said just write the column.

And that's what I did. In addition to my day job, designing pages and editing stories for the newspaper, I produced one column a week for Sunday's paper throughout the baseball season.

These are the first six columns.