Wolfman:When you were very young, did you play baseball (little league, high school, college) and if so what was you best position?
Ron:My best position was scorekeeper! The extent of my on-field baseball career was in beer league softball when I was in my 20s. I was a singles hitter with night blindness and my poor arm relegated me to second-base. A double-play pivot was well beyond my skill set.
Wolfman:Which MLB team did you root for in your young days and do you root for now? Are there any MLB players now or in the past which are your favorites or who you follow?
Ron:I grew up about 3 miles from Shea Stadium and have always been a dedicated Mets fan even though I haven't lived in New York since 1984. I recently moved to Port St. Lucie, FL and the Mets' spring training facility is 10 minutes from my house! Growing up, Tom Seaver was my idol. These days, my favorite players change every year and are usually the guys who I think will most outperform expectation. That's the plight of the baseball analyst.
Wolfman:How did you come up with the idea for your very popular Baseball HQ website and newsletter as well as your very successful baseball guide book, "Baseball Forcaster"? What was your goal in creating this organization and your yearly book? Also, are you happy with the results of what you achieved through these activities?
Ron:BaseballHQ.com was a natural evolution of the Forecaster book and a monthly newsletter I was publishing in the 1990s. Having come from the publishing industry, it was liberating to toss off the shackles of page-count restrictions and formal publishing schedules. The paid circulation of the website surpassed all my print products within 9 months of launch. That is when I knew I had something. I am very proud of what I achieved.
Wolfman:Do you play any Fantasy Baseball yourself in any form? Have you heard of the game we play Strat-o-matic and if so what is your opinion of it?
Ron:I am a sim (baseball simulation) player and very familiar with SOM, though I have never played it. I cut my teeth in the 1960s on Cadaco All Star Baseball (with the spinner) and graduated in the 1970s to your competitor, APBA. I was an APBAite for many years until I bought my first home computer. Then I played MicroLeague Baseball and Lance Haffner Baseball.
These days, I get my sim fix by playing
Scoresheet Baseball, but my professional focus is more on
traditional fantasy leagues. I currently participate in several
national industry experts competitions -- Tout Wars (which I
helped create in 1998), FSTA and XFL.
Wolfman:Why have you left BaseballHQ if I am permitted to ask this?
Ron:Sure, it's no secret. I built up the Baseball HQ line (2 websites, 5 books and a 10-city conference series) to a point in the mid-2000s that I felt I had taken it as far as I could. I sold the business in 2008 but was kept on board to run things for several years after that. I gradually reduced my role over time and eventually decided to step down to work on some other projects, of which The BABS Project is one. However, I am still involved in the Baseball Forecaster and I still participate in the conference series. We're in Chicago and St. Louis this weekend (last weekend of Feburary)!
Wolfman:What does your new book discuss and share that you have called the BABS Project and what does the letters BABS represent?
Ron:The BABS Project takes a different approach to player evaluation and fantasy draft planning. As gamers, we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to rank players, but the error bars around projections are so wide that the exercise is nearly pointless. A player can hit 10 HRs one year, 15 HRs the next and 8 HRs the year after that and still own the same skill set.
The Broad Assessment Balance Sheet (BABS) takes
the approach that players are more alike than they are
different, and the more that we try to force rankings onto
comparable players, the more opportunity there is to find
potential draft profit. So BABS starts by assigning skills
ratings to players using broad descriptors.
Another problem with projections is they try to incorporate too many objective and subjective variables. We all know that Giancarlo Stanton is a terrific power hitter, but projections will hedge because of his injury risk. Well, how many plate appearances should we discount him? That's a completely subjective decision. BABS evaluates players by separating their skills variables from their risk variables and presents them as a balance sheet of assets and liabilities.
Finally, BABS sets targets for skills and a risk
budget so that you can construct an optimal roster.
Wolfman:How can our members get a copy?
Ron:You can find out all about it at RonShandler.com. That's the home for all my current work.
Wolfman:If a member wished to reach you, what would be the best way to do so?
Ron:Beyond (my website) RonShandler.com, folks can contact me on Facebook (/ronshandler.baseball/) and Twitter (@RonShandler). I answer about 96.7% of all questions asked.
Wolfman: We will be visiting with Mr. Shandler once again in our next issue, where we will continue our conversation and focus more about his theories and ideas linked with fantasy baseball and see what strategies he uses that might help our members with their game play in the current league play you are engaged in with SOM. We will also discuss more about the BABS Project and how this new system works and why it is so effective.
