Mike Trout at bat.

Play Ball!

Welcome to a new venture in my life. I’ve been told that these things always begin with an introduction. I’m not very good at introductions; I’m better at hitting the ground running. However, if people are actually going to take the time to read what I write on this site then at the very least I owe those kind readers a bit of an introduction. I also owe them quality content and over time that’s exactly what they’ll get.

In any case, I’m a lifelong baseball fan. I’ve loved the game ever since the first time I picked up a baseball. It’s corny, for sure, but I still remember the first time I held a baseball and played catch. I didn’t start off in tee ball like so many of my friends did; my start came in coach pitch Pioneer League. I was signed up by my Grandma,  a lifelong baseball fan herself. I don’t remember much about my early days falling in love with baseball. But, I do remember enjoying throwing that ball, even if I had no idea what I was doing or where the ball was going.

My Grandma also instilled a deep-rooted love of the Chicago Cubs in me. I was one of those people who was taught to love the team no matter what. That stayed with me, and for as long as I can recall, I have lived and died with the Cubs. The Cubs are still, and always will be, my number one, but, I’ve grown to love watching baseball the world over. Over the years, I have become a fan of some other teams from other leagues; Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Brisbane Bandits, Hanwha Eagles, and Lamigo Monkeys just to name a few.  If there’s a pro game on, I’m interested in watching, and digging a little deeper into what I see.

A few years back I took the leap from simply watching baseball to wanting to know more beyond what my eyes were seeing. Sabermetrics was a foreign concept to me, and, at first, I railed against much of what it was telling me. I trudged forward, learning more, and eventually realizing that just because some people were thought highly of it didn’t mean I had to listen to their thoughts on the game. This realization ended up applying to both the old way of thinking and sabermetrics. As I l moved beyond the talking heads and found writers who were able to take hard data and make it mean something, I realized what I wanted to do; write.

Write is what I did, and I’ll be forever thankful to a guy many of you may know, Ryan Davis. He gave me my first shot to write about baseball for a now-defunct site called Statliners. From there I wrote for CPBL English, View from the Bleachers, BP Wrigleyville, and continue to write for both Banished to the Pen and Baseball Prospectus. Ryan decided to take a chance on someone who had only ever written about movies and professional wrestling. I had no idea how to combine statistics and opinions, but I was given a chance and have made the most of it.

I’m not planning on giving up writing for larger sites anytime soon. I am, however, finally creating a place of my own to explore my love of baseball. Words Above Replacement will be a lot of things, but it will, foremost, be mine. At Words Above Replacement, I plan on writing opinion articles, stat-driven articles, biographies, and anything else I want to explore. I’m also looking forward to making this site a central hub where all of my baseball writing can be found, old and new alike.

Whether Words Above Replacement becomes something big or not, I have no idea. What I do know is that it won’t be a fly by night project that comes and goes. I write about baseball regularly; it’s my hobby and my passion. I hope anyone who stops by enjoys this site, but hopefully, plenty of you also disagree with things that I post, because discussion breeds understanding and all I ever want to do is understand the game of baseball a little bit better.

Hats to the left, always.

Lead photo courtesy of Reed Saxon – Associated Press

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), husband, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and Off the Bench Baseball; freelance writer at various online and print publications. Member Internet Baseball Writers Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

2 Replies to “Play Ball!

  1. It must be kind of weird being a Cubs fan now that they have won a recent World Series. I have relatives who were Cubs fans and they were kind of overwhelmed when the Cubs finally won one. Good luck with your blog!

    1. It’s a new headspace to be in, that’s for sure. The yearning for them to win has been replaced with the belief that they can win and frustration when they don’t.


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