…by answering his own questions in a lonely bar.
Q. Ogle give us the beginning of your life story and…hiccup…try to make it slightly entertaining would you?
A. I was born. Only once. My father was and is a high school baseball coach for one of those schools which does well at it. My mother owns a successful tenpin bowling facility in Flushing, Queens. It’s called Queen’s Bowl. I’ve seen them and they can be surprisingly good at it too. Another rum swizzle please.
Q. So how did you follow a path to becoming a writer of some…repute?
A. Me? (Looks around over his shoulder and realizes that he is in fact the only person in the bar talking to himself). I hate writing. My father was obsessed with me becoming a baseball player, every day he would make me carry the balls and bats out to practice. Then he would make me carry them home. We never actually practiced, so I was doomed to failure, much to his chagrin. He would besmirch me in front of the other catholic kids – and they would empathize. What I was good at though…what I loved to do…was numbers…statistics and patterns and diminishing returns and using them to predict the future. I recall spending my school nights at the bowling alley where I would stare at the scoreboards, and found that at such an early age – and within a single frame of bowling – I was able to accurately predict the scores of any bowling match…at least within the nearest two hundred and ninety points.
Q. That is indeed a mighty talent Ogle. Numbers eh?
A. Well I couldn’t fulfill my father’s dream of his son playing baseball. I decided instead to apply my mathematical knowledge to America’s national pastime – however accurate statistics means little in the field of underwriting mortgages for people who cannot afford them. So, I returned to baseball. I was one of the sabermetrics pioneers, using seemingly archaic numbers to analyze and predict value in baseball players. I faced a tough battle to have a team believe in my skills…until I met with the New York Mets. White Russian please.
Bar-lady. Really? A white Russian?
Ogle Davidly. I believe I said those words so I am assuming that must be the drink I am trying to order. Should I be repeating those words and if so – will that have an effect on the efficacy of my request?
Bar-lady. You’re such a charmer. Here I am now not entirely surprised that you’re in this bar asking yourself questions.
Ogle Davidly. What can I say…I enjoy intellectual company.
Bar-lady. You should push those spectacles even further up your nose Mr Spiteyerface. Here, I recognize you from the Village Voice…president of the model railway club! It’s you isn’t it!
Ogle Davidly. Model railways are an important context for allowing children to develop skills of planning, organization…
Bar-lady. I’ll interrupt you there you said it yourself. Children. Show me proof of your age please.
Ogle Davidly stares blankly at the barmaid and pushes his spectacles further up his nose. The barmaid laughs and walks away to the other end of the bar to look for milk.
Q. Back to the interview. So in 2005 you got a job with the NY Mets?
A. Yes. My team. The team I had supported ever since my father told me I had to. I became the team statistician. No one believed in my skills or my numbers – the old scout’s poo-pooed my ideas. They defecated on my scouting reports, all of them (all of the scouts, there was about three and one of them had a bowel disorder) and left them in the dugout for me to find later, often in the shape of a bell curve. However through constant badgering, hiding under the general managers desk, hiding in the boardroom closet, and hiding in the general manager’s wife’s wardrobe when he got back from work… my message about the value of a rising trend got through.
Q. Who was your favorite Met?
A. Carlos Beltran – and he was the only player who ever spoke with me, who actively sought my advice. I said to the Mets brass, “You gotta believe”, and by 2006 my statistics got us all the way to the 2006 NLCS. The Mets had made the playoffs and were within one game of the world series.
Q. This ends badly doesn’t it?
A. I am just finishing my final scouting report on the St Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright, and without my noticing one of the old scouts (the one with ulcerative colitis) has changed one of the 9’s in my analysis to a zero. Unfortunately the report is now flawed, and I advise Carlos before the game… “Carlos, please remember whatever you do, if Wainwright is pitching to you in the 9th and he gets to two strikes, he is going to throw you an off speed curveball…it only has a 09% chance of being a strike Carlos, don’t swing at it. Promise me you won’t swing at it.” “I promise”, said Carlos. Actually he has a Spanish accent, so he said, “A ok, ok, a, I promise”. Unfortunately, that should have been that Adam Wainwright was 99% likely to throw a strike with that off-speed pitch.
Q. What happened next?
Ogle Davidly vomits into his empty glass and wipes his mouth across his beard.
A. Everyone blamed Beltran. It was my fault, I should have double checked the numbers. The 2006 Ny Mets lose the NLCS on the cardinals on a called 3rd strike from an Adam Wainwright curveball. To this day, they have never been back to the playoffs. Carlos refused to blame me, but it was all my fault. Everyone blamed Beltran instead.
Q. So why become a Colonumnist for Free Daily Sameness if you hate writing so much?
A. I couldn’t take it. I had to turn my back on both baseball and statistics; on baseball…and on a meaningful life. So I filled my mind with other things to take the edge off…model railways and airplanes, stamp collecting…anything that didn’t involve baseball or numbers, or graphs or the need to add numbers together. It makes me feel sick to the core man! So writing is the only way I know to stay away from OBP, +WRC and bWAR.
Q. Do you think you could save the NY Mets today? They’ve been terrible ever since.
A. They wouldn’t have me back…would they? Anyway, I’ve gotta believe…
Ogle slid off his bar stool at this point, and here ends The Tragedy.
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