The Sausage Factory

If you’re wondering how the sausage that is the Baseball Prospectus annual gets made, editor Steven Goldman explains it in his latest chat:

Nick (Manhattan): I’m curious about the annual. Did Joe Sheehan contribute? And are the authors cited at the end of team sections so that we know who is writing what? I’ve always thought it would be nice to know who did what because you have such distinct voices.

Steven Goldman: Hi, Nick. No, Joe did not contribute. It’s not something he had chosen to do in recent years. Consistent with long-standing BP tradition, we still have not by-lined the chapters. As we’ve said many, many times before (and as I alluded to a couple of answers ago), too many fingers get into each chapter to make that an easy thing to do. Let’s talk about the St. Louis Browns chapter in the 1953 Baseball Prospectus annual. I might write the essay and the Rogers Hornsby manager comment. Jay Jaffe might do most of the comments, but as editor I might feel that his Dick Kryhoski comment missed the point, so I might ask him for a redraft or for various reasons (Jay may be skiing in Utah) change it around myself. Then I’ll ask Kevin Goldstein to come in and take a look at what we wrote for all the prospects on the team, and in a couple of cases, Kevin might say, “You know, the Joe DeMaestri comment really overestimates his minor-league numbers. I have three scouts who tell me he hits with his eyes closed.” So Kevin will rewrite that one. Then Christina will take a look and add her two cents and add and subtract a few more details (sometimes this happens in the opposite order — she starts, I close). After that, it goes to the publisher’s editor, who makes his own comments. Those come back to us, we evaluate them and keep what we can use, and stamp it finished — at which point they trade the whole roster and Christina and I have to scramble to account for the changes, which causes even more rewriting.

See what I mean? And aren’t you sorry you asked?

Just thought I’d share that.

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