(Re-) Introduction

Hello. Or hello again, as the case may be. If you’re coming to this as a new blog and never read The Forward Defensive you might wonder why a ‘new’ blog is clearly not that new. If you know I used to write a blog ten years ago you might wonder what the hell happened and why that blog is here now. Either way, I felt I should stick some sort of re-introduction before just writing things.

About eleven years ago I decided to start blogging about sport and primarily cricket. I started The Forward Defensive because I was spending a lot of my time watching sport and had more options and analysis than could fit on Twitter. (This was in the days before threading.) I really enjoyed blogging; I enjoyed the excuse it gave me to watch even more cricket at even stranger hours in the middle of America and I really enjoyed virtually meeting so many people with a shared interest. But when I started grad school in 2013 I stopped having the same amount of time to devote to writing and in particular I stopped having the same amount of time to devote to watching. I still did watch sport, of course—anyone who has followed me on Twitter for the last decade will be keenly aware of this—but I didn’t watch as much and I didn’t have the same energy to devote to opinions about it. I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but grad school is exhausting. It also doesn’t pay well, and eventually I couldn’t justify continuing to pay for hosting fees, so I made a backup of the data and let the hosting expire. (I thought I had kept the relatively cheap domain name registration though, but apparently not.)

Great, that explains why the post before this is a half-baked one from 2014 about Mike Moustakas being sent to Triple-A that I wrote from a room at a now-defunct radio observatory in eastern California. But you may ask yourself: ‘Why is there now this post?’ ‘Why is the name of the blog different?’ ‘How do I work this?’ ‘Where is that large automobile?’

The short answers are that I’m restarting (for lack of a better word) the blog now because I finished grad school in May and now have a job that affords me a lot more money and spare time. So I’ve gone back into watching sport in detail and I have gone back to having thoughts and opinions about sport again. I noticed this in earnest during the recent MLB postseason when I realised I was texting unsolicited long-form analysis to family members every night, usually because someone in the broadcast media was completely failing to understand (or at least convey an understanding) of the nuances of statistics and mathematics. Consider the return of this blog an effort to spare my loved ones from getting series of paragraph-long texts from me every time I sit down to watch a game.

The name is changed for two reasons. Firstly and most importantly, it is because—as alluded to above—I accidentally let the domain name registration lapse. As soon as that happened it was picked up by a dodgy-looking reseller to whom I have no intention of giving money. I could have just changed the URL to some close variant of it, but at the same time the blog is not going to be quite what is was previously either. A new name seemed a better option. I’m still going to write about whatever sport I happen to have an opinion on (probably one of the first posts is going to be about the ongoing World Cup) and I’m still going to write some stuff that is just an opinion. But I’m going to focus more on deep analytical dives. I have almost a decade of experience as a professional scientist now including a PhD in Astrophysics. I have tools and experience to apply that I couldn’t even imagine when I was blogging a decade ago. This also ties back into my motivation to start blogging again in the first place. There is no shortage of modern statistical analysis in either cricket or baseball, but despite the fact that every industry now has data scientists to perform customer analyses there does not seem to be any effort to upgrade from advanced statistics to data science in sport. In practice, this also means I am probably going to end up focussing more on baseball than I used to. The data collection is a lot more thorough and organised in baseball and the records are easier to access. (Also, although both sports have inexplicably become harder to watch in the modern media landscape, cricket more so because I have less flexibility to deal with the time zones involved now.) This is why I chose the name Defensive Indifference. It is a similar style and has a direct nod back to The Forward Defensive, but it’s a baseball term.

Other than that, it’s the same as it ever was.

(NB: This post will be pinned for a little while, until there are enough new posts that it isn’t necessary any more. A summary of the relevant information is still in the About section.)

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