Thank you Mr. Shandler for visiting with us and I look forward to talking with you again soon, to continue this dialogue.
visiting Mr. Shandler’s website, after I did this email
interview with him, I discovered he is in the process of
developing a BABS database, which sounded very interesting and
another way to help people who might want to use his approach to
evaluate the key players to follow for your drafts in fantasy
baseball. Also I did challenge Ron to play me in SOM, but
he declined due to lack of time - perhaps
later in the year I will try again.
So in conclusion, I have great respect for Ron's
work, what I have seen via the Baseball HQ site, his book,
"Baseball Forcaster" and now to become his student over the next
month or so to fully understand BABS. In any case, we
have his book listed now on our resource page, and his only
request to get your own copy is to become a member on his
website, where you will have an even greater access to all his
amazing strategies and insights. This is the website he
shared during his interview. I can't wait to speak again
to Ron in his second interview to learn more from the "Man".
Stay tuned ....
Mgr. of the Skokie Wolfmen in the CBA, USBN Editor
♦ ARTICLE with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO - Wolfman Challenges STPC Worlds Champion Pete Nelson, The Strat Tournament Players Club, is known as the most expansive and challenging series of Strat-o-matic Baseball Draft tournaments world wide. Pete Nelson has been one of the main organizers and supporters of these tournaments for many years as well as one of their repeat champions in their classic Worlds Tournaments. Pete lives close by to our editor Wolfman in the Seattle area, so at the end of January, these two giants played a best of seven game series following the tournament rules of this club. Find out how this epic battle of SOM Baseball heavies went ....
♦ SOM Baseball and MLB World News - March 2017, This is our periodic column where we share any exciting news and updates linked to either the SOM World or MLB. In this issue, we share a story about "Opening Day" at the Strat-o-matic Game Company you have never heard, along with another report from another newsletter member of their experience at this year's "Opening Day". We also share another analysis from Baseball Info Solutions done by strat gamer and the owner, John Dewan about how to evaluate Up-the-Middle Performances of various MLB teams ....
♦STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his new column sharing various perspectives on SOM Baseball. For his article this month he discusses about vintage strat-o-matic cards and how to find the best deals and prices to get them.
♦INTERVIEW with CHRIS WILLIAMS, Strat Baseball Author, Chris is a fellow strat baseball gamer and new member to our newsletter who has just recently become the author of a new book through Acta Sports by the title of, "Coulda Woulda Shoulda", a very entertaining book about "What If" scenarios that might have changed the history of baseball. In this interview, meet Chris and find out more about his new book.
♦SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, turns his attention to talk to members of various face-to-face Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he has discovered through the league registry service offered
on the Strat-o-matric website. Each commissioner speaks about the history of their league and their experiences. To read the interview for this month, click on the link below:
INTERVIEW with HARRIS JESSOP, Winter Need a Life League Commissioner (Netplay)
♦ ARTICLE with CHUCK TINKLER, Chuck is one of our most popular contributors and is back with a new article for his column, "The Chuck Stop", as he continues his article he calls "Old Guys Rule" with Part III. This article deals with the value of a 1st round draft pick and more - Chuck always entertains our readers with his insightful and colorful stories and experiences - check out this latest edition now!
♦ ARTICLE with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO - How to Setup Your Draft League Team, the Final Part of this article, Wolfman, finish the last segment of this three part article to share with our members the meat and potatoes of his various strategies how to build his 2017 Skokie Wolfmen in the CBA, a Keepers computer league. In this segment, he discusses the results of the CBA draft held in early March with both this written article and some supplemental entertaining videos. By using his team as an example, you may receive from this article some suggestions and new strategies you can use to help build your own team and bring to your fans a league's championship.
♦RECOMMEND ON-LINE SOM RESOURCES -- On-line Strat-o-matic and Baseball related websites that offer amazing information, special tools and products to improve your game play that we strongly recommend. In most cases, we have had personal contact with these sources who agree with the idea and key principle about working together to help promote each other.
♦BOOKS TO DIE FOR and Become a BASEBALL GURU -- This page is specifically about special books we are finding that either will expand your insights about the game of Baseball, help you in the creation of your current league teams or with your replays and learn more about the Strat-o-matic Baseball Game and Game Company's history. We have a special arrangement with Acta Sports, who is a publisher of a number of great baseball books (including Bill James Handbooks) to offer for our members a 10% discount. We will continue to add more books to this page in the future as we uncover other gems our members should know about.
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