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 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.

Column 19 explains What Ken Wants. Here is the rest of them:

andre dawson relief from rolaids clutch this steal away
take a stick to it sacrifice the bunt support your local pitcher stuff it
baseball's best .500 pitcher managing to get by indefensible halo there
it's all in the game stat how to score hollow men under-achievers
talk the balk it's a start
what ken wants walk the walk angel on their shoulder
thundering herd vital signs dodger dogs
trade bait the original stat freak desperately seeking cy young
what's wrong with don? the missing link hit parade